Simply having all your lights on diffusers can mellow the ambience, says Longoni. “Bounce light off mirrored surfaces for a smoky glow, use a diffuser sheet at the base of a ceiling shade. Opaque glass, perspex or coloured shades in warm ochres and browns also soften the light.”
6. Natural lighting Make the most of any natural light in your room by keeping voluminous curtains neatly tied back to allow as much light as possible to filter in during the day.
1. Ceiling light A central ceiling light will cast a good even glow around the entire room that’s perfect for general everyday tasks, such as getting dressed on dark mornings, cleaning and putting away laundry.
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Choose a light-coloured shade teamed with a low-watt bulb so it doesn’t appear too harsh. Choose a light-coloured ceiling shade with a low-watt bulb
We all need to rest, but with space at a premium in modern homes, bedrooms have evolved from simple slumber zones into multi-functional rooms that can be tricky to illuminate.
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The bedroom is the most important space in any home. It’s where we begin our days and where we close the door on them, too. As well as the average six to eight hours a day we sleep in our bedrooms, we also use them to share intimate moments, to make plans, get dressed, read and relax. At the weekends, we might even have breakfast there.
A cheap IKEA vase, says Storey, can look glamorous, if backlit properly. “With the right lighting, objects come alive. It can bring out texture in a garden, and create a dramatic effect in the shower, making it appear like a luxurious spa.”
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Alternatively, a simple net curtain will diffuse light for a softer effect, while maintaining privacy in your room.
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Even wires have become decorative, rather than something to hide away under the sofa. Simple hooks with coloured flex running down the wall make a modernist statement.
Book lovers: balance relaxing glows with bright lights so that vision isn’t strained
3. Think outside the vase Flowers freshen up any room, and studies show that blooms boost our mood. But instead of displaying them in your usual vase, cut them shorter and pop them into a mason jar, vintage tea pot or old jam jar, for a quirky feel.
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8. Switches in the right places Sometimes, it’s the little things in life that provide the most satisfaction, and installing light switches conveniently beside your bedside is one of them. No one enjoys getting out of bed to switch off the light and fumbling back in the dark.
7. Blocking out lightSave fumbling in the dark and install light switches beside your bedside As a general rule, the darker the room, the deeper you sleep, so take care to eliminate any light sources that may disturb you. Blackout blinds, or lining, will filter out external annoyances, but remember to turn off any plugs and electrical equipment inside your room.
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Decorative filament bulbs will add a retro feel to your interior, while halogens provide a crisp, sharp light. For a warm yellowish glow, choose a low wattage – or the Kelvin equivalent.
9. Make scents The smell of coffee reduces stress levels, and creating a simple coffee-scented candle is a brilliant way to bring happiness to your space. Fill ramekins with coffee beans and place a tea light in the centre. As the candle warms up, it’ll release the scent.
Programme them to ward off intruders, energise or relax you, or to wake you up slowly in the morning. Lighting is clearly no longer just for illumination.
3. Reading lamps Book lovers should balance a relaxing glow with suitable brightness so vision doesn’t become strained.
Or use an “angle light”, clamp light or extendable wall lights, such as the adjustable wall light from Rockett St George (£69.50) in an antique finish.
Let there be light: imaginative use of uplighting and downlighting can redefine a room and create a sense of space, such as in this John Cullen Lighting scheme, above
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6. Rug Your duvet cover isn’t the only soft furnishing that can reflect your personality. Rugs are a brilliant way to inject an extra dose of “you” into your bedroom, as they come in an endless choice of colours, textures and sizes. It’s a much cheaper way of warming up a room than fitting wall-to-wall carpet, and much easier to swap when you want a change.
A directional table lamp – like an anglepoise – is an excellent choice for a workspace, while a floor lamp, or a wall sconce positioned by a mirror is perfect for putting on make-up or blow-drying hair.
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7. Get arty Who says artwork is just for the living room? When you’ve found a piece you love, find the perfect frame and hang it proudly in your bedroom – then choose accessories that complement its colours. If you study the most vibrant rooms, you’ll notice the same colours used for a vase here, a cushion there, a painting here, a rug there: a subtle theme can make the rest of the room seem more lively.
How to perfectly light your bedroom Bedrooms have evolved from slumber zones into multi-functional rooms that can be tricky to illuminate. Here are ten tips for freshening up your lighting
And if you want to do away with wires all together, new technology from Philips (philips.com) offers a bespoke “wireless lighting environment” where you can control, dim and bathe your room in all the colours of the rainbow from your smart phone or tablet (Hue, starter pack with three LED bulbs and router; £180).
Antique style Squirrel bulbs are great when used without a shade, turning them into a feature in their own right. They give off a warm glow, reminiscent of the banned incandescent bulb.
The smell of coffee reduces stress levels, and creating a simple coffee-scented candle will bring happiness to your space 5. Book-end it Often it’s the little touches that make a room feel homely. They might not sound very warm or calming, but bricks and stones make brilliant bookends. Try painting them gold, or adding text with a stencil and some whitewash.
Good lighting is about creating “layers” of different lighting effects. Just as an interior designer works with colour and texture in the home, the lighting designer will play with downlights on artwork, uplighters to highlight architectural elements and energy-efficient strip lights to turn shelving into a feature of the room.
4. Stick it Sometimes our walls just need a new lease of life, which is where decorative stickers come in handy. They’re a perfect alternative to wallpapering your whole room or having to repaint it all, and they don’t cause any damage.
There are affordable options, still. Lucio Longoni, chief lighting expert at Heal’s, recommends buying plug-in floodlights, such as their “funnel light” to put behind plants or sofas and bring light into dark corners.
The cord is the main draw of the quirky Design House Stockholm Cord Lamp where the bulb is suspended upright, as if by magic, by its cord and steel tube.
1. Share your memories Nothing makes a room feel more personal than photographs. A jumble of different-sized vintage frames on top of a dressing table looks great. But so does a geometric grid of matching frames on the wall. Why not fill a whole wall with photos, clocks, paintings and other art? Or blow up a photobooth picture to giant size?
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5. Wardrobe lighting Navigating the dark recesses of your wardrobe can be frustrating at the best of times, so take the stress out of getting dressed by installing LED lighting. As well as being able to see your clothes, it’s energy efficient too.
Take a good look around a room in your house. What is missing? Are your best features on display or lurking in the shadows? It’s time we focused less on changing our paint colours or furniture and switched our attention to our lights.
Heal’s has launched a useful service where customers can book a consultation in their ‘Light Box’ room and try out which bulbs, fittings and styles best suit their taste and home. Single “antique-style” bulbs, such as the Edison squirrel, where the filament is the centrepiece, wound in the shape of a cage inside the lamp, are a top seller. They have become a feature to display in their own right, without a shade, being some of the closest in colour to the warm, golden glow of the now banned incandescent bulb.
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So whether it’s for snuggling, snoozing, working or reading, here are ten tips for freshening up your lighting to create a brilliant – and versatile – bedroom scheme.
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Height-adjustable, wall-mounted lamps are a versatile option, but make sure they’re well shielded so you don’t see the bulb, and you can read without disturbing your partner.
2. Light it up Be it modern and sleek, or a piece of hand-painted porcelain, a statement lamp makes a brilliant focal point. The best are designed to be art forms in themselves, so if it looks good, give it some space. Don’t make it share your bedside table with glasses, books and general junk.
• For 26 tips on how to sleep better or make your space just right for you, read the A-Zzz Guide of Bedroom Ideas
Add some pendants and lamps, spotlight your fireplace, coffee table, painting or uplight a window and it makes the space look as though it has been redecorated without buying a single scatter cushion.
Instead of hiding away your cords, put them proudly on display with the Design House Stockholm Cord Lamp. The bulb is suspended upright thanks to its cord and the steel tube that encases it. Comes with a transparent 40W bulb.
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If money is no object, Storey recommends recessed lights with a handmade frame to silhouette a particular work of art and movement sensors that automatically turn on low-level lights in a bedroom or bathroom. If on a budget, lamps with shades made from silk or parchment diffuse the light and allow it out sideways, “which can often be enough in a bedroom”.
8 Show your goods What if your whole bedroom was a display cabinet? Clutter can make us feel overwhelmed, but having your favourite trinkets on display can brighten your mood. Weave your sentimental extras around the room and give them room to breathe – but keep out of sight the stuff that makes you feel stressed.
So why do we spend more time worrying about how the reception rooms in our homes look? Sure, it’s important to make a good impression on guests. But it’s more important that the room where you spend most of your life makes you feel good. Here are nine tips on how to make your bedroom feel like you.
9. Choosing the right bulbs Bulbs come in all shapes, sizes and intensities, so it’s worth shopping around to find ones that compliment your scheme.
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Installing a dimmer switch with different settings is a quick and easy way to set the scene, but clusters of church candles and strings of fairy lights work just as well.
4. Romantic lighting Whether you want to create a romantic atmosphere, or a relaxing haven, soft accent lighting is key to setting the tone in your bedroom.
It makes sense to make use of any natural daylight, whether that involves pruning a large climbing rose or swapping bulky curtains for something less intrusive, she adds.
Bounce light off mirrored surfaces for a smoky glow, use a diffuser sheet at the base of a ceiling shade. Opaque glass, perspex or coloured shades in warm ochres and browns also soften the lightLucio Longoni
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Having an entire energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lighting scheme put in place does not come cheaply, at around £100 a bulb for a professionally fitted scheme, but the argument is in the energy and cost saved in the long term. “Instead of using the equivalent of, say, 60 watts in energy, you use 7 watts, with the same amount of brightness.” Storey recently lit an entire garden with just 60 watts – the equivalent of one traditional light bulb.
“You can create interest and sculptural effects where you never thought possible – uplight a door, under the stairs, in small recessed spaces. Lighting the space beyond draws the eye and makes the spaces appear larger. If you light your garden or roof terrace it creates another room and adds to the sense of space.”
“Lighting is a hidden and much underestimated tool,” says Sally Storey, design director at John Cullen Lighting. “It can make the simplest white tile in the bathroom look magical, or expensive marble look terrible if you get it wrong.”
10. Lights as decoration As well as illuminating your bedroom, lighting can also be used as a stylish accessory. Choose a pendant or lampshade that will complement the overall look you’re trying to achieve, or go for a sculptural or supersize style and create a bold feature.
For an easy way to get recessed lights, try a lamp with a shade made from silk as this will diffuse the light and allow it out sideways. This silk tulip table lamp exudes a classic contemporary Chinese style.
2. Task lights If your bedroom doubles up as a home office or a dressing room, carefully-placed task lighting could be the answer.
• Read more ‘how to’ articles on getting a better nights sleep »
Shine some light on the dark corners of your home with this adjustable wall light from Rockett St George. The industrial style lamp has three points of adjustment, so you can position it exactly where you want it.