Light Up Your Life
Choosing the right combination and style of lighting can have a transformative effect - if you know how! Interior designer Amanda Hanley sheds some light on the subject.
Great domestic lighting is not just about illumination: it’s integral to the way we decorate and use our homes, and can have a profound effect on atmosphere. A little planning – and a spark of imagination – go a long way. Incredibly, few people take lighting into account when they embark on a redecorating project, but this is the time to get it right. Once you realise what’s possible, something will click, and you’ll start looking at your spaces in an entirely new light.
Where to begin
You’ll be faced with many choices and options, but if you’re going it alone, you can be more decisive if you drill down to basics and work out what you need. Ask yourself:
Is the period of the house important?
Modern solutions needn’t conflict with period detail, but lighting design should harmonise with the rest of your interiors. There may be supply or installation considerations in listed buildings, which you’ll need expert help with.
What is the quality of the available natural light?
And what’s the best way to make the most of it? Whether a room is north- or south-facing matters – artificial light could be a vital part of your scheme. You’ll need to give a lot of thought to paint finishes, wall coverings, curtains, carpets and upholstery, too, all of which impact the end result by reflecting and absorbing light.
Are you tackling one room, or the whole house?
How far do you want to take it and how much do you want to spend? Getting the look right – and on budget – is what I love doing for my clients.
How do you use your spaces?
What will you be doing in them? Make a list of specific activities room by room.
Spotlight on style
With the practicalities worked out, you can focus on looks: soft linen shades or hand-pleated silk? Polished chrome spots or retro enamel pendants? Over the 30 years I’ve been designing interiors, I’ve built up a fantastic book of insider contacts and suppliers, so I know exactly where to get what my clients are looking for – and how to help them work out what that is. I’d invite you to spend time with me at my studio or in your home, brainstorming ideas and browsing samples together to come up with the perfect solution: something fresh and personal to you.
One of the suppliers I’ve forged a fantastic relationship with is Besselink & Jones, a great British company that has been making top-quality lights and shades for more than 50 years. You’ll spot their precision-made handiwork in some of the world’s most prestigious interiors, from grande dame hotels such as Claridge’s to luxury yachts, private residences and royal palaces. They have an overwhelming catalogue of designs and finishes, but particular favourites with my Cotswolds clients are the picture and library lights, and the adjustable floor lamps with integrated tables. Another speciality is renovating chandeliers, and converting ceramics and other decorative treasures into bespoke pieces: I love working with Besselink’s craftsmen to bring my clients’ ideas to life – I can guide you through the colour, finish and fabric selection process to create unique, beautiful lights that sit perfectly in your home.
Ask the expert...
Q. I have a lovely large hallway but it’s dimly lit and not very inviting. How can I make it look more welcoming?
A. Hallways and stairwells are often forgotten about when people decorate their homes. Creating a focal point with a table, a shaded lamp and a few well-chosen pieces – perhaps with a decorative mirror behind them – will provide warmth, interest and personality, the key features of a welcoming atmosphere. You need to take your existing light into account: I help my clients use a combination of well-balanced elements, such as up-lighters plus a pendant or display lighting, in a carefully chosen blend of finishes and materials, to achieve the desired effect.
- Amanda Hanley
T 01993 822 385 | M 07976 353 996 | email@example.com