Guide to Lighting with Lamps

Advice and guidance on lighting with lamps whether upgrading present lighting or buying new
Advice and guidance on lighting with lamps whether upgrading present lighting or buying new
Lamp lighting is crucial to create the right ambience in rooms.

 

As the clocks go back and our days grow darker, good lighting is essential. Not only for task lighting ( cleaning, cooking and reading etc.) but for creating a warm and comfortable ambience. Lighting is a huge topic, but in this guide I will advise on lamps. No living space should be without a lamp.

Before considering buying new table or standard lamps, make the most of what you’ve got already.

  1. Try changing the bulbs. It maybe that you need a bulb with a higher or lower wattage or Lumins,  or a different shape or make. For example a large globe light will give a better quality of light than a standard bulb.
  2. 70 watt/230 volt clear energy saving bulb is equivalent to a 100 watt standard incandescent bulb. This type is dimmerble and provides good colour to shades.
  3. 18 watt/230 volt compact florescent bulb gives a greyer and flatter light than that of a standard energy saving bulb. Although equivalent to a 100 watt bulb, it does not appear to be as bright as a 70 watt energy saving bulb.
  4. 7 watt/230 volt LED classic shaped bulb is equivalent to a 25 watt incandescent bulb. Most of the light will travel upwards in the lamp and sometimes a ‘cold’ light is produced, so buy a ‘warm’ LED bulb.
  5. Use the maximum wattage a shade will allow, as a brighter one may singe or discolour the shade.
  6. A frosted or pearl bulb provides a softer more shadow free light.

 

 

Changing your shades will update your room and can improve and change the light. The shape, colour, size, material and lining are all key to the shades look and use. Images by Design Bump and Apartment Therapy.

 

  1. Light coloured shades in silk, parchment and paper will cast a cool light as the bulb transmits colour from the shade.
  2. A cream coloured silk pleated coolie shade is a popular choice, but doesn’t always hide the light source or add anything to the room.
  3. Dark colours will add drama and a atmospheric mood.
  4. A lined shade will soften the light source. Unlined shades tend to allow hot spots of light to show through the shade. If this happens you can paint the inside of the shade in gold or silver paint, which gives a warm glow to the room. Alternatively, choose a contrasting colour which picks up another colour in your room, for example red or green.
  5. Always opt for fewer lamps with larger shades for impact.

Above images by Thelampshade’s web blog and SugarCube.

Lampshade to base ratio guide
Ensure the shade size suits the base
Lampshade to base ratio guide
Ensure your lampshade is the correct size to the base. Images by Oka

Shade Shapes and Sizes

  1. Coolie or Empire is the most common shape of shade. A sloped coolie pushes most of the light downwards. Because of this, choose the biggest shade you can to provide useful light.
Oversized coolie or empire shade and base
Maximum light where it’s needed with a coolie shade
Oversized coolie shade and lampbase
Add impact with an oversized coolie lampshade and base

2. Drum – A drum shaped shade, deep or shallow, allows light to travel upwards and downwards, adding to ambient light and task lighting below. This shape of shade is also good for showing the fabric or design of the shade.

Burlap drum shaped lampshdes
Drum shaped lampshades made from burlap from The Pottery Barn

3. Oval – The deep slim oval shape performs in a similar way to the drum, and is suitable for smaller spaces.

Oval shaped lampshade on contemporary base by Obus
Oval shaped lampsde ideal fro smaller spaces by Obus

4. Cylinder – An elegant and contemporary shape, especially if mounted on a candlestick lamp base.

Cylindrical shaped lampshde and base
Cylindrical lampshde and base. Image atgstores.com

5. Conical – This is usually seen on small candlestick lamps and provides narrow pockets of downward light.

Example of conical shade directing light downwards
Conical shaped shade directs light downwards Image sminteriors.co.uk

6. Square or Tapered Square – A square shade instantly updates a room. It gives both upwards and downwards light and looks great in a corner of a room. It gives a far better light than a conical shape.

Square shaped lampshades on a console table
Square shaped shades directs light upwards and downwards. Image by homestrendy.com

7. Rectangle or Tapered Rectangle – This shape also gives both upwards and downwards light, and gives a room a modern look. Useful on a bar or side table.

Contemporary table lamp by John Cullen Lighting
Contemporary shade and base. The light is directed both upwards and downwards by John Cullen Lighting.

It’s worth experimenting with different shapes, sizes and colours of shades to compare the differences it can make. The shade needs to be appropriate to the amount and type of light you want it to achieve, it’s purpose and height and width of the base. The more open the shade, the more light you will get. Shadow is just as important as the light in a good interior to prevent a ‘flat’ ambience.

Lamps should be fit for their intended purpose of course, whether for reading in a chair, where a floor standing or standard lamp is useful,  bedside lamps or sitting on a bedside cabinet.

Modern standard lamp for a reading corner.
A modern standard lamp is perfect for a reading corner. Image by DevaDesigns.co.uk
Table lampshade and Base ideal for reading corner
Light bounces downwards to where you need it. Image Google.co.uk
Classic Sitting Room with orange he
The colour of the shade picks up colours elsewhere in the room. Image Kit Kemp

 

All Mapped Out

New York map trend from Asda and H&M - ellietennant.com
New York map trend from Asda and H&M – ellietennant.com

With the arrival of ‘Sat Nav’ and ‘App’ technology, you may have thought that disagreements over people’s map reading skills, are perhaps a thing of the past. However, there are times when road,  street, footpath, underground and  ordnance survey maps are invaluable. I spent all day Saturday sitting in the back of a car with a road map navigating over the North Yorkshire Moors in low cloud, visibility – zilch, wind and rain. Oh joy! There can be something fascinating about a map too, providing all sorts of information that a ‘Sat Nav’ or App do not usually supply,  and besides which you may not get a signal! There is something exciting about planning a trip with a map, and keeping the map afterwards to evoke fond memories of the trip. There is a strong trend at the moment introducing maps into your home.  Framed Antique maps and prints, (these can be expensive collectors’ items like  Francesco da Mosto’s recent discovery of a seven  map collection of Alvise Cadamosto worth £1m is anything to go by) or posters of a map from Panem or Neverland,  a wall mural, paper,  globes , bedding, furniture, fabrics, lighting and accessories.

Furniture – An old map, wrapping, wall paper  or posters can be used to bring an old item of furniture to life. On a table top for example, or on the front of a chest of drawers using decoupage. How to decoupage –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFyddV7BxUI.  Cover an old tray using the same technique, or buy a London map tray from Ben Pentreath for £70.00 http://www.pentreath-hall.com/  Or buy an oil cloth with a map of the world for your dining table which should spark conversation. http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-world-map-pvc-cut-length-tablecloth-blue/p301356

Try papering one wall with a shipping map as an unusual accompaniment to a nautical themed bathroom or child’s room. ‘Great Harbour’ by Ralph Lauren would be perfect.  Complete wall mural’s in a selection of designs can be used to great effect too as illustrated below.   If papering the whole wall is too overwhelming for your space paper the ceiling.

Bedlinen – Carry the theme into the bed linen. Zara Home have a great design at a reasonable cost. Add a vintage vibe with mini map bunting from Grace and Favour http://www.graceandfavourhome.com/ourshop/prod_1398302-Vintage-Map-Bunting.html or try Esty.

Lighting – Ready made map lighting is another way to introduce the theme. These can be purchased or try covering your existing lampshades with old paper maps or fabric. For instructions go to  http://homeguides.sfgate.com/cover-lampshade-wallpaper-88216.html

Accessories – Introduce map prints to cover storage boxes and notebooks in your home office. There are is selection of available from  LINK PICTURE

Pictures – A set of framed historical maps on wall looks smart, or a map on wooden planking and distressed for a relaxed vibe.

Rugs and flooring inspired by maps used to ‘anchor’ a room.

Fabrics – There is a plethora of fabrics to choose from for cushion covers, blinds, curtains and upholstery. The world is your oyster!

Light Bulb Moment

I have had always had an aversion to a single central pendant light as the only source of lighting in a room. This light creates a dull soulless room, illuminating a non flattering light not only to the room, but to it’s inhabitants. Lamps, whether table or standard, are my preference especially in a sitting room to add warmth and ambiance. The central light only being used when cleaning. My children have either inherited, or most likely have been drilled into the same aversion; To the point that my daughter actually removed the bulb from the central pendant light in a student house she once shared, forcing them to switch on the lamps instead, knowing that no-one would be bothered to replace the bulb. Drastic measures!

Lighting is one of the most important features when designing any room, and should be planned simultaneously and included in the drawings of the rooms intended use and layout. Lighting is intrinsic. It is no good wishing you had a plug socket for a table lamp once the room is completed.Lighting can make or break a completed room.

Lighting is basically divided into three categories – Ambient, Task (function) and Background, each serving a particular purpose. When these three elements are put together it is called ‘Layered’ lighting.

Ambient Lighting is created with lamps and wall lights. The illumination is soft, warm and relaxing.

Task lights which provide light for reading, or cooking – activities. Overhead ceiling or pendant lights, Spotlights

Background lighting is used as under cupboard lights in kitchens, under plinths, or perhaps to highlight a painting or wall texture.

Depending of the uses of the space there is a lighting solution available to suit. This is all very well if you are planning a major re-fit including electrical works, but what about the room you just want to paint and update on a budget? Make the most of the light you’ve got already. Anything to increase natural light into your home is beneficial to save on your bills. If you have small windows try replacing heavy curtains with a roman blind instead. If privacy is an issue consider wooden shutters with adjustable slats or a sheer fabric.

Change your bulbs. How many times have you bought a replacement light bulb and when you get home discover it is the wrong bulb, despite standing looking at the vast array on display, and end up with a drawer full of assorted bulbs which won’t fit anything in your home. If you need one, I’ve probably got one. It maybe you need a bulb of a higher or lower wattage, or a different shape, make or type. A large globe will give a better quality light than a standard bulb. Use a frosted or pearl bulb if you can as they provide a softer shadow free light. Use energy efficient bulbs where you can. This is basic advice, because if I went into all the different types of bulbs here you would certainly switch off! Sorry!

Replace lamp shades.The size, shape, material colour and lining are all key to shade’s look and use.The shade must not only complement the decor but just as importantly directs light in a way you intend.

Add ‘plug – ins’. A plug -in is a basically a light you plug into your socket – a lamp if you like. If plugged in the right area of a room it can add instant drama by high lighting a plant or art work or or light up dead corners or a room.

Then there is outside lighting to be considered too.

There is too much to say about lighting in just one blog, so  lighting will be included in future blogs on room by room designs.