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BAR MAGAZINE UK, Calling in the experts | Bar & Restaurant interior design

Professional advice on Lighting Design by Jessica Lightbody

An insight into Lighting Design

by Jessica Lightbody

Through the effective use of lighting we can help you take interior design to a whole new level. A correctly illuminated interior can alter our spacial awareness, accentuate architectural features and visually alter a rooms proportions. This dynamic multifunctional tool can also be used to divide space, emphasise texture, manipulate shape or form, and exaggerate depth and height whilst creating unimaginable visual effects. In essence, lighting can be an architectural element that transforms an ordinary space into something extraordinary.

A well balanced lighting scheme should incorporate a variety of layers ranging from functional or purpose lighting through to ambient, subdued or mood lighting. With an instant click of a switch, an interior can be transformed from functional to atmospheric.

So if you are planning to redesign your home, a restaurant, bar, nightclub or hotel it is advisable that you give thoughtful consideration to installing a well designed lighting scheme that will enhance the space and its contents.

We only see colour through the light it reflects; therefore, colour can appear diversely under varying categories of light. If we take a closer look at lighting in relation to colour and texture, we find that the texture of a surface is affected and can make a colour look quite different. For example, a colour on a glossy surface will appear deeper and brighter than that of a matt surface although both surfaces may have to exact same colour pigment. The type of light used can also appear to change the colour of an object.

The colour appearance of light whether it is ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ is expressed as a colour temperature and measured in ºK (degrees kelvin). The higher the temperature, the cooler the light produced. For example, fluorescent lamps may generate a cool blue light yet burn over 6,000ºK resulting in a flat, cold and bright light with no shadows or highlights. Contrarily, the lower the temperature, the warmer the effect. To absorb this point, consider a candle that projects a reddish warm effect and burns under 2000ºK, which is equivalent to a 40 watt incandescent bulb. Ideally, clear daylight is considered to give the truest colour rendition, however, this is not necessarily the case as strong direct sunlight (especially afternoon) may render a yellow toned cast. Darker colours can appear almost black at night or under certain artificial lights.

For a finer white light use a daylight 6,500ºK to supplement natural light or a low voltage tungsten halogen lamp to significantly improve colour rendition. This is ideal for home offices or creative art studios. A warm white that burns 3,000ºK is ideal for home use and a cool white that burns 4,000ºK is generally used for commercial spaces. An important factor to consider when using coloured lighting - when light hits a surface, the colour of the surfaces changes. For example a blue light on a red surface will appear purple or a red light on a yellow surface will appear orange. This is great if it is intentional and where the orange becomes part of the colour scheme by adding a third dimension or what interior designers would call 'a complex colour scheme'... while interlinked this is another subject in its own right and will be covered by Jessica in another article.

In an ideal world, fabrics, materials, flooring, wall-covering and paint colours should be agreed upon at the same time the lighting is being designed. In this way your interior decor colour palate does not have to be governed by a pre-existing lighting scheme.

If an interior space will predominantly be occupied during the day, always give careful consideration to the orientation of a room before deciding on a colour scheme. A paint tone may look appealing in a retail environment but when transferred to the home environment it may not work in a north facing room. The point to remember here is: north- facing = cold and unflattering light; south-facing = warm and welcoming light; east-facing = warm light in the mornings and west-facing = afternoon sunlight with colour changing from cool to warm.

The lack of sunlight or even a poorly illuminated space can cause a biochemical imbalance to our hypothalamus hormone, resulting in a condition called SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which makes us feel down cast.

Sunlight is undoubtedly the richest experience offered to our senses. A sufficient amount of natural sunlight can contribute to our overall sense of wellbeing, however, given our geographic location, London does seem to lack sunlight most parts of the year.

By using an infinite array of creative lighting techniques, Jessica Lightbody Interior designs can help you create a well thought through lighting design scheme to emulate one of our most precious and priceless natural resources... pure natural sunlight whatever time of year.

As hotel and restaurant interior designers London and Jersey, our lighting design service is part of our full interior design package. If you are search of creating a great interior space that is instinctively warm and welcoming, book a free consultation with one of our interior designers in London or Jersey at

Tags: interior architecture and design, interior design, hotel interior designers london, restaurant interior designers london, hotel interior design, interior design, interior designers london, restaurant interior design

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