Light up your Life

Feature pendant lighting in a kitchen helps draw attention to the main design element and focal points, from over your dining table to above an island. With this in place, you can add even more dimensions with accent lighting inside cabinets, plinth lighting, lighting on top of units to wash the ceiling and illuminated shelving. These additional accent lights are best used on a circuit of their own for evening use. As kitchens are now very often inclusive of a living and dining area, comfortable evening lighting helps to create a cosier atmosphere.

A common mistake is for the wiring to be done before the kitchen plan is finalised; you may end up with a pendant light that was meant to be centered over an island, in the wrong place and difficult to relocate. However if your ceilings are not very tall it is sometimes best to avoid dramatic feature pendant lights and allow the cabinetry to do the talking instead!

If your style of build (such as a passive home), or renovation doesn’t allow for such a variety of choices for recessed spots, always choose pendants that emit as much light as possible and avoid those giving a very shadowed effect.

Enduring fashion

Current trends in decorative lighting for homes are hugely varied. Lighting with an industrial and retro feel is prevalent as is using bronze, brass, porcelain and glass finishes. More than ever, choosing lighting for your home has become an interior design challenge in its own right. Despite the harder edged, cooler vibe associated to the above, the classic chandelier and luxury look will always be with us. As in fashion, lighting trends will change so use high fashion lamps and lights you can change over time, but keep to the basic guidelines on fixed lighting in your home as you’re likely to have it in place for a significantly longer time.

Regardless of fashion trends the most successful lighting is discreet and draws out the very best in a room. Badly designed lighting is literally glaringly obvious and shows things at their worst. A well designed lighting scheme will be comfortable and enveloping; if you don’t immediately notice a home’s lighting it’s a success!

Although there are some aspects of a build or renovation where you can achieve results without employing a design professional beyond your architect, lighting is the one area I’d suggest employing a specialist to help make the best of the features in your new home. And remember the golden rules: layers, dimmers and variety.

Additional information: David Brown Lighting Design, 119 Finaghy Road South, Belfast, BT10 0BZ,
tel. 9062 0708,

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Written by Shauna Stewart

An experienced interior designer with over 15 years in the industry, Shauna Stewart specialises in residential new homes and major renovations. She is passionate about making good interior design approachable, and, as mum to two small boys, has a special insight into the needs of families.

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