Lighting for indoor living – Guest Post

By May 20, 2020 Lighting

Lighting plays a huge role in the look and feel of our homes. With increased time living & working at home likely to be an ongoing part of our lives, now is a great time to invest in improving your lighting at home.

Your practical lighting requirements may well have changed (home office, home school, sanctuary…) and you are spending time at home in all light levels, so you can assess what your needs are, and start sourcing!

We asked Emer Gillespie of Spark & Bell lighting for her advice:

Lighting for Ambience

Why is lighting important to achieve a lovely ambience as well as a functional space?

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Lighting and the control of it is key to create your ideal space in various situations. For example, when renovating my own sitting room, I added wall lights and installed dimmer switches for both wall lights and ceiling lights, as it’s a double Victorian terrace lounge.  I surprised myself in that I mainly use the wall lights on a dimmer as it’s a space for relaxing so I prefer the lower calmer atmospheric light. Similarly, in a bedroom, you may want low light options alongside your main brighter light. – EG

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Rattan wall light by Spark & Bell
We love the warm glow of these Spark & Bell wall lights
Emer Gillespie of Spark & Bell photographed by Alun Callender at the Rodhus Pop-up Studio
Emer Gillespie of Spark & Bell photographed by Alun Callender at the Rodhus Pop-up Studio
Prismatic pendant lights by Spark & Bell
In a bedroom, combine lower lighting options with your main brighter light. Prismatic pendants by Spark & Bell

Lights can be beautiful decorative features – so buying a new light is a great opportunity to choose something special from an independent designer-maker. Many smaller studios have found ways to adapt to working safely, and are still open for business:

How have Spark & Bell been working during the lock-down?

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Initially we were all in shock and the business pretty much stopped in its tracks while we figured out a safe way for us all to work, or not work. I have a very small team of three. My one employee who would need to use public transport works from home and myself and my amazing workshop manager Emma are close to the workshop and so come in a couple of mornings a week, leaving by lunch so we don’t have to use communal areas. Safety comes first so all my customers were very understanding about longer delivery times. Gradually we have gotten busier as people settle into this new reality, so we have come in a few more mornings as and when needed. I do however have two kids at home and a husband who’s working full time from home so the juggle is real! – EG

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Choosing lighting for your needs

Lighting a home office

Effective, practical, lighting is important for a home-work space, to prevent strained eyes. Your needs will depend both on the existing lighting in your home-working space and the nature of your work – so some options to consider:

  • Classic desk light: If you have a regular working space, an adjustable desk light, light the classic Anglepoise, is a worthwhile investment – as this provides flexible lighting for different working activities.
  • Portable light: If you work in a few different locations in your house, consider a portable lamp. This will also ensure it is useful when you are no longer working from home. We like the ‘Carrie’ lamp – which can be used outdoors, and can be hung on a wall as well as working as a table light.
  • SAD lamp: If your access to outside space is limited, consider a SAD/  daylight lamp in your working space.
The portable 'Carrie' Lamp

Lighting a dark living space

More time spent indoors makes it all the more important to appropriately light naturally darker rooms.

What lights would you recommend to brighten & warm up rooms that don’t get much daylight?

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At Spark and Bell we love Opal shade lights and I have designed a nice variety. The triple arm opal chandelier I designed for my own sitting room emits a lovely soft light, and you can match them with one of three opal shade wall lights that we have. With LED bulbs you can easily choose a nice bright bulb to suit your space, and using a dimmer allows you to control its brightness.

Another favourite of ours are the reeded shades and in particular the opal reeded shades which again will brighten up a dull room beautifully. These work great over a kitchen island or dark hall way. If in the middle of renovation it might be worth looking at the dark spaces in your home and adding more wall or ceiling lights. If you know you’re plastering already it’s not as expensive as you might think for an electrician to chase in some more lights, and well worth the effort. – EG

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Reeded Opal pendant by Spark & Bell
We love these opal reeded shades
Opal bathroom light in navy blue bathroom with red bath by Spark & Bell
Opal bathroom lighting gives bright but even light
Brass wall light on green wall by Spark & Bell
Directional wall lights create helpful task lighting to combine with other ambient light

Choosing a light-bulb

Whichever light fittings you are choosing, your choice of “lamp” (light-bulb) is important in achieving the right light levels and warmth. Key factors to consider are;

  • Compatibility: Ensure the lamp is compatible with the fitting – e.g. does it work with your dimmer switches, is it a screw/ bayonet fitting, etc.
  • Temperature/ Kelvin: Each bulb comes with a measure of the ‘temperature’ of the light, in Kelvin, ranging from very warm (orangey) to unpleasantly cold (blue). The higher the Kelvins, the colder the light.
  • Brightness/ Lumens: This is a measure of how bright the light is, and is particularly important to consider for the main light source in a room, or a task light.

Which light bulbs do you use in your Spark & Bell fittings?

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When we were approached by Tala bulbs a year ago, we knew it was a great match. One of our most popular bulbs, the Tala Porcelain II bulb, emits a soft warm light that again would work great in a dark corner of the house. Most of my lights are bare bulb lights and so the choice of bulbs is key. Always check the colour temperature of the bulb, for example if it’s warm or cool, and if it’s dimmable. This is so important, also making sure your dimmer light switches are LED compatible. Tala also has some beautiful statement hand blown glass bulbs which are a piece in themselves, like the Voronoi I. – EG

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Spark & Bell pendant light with exposed Tala porcelain bulb in a light kitchen in front of eucaplyptus in a vase.
Tala light bulb
The Tala Porcelain II bulb emits a warm glow and works beautifully in fittings with exposed bulbs – such as the Arc pendant by Spark & Bell to the left
The Tala Voronoi bulb is a striking LED update on filament bulbs.

For more advice on lighting your home see our lighting series or get in touch.