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Campaign for better lighting

by | Apr 23, 2021

I was hasty and should be more respectful!  But I can’t help disagreeing with 1.375 Million answers….many of you agree with ME!

Following on my research from the last Blog and Internet Formulas…

The Question was:

Client – “I want some lights in my room…how many should I have for the right lighting effect?”

I was perhaps a little hasty in my condemnation of the 1,375 Million results on  lighting and should have “dug” a little deeper. There are many good designers and helpful sites and they speak very sensibly about “layers”

“What effect is the right effect?”

The second part of the question is much more interesting …“what effect are you trying to create”, this is more about the feeling you wish to convey and thus how our brains interpret a space with a feeling, mood, atmosphere.

A successful design is based upon layers of light, some designers use 3 layers some say there are 5 or even more, but they start with an “ambient” layer. This is where you get a base layer of sufficient lighting across the space to see and is generally uniform, it is even and a soft blanket of general light. This layer maybe from rows of downlights or LED strip lighting backlighting from a ceiling coffer.

Then you add accents or task lighting like a spot light to a picture or pendant over a kitchen table for better lighting on the tasks needed.

Finally, there is a decorative layer which could be the centerpiece, from a chandelier to a modern installation or simply a little bit of sparkle…for me I always say it is “Something for the Soul”.

Now this is the Secret Lighting approach…

Layers of light is not a new concept it dates back to the 1950’s and forms the basis of many designs in lighting, but this is where my designs adapt from the normal. (And why we create different results to other people)…my first layer of ambient light is really low.

Let me explain…above I described “ambient” as the uniform backdrop of the design, often this is from rows of spots (you will have seen many rooms with only this layer!) but my first layer of light is often low to the ground…often from the floor or perhaps 300mm up from the floor hidden in the walls, in this way your layers build up easily with more lighting and you have “scenes”.

Scenes are where you combine different effects at different intensities and these become the mood, the atmosphere and create the impressions, the elements that enrich our lives.

So, start low and build up rather than top down.


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Secret Lighting is a world leading creator of bespoke homes designed with light and intelligence.

For three decades, we have been redefining the integration of light into the very fabric of architecture, creating the innovative, beautiful and spectacular homes.

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