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“Tutti Frutti”

by | Sep 28, 2021

The New Way to Design Lighting

If you have read any other article on “how to design lighting” you will have heard “layers” at least three layers made of ambient, then task or accents, then decorative, now Forget Everything.

Let’s start a fresh, you will need 4 coloured pens and a plan of your room on paper.

Take a new look at your room to be designed, ask :

1) where is the natural light most strongly allowing in daylight?  This is my RED zone.

2) Which wall or area is by contrast the least bright from natural light? Colour this BLUE.

We are starting to zone the room, so next Step:

3) What will be the main activity in this space that needs light? In a kitchen it’s the working surface, in a bedroom the dressing table/ area, in the living room probably people’s faces (The TV is already lit). Mark this area GREEN for the Task zone.

4) Which is the wall/ boundary which is most important or most dominant in the space, it could be a feature wall you intend to have art or decorate differently. (and its also ok if this is also one of the other zones)…give it a YELLOW highlight.

OK, we have a zoned plan and each will have a different treatment, then we will have both layers, visual interest and above all a bespoke plan that avoids rows of downlights.

Next we go deeper into the ways to light each zone but here is a brief overview:

1) The RED zone which brings natural light, this area I like to add small additions of light…thus miniature spots or backlighting, it will aid the inevitable fading of daylight and become a gentle wash to the fenestration of window dressing (i.e. wash curtains or blinds).

2) The BLUE zone has the least natural daylight and so is the area you would first notice on a dull day, thus you may reach for the lights….here wall washing, linear style LED washes of light bring even illumination, We don’t want to draw your attention to the lighting, but if possible hide it to blend into the room’s ambience.

3) GREEN zones are for the activity,  over a kitchen worktop we add 2 or 3 times the intensity of light, if you can’t see the hairs on your skin it’s not bright enough! Where the task is talking and being with people, we need light horizontally balancing good facial recognition, table and floor lamps are perfect for this layer.

4) The YELLOW zone is my favourite, in a corridor or hallway…which way does the door open and so which wall is first seen?  Does one wall have many doors and one wall less?  This maybe where you want Art, colour, texture? I like making feature walls and spaces, backlight the wall, make niches and add light and art…have fun.

Now not every room has to have all 4 zones and a feature wall, for example a spare bedroom can be toned down and simplified, it’s a formula that puts you in charge of creativity.

Why Tutti Frutti ?   try the technique on a full floor plan of rooms and look at what you just created!

More to share…Turning Zones into Lights!


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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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