How Interior Design Consultancies Use Lighting – The Lighting Toolbox

Six main lighting tools are considered foundational by established interior design consultancies. These are down-lighters, up-lighters, wall-washers, decorative lighting, colour and control. Many London interior design consultancies will preferentially think of these mostly in terms of mood and results – from daring highlights to soft textures – instead of as hardware and installations.

Down-lighters are often set back into a false ceiling, although some interior design consultancies will prefer to install them on walls. These units will direct light downwards, and can be focused by the design team as necessary, perhaps to illuminate the floor or a favourite contoured bookcase. Most interior design consultancies recognise that this type of light is very sharp and will generate somewhat intense shadows, which can be a refreshing contrast to the occasionally dreary London weather. The most popular units are always available in narrow beam designs, which are best for highlighting certain features. Interior design consultancies will sometimes opt for a wide beam model instead. One nice technique that I have seen used in a few London residences is to create an array of shimmering ceiling lights with wide-beam downlighters. This is appropriate when the interior design consultancy wishes to create a more general, ambient light, but with a fabulous designer feel.

Up-lighters wash the ceiling with light, and the ceiling then serves as its own lighting fixture, bouncing relaxing and general illumination back into the living area. Interior design consultancies will use up-lighters to create an engaging feeling of openness and upward motion when the ceiling is painted a dark colour, in which case the reflected lumens will be low. Up-lighters in London are often either free standing or wall-mounted, usually above head-height to eliminate dazzle. One great technique that I once saw used by a well-known London interior design consultancy was to incorporate a fabulous up-lighter that was recessed into the floor as a central feature, creating drama and powerful contrast for a cove and elongated column.


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