Conscious & Bold 003: Lighting - Sophie Williamson Design

Conscious & Bold 003: Lighting

Sophie Williamson Design The Conscious & Bold Bulletin 003 on Lighting

Or where I break down my favourite tips to get the light just right.

Get the placement of your light right; you don't want any white-blue overhead light for a dinner party or spend a fortune on a lamp that isn't right for what you need it. And if in doubt, use candles.

Do you know that feeling: you walk into someone's house and feel at ease instantly, even at home? The same thing can happen in a restaurant or even a shop. The opposite can also be true - you feel uncomfortable, maybe unwelcome. What is the secret to these feelings? I think it is lighting.

It's not for nothing that many fancy hotels, restaurants, etc hire expensive lighting designers (sometimes they're also responsible for the acoustics, another important field, especially for restaurants). They're hired to convey the mood of a place, the essence of the brand and support the entire experience a customer is supposed to have in their establishment.

But what to do in your own home? It's not always an easy art, and feels daunting for many people. How often have I walked into homes and gotten the itch to get them a pretty table lamp for a corner to replace the overhead light (bonus if that overhead light has a cold light bulb; I get stressed just thinking about it).

So read on for my five tips to get that lighting juuuust right and make your house your home!


Sophie Williamson Design The Conscious & Bold Bulletin 003 on Lighting

Table lamps placed in the corners of a space create a warm atmosphere.

1) Location, location, location

While I understand the ease of use of an overhead light, I will never understand how anyone can live with just an overhead light. Ideally, you'd place light source on various level in your space, like a sconce, a table lamp, a standing lamp, even an overhead light (dimmable, please). This creates a warm glow coming from many angles, and creates enough light (because too dark isn't great either).


Sophie Williamson Design The Conscious & Bold Bulletin 003 on Lighting: the Kitchen

Mirrored light bulbs reduce uncomfortable glare while diffusing the light.

2) It's all in the bulbs

I'd like to start a petition against cold/blue/white light bulbs. The only people who need those in their lives are dentists. My favourite bulbs are the LED filament bulbs as they come the closest to what we used to have and create a warm hue. Choose warm white (Kelvin range 2000 - 3000; below that it gets very yellow and dark).


Sophie Williamson Design Office Space as seen in InKind Magazine
The natural light in this office is incredible. For the darker moments, 3" cans were installed (the smallest and prettiest canned lights) and two table lamps that were repainted.

3) Urgh, why so expensive?

Lamps are expensive to make. They require good craftsmanship, various pieces of raw material, are often bulky to store... in short, there are various reasons for their pricey-ness. However, there are ways to save on lighting, especially because we need so many of them!

Thrifting/Brocante-ring/Antique-ing: this is my favourite way of finding gorgeous, unique lamps, maybe even designer pieces. It takes time but the search is half of the fun! Most of the times I replace the shades with my own (*cough* like this one *cough*), and have my lamp guy give them a check or a rewire (ask your local antique store for their lamp guy, they always have someone great but inexpensive).

DIY: This is another option that I love. I've used old tins, bulky glass bottles, chandeliers - with a little creativity you can make anything into a lamp. A favourite of mine was a straw hat from IKEA that I cut in two and stuck to the wall to hide a very cheap (and ugly) sconce that had come with a rental. 

4) Know your space

It always helps to think about how you intend to use your space. An eat-in kitchen may need different light sources than a galley kitchen. You may want to use your dining table for work, crafting, etc. so a variety of light sources and intensities are needed.

I try to make a list of uses for the spaces and also look at the lamps that I already own and how they can maybe be used in various ways (a light floor lamp can be moved around easily) , or get some dimmers to play with their luminosity.


Sophie Williamson Design The Conscious & Bold Bulletin 003 on Lighting

Sconces with candles add another layer of warm light at a higher angle.

5) If in doubt, candles!

I feel like a broken record with this but candles are truly the way to create atmosphere in any space. Chandeliers, votives, sconces - you name it. Actually, sconces are my preferred way of adding another layer of warm light but at a higher angle and without the need for electricity.

Let me know what you think of this little (yes, I know, LONG) guide. And please share with your friends and foes. 

The Conscious & Bold Bulletin Signature by Sophie
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1 comment

What a wonderful review of lighting! Your hints about the bulbs are invaluable. Thanks so much!


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