That winter glow

That winter glow

With a little planning, lighting can become a secret weapon for boosting winter warmth around your home, according to interiors journalist Amy Bradford.

‘Light is the first essential. Light stimulates, nourishes, preserves. You can no more do without it… than if you were a flower.’ When novelist Wilkie Collins wrote these words in 1859, electric light was not yet a familiar feature in our homes, but at this time of year, we may wonder how we ever did without it. As the days shorten, cultivating a layered lighting scheme is vital. Much as you would gather textiles on a bed, or china, glass, and candles at the dining table, this means punctuating your space with multiple points of light to create depth and character: a pair of wall sconces to bounce the sheen off a favourite mirror, perhaps, or a tall floor lamp to brighten a dark corner.

Layered lighting schemes do involve some forward planning. Wiring for wall lights, for example, must be installed before decorating happens. Configuring switches and sockets in advance is as important as the light fittings themselves; there’s nothing more frustrating than a lamp that can’t be switched on intuitively, from a convenient place, or an overhead light that won’t dim to a cosy glow.

However, there are plenty of easy ways to improve what you already have. Clusters of small lamps, scattered on tables and surfaces – or even on floors, to wash light upwards – can be marshalled on a more ad-hoc basis in winter. They act much like cushions: practical yet decorative, bestowing inviting warmth. ‘Versatile rechargeable lamps can be moved around and placed on bookshelves, tables, or windowsills without the need for sockets, bringing forgotten areas to life,’ advises Gail Norfolk, senior home designer at Neptune’s Bury St Edmunds store. ‘As an alternative to a pendant, our Coates and Soane directional ceiling lights highlight artwork, architectural features, or a simple coffee table arrangement with a soft, diffused light.’

Task lighting also comes into its own in winter. Create pools of light in the zones you gravitate towards, using table and floor lamps with adjustable features (if they’re dimmable, too, so much the better). Consider swapping a fixed overhead light for an adaptable, rise-and-fall pendant with more atmospheric potential. And switch up materials for those with maximum glow factor. Neptune’s new solid brass Emerson pendant and wall light, handmade near Athens in Greece by a maker known for nautical lighting, will develop a rich patina over time. The metal is traditionally spun for a ribbed texture and – in the case of the wall light – paired with ribbed glass to further diffuse the light.

The simplest trick of all, adds Gail, is to change your lightbulbs to boost the ‘light temperature’. ‘Choose warm white LED bulbs between 2700 and 3000 Kelvin,’ she recommends. ‘Our range by British brand Tala gives your home that cosy Neptune feel.’


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