Lightbulb moments

Although we often do get a last burst of sunshine in September if we’re lucky, we also start to notice the nights drawing in a little earlier. So I thought this would be a good month to talk about lighting!

When designing your interior spaces, lighting is a key consideration so ensure you include lighting in your early planning stages, rather than it being an afterthought. Then it can be incorporated into any refurbishment work that is taking place, to avoid additional costs later on or potentially having to replaster.

So where do you start with lighting design? Likewise with the rest of the scheme, consider what you primarily use the space for. What time of day will you mostly use it? Where are the natural light sources coming from? Which compass direction does the room face? This will have a significant influence on how much light will come into the room at certain times of the day and help you plan what artificial light you may require.

What’s your vibe?

Also consider the type of vibe you want for the room. Is it a home office which will require maximum light and potential task lighting? Or a cosy snug which will mostly be used in the evening and require soft lamp lighting, reading lights or subtle light from a wood burner.

Kitchens require a number of light sources. It is generally recommended that you have task lighting under wall mounted cabinets (there are some great cost effective LED strip lights available now). Also, with kitchen islands still very much on trend, consider LED strips around the bulkhead for a stylish look, and pendant lights that hang over the island to provide great task lighting for chopping veg. Wiith so many styles on offer, they can really add to your design scheme. Spots in the ceiling are the best type of functional lighting for kitchens, but consider dimmers for when you might be entertaining in the evening. As with bathrooms, do ensure you’re using the right type of lightbulb if being used in close proximity to water.

Lighting design

When it comes to design style, the sky’s the limit, with many amazing independent designers as well as the more famous who specialise in lighting. Some of my favourites on the market at the moment:

  • Tom Dixon – previously creative director of Habitat, I love his wide range of interior products including the stunning ‘Melt’ lighting range.
  • Lee Broom – particularly his modern art deco style ‘Crescent’ range.
  • Tiger Moth – a lovely independent retailer with a mix of modern and traditional lighting options. Check out their unique Alabaster range with little bronze moth motifs, just gorgeous!
  • Tala – provider of high quality and highly sustainable contemporary LED lights. 
  • And if your budget is a little more modest, my go-to is Ikea: they have a great purse-friendly range!

Lastly, don’t forget outdoor lighting. Try Cox and Cox for festoon lights that can really add a pretty look for any late outdoor parties we can squeeze into September!


If you’re looking for brightly coloured, fun and unique lampshade designs, visit local artist Emilia Hunt’s Instagram.

Deborah Smith is the founder and design director of Menagerie Interiors. Enquiries to and follow her on Instagram.

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