Posts Tagged ‘lighting’

Bright ideas for illuminating your home on a budget

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

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collection of vintage lampshades as ceiling lightImage credit: Godrich Interiors

A gloomy, dimly-lit home can dampen the mood and if you constantly have to rely on your overhead lights to brighten and cheer up a room you’ll undoubtedly be spending a lot on your electricity bill. If you’ve been wanting to make some drastic changes to solve the problem but haven’t the budget for it then don’t despair. We’ve got some bright ideas that can help you illuminate your home without having to spend a fortune…

White-washed loft bedroomImage credit: studio mark ruthven

Paint it up

One of the most inexpensive ways to brighten up any room is to paint the walls with light colours. Whites and pastels trick the eye into thinking that the room is brighter and larger than it is. Light-coloured walls also reflect the sunlight coming from outside during daytime, so you won’t have to turn on your interior lights. Aside from the walls, you can also paint the trim, doors, and stairs with pastel accents to make your home look brighter.

Wrap-around mirrors in a bathroomImage credit: Celia James

Reflect light with mirrors

Mirrors are budget-friendly and instant fix for dreary rooms that lack natural light. Aside from reflecting the existing light from a lighting fixture or a window, mirrors also create the illusion of space, making a room look larger than it really is. For best results, install a mirror opposite a window. The bigger the mirror, the better. Visit a local market for cheap but fab gilt-frame mirrors for a dramatic effect. Aside from mirrors, you can also use reflective surfaces such as mirrored trays and glass bowls and figurines to add sparkle to a room.

Fairy lights in a child's bedroomImage credit: Corynne Pless

Decorate with inexpensive decorative lights

Those string lights you decorated you home with for the holidays can be used to illuminate you home all year round, especially in the bedroom where they work to give off a relaxing feel. You can place the lights across your headboard or over the bed for that dreamy and romantic effect.

Tall multi-armed floor lamp in a mid century modern decorated sitting roomImage credit: Trunk Creative

Brighten dark corners with lamps

Do you really need all your lights on in the evenings when you’re getting ready for bed? Save on electricity without stumbling in the dark with lamps! You don’t have to get those expensive fixtures; a trip to the bargain store (or probably your attic) will do. Keep an eye out for lamps with character, or something you can spruce up yourself to make it suit your home’s interior design. Place the lamps in dark corners or next to a chair for a cosy reading nook.

Angular bedroom painted in pastel coloursImage credit: Gemma Zimmerhansl Interior Design

Use light or pastel colours

Decorate your home with pastel-coloured items, such as furniture, sheets, and drapes. A light-coloured palette can add a lively and airy feel to a small space, such as the bedroom. Divan Beds Centre bed bases in white, cream or beige can make your room look brighter and feel less cramped. While you’re at it, change your bedding to match your new look.

With these tips, you’ll be able to have a more illuminated home while keeping your savings intact. As you can see, when it comes to illuminating your home on a budget, changing one small thing can make a big – and brighter – difference.

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Gimme Five! Outdoor solar lights

Friday, July 11th, 2014

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selection of 5 outdoor solar lights

We’ve been enjoying sitting in deckchairs in our garden this summer. It gets direct sun until almost 7pm at this time of year. It’s been warm enough to sit out until way after the sun has gone down.

We want to get some pretty yet functional lighting to enhance our garden space and think that we’d be best served by some outdoor solar lights. No fiddly – and not to mention potentially dangerous, given our electrical knowledge  – cables and sockets to contend with. Solar lights are notorious for being a bit dim thanks to the often measly British sunshine. But we don’t mind that, we’re not after floodlights, just a nice, warm glow to give the garden added atmosphere. Here are some we’ve found…

  1. SOLVINDEN solar-powered table lamp: £9, IKEA
  2. Lola LED solar powered outdoor glass jar lantern in blue: £7, B&Q
  3. Solar outdoor string lanterns, multi: £20, John Lewis
  4. Solar post light: £16.99, Crocus
  5. Solar bamboo light: £6.99, Original Organics

Aqua desk lamp

Monday, February 25th, 2013

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retro John Lewis goose neck aqua desk lamp with selection of vintage items

In our last post we highlighted some ‘vintage industrial’ pieces we’d bought at auction. If you’re trying to get that kind of look, then this retro aqua desk lamp is ideal. It’s retailed by John Lewis and having lived with it for a week or so now, we can highly recommend it.

detailed view of retro John Lewis goose neck aqua desk lamp showing old fashioned woven flex

For starters it looks great. Then, just as importantly, it functions well. The build quality is excellent – a really solid feel with good weight to it. The arm & fittings are a burnished, brass-like metal, the shade & base a very on-trend aqua blue. We also like the vintage-look, woven cord wiring.

retro John Lewis goose neck aqua desk lamp with selection of vintage items

The lamp head is adjustable and it’s perfect for all kinds of settings or uses – whether it be the home office, work desk or bedside table.

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Bookmarks: Illuminate – Contemporary Craft Lighting

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

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cover of Hannah Nunn's Illuminate: Contemporary Craft Lighting book beside one of her Allium paper cut lamps

Today’s Bookmarks review, of Illuminate – Contemporary Craft Lighting, is the debut publication by someone we’ve blogged about in the past.

dandelion lamp handmade by Hannah Nunn

The book’s author, Hannah Nunn, is a designer/maker – specialising in beautiful & delicate paper-cut lamps.

cylindrical, handmade paper cut lamp by Hannah Nunn

She also owns and runs Radiance – a lighting & craft boutique – in Hebden Bridge where she’s based. All in all, a very busy lady!

glass feather chandelier

Illuminate’s chapters are broken down via materials – paper, glass, ceramics, wood etc…

large, rectangular ceiling light with multi-coloured glass drops in the shapes of leaves

…with sections within those chapters given over to individual designer/makers – a summary of their background & practice accompanied by lush photographs of their creations.

handmade floor lamps and floor-standing wooden cube lamps by Jane Blease

 Creations that are fun, colourful, wacky, delicate, whimsical and works of art – you’ll never make do with a bare bulb ever again!

sewing paper hanging wall lightshade above a vintage wooden chair

It’s lovely to see makers we know personally and admire including people like Manchester-based Jane Blease.

drum lampshades handmade by Helen Rawlinson from her silk-screened designs

And others who we’ve not had the pleasure of meeting in person, but with whose work we’re already familiar, such as Helen Rawlinson and Greypants.

trio of cardboard ceiling lampshades by Greypants

Equally, it’s great to be introduced by this book to talents such as Scabetti, Penelope Batley and Aline Johnson.

long pendant ceiling light with four different coloured glass shades

The lighting showcased represents an international pool of artistry. As well as the UK, makers hail from as far afield as Japan, the USA, New Zealand, Serbia and The Netherlands.

the beginning of the Paper chapter showing organic pottery vases with poppy heads inside next to a paper cut lamp by Hannah Nunn

In all, there are 43 individual lighting designers featured in the book – but owing to space restrictions Hannah has included an additional image gallery of work by other makers that she recommends you seek out.

selection of drum lampshades by House of Chintz on an antique Windsor chair

Perhaps this is a sign that there’s a demand for Illuminate II!

selection of lights

Illuminate is available from Bloomsbury the publishers, Amazon and Hive.

long neck light resembling a huge string of silver beads on a necklace hung over the back of a white chair

[Many thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy]

Bookmarks: Miller’s Mid-Century Modern

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

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"Mid-Century Modern" by Judith Miller surrounded by vintage Mid-century modern homewares including a West German fat lava vase, bright orange pedestal cigarette lighter, small Cathrineholm enamelware Lotus bowl and still life oil painting

In today’s Bookmarks post we’re taking a peek at Mid-Century Modern – living with mid-century modern design by Judith Miller.

title page of "Mid-Century Modern" by Judith Miller with a small Cathrineholm enamelware Lotus bowl

Well, a bit more of a peek really , as we linger over some of the wonderful pieces on display!

interior view of the mid-century modern design Kauffman House sitting room

Mid-century modern is one of our favourite eras for interior design, illustration, textiles and product design…

Arne Jacobsen "Ant" and "Swan" chairs

…so as the pages turned, there was a soundtrack of many oohs and ahhs!

selection of vintage Mid-Century Modern glassware including a kingfisher blue "Drunken Bricklayer" vase designed for Whitefriars by Geoffrey Baxter

Judith Miller is most famous for her all-encompassing antiques & collectables guides which are published annually.

collection of colourful West German "Fat Lava" pottery pots and vases

In recent years, they’ve include an ever-increasing number of 20th century pieces in response to interest & demand.

collection of GPlan furniture including a nest of pebble tables and "Butterfly" chairs designed by Lucian Ercolani

This book concentrates solely on mid-century modern – 1950s to the 1970s being the period generally accepted.

collection of vintage mid-century modern glass vases

A wonderful introductory chapter covers its evolution and influential designers.

collection of vintage mid-century modern chairs including examples designed by Charles and Ray Eames and Carlo di Carli

The movement perfectly encapsulated a new mood of optimism after the war years with revolutionary designs, materials & techniques.

collection of vintage mid-century modern pop art chairs including examples designed by Egon Eiermann and Günter Beltzig

The fresh ideas, and indeed disposable income, of a whole new generation began to soar.

vintage mid-century modern chair designed by Eero Saarinen and folding cube radio designed by Richard Sapper

There are examples of houses & interiors that encapsulate the era – less cluttered and designed for modern living.

vintage mid-century modern George Nelson "Spike" wall clock, Tommi Parzinger-designed sideboard and mahogany credenza and aluminium armchair designed by Harvey Probber

A broad array of objects are included, with chapters given over to furniture, lighting, glass, ceramics, metalware & textiles.

collection of vintage mid-century modern glass vases produced by Riihimaki of Finland

In addition, an extensive section covers the people responsible for these wonderful & iconic designs.

collection of vintage mid-century modern fabric

There are about 200 familiar & not so familiar names who are given a short, individual write up.

Mid-Century Modern text

We’ll just scratch the surface by mentioning Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton, Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, Robert Welch, Stig Lindberg, Lucienne Day, Per Lutken, Charles & Ray Eames.

view of a sitting room with black Barcelona chairs and sofas

The book is packed with quality, full colour photographic references throughout…

vintage "Valentine" typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass, Peter and Alison Smithson chair and Ronald Stennett-Wilson green glass candlestick

…and as with all Miller’s guides – estimated values to accompany each item image.

vintage mid-century modern Marcel Breuer reclining chair and Holmegaard "Gulvase" designed by Otto Brauer

There’s also a useful directory included of international dealers and their contact details – broken down into categories such as ceramics, glass, furniture, lighting etc.

collection of American-designed vintage mid-century modern furniture

As well as auctions & fairs and museums if you fancy going to see or sometimes handle wares in the flesh

vintage mid-century modern posters by Saul Bass and Herbert Bayer

The book is well researched and accessible – a perfect coffee table browser or excellent source book for your library.

collection of vintage Scandinavian mid-century modern ceramic pots, vases and plaques

Mid-Century Modern – living with mid-century modern design is available from the publishers Octopus, Amazon and Hive.

collection of vintage Scandinavian mid-century modern ceramics designed by Stig Lindberg

[Many thanks to Octopus for the review copy]

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