Ellie Coombs of Nutly Lighting Speaks About Its Importance
Credit: Ellie Coombs Nulty Lighting, Design Consultants.
Lighting is key to creating the right ambience in any room of a hotel/B&B but this doesn’t mean that you need to spend a fortune on designer light fittings; while you may want to splash out on a focal piece for the space, the key to great lighting is the quality of the light and how it is being used.
If you’re renovating a property, start thinking about the lighting right from the start. At the luxury end of the market, it’s all about attention to detail, where possible lighting should be integrated into joinery, architectural details and mirrors rather than stuck on at the end. This will provide a more sophisticated and cost effective solution.
To create ambience and interest in a space, you need separate layers of light and contrast between higher and lower light levels.
When we are designing a scheme we split the lighting down into three fundamental layers:
- Ambient Lighting – this provides a general uniform level of functional light.
- Accent Lighting – this highlights key features and details within the space. Think carefully about the positioning of the lights, they should each be focused on a specific task, for instance downlights positioned over taps in an en-suite will provide sparkle and washing walls with light can help make a small space appear larger while still providing good ambient lighting to the space.
- Feature Lighting – such as shelf and niche lighting can be used to add detail to the space. A neutral palette using high quality finishes and materials to add texture and interest is a popular interior design approach in high end B&Bs, using lighting to express these finishes can really maximise their impact.
Bedside lights can be wall mounted or even suspended particularly if you are tight on space, however table lamps provide the most flexibility and don’t require a professional to install. Bedside lamps provide the opportunity to have a bit more fun and enhance the décor but don’t forget they serve an important function as well, when choosing a lamp always see it switched on and look at how the light is emitted, will it sit at the right height for people sat in bed to read?
Spend on the light sources – good quality LED light bulbs will provide a great quality of light, reduce maintenance and energy costs and fit in with the eco friendly ethos most B&Bs are looking to promote.
You can transform a space just by selecting the right light source. However with all the new LED and other energy saving light bulbs on offer choosing the right one has never been so complicated. In brief, the rules are as follows:
- Always buy light bulbs from reputable manufacturers, they may be more expensive but they will last longer, give you a better quality of light and avoid any safety concerns.
- The wattage is no longer a clear indicator of the amount of light that a light bulb will emit, you now need to look at the Lumen Output; as a rough guide old watts to new Lumens 25W = 200-300lm, 40W = 400-500lm, 60W = 700-800lm, 100W = 1300-1400lm
- Colour temperature indicates how warm or cold a light source will be; the lower the number the warmer the light. Candle light is around 1500K, your old incandescent bulbs between 2250-2700K, tungsten halogen 3000k, cool white at 4000K often used in offices and 6500k is a cold light similar to daylight. In general, hospitality lighting uses between 2500- 3000k, while you can mix them for effect it’s normally best to stick with one colour temperature throughout.
For any guest there are a couple of key areas where lighting can really make or break the experience and probably the most important bit to get right, is your mirror lighting. The key to flattering light is to use a diffuse light source and to ensure the light falls evenly between your face and the mirror, but a couple of carefully positioned downlights can work, just make sure they are positioned between the front of your face and the mirror to avoid shadowing. Wall lights with a diffuse shade either side of the mirror or one above will also work providing a soft light.
When selecting the light source, try to get one with high colour rendering for the most flattering and true light, CRI 90> is best.
Other areas to consider are lighting inside wardrobes and night lighting for en-suites, both can be simply switched by a presence detector.
It’s important that the lighting is flexible so it can work for different times of day as well as be adjusted for guests personal preferences. Ideally lighting should be dimmable.
Most importantly, have fun, grab a lamp and start playing with different lighting options; lighting can completely change the look and feel of a space at the flick of a switch.