Mood lighting and how to achieve it! by Madeleine Roff

Every day we need different lighting; from night to day, from working to relaxing, and everything in between. So we're here to give you some advice on how to create different moods of lighting in the home!

Entertaining

Let’s be honest, when you’re hosting you’ll have spent the day cleaning and tidying the house from top to bottom – you want your home looking it’s best. So why not show off the artwork in your hallway, or the family photos in the living room, and lighting is the perfect way to do this. Uplighting can highlight areas of a room… or perhaps darken the corner you didn’t get round to cleaning!

Relaxed

Think of a home where you feel relaxed, perhaps sitting on a sofa with a cup of tea, the room feels warm and calm – and that’s exactly what your lighting should create. Warm lightbulbs and pendants rather than bright white spotlights is what you need to achieve this mood. 

Productive

Natural lighting is perfect for being productive, or if you can’t have that, you want lighting that will mimic this as close as possible. In terms of colours, lighting that’s neutral is best and you need to make sure the lighting isn’t distracting to lose your focus.

Romantic

A romantic night in shouts low level lighting with warm shades, perhaps even candles if you’re feeling extra romantic! You’ll want to avoid harsh and bright lights to ensure there’s a feeling of relaxation. 

Lift your mood

Everybody has days where they’re feeling under the weather, especially when it’s grey and drizzly outside. So what should you do? Lamps and lights that emulate daylight are perfect, and if you can get your hands on a light therapy lamp then that’s even better!

Do you have any other lighting moods you'd like advice achieving? Comment below or get in touch!

3 Ways to Save Energy by Madeleine Roff

We use lights every day in the home, the workplace, and outdoors, so it’s important to be efficient with our energy and reduce our wastage, which is why we’re here to give you a few top tips. 

1)    LED bulbs

A really simple way to be more efficient is to have LED light bulbs instead of halogen. They use much less energy, they come in a range of colours and wattage, and you can buy the bulbs really easily - so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t! 

2)    Motion sensors

You often see motion sensored lighting in public spaces and office buildings, but there’s no reason why you can’t have them in the home. We at Ben Palmer Lighting have fitted recessed sensors in bathrooms before so they sit neatly and, due to the sensors, save energy by only being used when someone’s in the room. 

3)    Strategic lighting

It’s all about quality not quantity when it comes to lighting. A designer would be able to advise where you need lighting within a room, and where you don’t, for example in a kitchen it makes sense to have lights illuminating the work surfaces for impact and practicality, whereas you don’t need lights focusing on your floor - that’s just a waste. 

These are just three of the ways that you can save energy through your lighting choices. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. 

5 quick questions with Ben! by Madeleine Roff

1)   What made you start your career in lighting?

It all began when I was approached to completely redesign the lighting for a church hall. I’d never done anything like that before but gave the design a lot of thought, fitted it, and then the best part came… when they saw the lighting design fitted. Their faces absolutely lit up and it made me realise that by transforming their lighting, it had created enjoyment and it genuinely made a difference to them. That’s what got me into it, and why I continue to do what I do. 

2)   Is there a particular style of lighting that you love?

There isn’t one favourite style I have, but I do love working on modern and contemporary designs. Saying that, I love the challenge of an older, Edwardian or Victorian house and mixing the elements of old with new – that can be really interesting to do in terms of designing. 

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3)   Which lighting features do you like working with?

A favourite of mine has to be highlighting specific parts of a room, such as paintings and bare brick chimney breasts. I love how these elements can be brought to life by lighting, it really can transform a room!

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4)   What is the best part of creating a lighting design?

It’s got to be when it’s completed and you see the expression on the customers faces – that’s what it’s all about. It’s also a great part for me as I spend a long time designing and working on each lighting design so to see the completed product is always rewarding. 

5)   What’s a benefit of having a lighting design?

A lighting design can completely transform a room by creating different scenes. It also lights up the space much better than a standard pendant would and it’s more efficient. There are so many more benefits, but that’s just a few of the top reasons. Our previous blog tells you some of the other benefits too!

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting behind the scenes and hearing from our designer himself. If you’re interested in chatting about a lighting design for your home, then get in touch and speak with Ben today!

The 4 simple steps to bespoke lighting! by Madeleine Roff

Getting a piece of lighting designed sounds like a lengthy and confusing, or perhaps unknown, process… so we’re going to talk you through the four simple steps.

1)    Let’s start with all the information

During the initial meeting, the designer will speak with you to talk through your plans and discuss the project in detail with you. It’s the perfect chance for us to view the room where it will be and see the amount of natural daylight, the size of the space, and the current materials in the room. The more information we can gather at this stage, the better the end product will be!

 2)    Let the planning commence!

Now we have seen the space and understand the room, it’s time for us to create and prepare a full set of lighting plans, a specification and detailed quote for you. This will include all the light fittings, lamps, transformers, drivers and controls and will take around 15 working days to create from the receipt of all relevant information. We’ll use the information we spoke about in the initial meeting to provide you with the full technical specification as well as the exact location of all fittings, the type of lamps, engines and lenses used.

3) Time to start installing!

Now everything’s been planned and created… it’s time for us to actually install the lighting! Our team are qualified NICEIC Approved Contractors meaning we are able to install the light safely for you and also carry out the final safety checks which saves you time and finding someone else to do this. 

4)    Last but not least…

Commissioning a lighting scheme is an integral part of any lighting design. Your designer can come and visit the site at the end of your project to ensure the lighting is as designed, as well as ensure everything has been installed to it’s best advantage and can help set up a control system if needed. 

We hope this has helped you understand how the process works. If you would be interested in chatting with the team further, just get in touch today, we'll be happy to chat with you.

Why should I get a bespoke light designed? by Madeleine Roff

A lot of people don’t understand the true benefits and advantages of having a light designed, so we’re here to give some understanding!

Lighting designers will make you a bespoke piece that nobody else will have. Who wouldn’t want that?! The designer will be able to choose the best size, material, and style depending on the room and space making it perfect for you.

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Designers have a lot of knowledge and a creative eye, meaning they’ll be able to achieve whatever your aim, whether it be an eco-friendly or energy saving light, to illuminating certain aspects of a room, or to have the latest technology. Although high street shops may have staff instore to advise, lighting designers will have very in-depth and rich knowledge around the design aspect which is key.

In terms of investment, it may cost more than a light from a high street store, however the quality of materials and longevity will likely be greater in a bespoke piece. Also, if you choose to sell your house at any point, lighting is a key influence when potential buyers view a property, so you want the lighting to be maximised… even if you’re planning on taking the light with you!

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There’s often something missing or not quite right when you buy a light from a high street store and fit it in your home, but that can be avoided when you are a part of the design process. Also, with the knowledge of the designer they will be able to hear exactly what you want and can then achieve it.

Within BPL, Ben has gained a diploma in Interior Design from the National Design Academy, which led him to specialise in lighting design. Jackie also studied Interior Design at the NDA as well as Point of Sale Design and Graphics at College. Ben is a fully qualified electrician as is Luke so if you chose BPL we could not only design the light, but also fit it – we’re a one stop shop!

If you are interested in finding out more, get in touch with the team and we can chat through the process and answer any questions you may have. 

Are you thinking smart? by Madeleine Roff

First things first, what actually is smart lighting? It is lighting that can be controlled by an app, via Wi-Fi, usually on a smartphone or tablet.

Smart lighting is a fairly new system, and one that has lots of benefits which we’ll look into below…

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What are the benefits of smart lighting?

1)    Fewer wires

All the lighting is connected to one place and controlled via an app; so just a couple of buttons and not lots of switches!

2)    Reducing costs

Although there is an initial cost, as there is with any electrical work, in the long run smart lighting could actually save you money. It’s an efficient system that allows you to turn your lights on and off so simply, even when you’re not in the house, it could reduce your electrical consumption.

3)    Homeowner safety

Lots of people leave lights on when they’re away or out for the evening as a safety precaution. However, with smart lighting you can turn the lights on and off as much as you like and at times that reflect the time of day.

4)    Eco-friendly

By allowing such precise control over the lighting in the home, you can see which lights you’ve left on just by looking at your phone, and you can turn them off with the hit of a button. This makes smart lighting a great choice for homeowners who want to be eco-friendly.

5)    Complete control

Not only do you have complete control of which rooms have lights on, you also have control over the colours of the lights – you’re able to create different moods in different rooms.

Hopefully this blog has explained the basics of smart lighting… there’s a lot more to it though! If you’d like to find out more about smart lighting and if it’s the right option for you, get in touch and we can help advise and give you some more information. 

2018 international lighting trends  by Madeleine Roff

Seeing as founder of BPL, Ben, and his wife Steph have just embarked on the trip of a lifetime travelling around Australasia for 6 weeks, we thought it seemed appropriate to take a look at international lighting design trends of 2018!

First up, we take a trip across the Atlantic ocean to see what Americans are excited about in the lighting design world…

America

In 2018, it looks as though Americans are loving vintage lighting fixtures! More specifically, aged copper pendant lights which look absolutely stunning when hung low in a kitchen or perhaps in a mix and match design which we spoke about in our previous blog. In the UK, copper and rose gold were definitely colour trends for interior design in 2017 so this 2018 trend is no real surprise. Saying that, we still love this look and have no complaints that it’s coming into 2018 with us!

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Next we go north to Scandinavia…

Scandinavia

A very different trend to America indeed – giant paper lanterns! They have an Asian inspiration to them but keeping the colours neutral gives the design their own differentiated look. To nail this trend, we’d suggest they’re used in large spaces otherwise they may overcrowd the room. This design gives off a calm, open and relaxed vibe and it looks great when there’s more than one latern used as the photo shows.

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Going East, we’re off to India…

India

The colours of Indian interior design are bold, colourful… and just stunning. Their latest trend definitely complements their traditional look – it’s oil lamps! Specifically, copper oil lamps, which follows the colour trend of America. This is a very unique design which is best suited to a room full of colour or a room which is Asian inspired to complete the look. Also, the lamps are a great feature as they give a completely different mood at night once they’re lit, a magical piece that has two different looks by day and night!

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Moving further afield we now take a look at the land down under…

Australia

Pendant lights are the way forward for the Aussies this year, but more precisely with the aim of creating a mood or atmosphere. Pendant lights are a great way to add warmth to a room as well and creating a strong focal point and feel of a room. Designer Bandiera takes this look to a next level by suggesting you should “choose lighting that compliments your hardware in either hand blown glass, matte black, chrome or brass finishes” – and we totally agree! When BPL design lights we take a look at the room as a whole, considering hardware, surfaces, natural lighting (and many more elements), to ensure your new lighting design matches and enhances the feel of the room.

Finally, we visit the South American country, Brazil!

Brazil

It’s very interesting that Brazil’s 2018 trend is around Smart lighting. We expected this to have been more prominent with some of the other countries we’ve spoken about, but it appears Brazil is leading the way. We’ll actually be creating our own blog about Smart lighting next month, but for those who have no idea what it is, it’s basically lighting that can be controlled via the Internet. The reason Brazilians love it, is that you can reduce your electricity consumption by adjusting it when you’re out the house, simply by using your smartphone. Not only is it better for the environment, but some designs allow for you to change the colour of the lights depending on the room – such a clever and easy way to create mood lighting! 

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So there you go, there’s 5 lighting trends around the globe in 2018, and what a variety there is! Comment and let us know which one your favourites are and get in touch if you’d like us to help you achieve any of these in your home. 

Get inspired in 2018! by Madeleine Roff

It’s the start of a new year, new projects around the home, and New Years Resolutions… so it’s time to get inspired and make a start! We’ll talk you through four different materials and styles to give you some ideas. 

Glass

Glass is such a stylish material at the moment, it’s versatile and perfect for pretty much every room! If your room has a lack of natural light or it’s quite a small space, glass is great as it doesn’t obstruct any views or reduce the amount of natural light the room receives. Another reason we love glass is the luxury yet modern feel it gives, and the ability to add colour to the design is a bonus! 

Mix and match

Mix and match styles are very on-trend, from décor and materials to colours and lights! This style works really well with pendants as a mix of heights can give a very contemporary feel and also plays with the mind to give the effect that there is more space than there actually is. However we’d recommend this style is implemented in a room with high ceilings, or perhaps a larger room in general to have the ability to have multiple pendant lights. You can also mix up the colours which gives you great flexibility and the option to create a real theme in the room – we’ll focus on colour more in a moment! 

Modern

What is modern lighting? To us, it’s bold statements and quirky shapes! For a design to be modern it must be on-trend, so this style is constantly changing. As a designer, unconventional shapes are great fun to work with and it allows us to get very creative and make a real impact on a room. Modern lighting designs have the ability to renovate a dated room which is fantastic for those who don’t want to completely revamp an entire room; by simply investing in one modern lighting design, you can transform and update the entire room! 

A splash of colour

We love colourful lighting designs! If your light is the centerpiece of a room, or you have multiple lights throughout the room, you can create a theme by simply adding colour to your lights! Colour has the ability to complete liven up a room and add some brightness to it, and it also works on a range of shapes and styles so it’s very versatile and works on almost any light design. Also, if it’s just your lighting designs that are coloured, it means in the future you can easily change the feel of the room by replacing the lights for another style or colour – simple! 

BPL work with all the materials and styles we’ve spoken about – and more! So if you’re feeling inspired and want to take the first step in getting a brand new and bespoke lighting design for your home, get in touch today.

How to transform your home! by Madeleine Roff

Lighting design is completely underrated.

Think about some of the World’s grandest and most spectacular buildings… The outside of the Ritz is completely illuminated to create a jaw dropping effect and even their lit up lettered signs create an impact and feeling of exclusivity. Then there’s the Burj Al Arab hotel, which has gorgeous rich colours that are brought to life and made to feel warm with the range of lighting designs they have.

The point we’re making is that something as simple as a piece of lighting can completely transform a room, and we’re here to give you tips on how to do this, no matter your style or budget... (it's also worth noting, all of the images below are designs are in-house projects we've carried out).

1)    On a budget

There is a common belief that grand and impressive lighting means you need to have a huge budget; although this can help, anyone can achieve it if you do it the right way. The trick is to start with one singular piece – make it big! Choose something that is different and bold, whether this be an oversized chandelier, or a pendant that is hung lower that you would normally have it; this will create a dramatic look and give a fantastic impression for the whole room.

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2)    To create space

Think up! Use your ceiling for lighting opportunities, wall fixtures and free-standing lamps can take up valuable space. Ceiling fixtures are very trendy and some allow you to adjust the angles of the lights to highlight specific areas, make narrow spaces look wider, or hit certain walls to create the illusion of more space - a fantastic solution for a small room!

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3)    Create mood lighting

Mood lighting can be used in many situations, but our favourite is for welcoming guests into your home. This is their first contact inside your house and you want them to feel at ease – and perhaps impressed too! To achieve this, ensure the lights aren’t too bright as they adjust from the outside natural light, and use your lighting pieces to focus on the areas you want them to see, such as any artwork or architecture, highlighting your favourite elements.

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4)    Rooms with low ceilings

Need a way to create more space in a room with more ceilings? Remove any ceiling lights you have, they’re restricting the space both physically and psychologically. Instead, use recessed downlights in specific and chosen areas to make the space feel bigger – simple!

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5)    Maximise natural light

Ensure your walls and ceilings are painted in neutral colours to welcome in the natural light. Painting your ceilings lighter than your walls creates an illusion of height and space, which is great as this works with darker walls as well. If you want warmth, go for an off-white rather than a bright white… and picture a fantastic singular lighting design in the centre of the room to create a dramatic and bold look, stunning!

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We hope we’ve given you a few ideas you can carry out in your own home. We offer a range of lighting solutions which are completely bespoke to you and your home so we can maximise the lighting opportunities no matter what you need! 

Get in touch today and have a chat with our team: info@benpalmerlighting.co.uk or call: 01444 300252

5 top tips for the perfect Christmas lights by Ben Palmer

Tacky or tasteful, festive or frightful? Whatever your opinion, December is bursting with light in so many ways, from the comfort of your home to the largest attractions in every city. We’re here to give you ideas on how to make the most of lighting this festive season, whatever your aspiration!

Over the past couple of years, the latest rage for the festive period is festivals of light – Kew Gardens and Bleinheim Palace spectacularly illuminate their grounds and buildings with impressive laser shows and dazzling light tunnels, creating a magical pathway through their stunning grounds.

Similarly, Lumiere festival expanded south into London in 2016 lighting up the capital city’s top attractions and sights with the designs of local artists, from freestanding light structures to neon shapes. It is clear the trend is growing year on year and it really is a powerful way of using lighting to showcase beauty of structures and art in a breathtaking and festive way.

Although light festivals truly are fantastic and jaw-droppingly brilliant… they’re not very achievable in the home, so we’ve listed 5 different ways you can maximise your lights this Christmas.

1)    Be creative!

Outdoor Christmas lights don’t have to be the traditional reindeer flashing lights you see on the sides of houses or roofs… why not get some star shaped lights or light up pebble floors to guide guests through the garden to your front door. Another current trend is archways in gardens, so if you have one, definitely utilise this and get some lights feeding through it to achieve a real ‘wow’ factor!

2)    Make an impact

Have a centerpiece light? Make the most of it by wrapping fairy lights around the piece to illuminate the entire room and draw people’s attention to your spectacular light!

3)    Create an illusion of a larger space

Get a range of mason jars and fill them with battery powered fairy lights – scatter them around the room to create the feeling of a larger space by spreading the light in the room, try having them at different heights as well. What makes it so great? It can be achieved with any size jars, in any size room!

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4)    Make the most of a small space

Displaying Christmas cards is not a new concept, but why not have your cards dangle from some fairy lights? Display the lights so they span the width of your widest wall, and safely clip cards on between each light. To really enhance the space, if you have a mirror on the opposite wall, this will well and truly maximise the use of your limited space with the reflection creating an illusion.

5)    Create a homely feel

You can use Christmas lights throughout the entire house, and one way of achieving this is to run lights down your stairs – weaving in and out from top to bottom. To give it that extra homely feel, go for warm white lights. 

We hope we’ve inspired you to utilise the light in your home this Christmas. If you’ve got any other great ideas, get involved on our Facebook page, and if you want to find out more about how we use light in our projects visit the gallery on our website.