Thursday, 9 February 2012

Let there be light.....

My latest dilemma which, to be honest, is one that has been hanging around for some while now, is a question of lighting in my living room.

Lighting is a tricky area. Many mistakes are made and I've made a few wrong choices in this department. Every room has general and accent lighting need to be able to see but you don't want to feel like the room is a flood-lit football pitch. Lighting enhances the ambience in a room, dramatises wall textures, accents art work or just simply provides illumination. Each main room in your home may require a variety of lighting. Getting it right is quite difficult. The easiest principle to work to is to provide more lighting than you actually need but with the ability to not have to make use of all the potential light at any one time.   

When we bought the house a few years ago, I bought many things in haste, full of the enthusiasm and excitement one feels when moving into a new home! I couldn't wait to get started. This was my first mistake.

Now, I am not a great fan of central ceiling lights in living rooms. Certain rooms...those with high ceilings and generous proportions are the exception. My living room is a typical cottage style room. Not that big. No high ceilings. Full of character but in my opinion has no place for a ceiling light. I'm not about to take it out though. My husband would go mad if we had to live our life purely by lamp light, or even worse, candle light! (It's a man thing....and I'll cover that in a future blog!). He likes to be able to turn the main light on in order to fiddle with the remote control or read the football and rugby results in the paper. Fair enough, I suppose.

In my excitement at having moved to this beautiful 'cosy' cottage I shot off to John Lewis and bought this pretty pendant shade.....perfect for my lovely new lounge. Infact, I loved it so much, I bought 2, an extra one for the playroom. Mistake number 2. The problem with this shade is that the bulb is so enclosed that it emits little or no light at all. 

So. What are my options? The room has a classic cottage feel in terms of furnishings etc. Here's what I have looked at so far. They generally fall into 2 categories. Plain pendant shades or chandeliers. Whilst I love chandeliers in the right setting, with a room like this you have to be careful not to go overboard with the bling. Unless you have the space to take it, less is definitely more. They can also be quite expensive.
So, I began my search at John Lewis, who have a good lighting department with a wide range of styles, and took it from there. 
The light on the left is a chrome and crystal chandelier priced at £210. The one below is a similar droplet ceiling light from Marks and Spencer priced at a very attractive £89.  The one to the right, called 'Evelyn' is  £210 from John Lewis. Not cheap...but fairly reasonable for chandeliers which do tend to be on the pricier side in general. I think any of these would work, though I am not sure about the smokey glass incorporated in the Evelyn light. A good alternative would be the Shamley compact ceiling chandelier from Laura Ashley, lower right - a vintage inspired chandelier priced at £175. 


And to the one below........The Kolarz Carat chandelier....a deal breaking £1,207...rendering this option totally out of the question!

I struggled with the pendant option but have sourced 2 possibles so far. The easy, if a little boring, option would be a white or cream shade possibly like this one -  The Clara Cutwork shade, again from John Lewis and priced at a very reasonable £40. I like the design of this shade but feel that it is too contemporary for my room. It would work well in a more modern setting though. John Lewis did have a similar styled shade in store with cutwork butterflies all around it instead of the circles. (No picture available at present) Again, in white, which would work well. This style, as with the chandeliers, would provide a more than adequate light source.

The light above is from Oka and although it is obviously not a ceiling light, it could work. The chrome fitting is quite contemporary in design, yet with a classic feel, largely because of the linen shade, which, coincidentally, we have on the 2 table lamps in the room. This wall light is priced at £99, so not totally out of the question, though we would arguably need 2 of these and they may only be as effective as the existing table lamps.

Whilst pondering over my lighting dilemma in John Lewis, I spied these beauties. If I had an ultra modern house, then these would be the shades of choice. Possibly hung as a trio in a spacious, light filled, white-walled pad with acres of glass, bi-fold doors out onto the decked patio...over looking the pool and the summer house........ahhhh!

blue Jolie light shade

A girl can dream!


I have yet to make my decision. I could 'fall in love' with the Kolarz Carat chandelier which would undoubtedly lead to my husband having a change of heart with regard to the need for a central light. The price tag will be enough! Problem solved!  

Featured lighting from John Lewis (, Oka (, Marks and Spencer ( and Laura Ashley (

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