It goes well beyond answering the need for illumination; lighting can create a mood, add colour, and enhance the shape and size of a space.
Whether you are starting with a blank canvas or looking to renovate, your plans should always include the correct placement and style of lighting to make the most of your surroundings.
Mobile solutions such as table and floor lamps are good for the budget conscious, or those who don’t wish to get into the extra work involved in permanent ceiling or wall installations.
For example, Marksons Furniture and Robert Wood Interiors & Lighting have a wide and varied selection of lamps that will suit a range of décor.
From whimsical table lamps for a child’s room to tall art deco wooden floor lamps designed to make a statement, there are many options from which you can choose.
“Customers need to consider what the primary function of the lamp will be before they purchase,” says Anna Rose Washburn, owner of Marksons.
“Is it being bought for aesthetic purposes, to create a mood or provide light where there was previously none?”
Bases can be as important as the shades. Do they match your furniture? Do they require a large table surface on which to sit? Will they be exposed to the elements, for example in a patio, and therefore need to be fashioned from materials that won’t rust or fade?
Glass lampshades, although beautiful, should probably be avoided if there are young children in the house. Luckily there are many material shades on the market of all shapes and sizes that can provide a rustic or contemporary touch.
Heavily decorated or multi-coloured lampshades usually work best in rooms of solid colours, otherwise the final result can look extremely busy and cluttered. Small lamps can be nice as accent pieces in, for example, dens or on entranceway tables.
Should a more permanent solution be in order, such as track lighting, updating that old chandelier over the dining table, or even the installation of lights in a renovated kitchen’s drawers, Robert Wood of Robert Wood Interiors & Lighting urges clients to consult a professional designer first.
“I see so many people leaving the selection and positioning of their lights to electricians,” he says.
“They are installed and they work, but the client is not enjoying anywhere near the full benefit of them. A designer can recommend the best style and location for lights and suggest options such as dimmer switches which the customer may not have considered.”
Just as advances are being made in technology and elsewhere, so companies in the lighting business are constantly bringing new and exciting innovations to the market.
It seems you can add some illumination to just about anywhere if you are so inclined. Rope lighting, tape lighting perfect for cupboards or drawers, step lighting for dark stairs…the possibilities are as extensive as your imagination.
The designs of hanging lights are pretty dazzling. Well known names in the industry such as Kichler and Hinkley, found at Robert Wood’s, feature beautiful models with a large selection of finishes and installation options.
They are made from quality materials and built to last, but again they should be positioned by a designer to properly flatter their environment.
Caribbean living usually means ceiling fans and lots of them. As they tend to take centre stage in the ceilings of the rooms where they are placed, it makes sense to have them double as a central light source. Back in the day, ceiling fans with lights were utilitarian looking things, but they’ve come a long way since then.
A.L. Thompson’s, for example, has a huge aisle dedicated to lights with many different models of famous Hunter fans running the full length of the store. Their designer blades gently spin over everything from simple, single lamps extending underneath to multi-light creations for larger rooms.
Speaking of living in the Caribbean, the warm outdoor temperatures encourage residents to spend more time out of the house. Proper outdoor illumination can make a big difference to a home, but it can be difficult to find fixtures that will weather the unforgiving elements of sun, salt and rain.
Luckily, companies like Maxim Lighting have created a range of Vivex products specifically designed to withstand Mother Nature’s wrath.
A recent addition to A.L. Thompson’s large selection of lights, these outdoor lamps are made from non-corrosive, UV-resistant materials far superior to the polyurethane resin material used in traditional outdoor lighting.
They are as durable as they are fashionable.
“They cost a bit more than standard outdoor lamps, but when you look at the benefits, they are worth every penny,” says floor manager Dan Murphy.