Category Archives: Blog

The Long Arm Of Lighting

Lighting fixture trends are strange things – it seems you wait a while for one to turn up and then two arrive together. Last year, squirrel cage lamps were everywhere and festoons of cables networked restaurants and bars across the continent. More recently and only just arrived is an Edwardian industrial retro look. Articulated wall lights that ape the functional task lights of the early 19th Century. They are complete with old brass and copper finishes and they have truly captured the imagination of the design community.

Personally, I have been captivated by anglepoise most of my life. I am fascinated by the arcane engineering that models itself on a human arm – who can deny playing with them when left to your own devices – err – just me then?

Of course, they are perfect for a bedside reading light or over a desk area – but they are being used more widely within interiors as a simple wall light – many with the added flexibility of tilting as an up or downlight.

Joining the silk braided cables and caged lamps, they seem to have embraced a refined industrial look that has swept across hotels and entertainment venues and is now entering private residences. There are some tasteful filament LED lamps that work well with the antique finishes and a new wave of Edison LED look-alikes that complement these fittings perfectly. Saddle them up with wall switches and sockets in matching aged metal finishes and you have a space that H.G. Wells would find familiar.

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If you are keen to join the clammer – we have a very wide selection of top branded products and, of course, the advice on how to incorporate them into your next project.
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VIDEO: 5 Tips On Using LED Tape

In this short video Andrew will give you 5 tips on using the most flexible lighting product – LED tape.

In under 3 minutes Andrew will give you a brief on the key issues to look out for when specyfing and applying this highly adaptable light source to your next  scheme whether it is inside or out!



Can Interior Designers Save The Planet?

Sounds like a preposterous idea but is there some truth in this question? As some of you know, I launched a campaign a year ago – to promote the significant contribution that a switch to LED lighting can make to alleviate climate change. Seemingly, lighting manufacturers are keen to promote the energy saving benefits of solid state lighting and designers are content to discover the aesthetic attributes of the new lamps. Yet, few are motivated to voice the ‘Big Picture’ paybacks that are truly significant for the health of our planet.

You don’t need to be radically green to believe in the power of LED lighting to support a global switch. As designers, architects and specifiers, we are among the key influencers that will hasten the transition to low energy lighting in UK homes and workplaces. So I thought it would be of useful to list some eco reasons why it is important to promote a change to LED. No mention of money saving advantages and without reference to an improved quality of light. Simply the argument based purely on the environment.

The Big Green Picture
  • Lighting accounts for more than 15% of the world’s electricity consumption – more than the electricity generated by all the nuclear power stations in the world – and around 5% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions*
  • An overnight global transition to highly efficient LED lamps could avoid 735 Mt of CO2 emissions, equivalent to displacing nearly 250 coal-fired power plants around the world.
  • Typically an LED lamp uses 10% of the power used by conventional incandescent lamps. Lighting constitutes 20% of the electricity used by a typical UK household and the savings are even larger for business. The reduction of this magnitude has a huge cumulative effect.
  • Recent projections calculate that the UK could save up to £1.4 billion per annum if we all embraced LED as a light source. Enough to switch off many coal powered stations on our domestic grid. In fact, that would save the equivalent of the energy consumption of Wales.
Your customer’s next step
Eco-experts see the switch to LED Lighting as a ‘Killer App’ because it offers the consumer a ‘no-brainer’ opportunity. No other environmental measure requires a low capital outlay, offers such a short payback and an immediate cost benefit. All this and a chance to fundamentally reduce emissions in our fight to reach climate change targets. offers a simple electricity calculator for home users. Integral as a manufacturer offers a calculator that keeps track of the carbon and cost savings as you select the replacement LED lamps you need for your home or workplace (without a buying obligation). newly launched the initiative at COP21 by the Clean Energy Ministry seeks the goal of deploying 10 billion high-efficiency bulbs globally.

I encourage you to use this ‘Big Picture’ view when discussing lighting schemes, in harness with cost saving andimproved light quality arguments when reviewing LED lighting options. Remember, Orange Lighting is on hand to provide guidance on all aspects of a switch from incandescent to solid state lighting.

* Global Lighting Challenge

Lighting Under Dark Skies

When you think about it, most interiors are a cuboid. Yet the effect of light on one of its surfaces has a profound consequence on the ambience of a room. This is certainly the case with dark ceilings, they seem to be an ideal feature within an intimate scheme in a restaurant or a bar. Of course ‘the dark’ comes primarily from the choice of shade, yet the knack of making the space function as a place of hospitality – comes from the lighting scheme. Good lighting is often the difference between making a cosy environment, as opposed to an oppressive one!

It seems ironic that in today’s smoke-free world, we still crave the dark ceilings that were once bi-product of tobacco and coal fires. Yet, the atmosphere created by a light absorbent colour is convivial. It is also an excellent canvas for a designer to play with the contrasts between the lights and darks throughout the interior. In effect a deep shade ‘sucks up’ the light emitted from a fixture and minimises it’s spread – thus creating pockets of light. Assessing the space as a whole, these pools of light often take centre stage in the design.

Tips for the Dark Side

Graphic bar (above) shows exposed lamps that are called crown silver reflectors – reflecting the light back up onto the ceiling which (given it is black) produces a minimal reflection – retaining the light to around the fixture giving the appearance of being part of it – a halo of defined light.

Big Ferdinand (above) – the drop pendants are coloured black on the exterior but light on the inside – again emphasising the light itself rather than the fitting – at night.

Inamo in Covent Garden (above) – over the bar the buildings services are painted black and disappear, which hides everything that is unsightly and they fade away – giving the lit bottles and front of the bar the glory. It simplifies the aesthetics and with a darker background, the bar itself shines and is a beacon to customers!

Other views of Inamo (above) – the ceiling when mostly blackened visually promotes focal areas of the ceiling that are not black as a highlight – shown here – the perimeter coffer is lit and hanging pendants.

All the ceiling lights need to be camouflaged in black to keep them hidden – the aim is to see just the light source where we can.


Boccocino – (above) I like this as the dark patterned ceiling is repeated on some of the walls – fun and the black baffled light fixtures are attempting to be as subtle as possible. What this also does is allow the well-lit alcoves to become a strong pleasant wash of light.

Remember – if you choose the ‘dark side’ for your next project, talk to us about the lighting scheme and the available fixtures and fittings that are available among the many LED offerings currently available.

LED Lighting: End of Year Report

LED lighting has been on an epic journey which in many ways has seen it finally arrive as the foremost lighting technology in 2015. For instance, as little as a year ago, the shelves in Tesco selling lamps were a confused mix of fluorescents, halogen and LED. If this is an indication of consumer experience, LED is now the only credible choice in the retail aisles. Of course from a professional perspective, LED has been with us for a while. The challenge for specifiers has been to finally embrace the quality issues and learn the characteristics that make a good brand of LED lamp, fixture or fitting. We like to think that we have played a useful part in your ongoing knowledge and awareness of solid state lighting. Let’s have a recap!


360-degree globes (GLS), candles and golfball lamps have settled on filament LED technology to present us with dimmable retrofit lights that now look identical to the vision that Edison had 100 years ago. Seemingly manufacturers have woken up to the need of the customer – by scrapping the weird and wonderful alien looking bulbs in favour of the familiar.Gone too are the ‘corn-on-the-cob’ looking versions (although they may hold on to the high light output sector) and a fine filament has become the leading solution. Filaments are now shipping with fully dimmable functions which make them an easy swap replacement for existing lights.

Result 8/10

Directional spotlights have adopted and adapted COB technologies to deliver GU10s and MR16 lights at increasing efficiencies in terms of watts to lumens, reaching 115lm per watt and beyond. Costs have been tumbling too. However, vigilance is still needed in the selection of drivers. Leading brands with in-house testing facilities will recommend compatible drivers. It is best to stick with the lamp brands that have the answer. The selection of colour temperatures continues to increase, but it is necessary to go on the kelvin scale rather the descriptive term ‘warm white’ etc – these differ between manufacturer. There are some useful examples of new optics available – and a broadening array of beam widths to choose from.

Result 8/10


In the LED ceiling panel battle, backlit has won from side lit versions by
delivering ever increasing efficiencies and many dimmable models are now available. Again 115 lumens to a single watt are mainstream and many now have marched on 140 plus. It is now time to ask whether you need more light or increased efficiency? In many cases installing powerful 4000K panels in an office can be too bright for office workers. The only sensible direction is more energy saving.
Result 9/10


Despite its versatility and wonderfully flexible applications, you really need to
be knowledgeable in order to judge the correct LED tape for the project. The length of the run determines the preferred brand and specification choice of driver is critical here too. It takes some know-how when choosing which specification is suitable, given that the output is distributed over a linear length rather than from a small single point source. Talk to us and we will steer you through 2016 without headaches.
Result 7/10

The market for LED tubes (T8 and T5) has been dormant due to a number of obstacles that makes the replacement of fluorescent strip lights troublesome. The existence of ballasts and how to bi-pass them is an issue – but simply the existing LED retrofit models were not 360 all around light and were not more efficient than fluorescents. Recent entrants in the US market, however, are 120lm/watt efficient which represents a game changer and forecasters predict that tubes will be one of the major growth products in the lighting market over the next two years.

Result 1/10


LED downlight fixtures are split into inexpensive luminaires with low optical
refinement and the highly focussed splendid models with a higher price tag.
There is some confusion surrounding the need for fire resistant models that are required by building regulations in certain rooms. Many of our clients are perplexed as to when and where to allow for fire protection and whether it will degrade the performance of heat sensitive LED fittings. When choosing the pricier models be sure to check the producers have fitted an up to date and efficient chip. The optics may be great, but I have noticed some brands have not kept abreast of lumen to watt levels.  Ironically I have observed entry level downlights have launched high-efficiency models before some top-end manufacturers. Be aware of course, efficiency isn’t a primary deciding factor.
Result 8/10

Headmaster’s Report
It is apparent from our perspective that LED features in every conversation and project. However, the concern over compatibility remains. The single most important lesson has been to be aware that the light output of a fitting (lumens) is more important than the given wattage. Many continue to grapple with comparisons and how a light will perform when the spec says 80lm output compared to 200lm or 400 lm or 600 lm etc. Aesthetically, LED can feel punchier in reality than the specification indicates.

Overall Result 9/10 (Top of the Class)
As we are fond of saying at Orange Lighting – it’s a jungle out there in LED lighting – and we are here to guide you – so you can focus on the design outcome of a space, room or indeed building. Stick with us through the forthcoming year – it’s going to be as complex but with higher efficiencies and lower costs!
Wishing all our readers and customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Bedrooms: Layering with Light

The essential feature of good lighting, in the home and out, is to make sure the user’s demands and expectations are met. Additionally, a lighting scheme should enhance our love of life through aesthetic beauty. Bedrooms are no exception, whether at home or in a hotel they are spaces that demand versatility to meet the expectations of a demanding user.

Often, form does follow function and this is a good place to begin when planning to light a bedroom. Essentially, key demands on the space will dictate our layers of light.

The layering of light ensures that the three-dimensional space of a room has light emitted from more than one actual level, enhancing interest to the eye. In the absence of good layering, the lighting scheme can flatten the space; we need to find a good contrast of light and shadow and throw light in different directions. Also, good layering of light in bedrooms will ensure the eye is not subjected to glare. Avoid downlights directly over the pillows, cover lamps in shades (even from below) to cater for someone lying in bed looking up into the fitting.

Bedroom Lighting Tips:image 1

Think function

  • A good level of illumination for general use, cleaning, making the bed, dressing etc
  • Downlights – do not position over the pillows and try to wash walls and fabrics with them and use them to create indirect light.
  • Table and floor lights with shades that will produce warm colours of white if possible.
  • Decorative pendants and wall lights – avoiding exposed lamps.
  • Light the interiors of wardrobes and cupboards especially if they have a dark finish that soaks up light.

Think low

  • A lower level of lighting for relaxing, watching tv with your feet up, reading a book etc
  • LED reading lights at the bedside
  • Table lights

image 2

Be adaptable

  • Dimmable circuits – make sure any downlights that contribute to this mood level of light are switched separately to the overhead downlights that infill light into the space.
  • Up-light from a high-level piece of furniture to produce reflected light.
  • A very low level of light to assist bathroom trips in the middle of the night without waking yourself or your partner up with a marker light on a movement sensor.
  • Dimmable individual light fixtures.

The personal touch

  • Create something personal. The bedroom is arguably the most private room we have and is, therefore, a space that demands a personal touch.
  • Ceiling height allowing – maximise the space with a stunning pendant
  • Oversize free-standing light fixtures where you can – lighting looks better when bigger.

Dressing rooms

  • A more functional extension of the bedroom, light the user from 2 directions to minimise shadowing.
  • Use wide beamed ceiling lights.
  • Wall lights to throw light into the space horizontally.
  • Wash a wall or wardrobe to bounce light into the space.
  • Light around a mirror so the viewer is lit evenly.

image 3

The luxury of not having to reach for the light switch or get out of bed to control the lights has been on the scene for some time now, as lighting controls become connected to the internet and home wifi hub – allowing your tablet or phone to become the controller. There are clever cheaper ways to also do this with IP addressable lamps that allow you to change the colour temperature of white from a warm white in the evening to a colder white for the day, they can even change the colour of light to suit your duvet! However, we find clients that can afford such systems generally try it once and when they get the opportunity to do it again, they opt back for the simplicity of a switch or dimmer knob!

Orange Lighting has designed lighting for all sorts of bedrooms, from hotels, grand residential master bedrooms through to care home bedrooms. The methodology is always the same – protect the eye from glare and give it something interesting to look at. Cater for multi-use and have some fun. As lighting designers, we mix the technical with the aesthetics, enhancing an interior scheme to maximise it’s potential. The world of LED lighting has come a long way but it’s application still needs careful thought.

If you have a bedroom project – call us to review your lighting options.

Layering with Light

Lighting a room is essentially a three-dimensional exercise. Objects and features are enhanced by emphasising their shape using lights and darks. Layering with light is a technique that focusses on an interior as a whole. It can add height or width to a room as well as highlighting the existing features that provide personality. After all, our eyes adore multiple details. It is also a practice that consolidates all the elements of a room design and coordinates the look of the space with all its furnishings. I thought we would construct a brief walkthrough to re-acquaint you with the principles or layering in words and pictures.

We refer to three layers: High Middle and Low

High or ceiling height light. Middle or human eye level whether people are walking or seated. Lastly low or floor level illumination. Essentially, we need to explore the ideal physical positioning of fixtures to create the best effect. Additionally we need to consider the variety of texture of light used; playing light using differing beam widths for highlights and using diffusers for washes. Naturally, with the advent of LED, conventional thinking has been overturned, as the benefits of miniaturisation and longevity (no need to change blown lamps) becomes apparent. The flexibility in painting a room with light has never been so practical.


A couple of guiding principles that will help in installing this all essential enhancement to a room design. Remember, it is not the light fixture itself that fixes the position of the layer but the reflected light from the light source. We can utilise the fixture itself, but it does need to generate a sufficient quantity of light to be effective as a layer. One single light source from a fixture can contribute to multiple of layers at the same time.

Here is an example from a very recent residential project, both designed and supplied by me and the team at Orange Lighting. The high ceiling space features a wonderful oak frame which needs to be celebrated. The intention is to emphasise the strong architecture of the beams as a priority with the light playing a supporting role – to enhance through layering.


Key Layers

High layer – up-lights positioned on the wooden beam provide a wonderfully concealed light on the ceiling. Effectively the light also bounces from the ceiling and top lights the oak trusses.

The high layer also receives partial light from the floor up lighters and the table lamps.

Middle Layer – the hanging pendants, table lamps and wall lights are the main drivers for the middle layer. However, it is important not to exclude the many lit surfaces such as cupboard doors and work surfaces that reflect light at this layer. Note the light washing the dresser from adjustable spotlights and the glass pendants.

Low Layer – the primary low layer lighting is from the ceiling downlights washing the floor with light as well as table top and island counter. To an extent the pendants also deliver low light onto the preparation surface as does the table lamp. We could have also added some plinth lights at this layer although these were considered inappropriate for this scheme.

Multi-Layer – the floor uplights provide a multi-level illumination especially on the underneath surfaces of the trusses with a dramatic three-dimensional effect.


The array of differing LED lights available for each layered lighting task can be bewildering. Our role is to help you find the most suitable among the uplights, downlights, tape, spots and lamps that are on offer, in order to enhance the look of your scheme. Colour temperature, lumen levels, beam angles and diffusion adds a layer of complexity too. Enquire about our cost effective lighting scheme design service or ask us to specify the correct fixture or fitting for the job.

To see all the pictures of the project in glorious high resolution – click here

LED: Lamps Going Back to the Future

We have mentioned the alien look of some LED lamps in earlier editions of this newsletter. The first generations of LED lighting technology certainly posed a few headaches for designers. Many lamps had grotesque shapes that needed concealing behind shades in order to hide their hideousness. It has been a real hurdle for LED manufacturers trying to win market share in the interior design sector. However it is beginning to look like certain manufacturers have been listening and things are about to change!

Essentially – in what is termed as ‘retro-fit’ in the lighting industry, form-factor (the shape) of bulbs and lamps are going back to basics. It seems that it has finally sunk in that we don’t want lamps that look like ‘corn on the cob’ or lollypops or worse – props from Star Trek. In fact LED is even revisiting the designs by Edison himself over 100 years ago. After all these original form-factors were ultimately compatible with the luminaires that still exist in period and contemporary interiors today. What a relief to have compact florescent spirals and early LED heatsink fins behind us!

I have picked two examples of popular categories – GLS ‘globes’ and GU10 spotlights as examples of the new trend. I have also chosen a UK manufacturer Integral LED, a brand I trust amongst the multitude of international offerings.

GU10 in the Spotlight

In the development of the Classic Glass GU10 range, Integral recognised that luminaires in 1the halogen era were designed to allow light to pass through the wall of the globe – effectively shining light backwards. Many luminaires (especially in bathrooms) are designed to allow this attractive iridescent and multi-coloured light to be pooled on the ceiling. To enable this effect, the lamp holder in many fixtures was cut back to the stem of the lamp itself. Essentially these glass bodied LED GU10s have revived the aesthetic look of a traditional spotlight. The solid therma-plastic body of current LED models has been replaced by glass which is a perfect complement for many existing decorative luminaires.

It is recent innovation that has allowed this traditional look. The light source consists of several LED chips or surface mounted devices that combine to generate a ‘COB-like’ light that decreases the heat profile of the lamp thus allowing for the use of glass. Effectively, the design has mimicked the good looks of the halogen dichroic GU10 that it is destined to replace. These are not to be confused with low voltage lamps – they are driven by 240v but they will bring many existing luminaires back into the sphere of low energy lighting.


The case of the Classic GLS Bulb

I won’t have to remind you of some of the truly weird shapes that have emerged in the 3attempt to replace the commonplace incandescent ‘bulb’. After all, we want a light source that is identical to the ‘Edison’ shape – visually compatible with table lamps, chandeliers (in the case of candle bulbs) and wall lights.  Again, recent technological developments have helped manufacturers to find a design route to the past. In the case of the Integral GLS range – the LED filament provides an ideal solution for a lamp that emits light evenly in all directions akin to the traditional tungsten and halogen lamps that we know well. The mid powered LEDs are aligned on a thin strand of thermally conductive substrate and require relatively low power which translates into less heat. Additionally, the surrounding inert gas which is again highly thermally conductive, dissipates the remaining heat and effectively removes the need for an unsightly heatsink.

So the Dr Who props department can pack up and go home – the message is that we will be going back to the future of lighting!

If you are wondering how to use LED lighting to best effect in your next interior, give us a call at Orange Lighting for guidance and inspiration.

LED: Bringing Outside Colour Inside

Would you agree that most interiors are inspired by the great outdoors? Perhaps highly functional environments are artificial. However indoor spaces that require ambience are mostly influenced by natural colours whether they are woven into carpets or feature in other soft furnishings and wall coverings. Back in the ‘dark ages’ or incandescent lighting, how these hues of colour were perceived was determined by the colour of the light ‘burned’ by the filament material. Tungsten and metal halide, for example, emit a range of differing colour temperatures and we were restricted to a crude colour scale loosely grouped around warm through to brilliant. LED fittings offer a full spectrum; a complete pallet with which to paint with light.

What if your next interior colour scheme would benefit from a natural light of dawn? Perhaps a prominent weft in a furniture covering would appear vibrant with a specific colour temperature? A restaurant with an intimate atmosphere may be complemented by twilight? With LED, the choice is yours and it is an essential consideration when determining the entire look of your design.

image 1

Bathing a room in a specific colour temperature to match a natural scene is achievable with a little help from Orange Lighting in the choice of fixtures. I thought that some wonderful landscape shots, (courtesy of Chris Orange Photography) – together with their related colour temperature in degrees Kelvin would prove useful. Click below and we will send you a hi-resolution version – to help in the compilation of future mood boards.

Remember – when specifying your LED lighting – ordering through Orange Lighting comes with free expert advice at no extra cost for peace of mind!







The LED Colour Blind Spot

Since the 1930’s the colour rendering Index or CRI has been our measure of accurate colour under artificial light. The familiar chart with a range of colour swatches has been our yardstick to judge the ability of a light source to illuminate an object in a true colour – or what you would expect to see in the presence of sunlight. Again, with the advent of LED even this trusted convention is under threat and we brace ourselves for yet another shift in the very foundations of our understanding of light. So what changes await and how do we judge the quality of the lights we are currently specifying?


Simply, the CRI measure of ultimate colour accuracy is 100. Whilst you could tolerate a CRI rating of 60 when lighting a hallway – in areas where the depiction of colour is vital, a score of at least 80 is necessary to ensure that the colours are rendered authentically. This becomes especially important when illuminating food as ‘wholesome’ or the highly processed colours in clothing and textiles as ‘vibrant’. Hence, it is easy to see why restaurant and retail interiors require high scoring CRI lamps where even 90 is desirable.

The LED / CRI Blind Spot

To further complicate things – colour accuracy of many items, including meat, fish, 2vegetables and fruit, can be adversely affected by the imprecise rendering of the colour red. Consult the chart and note that CRI is calculated on average values based on R1 – R8 coloured swatches. Here is where the ‘LED colour blind spot’ occurs. R9 is one of six saturated test colours not used in calculating CRI. However, R9 is important when assessing the quality of LED light. It seems that most LED sources reveal this CRI value only and as long as it has a value of over 80 Ra. In other words, LED lamps with high R9 values produce the most vivid colours that are essential for food and retail display applications. However, we cannot rely upon the traditional measurement chart to judge the level of R9 in a LED lamp.

Warning: an LED lamp can have a relatively high CRI but render red badly

So it is time for a new metric compatible with our LED world. Scientists at the US-based Illuminating Engineering Society have developed a new system commonly called TM-30 which is based on a reference set of colour samples that is more representative of objects in the real world than the pastel samples used in CRI. A Rg value will replace the existing Ra and it will accurately score LED lamps for colour ‘red’ accuracy. The new measurement has been approved in the US although it has yet to be accepted by the CIE – lightings international body.

Practical Step?

Whilst we are waiting for this new standard to come into force – how do you choose LED lights for colour sensitive interiors? At Orange Lighting, we select from manufacturers that use in-house and external accredited laboratories that measure the colour fidelity of LED lamps. If you have an application that demands high colour accuracy – especially where produce or merchandise needs to appear authentic or vibrant, call us and we will steer you toward the right brands and products.3

Remember I am
giving a FREE Webinar this Friday at 2.00 pm – we will tackle all the main issues surrounding LED and colour consistency – grab your headphones and listen in! Click below to register!