Tag Archives: LED

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

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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.

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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.

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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! 



Is Lighting the Most Important Building Material?

It’s not strange that we take the warmest and also the lightest part of the year for our annual break. I certainly recharged my creative battery recently on a trip to Spain with my family; most notably the Gaudi Cathedral in Barcelona was a wonder to behold. I would encourage you this summer – to look at light again. In our busy jobs, so much of our design roles are actually administration and meetings; it’s important to recharge with inspiration. After all, it’s not just about hitting deadlines, we have to reach high levels of achievement in delivering the spirit of a space!

Remember, when specifying and designing where the lighting will be on your next project, keep to thinking where the ‘light’ will be and not necessarily just where the fittings are placed.

Most of us involved with building in 3D – love lighting. Why? – maybe modern architect Daniel Libeskind is right when he likens light to the ‘spirit of a building’, an invisible but guiding element around an interior.

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Gaudi concentrated on the use of natural light. Mainly due the fact that artificial light wasn’t sophisticated in his era. Fortunately, modern architects embrace both artificial and natural – Libeskind believes it’s extremely important to embrace both equally but treat them differently. Of course artificial light can never compete with natural light; there is such a fundamental difference – it’s like comparing an idol with a god.
Libeskind thankfully agrees that form is created by lights and darks – therefore planning both where the light should be – AND – left out. “Consciousness of light, of course, is also consciousness of shadow.”

The Bible (not often quoted in a design context) says that light came out of darkness. You cannot neglect darkness, the darkness is part of the light and if you neglect the shadow you’ve neglected light itself. So I urge you to reflect on this visual thought in the long days of summer wherever you may be taking a well earned break.

Questions to Ponder

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What quality of light do we want to create?

Roof top image of Gaudi’s Casa Battlo (above first pic left) – demonstrates the importance of light and dark. The image is split in two – the foreground in shadow is as important as the glorious roof lit in full sunlight – essentially it provides the contrast. Ultimately we are looking to keep this magic within our interior.

How best do we manipulate this invisible artificial medium?
Use three dimensions objects to control the light as the sun moves throughout the day. Funnel daylight, restrict and reveal. These are surely more architectural decisions than that of a lighting designer? I would argue that it is the preserve of designers to concentrate on light. Although this is mostly artificial – we should not ignore how light will affect a space in the day and see whether artificial light is required to support and create the same effect in the winter when the sun is not as strong.

Daylight is dynamic and changes throughout the day, in contrast artificial light is static. Animage 3 interesting technique is to mimic the behaviour of daylight in our artificial lighting scheme; create brighter sides of a room by dimming the other half as if the daylight is penetrating the space from one side.

Daylight covers a wide selection of frequencies or colours – which the eye enjoys. Try changing colour temperatures of white in your interior space.

Daylight plays a large contributing factor to our wellbeing – we can do well to try and imitate it’s qualities as best we can. Low amounts of daylight contribute (second only to bad air quality) – towards sick building syndrome.

Best Practice

Remember to use fixtures that are going to deliver. I am still surprised by the excellent performance of some lower cost budget lighting and lamps – and equally how poorly some higher end fittings can behave. Vigilance is required.

Take the headache out of lighting schemes by using our in-house – highly cost effective lighting design services and take a look (here) for a taster of the range of fixtures and fittings you can rely upon!

The Future of Lighting: Levitating Lights

Wireless power is a concept which seems strangely familiar to someone who grew up with Star Trek and Star Wars. In fact, as an idea it has been around for over one hundred years; both Edison and Tesla created prototypes. The prospect of no-wires has occasionally reared its head over the years. In 2007 an MIT Professor (Marin Soljacic) made a technology breakthrough which prompted futurologists to predict a cable-less world by the end the decade. Eight years later and looms of wires are still dominating my lighting scheme plans. However, there have been recent indications that lighting products will be coming to the market in the near future – so are we about to witness a commercially viable wire free lighting scheme soon?

It is possible to project electrical energy across a space using “resonance” whereby energy1 transfer is enhanced when a frequency is applied. It’s similar to the principle of a wine glass exploding when a singer hits exactly the right tone. However instead of using acoustic resonance – new wireless power systems utilise low frequency electromagnetic waves.

How Wireless Power Works

  1. Magnetic coil (Antenna A) is set in a wall or ceiling.
  2. Antenna A, powered by mains, resonates at a specific frequency.
  3. Electromagnetic waves transmitted through the air.
  4. Second magnetic coil (Antenna B) fitted in a luminaire – resonates at the same frequency as first coil and absorbs energy.
  5. Energy charges the lamp.


The system uses two coils – one plugged into the mains and the other embedded or attached to the bulb. Each coil is carefully engineered with the same resonant frequency. When the main coil is connected to an electricity supply, the magnetic field it produces is resonant with that of with the second coil, allowing “tails” of energy to flow between them. As each “cycle” of energy arrives at the second coil, a voltage begins to build up that can be used to illuminate the light.

A New Age of Wireless Dawning?1

The prospect of new wires is indeed compelling. Designing a scheme without any restrictions and complete freedom to position light sources, will be the actuality of a dream – true ’Painting with Light’. What is the reality and how long do have we to wait? We have featured a wonderful project called ‘Flyte’. An LED lamp that is literally suspended in air. At $300 dollar surely this is more of a decorative gadget than the start of a new electrical revolution? The key development company is Witricity a Boston based company that is leasing the technology to an array of manufacturers across a spectrum of applications including TV, mobiles and cars. They announced a partnership with OSRAM in 2011 and actually launched a luminaire at Lighting World in the US. Again, no sign of a lighting range to follow this up.

However, Witricity is a company that is in increasing demand and the rate of know-how sharing is gathering a pace. With developments launching across all electronic sectors it seems inevitable that we are about to see a new technology age and soon. In my humble opinion we will all be using wireless power in the next few years. The arrival of the LED is perfectly timed to join this low energy revolution too.

Keep reading this e-newsletter and you will be the first to know of the early product offerings.


A Lighting Scheme Exposed

The ‘nuts and bolts’ look of a high-tech age emerged in the 1970s. Epitomised by the Pompidou Centre in Paris and later the Lloyds Building in London both by Richard Rogers, they broke the mould with their rebellious exposed construction. A technological look that had pipes and conduits visible to all both external and internally within the building. It was a product of the first wave of technology – Moon shots and IBM mainframes were in the collective psyche. Could it be that with the recent trend in industrial style bars and retail stores – we might be experiencing a return of functional architecture?

To my mind there seems to be two types of lighting scheme currently. The swish seamless and clean lines of light where hidden sources give the light itself all the glory. Here we are into subtle washes of light and hidden LED fittings within the fabric of the interior. Contrast this with the hard industrial look which is in current vogue. Visible services, conduits and ducting laid bare and looping pendants finished off with hard industrial maritime bulk heads and squirrel cages.


Often these industrial interiors work out of necessity. Many walls and ceilings are unyielding to concealed wiring – so why not make a feature of the pipes and cables and bypass the complications – just fix a light in the correct position AND get power to it – simple!
It’s a gift for exposing the ugly layers of the building too. Remove aging suspended ceiling grids and you find a network of ventilation ducts and lighting wiring above. Perfect structures to pronounce an industrial theme.

Lighting Applications – exposed services:

Galvanised Conduit with besa boxes to mount the light fitting or rose. A necessity for interiors with stone or exposed brickwork that do not allow for chased cabling. Basements, vaulted spaces and ex-industrial spaces allow you to celebrate a functional aesthetic. The besa box is the round box that punctuates the conduit to allow access to the power within – an excellent place to mount fittings.


Galvanised cable trays are a necessary feature of most commercial spaces to carry power through the interior to feed sensors, alarms, power to equipment and of course lighting. Where a space is high and with the dropped ceiling removed, the tray itself is our opportunity to mount our lighting. Downlights can be recessed into cable tray – pendants dropped below – it’s like a snaking track ready to be used.
The trend for industrial is so popular you don’t need the challenge of an industrial space to3 create the theme.  A system of lighting that’s caught our eye for a recent project is this (see picture right). This fixture can grow vertically and horizontally as much as you wish with your own choices of ceiling or wall lights, a formalised system crystalizing the current trend to reveal what is so often hidden.

So if you are contemplating an industrial look for a forthcoming interior project – we are here to guide you through the range of available light fixtures and to help you with the design of the scheme.

Slot in the Lights

Slot lighting is a technique that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Once the preserve of the retail world, it has grown across interior sectors and is now often seen in domestic as well as commercial spaces. Ostensibly it is a device used to remove the clutter of fittings and fixtures and to preserve a ceiling in its simplest form. However, a slot can offer so much more and its lines have an immense impact of the appearance of a space as a whole. Again, LED has had an influence in the resurgence in the use of lighting slots. The compact nature of LED has allowed for a shallow groove design and the lower heat management profile required has made the products easier to deploy.


Of course there is nothing new under the sun. Echoes of slot lighting can be seen as far back as the Art Deco era – a period that was obsessed by transforming the unnecessary and streamlining detail into flow. In many ways that is what a slot can do to a space. It has a major influence on the perspective of a room and can draw the eye toward focal points. These scores in the ceiling can effectively shape a space with dramatic effect – to lengthen a room for instance.

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Until recently slots would exclusively house spotlight fixtures. If used correctly, these fittings would be entirely concealed within a prefabricated extrusion that would be physically installed into a ceiling’s plaster work or panels. The slots are painted black to ensure that no light is reflected out of the feature. Multi-angled downlights are then positioned to create the desired pools of light or to wash a wall with an ambient or defused illumination and naturally stronger task light can be incorporated too. The overall effect is neatness and a ‘clean-lines’ room design. One step beyond is to use these lines to complement an interior. Perhaps this is easier with a contemporary design, yet it is still used to good effect within more ornate period spaces. So, consider the impact carefully before installing.

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Once again LED has provided an easy to use solution. A continuous strip of light can be concealed within a 53 mm wide groove in a ceiling and provides an ultimately flexible feature, available to wash a wall or focus on a region like a seating area or dining table. Again the slots themselves offer travel lines for the eye and provide the opportunity to score a ceiling in a ‘criss-cross’ design – in a lighting dance of its very own. Self-contained and prefabricated units offer a simple yet effective ‘continuous’ light solution in a wide choice of colour of white hues.

Why not explore slots in your next scheme? Call us and we will navigate you though the product alternatives.

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