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10 Tips for Lighting your Period Home

In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary

- Aaron Rose

It's very easy to feel overwhelmed by having to choose lighting for your period home, but if you go back to the basic idea of layering different types of light, you'll be able uncomplicate things a huge amount. It is also not necessary to spend a fortune on lighting design. Keep your lighting simple, always think about what the room will be used for and have fun with your lighting...

Start with a furniture plan

If you are lucky enough to still be in the planning stage of a renovation, get a basic lighting plan ready BEFORE the electrician gets there. You will need a simple plan that shows the layout and furniture in the room so that you can plan your lighting and electrics around this plan. This will also help to ensure that you have enough light coverage in the different areas. The furniture plan will also show the position of lamp tables and side tables so that you know where to place the sockets for lamps. Make use of floor sockets which could be installed underneath a table or chair so that you don't have electrical leads trailing around the room.

In England, you could have your electrician place all the lamps on a 5 amp circuit so that you can turn them on and off from the same switch.

Use lamps to add warmth

Table lamps are essential in any room scheme, but this is especially true in a period home - they will add atmosphere, warmth and interest.

Find reasonably priced old lamps at auctions or at antique fairs and replace the shades with something special. This is an excellent way to make cheap lamps look more expensive. If the lamp cable is old plastic, you can have this changed to a braided fabric cord.

Have Fun with Lampshades

Don't be tempted to choose all white or cream shades just because you feel it's the safer option. The many lampshades available out there now makes it easy to have a mix of different shades which will add interest to your space. Handmade fabric lampshades, gathered ones, hand painted card or marbled paper shades, they're all readily available in different shapes and sizes. And don't forget about the lining! I like using cream lining for lampshades as it gives off a much warmer light than white.

Lampshades are more than just visors for your lightbulbs, they're decorative investment pieces in their own right and a great one can make a huge impact on a room.

- Eleanor Cording-Booth (House & Garden)

Use a dimmer switch!

This will not only give you control over the level of light, it will also help save the environment and save you money as a dimmed light uses less wattage. Being able to dim your lights will make it easy to set the mood in a room, similarly to the use of candle light. In a bedroom, it is a wonderful way to create a sense of calm and prepare your mind for sleep before bedtime.

Create atmosphere with layers of light

Lighting should be layered to add warmth and character to a room; table lamps, wall lights, overhead ceiling lights, floor lamps and a fire will each add a different layer to your lighting. Once you understand what the three basic types are, you'll be able to layer them to create a balance of light and shadow in the room.

General Lighting

Also known as ambient lighting, this is the overall illumination in a room and in most homes, this comes from the ceiling light. But it doesn't have to - wall lights