Typically consisting of glass-panelled walls and ceiling, your conservatory is the perfect space in which to relax in the sun or shelter from the outside elements, whilst still enjoying natural light. Your conservatory is there to be enjoyed at night as well; installing the correct lighting creates an inviting, cosy space which can be utilised to its full potential.
The nature of materials used in their construction means that light can easily escape, causing the potential for a reflective glare from the glass. While not ideal for a space meant primarily for relaxation, conservatory blinds can be utilised alongside a sophisticated lighting scheme to minimise the light lost to reflection. Furthermore, the most successful and inviting conservatories use their lighting schemes to connect the house and garden. By installing features such as low-level step lights or stake lights into flower beds and grass, a fluid environment is created. The daunting evening image of a dense back garden is lessened, and the conservatory can be enjoyed to its full potential.
Categories of Lighting
A simplistic and easy way to determine the lighting needs for your conservatory is to think of it in three parts. Firstly, the ‘primary’ source of light – such as a surface-mounted ceiling light or a fanlight – will provide the main, practical lighting source for your conservatory. Secondly, the ‘task light’ can be installed. This type of lighting, such as a table lamp, is used in addition to the main lighting source and is used for a specific reason; for example, a reading or study lamp. The final – and perhaps most interesting – type of lighting is known as ‘accent’ lighting. As the name suggests, it ‘accentuates’ specific features and encourages the gaze to be drawn towards decorative pieces. Picture lighting, or indeed garden pieces such as shade lamps, would fall under this category.
Choosing your Lighting
Once it has been decided which type or indeed which mixture of lighting would best suit your conservatory, the fun begins. If the structure of your conservatory ceiling does not allow for a traditional surface-mounted ‘primary’ light source, another alternative could be a wire-lighting system. Such an option is ideal for irregular conservatory ceilings. You can choose where to position lights along the wire in order to either highlight specific features of the conservatory, or to cast a bright, strong light into the conservatory for more practical reasons. Wire-lighting is also ideal to ensure the light won’t be cast back into the room and cause an uncomfortable and harsh glare.
Similarly, a mounted spotlight bar with directional lights also provides you with the flexibility to choose the angle of your lighting and can be attached to the interior wall of your conservatory. However, unlike a wire-lighting system, spotlight bars allow the flexibility of LED spotlights. These not only emphasise more interesting features across the room, but they also create a warm atmosphere. Furthermore, the lifespan of an LED is preferable to that of a filament bulb.
The style of shade used is often just as important as the light itself. If you want your conservatory decoration to make a statement, a chandelier might be the best option for a tasteful yet expressive centrepiece. For a less exaggerated but still impressive approach, certain shade lights are designed to create a ‘work-of-art’ feel during the day; and cast a warm glow across your conservatory in the evening. Pendant lights are also an option for a more practical yet interesting and vintage feel. A feeling of intimacy can be created if these are lowered appropriately, and replacing a standard filament bulb with a halogen alternative creates a further subtle, warm glow.
Freestanding lighting is probably the most familiar way to illuminate a conservatory, and there are many good reasons why. Floor and table lamps, as well as up-lighters, provide the freedom of adjustment that is sometimes just not possible with mounted or high-level lighting. Up-lighters in particular can create a feeling of extra space due to the position of their illuminations, with otherwise forgotten walls and corners becoming visible with this type of lighting solution. Where LED bulbs may be preferable for wall and ceiling spotlights, floor up-lighters benefit from the crisp quality derived from halogen bulbs. Perhaps otherwise unnoticed structures and textures of decorative pieces are made apparent; this lighting solution is a must for those with an interest in interior design.
Floor and Table Lamps
Floor and table lamps allow the flexibility of balance between the artificial light created and any natural lighting from outside, with such features being turned on as and when they are needed. Floor lamps, as well as being the main source of artificial conservatory lighting if they are big enough, are often also used as a statement decoration. They can be themed to match the decor of your conservatory; or if the lamp is big enough, your conservatory can be themed around it. On the other hand, table lamps tend to be a final touch worked around the other lighting solutions in your conservatory. Yet they are just as – if not more – important and if you are innovative with your positioning they can also be used as reading lights. The right combination of table and floor lighting provides your conservatory with that inviting and comfortable atmosphere, without the need for instructive and potentially costly wire installation.
Although the lighting in your conservatory depends entirely on your personal preference, don’t forget that what you may prefer may not fit in as well with the style and function of your room. Search around and experiment with different styles of lighting; with a little patience you’ll soon create that perfectly lit space.