Lighting is so often forgotten when designing a room but it can truly make or break it! Not only does it help us to actually see what we're doing, but it can instantly change how we feel in a space.
To enlighten us, we spent the afternoon with Helen White, co-founder at houseof who are creating waves with their stylish, functional, affordable and sustainable lighting range.
Helen: "We launched houseof because we noticed there was a massive gap in the market for a lighting specific retailer. We have huge expertise in lighting from previous jobs. Myself and my cofounder Michael decided we could do it better!
We've really focussed on designing with a purpose in our range. We want it to be seen as beautiful but it does serve a purpose in a house. It's there to give you light!
Everything from houseof is designed in-house. We design the colour palette, the finishes even the shape of bulb.
Helen: "Inspiration really doesn't come from lighting at all! We're inspired by buildings, for example our concrete table lamp is inspired by the Barbican. We also get our inspiration from catwalks. Often what happens is you'll wear it one year and then we'll see it our homes the next."
Lucy: "You're really well known for your curves as well in your designs."
Helen: "Curves are such a big trend at the moment and we're seeing it year after year."
Lucy: "You've also got your lovely leaning floor lamp with the arch which is quite a nice way of bringing the sculptural element in to a room."
Helen: "That's exactly why I designed it. Renters for example might not be able to paint their walls in the latest trend. But you prop the arched floor lamp against a wall and then easily take it with you to your next place.
Helen: "Yer, it was something we noticed too - it's really tricky to buy bathroom lighting. A lot of people are scared of it because it's water and electricity and even electricians can be adverse to installing it. So we took some our bestselling pieces and made them bathroom safe."
Helen: "Yer, I think the easiest way to think about it is three layers. Think about your first layer being your fixed lighting. So anything you're incorporating in the initial stage of your build that you might need an electrician for. This could be your ceiling lights or your wall lights.
It's really important to think about that at the very beginning of your build because any mistakes you make now, could be quite costly in the future.
Your second level is placing floor lamps in your space anywhere you need extra light to support the fixed lighting. Floor lamps are great for that because they can be placed in the corner of a room to stop nasty shadow. They can also be used to create natural partitions.
The third layer is your ambient lighting. That can be your table lights and also your floor lamps. Table lamps are great for a also highlighting dark corners on a cabinet or highlighting a beautiful piece of artwork on a wall. And actually they're really good at creating mood and atmosphere within a room.
I think as long as you think about those three layers, you can't go far wrong."
Helen: "Top tip is having enough lighting. So making sure you have really good access to lighting in the first place and planning it at the design stage.
My number two top tip would be having statement lighting in your home. Create a real talking point and centrepiece in your room. For example you could hang a beautiful modern chandelier over your dining table, or have a colour pop floor lamp in the corner of your room.
Number three would be to introduce portable lighting into your home. So layering in table lamps that you can take with you to your next space. Or even a wall light that can be plugged in and taken away really easily."
Helen: "So I think your splurge should be in the planning. I think you've really got to understand where you're going to put your lighting in the room and how you're going to use your space. The time and money you spend at the beginning will save you money later."
Helen: "Sustainability was really important to us when we founded the company. What we didn't want to be is another retailer adding more emissions and products to the world. It's kind of why we started the company in the first place.
We only produce what we need. We don't have a huge amount of wastage or things to mark down that haven't sold. We also made sure plastic free packaging was set up from the beginning.
We also give our customers the opportunity to offset their own emissions for ten years of usage so you can use your light guilt free."
"2021 has been about adding texture back into your home.
2022 is about more muted tones. We're actually seeing a lot of cream come back! I think actually people might start painting magnolia again!"