Creative livingSimple living & Interiors

Conversation with Panos Ferentinos: Lights, where do I start?

By 6th September 2018 September 28th, 2019 No Comments

I’m so excited to have Panos Ferentinos, a Lighting Designer from the multi-award winning illuminationworks as my guest today. Days are getting shorter and it won’t be long before winter arrives and we will have to start  using more artificial light than natural light, so now is the time to think if we have the correct lighting at home.

Panos has 14 years experience in the lighting industry. He has worked for projects such as the Selfridges Department Store in London to 21c Museum Hotels in USA. Panos knows his lights! 🙂

Lighting can make or break a beautiful interior, it can make us feel comfortable or uncomfortable and can be too  complex and technical for most of us to understand and get right. Nowadays there is no shortage of options, from warm lights to cool lights, from creating ‘zones’ to focal points, anything can be achieved using the right lights. It can be daunting, but here Panos kindly shares all his knowledge, from the technical bits to styling ideas and hopefully this will inspire you to look at your lighting at home and experiment with some different options.

Bring more light in your life

Are there any tricks to enhance your light at home?

  • Replace your existing light halogen bulbs with LED bulbs. This a good energy saving solution as well.
  • Add dimmers. This allows you to easily change the mood and brightness of your lights depending on the time of day. Be careful though when dimming LED, dimmers must be compatible with the light source.
  • Table lamps are great, oversized pendant, or a big size floor lamp can bring the focal point that a room requires.
  • Incorporate reflective surfaces into your home e.g. mirrors, white wall colour and neutral fabrics.

What is the difference between warm white LED source and cool white light source?

  • 2700K warm white light has a more relaxing hue, with a hint of red and yellow tones which is perfect for bedrooms, living rooms and hallways. Warm white LEDs mimic the colour emitted by most traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • 3000K has a crisp, brighter feel which is ideal for kitchen and bathrooms.
  • 4000K colour temperature contains more blue light, looks brighter to the eye and is good for commercial and offices.

Bring more light in your life

Which is the best colour temperature option for me?

Here is some basic information to help you decide. Candlelight is around 1500K, the old incandescent bulbs are 2700K, tungsten halogen 3000K, cool white is at 4000K (often used in offices) and 6500K is a cold light similar to daylight.

If you like the traditional golden colour of a conventional lamp I would suggest warm white 2700K LED lighting which is the ideal choice for homes.

Is it ok to mix them up?

In general, residential lighting uses between 2200- 3000K, if you would like to mix them for effect, it’s best to stick with one colour temperature throughout, such as 2700K.

What I need to consider before I go out and buy my first light fitting?

  • Always buy light bulbs from reputable brands.
  • 2700K LED source – living room, bedroom & hallway
  • 3000K LED source – kitchen, study, bathroom, cupboard, office & retail.

Bring more light in your life

How can I create zones in an open plan living?

First consider how you would like to use each space, the light levels you need for particular tasks and the type of ambience you would like to create at different times of day. To create ambience in a space, you need separate layers of light, and contrast between higher and lower light levels. If you are designing a scheme, you must divide the lighting into three essential layers:

  • Ambient Lighting: Ambient light is perhaps the most basic of all illumination mimicking the effects of natural sunlight. Softer than harsh lighting, ambient lamps and wall lights are used to create a relaxing effect within a room.
  • Accent Lighting: this highlights key features and details within a space. Think carefully about where the lights are positioned, they should each be focused on a specific task. For example in the living room, downlights should positioned over a dining table or focused on an art wall. They should never be positioned over lounge/sitting areas. Pay close attention to the activity areas, such as kitchen, bathroom or work space areas and make sure these spaces have the most effective and efficient ambient lighting. If low lit, those spaces can make you feel tired and lethargic while brightly lit areas can help to energise you.
  • Feature Lighting: Decorative pendants, table and statement floor lamps provide an opportunity to add character and a focal point to the space. Also lights in built-in book shelves or self-displays can add more vertical lighting into a space making it more relaxing.

What is the difference between pendant lights and downlights and how should I use them?

Pendants provide soft ambient lighting to create a relaxing space to spend time with family and friends. They can be spaced along the length of the room to spread the light out, or they can be placed individually above tables within seating areas or workspaces for accent lighting. By varying the height of each pendant, you can create a look that’s both practical and unique. You can generally get away with hanging them at higher heights in a living room, especially if you pair them with a dimmer.

Downlights are a great way to create zones, navigate around the space and highlight your key pieces in your home. Also, using dimmers are perfect for setting the mood and creating just the right amount of light for reading or preparing a meal. Downlights are recessed, so work well in low ceilings.

Bring more light in your life

What is the best way to emulate natural light?

A good tip is to place mirrors opposite windows using them to direct and enhance the natural light. Another example, if you paint the walls in a light colour, this will amplify light quite significantly in the living areas.

However, if you want to mimic the look of natural light, use full-spectrum bulbs that simulate daylight to keep the light soft and warm. Full spectrum lights offer a colour temperature of 6500K (daylight) and 96% CRI (Colour Rendering Index). I think it should only be used if necessary and only in work spaces.

What is your 3 go-to shops for beautiful but affordable lighting solutions?

  • West elm have a stylish and affordable lighting
  • Habitat have great range of lights also good selection of lampshades
  • If you are looking for best quality LED filament decorative bulbs, Tala is a British lighting brand and have beautiful collection of decorative lights

Always consult your electrician before you do any changes.

Any final words of wisdom?

“We live within this reality we create, and we’re quite unaware of how we create the reality.” – James Turrell

I admire James Turrell who’s an American artist primarily concerned with light and space.

Photo credits: 1: Ed Reeve | 2:Miguel Jaime | 3,4,5,6: Lyndon Douglas, as seen here

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