Expert advice: how lighting can transform your home

British designer Tara Bernerd shares her tips on illuminating your home

Ornate hotel lobby with pillars, tiled floor and giant chandelier
Tara Bernerd

British interior architect Tara Bernerd’s projects span the globe and range from New York to Hong Kong. She creates private residences for the super rich but also hotels for brands that include Thompson Hotels and Sixty Hotels. Her firm, Tara Bernerd & Partners is based in Belgravia, here she shares some lighting tips.

Create a statement
Lighting is a great way to add attitude and impact to a home. For a chalet in Gstaad, we introduced a chandelier by Italian brand Lolli e Memmoli to add colour and texture to a structured staircase and landing. Juxtaposed against the traditional pine panelling, it creates a feature point and really draws the eye. It’s important to balance grander fixtures with subtler lighting elements to ensure a softer, more intimate atmosphere. Additions such as spotlights, bidirectional wall lights and table lamps support the chandelier, creating layers that add depth to the space and increase the feeling of warmth.

Enhance existing architecture
You can use lighting to transform often overlooked architectural features, such as staircases, into something memorable, drawing out small details and highlighting the shape and structure. Flush-fit lighting beneath each of the stair treads is a chic and alluring, not to mention practical, way to do this. This discreet addition will add a glow
to a space that can often suffer from a lack of natural light.

Zone a space
Lighting is also an ideal way to subtly indicate the different functions of certain areas, especially within an open-plan layout. Carefully consider using up-lighting and table lamps, while spotlights are a great way of drawing the eye and highlighting key objects or pieces of art.

Set the mood
When creating the tone of a room, lighting is one of the main factors and can be transformative in terms of ambience. An understanding of how you wish to use the space is key – do you need to concentrate and work, or relax with soft, diffused light?

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration March 2019

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