Sally Storey, Design Director at John Cullen Lighting, shares some trade secrets to help you achieve a successful – and chic – lighting scheme at home plus The Resident’s round-up of the best pendants, table and floor lamps available to buy. Story by Kara O’Reilly


There are three main types of lighting: ambient, which is the general lighting of a room and which sets the background (this could be from a chandelier and some table lamps, or an arrangement of down lights and wall lights); you then add in the task lighting, such as a reading lamp by a sofa, under-cabinet lights in a kitchen or wall lights in the bathroom; finally, you create the mood by dimming the ambient lighting and bringing up your feature lighting – such as a picture light to draw attention to a specific painting.


When planning a lighting scheme, the first thing to look at is the furniture layout as that shows how the room is going to be used. From there I can see where the table lights will go and if there are any key pictures that should be lit. Sometimes, in a large room, sofas are placed in the middle of the space, so it is worth putting in some floor sockets, otherwise you either end up with lighting all around the perimeter of the room and an emptiness in the centre, or flexes trailing everywhere. 


When you walk into a room, you look at the walls, not the ceiling, so think about how you are going to light them – whether with up-lights or picture lights or wall lights. People often focus on the pendant and forget about the walls and then wonder why the room doesn’t feel right. Avoid down-lights directly above people’s heads.

Here’s our pick of the best table lamps, pendants and floor lamps available to buy:






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