hallway lighting

The Effect of Lighting Design on Health and Wellbeing

hallway lighting

Lighting is a vital element in any interior design. Capable of making a space feel larger and brighter or more intimate and atmospheric, lighting can transform a room and enhance its purpose. However, this isn’t the only reason why lighting is a critical principle in every project Shalini Misra undertakes.

The impact of lighting on health and wellbeing has been well-documented, yet many people continue to overlook the effects it can have. By understanding the connection between lighting and wellbeing, you can ensure that your interior design nurtures and uplifts you, as well as elevating the aesthetic and function of your surroundings.

How Does Lighting Affect Wellbeing?

Our bodies are designed to respond to light, with natural processes automatically responding to the lighting stimulus we’re exposed to. The circadian rhythm – or sleep/wake cycle – relies on periods of light and darkness to regulate itself. That’s why getting up early on a bright summer’s day can feel easier than waking up on a dark winter’s morning!

We need exposure to natural light to produce vitamin D, which is essential for optimal health, so it’s not surprising that our bodies are intrinsically linked and highly affected by lighting. Of course, we don’t rely solely on natural lighting now that we have artificial lights at our disposal, but this doesn’t minimise its impact. In fact, it highlights why lighting design is so important to our wellbeing and why we need to use it to maximise our health wherever possible.

Lighting Can Intensify Emotions

When the brightness, hue, or saturation of light is increased, it can amplify the emotions we’re already feeling. Conversely, decreasing brightness, hue, and saturation levels can lessen the intensity of emotions. Similarly, cool lights can increase alertness and make it easier to focus, while warm lighting boosts relaxation.

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, for example, unwinding in a dimly lit room can be more helpful than trying to relax in a bright space.

The effect of lighting on mood should be a decisive factor when using lighting design to elevate a space. If you’re designing a home office and want to be productive, efficient, and decisive, for example, cool, bright lighting can be advantageous. On the other hand, if you’re creating a relaxing den or soothing living space, muted lighting and soft glow lamps can offer the comforting and restful atmosphere you’re looking for.

Using Human-centric Lighting Design

To ensure your lighting design enhances health and wellbeing, it’s useful to take a human-centric approach. Essentially, this means being aware of the role that lighting has on the body’s natural circadian rhythm and using interior lighting to support this natural sleep-wake cycle.

By assessing how you use your space, you’ll find that it’s easy to take a human-centric approach to lighting design. If you have an open plan living space, for example, you may want to incorporate a variety of different lighting options to ensure that the versatility of the room is reflected. With brighter lights available for more active times, such as playing or working, and warmer, softer lighting on hand for restful evenings and relaxation, you can make sure that lighting is easily adjusted throughout the day to reflect the body’s natural cycles.

Alternatively, if you spend your working hours in a study and evenings in a den, you can incorporate cool, bright lights in your office space and warmer lighting in the den and living room and use the lighting design to reflect the purpose of the space.

Use Technology to Maximise Lighting Design

Technology is a fantastic way to optimise your lighting design, particularly as lighting designers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact light has on health and wellbeing. Now, health-enhancing lights, like SAD lamps for seasonal affective disorder or short-wavelength ‘blue’ lights for increased focus, are aesthetically pleasing, as well as functional.

Furthermore, the style of the lighting you choose can create a magical atmosphere in any space. From striking chandeliers to chic spotlights and slimline floor lamps to chunky table lamps, there are an array of lighting options that can be used in any environment.

How to Layer Lighting

If you want to get the most of your lighting design, both in terms of wellbeing and visual impact, a layered approach is beneficial. This increases the functionality of a room and allows you to modify the lighting based on the time of day, your activities, and your mood.

In its most basic form, layered lighting involves using multiple lighting sources to create a balanced environment. Instead of relying solely on ceiling lights, for example, you may choose to complement ceiling lighting with recessed lighting, wall lights, table lamps, and floor lamps.

By featuring lights at different heights, you can maximise their impact and versatility. Floor lamps and tabletop lighting allow you to modify the atmosphere in a room instantly and are easy to change or update in accordance with your overall interior design.

lighting a picture on a wall

Showcase Your Interior with Lighting

As well as using lighting as a core element of your interior design, it can also be used to showcase particular aspects of the design or the interior as a whole. If you have statement pieces in a room, for example, be sure to use the right lighting to showcase them for maximum impact. Whether you want to draw attention to a stunning piece of art on the wall or a beloved sculpture in the hallway, discreet yet impactful lighting can be a subtle and effective way to highlight the aspects of your interior design that you enjoy the most.

Create Spaces That Maximise Wellness

Now you have had a glimpse into the integral role that lighting plays in any interior design, you’ll be able to incorporate lighting design into your own interiors more effectively. With a human-centric approach, you can maximise the critical role that lighting has on health and use it to optimise well-being – as well as using it to enhance the visual impact and aesthetic of your interior design.


christmas table decorations

Decorate For the Christmas Period

christmas table decorations

With Christmas fast approaching, you’ll want to make sure that you’re all set for the holidays. Whether you are wrapping presents, preparing for visitors, or planning to relax and unwind over the festive season, decorating your home can transform your environment and give the space a seasonal feel.

To get a head-start on your festive interior design updates, take a look at these top tips to decorate for the Christmas period:

1. Make Fireplaces a Priority

If there’s one feature that’s perfect for festive decorations, it is a fireplace. Wherever fireplaces are situated in your home, be sure to make the most of them at Christmas. Whether you favour a traditional design or a more contemporary twist on Christmas, fireplaces are one of the easiest features to transform.

Remember – less can be more when you’re dressing a fireplace, particularly if you plan on lighting the fire over Christmastime! Strategically placed stockings, candle holders to add height to the mantlepiece, or discreet twinkling lights can be just as effective as larger decorations.

2. Design Your Centrepieces

For many people, sitting down for Christmas dinner with family and friends is the highlight of the festive period. If you’re hosting a series of events before the big day, it’s even more important to get the centrepieces right. Centrepieces can act as a link between the aesthetic of the interior design and the tablescape, so use them to maximise the overall impact of the space.

A festive garland can be a fantastic centrepiece on a rectangular dining table, particularly if you’re catering for numerous guests, while hanging pendants from a low light will create a stunning centrepiece and maximise table space.

3. Finalise Table Placements

Once your guest list is confirmed, you’ll be able to finalise your seating plans and create spectacular tablescapes. The right placements can be as simple as using chic runners and statement tableware but, at Christmastime, it’s the perfect opportunity to make things a little more special.

Patterned placements can complement your colour scheme and add frivolity to your festive dining table, for example, while coloured glasses and matching napkin rings turn any gathering into a sophisticated soiree.

4. Focus on the Entranceway

When people first arrive at your home, it’s the front door and surrounding area that will have the biggest impact, so don’t make the mistake of letting your festive decorations begin inside your home. Instead, use external décor to enhance your property and set the tone for your interior design. Hang a Christmas wreath on the door and add subtle lighting to illuminate your exterior design.

As guests step over the threshold, make sure there is a festive feel to greet them. Hallways can have a spectacular impact at any time, which makes them superb for special occasions. You may want to position a Nordic Fir dressed in baubles and lights in a large entranceway, for example, or run a lighted garland down the handrail of a statement staircase.

5. Embrace Nature at Christmastime

Incorporating nature into your interior design is an effective way to maximise wellbeing and give any space a lighter feel. When you embrace nature during the festive season, you’ll have the opportunity to incorporate a wide range of decorations and additions into your interior design. From pinecones and holly to magnolias and white roses, these natural elements can take pride of place in table centrepieces or be used to enhance the appearance of Christmas wreathes.

If you’re planning to have a natural tree this Christmas, keep an eye out for sparse or asymmetrical trees. These are on-trend this season and are an excellent way to maximise space and give your interior design a contemporary feel while reflecting the irregular shapes that are found in nature.

6. Combine Dark Hues with Metallic Shades

Metallics are always popular during the festive season and this year will be no different. From classic reds and golds to modern silver and cool chrome, you can add brightness when you incorporate metallic elements into your Christmas décor. In 2021, however, pairing darker hues with metallics is the way to go.

A deep French Rose pink combined with silver accessories can give your Christmas a vibrant feel, for example, while inky blues and gold add warmth and elegance. Combining darker shades with metallics makes it easy to incorporate your regular colour palette into your festive décor, so don’t be afraid to stray from the traditional and use new colour pairings this season.

7. Update Seating to Maximise Comfort

When you’re planning your Christmas events, don’t forget to increase the amount of seating available! If you’re hosting a large number of guests, you’ll want to ensure that you have sufficient space for everyone to relax comfortably. As well as adding extra chairs to your dining table, you may want to re-assess your living room or entertainment area and incorporate modular seating or stools to cater for your visitors.

8. Choose a Focal Point in Each Room

When you’re decorating your home for Christmas, select a particular feature or element as the focal point for each room. This will prevent you from cramming too much into a single space, but it will also encourage you to highlight the best features in each area. With more subtle décor throughout the rest of the room, you can be sure that a single focal point will capture everyone’s attention and showcase your design at its best.

Furthermore, selecting a focal point in each room will enable you to maximise space and avoid rooms from becoming overcrowded, which is especially important during the festive season, when you’re likely to have more guests in your home.

Preparing for the Festive Season

No matter how you plan to spend your time over the festive season, decorating for Christmas can always take longer than you expect! By beginning your preparations now, you can ensure your home is ready for everything the season brings. What’s more – you’ll give yourself a little extra time to relax, unwind and enjoy the festivities.