Glow in the dark


Dark-coloured walls are having a moment. Whether navy, racing green or black, there’s something quite mysterious about a dark room. But how do you prevent it from feeling drab and lifeless? We asked OKA co-founder, Sue Jones, to share her fail-safe tips for lighting up a dark room.

If your room is dark, surely flooding it with the maximum amount of light possible is the answer? Sue says not. “Veer away from overhead lighting – it’s too bright. I only use overhead lighting with a dimmer, otherwise the harsh light spoils the atmosphere in a room.” The exceptions are in a hallway, where a decorative pendant lamp or chandelier can set the tone for the rest of a house, and in kitchens and bathrooms, where the light needs to be bright and more functional.

In her dark sitting room, Sue layered light using a combination of table lamps, floor lamps and wall lamps. “You ideally want to have a range of lighting options in a room, which can be used differently, depending on the time of day or year.” This means you could just turn on the table lamps for a subtle glow in the evening, or use all three types of lighting if you wanted to brighten up the space on a grey day.

Time to reflect

Lighting is always needed, even in summer. Big windows will of course help flood a dark space with light, but sometimes a few lighting tricks are essential. By placing lamps in front of mirrors or on top of a mirrored table, you can instantly double the amount of light in a room. You could even combine the two, so the light is reflected from behind and from below, to create a twinkling ‘hall of mirrors’ effect.

“Using mirrored surfaces in a dark room helps to lift and brighten the space. Any available light will bounce right off and back into the room,” says Sue. This effect also works well for bedrooms – using lamps on metallic or mirrored bedside tables help to illuminate the room whilst keeping a warm and relaxing tone.

Midnight feasts

As we usually entertain in the evening, dining rooms lend themselves to dark décor. But, Sue warns, “an improperly lit dining room can ruin a very good meal.” She took inspiration from lowlevel lighting found in fine-dining restaurants and jazz clubs, and placed a line of black lamps with black lampshades down the centre of the dining table.

“I love the metal shade of our Grisewood Lamp, it’s also quite small and thin, so it doesn’t take up too much space – something that’s very important on a dining table where you also need room for plates, glasses, servingware and other personal touches.” Of course, you’ll need to ensure you have sockets under your dining table and make holes in your tablecloth to thread the wire through, but we think the finished result is well worth the effort.

Topics: lighting

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