Brights ideas that will light up your life

Take a shine to these nine new lighting ideas

Best in Class: Lighting Design

Best in Class 1
Light fixtures can add considerable drama to an interior as well as visual warmth as Mullen Lighting's recent art deco-inspired work on Dublin superpub Café En Seine illustrate. The good news about its striking pieces, part of its recent refurbishment by Millimetre Design is that you can first see the chandeliers in all their glory in situ hung below a russet roof in a space that is double height before you decide to buy.

The enormous Saint Denis, €22,755, and the Santa Fe, €20,295, won't work in smaller homes but the Helena, €2,890, will and all are available online where you can also warm up dark winter nights with a simple and affordable colour switch, replacing cool white bulbs with a new gold standard. Its extra large gold bulbs in organic shapes will add warming glows to wall, overhead and table lights. The Light-Emitting Diode (LED) design is energy efficient and emits extra warm light. Measuring just 16.5cm wide by 27cm long each costs €56.;

Best in Class 2

In a living room the modern way to work pendant lighting is to hang it low and at different drops over a table to create a focal point. Pictured is the Lord pendant whose globes of hand-blown glass will warm up the coldest of spaces. The design is by Nicolas Holfin for Swedish firm Rubn where the lighting is built by hand. This style is available in 20cm, 25cm and 30cm diameter globes and comes in smoked, brown or opal options. The metalwork is iron and lacquered brass. Prices for the three sizes are, respectively: €275, €365 and €495 to order from Hicken Lighting.;

Best in Class 3

Add a welcome glow to hallways with some wall-hung linear lighting from Tal’s 1U range, which comes in either black or white casing. The LED tubes can be wall-mounted, as pictured, used in kitchen backsplash uplighting, offices and in exteriors to highlight an architectural shape. They can be surface-mounted, recessed or flush-mounted and come in red, amber, green and royal blue coloured lights as well as warm and cool whites.

Prices vary but a 1m by 1.25m suspended profile sells at €418 while a 1m by 3.4m black suspended is €616 to order through Wink Lighting. You also need to factor in a space to locate the driver to run the LED tape and may be located in the ceiling above or in a cupboard near the wall light options.

Best in Class 4

In the library of Rosalind Wilson Design’s Antrim Grove project, the bookshelves have become a functional feature by adding well-positioned strip lighting. Plan where you want to put the lighting strips before you sign off on any woodwork design and factor in electrician costs to the end result, says cabinet maker Alan Gallagher.

"It may be enough to light one shelf within each vertical instead and have a similar effect but without such intense illumination," says Gallagher. He suggests a soft pearl white or you can also go for a lighting system that changes colour at the flick of a remote control or an app on your phone. Something similar, about 2½m high by 4m long, will cost between €8,000 and €9,000. The lighting will cost from about an additional €1,400, he says.

Best in Class 5

Printed lampshades are a really easy and affordable way to layer lighting within a room. Emma J Shipley's velvet printed lampshades offer a lovely way to diffuse light and bring pattern into the room, in the manner of American film-maker Wes Anderson. Shipley, whose decorative scarves were the first thing to draw the eye of Harvey Nichols, Liberty and Fortnum & Mason, produces covetable bed linen, mobile phone covers and has even collaborated with furniture makers Clarke & Clarke on a range of armchairs. Pictured is Tigris, a velvet drum, 35½cm in diameter, that costs about €69, ex-delivery from the UK.

Best in Class 6

Amsterdam and Tel Aviv-based interior design and architecture studio Baranowitz + Kronenberg has created a lush retreat from the madding crowds with its work on the Sir Victor Hotel in Barcelona, overlooking Gaudi’s Casa Mila and with views of Sagrada Familia.

The company designed some cool lighting for its Mr Porter restaurant using tube lights with amber skirt-like shades to flatter the skin of diners below. You can order these direct from the company. A more affordable option that offers the same sleek shape but not the same warming amber is available via Nordlux, through National Lighting, and costs from €418.

Best in Class 7

Tristan Auer of Paris-based Wilson Associates thinks of lighting as a form of brushstroke that highlights features within a space. His work brings niches and period features to the fore and his recent design for the first hotel of the Orient Express collection is a flight of fancy that evokes the wagon bar of the famed Orient Express, using art deco-inspired lamplight, back-lit shelves housing glasses and champagne bottles and woven bulrush lanterns overhead to imbue the space with stylish shadowplay.

These are all ideas that are affordable to implement at home. Ikea's bamboo range of pendants includes Knixhult, €40, Sunnerling, €50 and Roja, €60. Draping swathes of silk above will help dial down any ambient noise and add dramatic effect if you live in a home with good ceiling heights.;

Best in Class 8

Detroit's The Siren Hotel is in what was once the Wurlitzer Building and its Candy Bar is a cocktail corner accessed via theatrical velvet drapes. In pride of place is a 1970s Murano glass chandelier found in Paris by the hotels design firm Ash NYC. Weighing in at more than 680kg, the ceiling had to be reinforced to hang the light fixture. But it is the use of an oversize disco ball – just peeking into view and found in Providence, Rhode Island – to refract its light, table lamps and sconces that makes the space seem so alluring.;

Best in Class 9

Well-positioned table lamps set on a dimmer switch or one of the newer portable options that you can recharge will create a lovely layered effect to the lighting of a room. The oak Turbine, by Renaud Thiry for Roche Bobois, pictured, comes in three sizes from small, 30cm by 42cm, €1,390 to large, 32cm by 70cm, €1,730, is one way to play with texture. J Adams & Co Pearl lamp with smoked acrylic sides, about €650 is another while Michael Mortell’s 1950s Italian job by Gilardi and Barzaghi, with its onyx base, brass shaft and glass orange and white shade, €1,900, channels the vintage.

Flos's battery-operated Bon Jour is just one of many LED lamps that you can bring from room to room. It is available from a range of suppliers and costs from about €299 but you can buy designs that dim from about €20 on Amazon. The beauty of these is they are cordless and can be used inside and out.;;

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in property and interiors