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How to use lights to create a luxury hotel-style bedroom

Fancy a bedroom that's as downright dreamy as any 5* hotel? Along with a good layout, a restful colour palette and a snooze worthy bed, you need great lighting. Neale Smith of lighting design consultancy, Foundry, shares some lightening tips. 

"It's all about the guest experience," says Neale at Foundry, which designs lighting for luxury hotel rooms. "But whether you're designing for a luxury hotel bedroom or a bedroom at home, they both need lighting that's practical and in keeping with the interior aesthetic. Any easy way to approach bedroom lighting is to break it down into three layers, starting with the functional layer. This lighting helps you carry out daily activities, such as the wardrobe lights that illuminate your clothes. Next up is feature lighting which we use to create interest, followed by 'final dressing'. This helps tie the scheme together, giving it a unique look and feel."


Layer 1

Functional lighting


Think about how you use the space. What time of day will it be used for most? Does it need to double as somewhere to work? Functional lighting (often referred to as ambient lighting) is the foundation of any lighting scheme, enabling you to navigate a room safely and carry out day-today activities, such as getting dressed in the morning with ease. Typical functional lighting fixtures can be achieved with a raft of basic fixtures including chandeliers, dimmable downlights, or ceiling-mounted lights. Main sources of light generally need a higher build wattage than lighting used for adding personality and warmth. 



Layer 2

Feature lighting 


Feature lighting, or accent lighting as it is also know, highlights the areas you wish to draw attention to within the space. This might be an interior or architectural feature such as a fireplace, a reading 'nook' chair or even a piece of artwork. Feature lighting helps you create little windows of interest that, along with all other interior elements, help to tell a room's story - its personality, whether it's intended to reflect the homeowners, a specific style or the home's architecture. Your choice of featuring lighting will be dictated by the mood and aesthetic you wish to create, but common feature lights include wall grazers and uplighters. 


Fitzwilliam Hotel: Wall grazers draw attention to the view. © Foundry London


Layer 3

Final dressing 


Layer 3 is the cherry on the lighting cake. It's a chance to reinforce the look or style you wish to create, whether that's a traditional room or something more boho chic. The final dressing of the space could include a statement pendant or chandelier - this could double as a piece of artwork in itself; wall lights that perhaps pick up on the room's geometry' or table lights in a colour, fabric or pattern used elsewhere in the room. Either way, layer 3 helps bring the scheme together by tying it into the room aesthetic. Every room has a story to tell, after all. 


Illuminated geometric lights pick up on the room theme. © Foundry London


Neale Smith is director of Foundry, an award-winning team of expert lighting design consultants working on worldwide projects in hospitality, residential and retail.

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