• Emma Merry Styling

Don’t put the big light on!

Your guide to avoiding the glare of the big light in every room of your home.


It’s not that we don’t all love a big central pendant light; we just HATE the harsh light it omits!

We’ve all been there, you’re in bed, your partner puts on the interrogation BIG LIGHT light to find his iPhone charger at 6 am, you immediately shout, “quick turn off the big light, what do you think you’re doing? put the bloody lamp on”



I’m here to suggest that you never have to feel like you’re being blinded at 6 am in some commando surprise attack by harsh lighting!


Are you with me?


Here at Emma Merry styling when approaching all our projects, we consider the lighting of the spaces we are working on as an initial priority. We look at the natural light of each room, how it comes into the room throughout the day, we even look at seasonally how the light will change and affect the space. We evaluate the uses for the room and who will be using them, we look at how that will change with the seasons and plan accordingly.

Did you know that lighting can actually change the appearance of your painted walls? For example, white paint fares well in the summer months (think greek whitewashed villas) and truly come into their own in September with the warm autumn light, but the other 7 months they can be dull, cold and sterile. Warmer whites like satin slipper and schoolhouse white are my preferences for u.k homes, with their almost soft hug warm light, when paired with the right lighting.


So here's our top 3 Considerations for lighting in every room, we use this as a checklist and my hope is that this blog will help you to avoid one central pendant and dark corners that subsequently shrink the room.


Task lighting- These lights are needed for performing accurate tasks, e.g cooking, reading, bathing. The best lights for these are spotlights, along with pivoting lamps and desk lamps that can move to the exact spot in the room at the right time of the day or night. Pendant lights over the kitchen island to fall over the barstool seating areas. The pendant over the dining room table will be a task light come Christmas, however, most evenings you will use it on the dimmer setting as this will offer a more relaxed mood.


Mood lighting – These lights are needed for creating the illusion of soft summer light with homely vibes coming in the form of table lamps, wall lights. Wall lights that throw light both up and down can give the illusion of height in a low ceiling corridor. The symmetry of these in a hallway forms an eye-catching display much like art, whilst offering an attractive alternative to spotlights. Lamps for us at Emma Merry Styling are a pivotal point in the design, they can up level the most basic space, create grandeur whilst also meeting a need.


Quick lighting – These lights are what you reach for when you first come home on a wet November evening, they direct your way when you’re on a midnight mission to the fridge. These a culmination of the above. The important point to note with these lights is the placement of the switches, they need to be placed in an instinctive position. By this I mean if you always walk in the bathroom and reach right for the switch that’s when it needs to go, don’t overthink it, first thoughts are best.

Whilst we're on the subject of bathrooms, I also love to specify sensor led lights close the loo, these are activated each time you walk into the room. Bathrooms lights can be tricky as they need to be ip rated, I note below the guide on what you can use where. As a rule of thumb, you have to think if you can physically splash it with water it needs to be a sealed light e.g.: you can’t touch the bulb.




In the UK we have crazy small bathrooms so I always specify closed lights due to the steam and moisture. If space is at a premium, then lights within the wall cabinetry or smart mirror is an effective solution to this issue. I often find some great alternative bathroom lights in the exterior lighting section as these are all tested for external patio use so obvs will fare well in the bathroom.


Working with Seasonal light;

November – March Is a dull light right? with a splattering of the soft morning sun that comes in the form of a 9 am frost that will often make a guest appearance for a few hours, then exit stage right by 12.30. The majority of your morning and evening tasks will need to be performed in the dark or by dusks light. This needs to be considered. I love wall lights for this season as these can be left on from the moment you wake to the moment you leave the house. Floor lamps and table lamps add to this mood when you're taking your coffee in the kitchen the spotlights don’t quite cut it. Spotlights over this island can seem quite harsh but are needed in areas where you need direct light like the bathroom and kitchen prep zones. Spotlights kind of fall under the big light memo “use them wisely”


Tactile lighting

Tactile lighting for us is the number one place we love to inject some texture into space, with ceramic lamp bases pared with heavy linen shades, wall lights in a cool metallic or leather vibe this offer that juxtaposition into the design of the space. We are currently obsessing over wicker and rattan shades as seen here in our Warlingham project. Who would have thought this rattan pendant shade started life a hat! The wall lights seen below are a great example of rattan and brass mixed materiel is something we feel will never grow old.



Finally, Hardware, by that I mean sockets and switches, these as a rule of thumb need to be the same finish eg: brass, chrome, matt black. They can vary in a dimmer or straight switch or toggle but if the pate remains the same it contributes to a curated look as you travel through the home.


As always this can seem like a daunting and If you've read this far your probably feeling overwhelmed and I don't blame you as a studio we create on average 24 room designs every year and we learn something new every day.


Which is why we are so proud to launch our new service the pre-build consultancy, we aim to highlight the potential pitfalls when undertaking a house extension /renovation before you start. Within this 2 hour session, we examine the architect's plans, with a view to futureproofing your home. Focusing on how you will live in the space on a daily basis.

Our key objective is to ensure each room scheme works together with design continuity.

Once the session concludes we send you over a full video link to watch back at your leisure as the information comes thick and fast and we don't want you to miss a beat.


Head over to our services page and hit the contact us tab to book your session and get your project underway.


That’s all folks! I really hope you found the piece interesting, and as always I’m happy to answer any further questions you may have or head over to email – emma@EmmaMerryStyling.com. All images & mood board copyright are owned by Emma merry styling except where noted. Please make sure you credit and tag if you use them. Thank you. x

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