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Rooms can look dramatically different whether in natural or artificial (electric) light but, equally, by changing and adjusting how you use that light you, too, can alter the way a room looks – even having as much an effect on a room's dimensions as changing the paint colour on the walls!

Here are a few simple tips....

To maximise natural light available place a large mirror opposite the window – mirrors amplify light so this will reflect light around the room.

Let as much light as possible through the window – secondary glazing absorbs light, cluttered windowsills block light, and if you do need privacy, consider lighter options than heavy curtains, eg blinds.

Accept that the sun is the most efficient means of lighting a room so use electric light to create atmosphere – you may want a cosy, warm feel or a really dramatic background so harness electric light to create the desired effect because you can't control the sun!

Don't restrict yourself with a central hanging light source – choose more flexible options (eg directional track lights) to create pools of light in different areas; highlight a favourite painting or object; even bounce off a strategically placed mirror.

Don't have all your lighting at the same level – by mixing ceiling lights, uplighters, and

table lamps you can create light layers at the appropriate level for specific areas and activities, eg. reading.

Think about fitting floor or wall sockets in different positions enabling you to place lights where you choose without fear of trailing leads.

Use uplighters to highlight overhead architectural features, eg coving or decorative plasterwork.

Do ensure your lights have individual controls so you don't have to choose between dim-and-drear or Blackpool Illuminations!

To give an impression your room is larger, use wall washers on large areas of light coloured ceilings; uplighters to bounce light off ceilings and walls; and ensure all four corners of the room are lit. Another trick is to light one end of the room more than the other; your eye is naturally drawn to the lit end and can make the area appear longer than it is.

If you wish to create an impression of height, hang pendant lights lower than usual (providing they are not a hazard to heads!) or rely on vertical light beams to draw the eye upwards.

To create a warm, cosy feel to a room, either group table lamps together or use several placed individually to give low pools of light around the room (particularly effective in a large, high ceilinged room) as this softens all the hard edges. Also, try not to light the ceiling as this 'expands' the space and loses the cosiness.

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