Design: I love lamp

Look to cafes to shed some light at home, says Ben Crawford

Lighting is incredibly important in any space. Photo / Supplied
Lighting is incredibly important in any space. Photo / Supplied

"Lamp. I love lamp." Words immortalised by the movie Anchorman. I too have a thing for lamps. And lights. Big ones. Small ones. New ones. Old ones. Wall ones. Ceiling ones. But they can't be any old light. They need to be beautiful. Even if they have great personality, the attraction needs to be there to begin with. Right?

I've got a huge crush on Anglepoise lamps. They're stunning. You know the ones, all industrial looking in a range of metallic colours complete with a spring loaded arm directing light in virtually any direction. In fact I've got four of them in my small one bedroom apartment - a couple for my bedside lighting, one over my desk and one in my living room.

Lighting is incredibly important in any space but it's often an after thought when renovating or building. As well as being a design feature, it creates atmosphere and mood and can actually act as a navigational aid around your home.

There are three basic types of lighting to think about. Ambient is the main source supporting natural light, task lighting helps you do stuff like reading and putting on make up, while accent lighting does what it says on the box, provides focus onto things like artwork or key architectural features.

And did you know that the type of bulb you choose is also a key consideration?

Bulbs vary in the colour of light they emit, from a warm yellowish hue to a cooler blue, so depending on what you choose, your paint can look quite different on the walls compared to when you picked it out in the paint shop.

Whoa. Too much to think about? It's not actually that daunting and there are heaps of places nailing it to get inspiration from, such as Shaky Isles café in Kingsland, which definitely passes the initial once over beauty test. In fact, if Shaky's lights were walking down the street their bulbs would probably explode with the volume of wolf whistles they'd attract.

A multitude of industrial lights cascade from a central ornate fitting in the ceiling. Caged Belgium pendants hang over a row of cushy bench seating, raw exposed bulbs dangle above smaller tables and workshop inspired shades add some weighty punch to the service area.

I reckon this would be a pretty sweet idea to pull off in a house to light kitchen, dining and living areas.

Create a central point in your ceiling at home. Decide whether you want to make a feature of the fitting as they have done in Shaky Isles. From here run the flex cable to the three areas. Personally I'd draw attention to the flex by using coloured or patterned cord. Over your dining table hang a long, low row with a wide shade to create a moody, romantic atmosphere. Above the kitchen bench dangle some exposed pendants, again in a row, but be mindful how low you go because you don't want to be hitting your head while doing the dishes. Finally in your living area go with multiple clusters over the key seating spots.

Where to get it

• Shaky Isles - 492 New North Rd, Kingsland
• Anglepoise Lamps - TradeMe or The Vintage Shop
• Light shades and pendants - Maison Boudi
• Coloured flex - Green with Envy

Ben Crawford and sister Libby won the first series of The Block NZ. They now run their own creative advertising agency Libby & Ben, see

- Herald on Sunday

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