Winter lighting at Brocante
Come winter I get obsessed with two things: keeping warm and getting the lighting right throughout the house so my delicate senses are never jarred by the need to switch on overhead lights and I can tip-toe around the house enjoying pretty pools of low light from the myriad of lighting options I have in each room...
This has long been an obsession because I have two pet hates in decorating life. First and foremost, finding myself sitting in somebody's house in that odd grey hour between early Winter dusk and dark when those too mean to switch on a lamp will insist on blinking their way through until light becomes a necessity if they aren't to kill themselves tripping over the dog, and then, probably somewhat worse: those who take it in to their heads to throw a LOT of light on the subject by clicking the switch and illuminating the entire street with a bare 100 watt bulb dangling over their silly heads.
As I mention in The Winter House it strikes me that the place to start when it comes to Winter lighting is having all your existing lamps on timer plugs so that when darkness begins to descend, your lamps auto-magically switch themselves on and all those who might ordinarily be tempted to switch on the overhead light are not afflicted by squinting eyes and thus the thought never enters their head. Though let it be known here and now that I am not adverse to removing bulbs from overhead light fittings and even had my electrician REMOVE the overhead light fitting in favour of gorgeous wall lamps in my living space. I am of course the extreme in all manner of things. And the fact that in other areas of the house I favour chandeliers dripping in loveliness, but insist that they only be switched to the lowest setting on their respective dimmer switches should tell you all that you need to know about me.
My next tip is never to skimp on bulbs. You can of course head to the pound shop and bulk buy cheap bulbs that not only pop left, right and centre but all too often omit either dim, barely there grey light or the kind of harsh, uncompromising glare only Cold War era spies under interrogation should ever be subjected to. But the options for creating the kind of cozy lighting so central to cocooning you in Winter are vast and you simply need to consider spending just a teeny few more pennies to buy bulbs that will not only last longer but also enhance the light provided by each of your lamps, You can buy cream bulbs, fireglow bulbs, vintage bulbs (like the one above), pearly bulbs and pink ones, each casting a unique glow and gently offering warmer pools of light than the standard bulb generally can.
Finally I do believe that Winter is the time to upgrade at least one of the lamps of light fitting in your house. While we may barely think about our fittings as decorative elements in the Summer months, they become all important and very often the next focus of a room after the fire during Winter, and they are also quite the most perfect way to create an eclectic vibe in a vintage room by the careful introduction of a well chosen fitting along modern lines like the Axo Light range from LampCommerce.
Oooh and Housekeepers? The best tip I know for optimising the light from your existing lamps and fittings ? Keep the bulbs and shades thoroughly dust free: it really does make a difference and only takes a few seconds to swipe your microfibre duster over each one in turn...
Here's to a cozy, well-lit Winter Darlings.