Lighting up the room

Jim Lawrence is a British manufacturer of iconic, traditional lighting and home accessories. All the products are designed, assembled and finished in-house using traditional techniques. Here we ask the team some crucial lighting questions…

Jim Lawrence was set up from the kitchen table of Jim and Sheena’s Suffolk farmhouse in 1994. Starting with a small range of candlesticks and chandeliers, gates, railings and curtain poles followed to cater for the demand for stylish, designer quality fixtures and fittings, made with natural materials. When a customer asked if Jim’s candlesticks could be made electric, the lighting side of the business began and this now accounts for 60–70% of the company’s sales.

Q. Are there challenges to finding good lighting solutions in period homes?
Period homes are often unique and need a thoughtful approach to lighting to match their character. Many of our lights were originally designed with Jim’s family farm in mind. Appreciating that our customers face similar challenges (whether that be low ceilings, solid walls, or quirky electrics) we have adapted many of our designs to solve these common dilemmas or make a feature out of them where possible.
On a basic level, all our cable and chain can be shortened at home or ordered with a longer length depending on ceiling height.
At the other end of the spectrum, we design a Universal Conduit Kit – ideal for introducing heritage, industrial style to a property or where solid walls prevent customers from hiding electrics in a cavity. We also recently added Plug-in Wall Lights to our collection, allowing customers to enjoy our best-selling Wall Lighting designs without the need for an electrician.

Q. Why are different levels of lighting in a room recommended by designers?
Layering your lighting is essential for adding depth and modifying the energy around you. Bringing in pools of light from different sources like table lamps, wall lighting and pendants is the key to a balanced atmosphere while giving you the option to dial the cosiness up or down depending on the mood or time of day. With us there’s ample choice and, where lampshades are involved, an extensive catalogue of fabrics to bring a little texture and colour to your home too.⁠

Q. What approach to lighting would you advise for a multi-functional space?
Rooms that are multi-functioning such as a kitchen, bathroom or utility room, will require more light than a bedroom or living room. In a kitchen diner you might need brighter light for cooking, a more subdued look for hosting an evening meal and something in-between for everyday use.
Centrally placed ceiling or pendant lights will throw their light all round a room so are better for general tasking purposes, whereas a wall or ceiling-mounted spotlight can be angled towards you to give bright, focused light, or away from you onto a wall or ceiling to add to the general ambience.

Q. Can you calculate the level of light required in different sized rooms?
While there are no strict rules, you can work out the approximate level of light you need by calculating your room size in square metres and multiplying it by 19 for LED or CFL bulbs and by 15 for halogen bulbs.
For example, if your room measures 4m x 5m it has an area of 20 square metres. If you are using LED bulbs, multiply this by 19 (20 x 19) giving a total of 380 watts, or 3800 lumens. The lumen level will vary depending on the bulb so check the lumen level of each bulb to ensure you reach your overall target.

Q. Should the direction of windows affect people’s lighting decisions?
Absolutely. North-facing rooms tend to be cooler and darker than south-facing ones which are typically warmer. East and west-facing rooms vary throughout the day.
If you get a lot of sunlight during the day you may only need ambient low lighting to relax with at night. In turn, a shady room may require a few lighting options to maintain a lovely light throughout the day.

Q. What restrictions are there with bathroom and kitchen lighting?
Great care must be taken when considering bathroom lighting. Featuring hand-blown glass and specially designed fabric shades, our collection of bathroom lights is IP rated for use in a wet environment and made from the highest quality natural brass and steel to ensure their quality and durability. What this means in practice is while retaining the style and vintage of old-fashioned light fittings, each design is carefully constructed to meet the latest British standards.
If you’re unsure about IP ratings, there is more information on our website but don’t hesitate to pop in and ask us in the showroom for further advice.

Q. How have lights and lighting design adapted around sustainability?
Our lighting designs have always been sustainable as they are made of solid, natural materials such as brass and iron, which can last a lifetime if treated well. They are also infinitely recyclable as both materials can be melted down and used again. Probably, the biggest impact on sustainability has come from the move to LED bulbs as they use a fraction of the energy of old-fashioned halogen and incandescent bulbs.

Q. What do you advise for outdoor lighting?
Whether you embrace cottage-garden style, favour the contemporary or are chasing a traditional look, we have many outdoor lighting solutions to suit your style. However, for those after something a little different for a central source of light and an authentic rustic feel, our hand-cast iron Fire Bowl creates a stylish focal point for outdoor entertaining, as well as a great source of warmth and light on those cooler evenings. Our Hurricane Candle Sconce will also add magical light to a patio, courtyard or barbecue area or wherever you would like to enjoy flickering candlelight where wiring is impractical.

Jim Lawrence Lighting and Home, Bath Showeroom, 114-116 Walcot Street, Bath | 01225430691