Get switched on; Gabrielle Fagan picks out a few bright ideas for your home.
T'S so important to get the lighting scheme right in your home to create a cheering, bright atmosphere no matter what the natural light levels.
The rewards of a successful scheme are high. Not only does good lighting lift our mood, but it also makes bland rooms look exciting. Lighting can disguise unsightly features and even alter the dimensions of a space.
Lucy Martin, design director of John Cullen Lighting, is crystal clear about what good lighting can achieve.
"Good lighting should be discreet, subtle and make a room look stylish and ap pealing."
People are becoming increasingly inspired by lighting effects seen in restaurants, hotels and clubs, and want to try to replicate them at home, Martin says.
We've turned the spotlight on to some of the best lights around - so don't be left in the dark this winter.
Shine, sheen and metallics are key elements this season, and ceiling pendant lights are back in fashion.
In a living room, use a combination of general overhead or wall lighting supplemented by portable light sources such as table, floor or task lamps, or even well-positioned ceiling spotlights.
To create a relaxed mood, consider accent lighting hidden behind cornices or bookshelves or highlight pictures with a picture light.
Fit dimmers so you can change the mood of a room.
EYE CATCHING LAMPS
Beautiful table lamps are like jewellery in a room and should be chosen carefully so their style and size complements your home and scheme. There's no need to splash the cash with supermarkets like Asda, Sainsbury's and Tesco offering great lamps at cheap-as-chips prices.
Best buy: Jasper Conran's J Home range Glass Rod table lamp, pounds 45, and matching pendant shade, pounds 35.
Bhs has long led the way on design standard lights at budget prices, and now has a lighting collection by leading designer, Kelly Hoppen. Best buy: A Chrome & Charm table lamp, pounds 50, from Kelly Hoppen's Classic collection, has a shade trimmed with tiny char ms.
You can afford new lights for every room if you choose from B&Q's range, which includes the Elba lamp, pounds 19.97, and Pelota Glass Sphere, pounds 14.97. Best buy: Benson Acrylic Stack lamp, pounds 39.97.
PENDANT LIGHTS & CHANDELIERS
Bold, beautiful chandeliers, which are like sculptural works of art, are established as lighting stars while pendant lights are enjoying a revival. Best buy: Chella 5-arm chandelier with glass drops, pounds 90. Cover ugly bulbs with a Beaded bulb cover, pounds 10.
New Scandinavian homestore ILVA has the trends sorted with its competitively priced lighting. Best buy: Alisha six-arm chandelier, in ultra chic black, pounds 180.
B&Q has traditional or contemporary pendants and chandeliers.
Best buy: Modern Beaded random wire bowed pendant shade, pounds 14.97 and a white Snowball lampshade, pounds 17.97.
Marks & Spencer's lighting sparkles with style.
Best buy: Capiz shell pendant shade, pounds 29.50 and Tangled metal and crystal modern chandelier, pounds 99.
These are excellent for task lighting as well as highlighting a corner of a room.
Barker & Stonehouse's lighting collection has the best of modern or traditional styles. Best buy: Eli small floor lamp, pounds 189.
Linda Barker's lights range from the pretty and feminine, such as an Ostrich feather-trimmed Frou Frou lamp, pounds 39.95 and chandeliers from around pounds 50.
Best buy: Classic chrome floor lamp, pounds 145.
Marks & Spencer has both traditional and modern options.
Best buy: Its Tangled collection in a satin finish with sparkling crystals and tiny bulbs.
New technology and clever designers are ensuring that lighting needn't be boring.
Greenapple specialises in glass furniture and homeware, and its glass Side Table has a lamp set within its base, pounds 258.50.
Alternatively, choose a hand-painted glass fibre sphere Deco lamp, pounds 98, from new home store ILVA
ASDA: 0500 100 055/www.asda.co.uk
B&Q: 0845 850 0175/www.diy.com
Barker & Stonehouse: 01642 230 988/www.barkerandstonehouse.co.uk
Really Linda Barker: 0870 242 0651/www.reallylindabarker.co.uk
Bhs: 0845 196 0000/www.bhs.co.uk/kellyhoppen
John Cullen Lighting Design Service, which costs around pounds 100. 020 73715400/www.johncullenlighting.co.uk
Debenhams: 08445 61 6161/www.debenhams.com
Greenapple: 01727 872 525/ www.greenapple.co.uk
ILVA: 0845 245 8285/www.ilva.co.uk
John Lewis: 08456 049049/ www.johnlewis.com
Laura Ashley: 0871 230 2301/www.lauraashley.com
Marks & Spencer: 0845 603 1603/ www.marksandspencer.com
Good lighting should be discreet and subtle
Victoria Lamp, pounds 235' Jack & Rose Pisces Lamp, pounds 149' Virgo Modern Lamp, pounds 106' Eli small floor lamp, pounds 189. All from Barker and Stonehouse' Jewelled pendant shade, pounds 49.50, from Linda Barker' Marks and Spencers Tangled collection: 12-Light Chandelier, pounds 99' Table Lamp, pounds 39.50' Floor Lamp, pounds 99' Snowball lampshade, pounds 17.97, from B&Q