From the strong Art Deco shapes seen at Soho Warehouse, Los Angeles, to the restrained glamour of DUMBO House's glass pendants, bold yet practical lighting is part of our signature style. Bedrooms, dining areas, living rooms and workspaces feature a layered lighting approach and a combination of shapes, from retro to Modernist.
Two of our Soho House Lead Designers, Ben Neville and Harriet Liley, share lighting tips for creating a practical yet ambient glow in every space and room of the home. Between them, they have designed Houses across the globe, including 76 Dean Street in London, Soho House Tel Aviv, newly opened 180 House in London, and our international network of workspaces, Soho Works.
1. 'It's all about setting a mood that transitions easily from day to night. In our House living spaces, we always allow for three separate circuits: controlling ceiling lights, wall sconces and table lamps. Each has separate dimmers, so we can layer the light.'
2. 'Consider a large vintage chandelier or pendant in the centre of the room or over your coffee table. If your sofa sits centrally, adding a pair of oversized lamps to side tables to frame it, or to a console behind the sofa, works brilliantly. When the night draws in, make the room cosy by adding in pools of light from floor lamps.'
3. 'At our Houses, we love an ambient space: flattering, low lighting coupled with candlelight is key to keeping things intimate and cosy. It can transform the experience of a living room.'
1. 'Create an intimate feel at the dining table with a dropped pendant light overhead. Go for odd numbers if space allows. A single pendant is perfect for smaller dining settings, but a trio is impactful in larger schemes.'
2. 'The same rule applies for lighting over a kitchen island. In the Houses, we don't shy away from hanging pendants lower than usual over the table, as this focuses the event of dining. But we avoid suspending lighting so low that it blocks out guests who are facing one another.'
3. 'With clever lighting, the same scheme can fulfil many different living requirements, from cosy dinners to family homework sessions and long Sunday lunches. Layers allow you to concentrate light pools in one space to close out the rest of the room, or to open it out by lighting the whole area at once.'
1. 'In bedrooms, as in all rooms, light bulbs are an important consideration. The key is to use a warm-white, dimmable bulb. Make sure that the lighting temperature of the bulb is below 2700k. Also consider switching to more energy-efficient LEDs; they will last typically 50 times longer than an incandescent lamp.'
2. 'We like using gathered linen or silk shades, and we're currently enjoying natural materials such raffia or rattan, too. Our rule of thumb when pairing shades and bases is that the height of the shade should be about three-quarters the height of the base. And the width of the shade is roughly equal to the height of the lamp, from base to fitting. Finally, opting for a shade half an inch wider than the base on both sides will help keep the whole piece looking balanced.'
3. 'Add a dimmer switch to overhead lighting and bedside lamps. In our House bedrooms, all the lighting can be controlled from the bedside to save getting out of bed. If you can, put reading lights on individual switches to prevent disturbing a sleeping partner.'
1. 'For high-level task lighting at home, go for something minimal in feel. We like to use simple, ceiling track lighting, because it tends to disappear into the architecture of the space, focusing the eye on the lower level decorative pieces. Introducing a domestic aesthetic is important, so we also mix lots of vintage items in with task lighting.'
2. 'For a darker work corner, such as an eave or under-stairs space, try placing a large decorative table lamp on your desk with a pale shade. You can use a baffle on the underside to soften any glare from the bulb and spread the light more evenly across your desk. A fun, colourful lamp base will also add some vibrancy.'
3. 'It's worth considering that a statement piece needs to look just as good in natural daylight as it does lit. A vintage chandelier or a bold silhouette helps bring a sense of decoration and polish to the simplest of home-working spaces.'