Garden rooms remain as fashionable as ever in the UK, in fact their popularity appears to be going from strength to strength, particularly as the pandemic shows no sign of abating and more of us are seeking the opportunity to ditch the office and work from home in our own garden haven.
Garden rooms are available in a huge range of shapes and sizes but the most popular are the modestly sized rectangular versions, this is most likely due to the fact that the majority of gardens in the UK are of a modest size and are generally of a rectangular shape. Garden rooms can be an expensive purchase and, whether you buy a version that is simply delivered in prefabricated sections and installed by you or by your supplier, or one that is erected by a team on site, many garden room owners dislike the fact that they have to choose a standard, off the shelf structure because these are usually the cheapest type of garden room available. It is for this reason that many garden rooms across the UK have been painted in bright colours or clad in interesting or unique materials, as their owners strive to demonstrate their individuality.
The Art of Lighting
One way to make your garden room stand out from the crowd is with lighting, this article will explore the many options of lighting available and how it can affect both the interior and exterior of your garden room.
Lighting can make an enormous difference to any kind of space or structure, be it a room, building or garden. A plain, uninspiring room can be transformed with the addition of carefully placed lighting and a dark garden path will be much safer and more welcoming with a row of post or stake lights powered by solar energy.
The Four Basic Types of Lighting
Most lighting aficionados and interior designers agree that, although you can find a plethora of different styles of lighting, there are actually only four basic types of lighting, these are:
- Ambient lighting
- Task lighting
- Accent lighting
- Decorative lighting
Ambient lighting is the main lighting in any area, it provides enough light for you to move around safely and it helps to set the mood of a room. Ambient light includes the natural light from your windows and glazed doors, it comes from a ceiling fixture, such as a pendant light or chandelier, ambient light can also come from well-placed table lamps.
Task lighting is an extra light source to help you carry out tasks, such as reading, working at your desk, cooking, personal care (shaving, etc.). Examples of task lighting are desk lamps, vanity lights, directed track lights and spot lights.
Accent lighting is used to highlight certain features in your home, such as works of art or architectural features, accent lighting can also provide atmosphere to a room. Some examples of accent lighting are uplighters, downlighters (above a picture) and lighting inside a display cabinet or wall niche.
Decorative lighting, as its name suggests, is lighting that is simply used for decorative purposes, it does not need to cast a great deal of light, it just needs to look good. Candles and string lights are examples of decorative lighting.
Although these types of lighting are generally accepted to be the four basic types, this does not mean that the examples given have to remain rigidly within its type. For instance, uplighters and downlighters are given as examples of accent lighting but they can also work equally well as decorative lighting or ambient lighting.
Stylish and Effective Lighting for a Garden Room
The lighting for your garden room will probably be mostly dictated by how the garden room is used, for example, a garden office will require different lighting to a garden yoga studio, or an art studio will not be lit in the same fashion as a man cave. The lighting that you will use will also depend upon your individual taste, just as some of us love the minimalism of track lighting or spot lights and find the idea of a chandelier unbearably ornate and showy, others will opt for fluorescent lighting over floor and table lamps.
Whatever your garden room will be used for, it is important to have good overall illumination available for when there is insufficient natural light, this lighting is usually provided by ceiling mounted fixtures, such as track lighting, chandeliers, pendants, spot lights, etc. This ambient light provides the basis for lighting your whole room, task lighting can then be added in the form of desk lamps, spot lights and daylight lamps, etc. You may or may not wish to add accent lighting to the interior of your garden room but it can be extremely effective when used externally, a row of inset lights along the roofline of a garden room will look wonderful when the nights are drawing in and they will also be an effective security measure. Lighting set into decking and decking steps will not only look stylish, they will also be a great safety feature. Uplighters or downlighters on the front wall of your garden room will provide security and illumination during the dark hours, they will also cast interesting shadows which will add to the pleasing overall effect. Decorative lighting can be highly effective both inside and outside of your garden room, if you have a pitched roof with exposed beams then why not try wrapping string lights (also known as fairy lights) around the beams? This will illuminate the entire exposed roof area and is certain to make an attractive feature. Don’t forget to light the areas around the outside of your garden room, such as pathways, steps and gateways. Lighting powered by mains electricity should always be installed by a qualified electrician, if this is not possible then solar lighting should be used.
The following are just a few of the different styles of lighting available, each will suit one or more of the four basic types of lighting listed above.
- Uplighters and Downlighters
- Track lights
- Table lamps
- Floor lamps
- Desk lamps
- Daylight lamps
- String lights
- Inset lights
- Halogen lights
- LED lights
- Integrated lights
- Dimmer lights
How you decide to use lighting in your garden room will be your personal choice but it is important to remember that there are others who may be affected by your decisions. It is always a good idea to talk to your family and your neighbours before fitting external lighting as “light nuisance” can have a seriously negative impact on family and neighbourly relationships. It is recommended that you seek advice from your local planning authority before fitting external lighting.