The difference between a room and a well-designed room can often be in the lighting, writes Jeni Madden of Bromley-based interior design consultancy JMdesign.

A well designed room will have ‘layers’ of light to create different moods throughout the day or night from bright general lighting through to pools of light to highlight a piece of art, or moody low light for evenings.

General ambient light can be from a pendant in the centre of the room or from downlights throughout the room.

Downlights are particularly useful in kitchens and bathrooms - consider purchasing LED downlights to cut electricity consumption. Advances in technology are now making these much more affordable and they can be specified in warm white or extra warm white to give a consistent light to rival halogens.

Lighting can be used to make a design statement as well as for illumination.

There are lots of stunning chandeliers in both classic and contemporary styles which create a wow factor even when off. Dimmer switches are also helpful but always make sure the light is specified with dimmable bulbs.

The most important tip is to think about what you want to illuminate and the direction of light given off by the lamp.

A spotlight will give a directional light so will be useful to highlight a piece of art, whilst a conical shade on a table lamp will direct more light downwards creating a diffused light and a more moody feeling. Similarly a long armed floor lamp will be perfect to direct light over a sofa for reading but a tripod drum shade will send light upwards and downwards creating an accent light.

Finally give the lighting a little thought before any renovation work is done so that sockets can be placed in the optimum position so there are no trailing wires.

Jeni Madden, owner of JMdesign provides affordable interior design consultancy, and can be contacted through or on 020 8462 1572.