Home Help: 18 January
Thursday, 17 January 2013

Home Help: 18 January

Hugh St Clair sheds light on the benefits of using LED systems to enhance your home and garden

Written by Hugh St Clair
Over Christmas I visited a barn conversion that was very modern, but done in a very traditional way. New walls were made from lime plaster using pig fat. Ancient beams had been used from a dismantled barn from the same period. The owners wanted to use LED lighting to illuminate the beautiful structure, but didn’t know that additional wiring is required. However, a lighting specialist persuaded them to spend the money.

‘LED lighting technology has advanced a great deal in the last two years. The beam used to be a bit cold and clinical and best used in kitchens, but now the bulbs give a more yellow, ambient glow,’ says Lucy Martin, author of The Lighting Bible (Apple, £12.99) and the design director of John Cullen Lighting in London.

‘In the old days, a living room required 600W to light. An LED system does the same job for 120W. They are more expensive to fit but the bulbs without filaments can last for 20 years.’

In sitting rooms, LEDs can cast light down from the ceiling or be used as uplights. Linear LEDs are like a strip of Christmas lights on a tape, which can be run under shelves. They don’t emit the same heat as halogen, so are less of a fire risk.

In the aforementioned barn, linear LEDs were hidden under a beam to show off the shiny, tinted plaster of the walls and the exposesd vertical wood skeleton of the medieval building. LED uplights were installed to illuminate the garden borders, paths and fountains.

According to Martin, by 2016 you’ll only be able to buy LED lighting, so I hope by then you’ll be able to use the bulbs in table lamps. An optimistic Martin says, ‘Technology is moving so fast they will have come up with an LED bayonet bulb by then.’


  • Contour High CRI LED strip, £146 per metre, uplights the brickwork; LED Lucca lights, £99 each, downlight the niches 
  • Polespring LEDs, £155 each, light up the artwork
  • Kew miniature spotlight, £160 and Hampton miniature spotlight, £163, illuminate the shrubs and garden path
  • Contour High LED strips (as in first image), light up the shelves -MAIN IMAGE

All products by John Cullen Lighting: 020-7371 5400, www.johncullenlighting.com

Email design enquiries to Hugh St Clair at homehelp@lady.co.uk

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