Less is more.
Use wide-angle bulbs for task lighting. Use narrow-beam ones for atmosphere.
Light the area around seating but not the seats themselves.
Warm white bulbs are a must.
Put everything on dimmers.
Surface-mounted spotlights are the way forward.
Firstly, unlike spotlights that are recessed into your ceiling, you can angle them pretty much anywhere. That means you can be really specific about where you do and don’t light (more on that below).
We think they look better too. Recessed spots are rarely as hidden as you’d like. Better to be deliberately obvious and do it well.
You can also install surface-mounted spots on beams and walls. This is great if you have very tall ceilings and want to bring the lights down lower.
The most important thing for us was that our spotlights and bulbs are separate.
Yes, LEDs last ages, but not as long as the light will. It’s bad for the planet and your wallet to have to throw the whole thing away just because the bulb’s gone.
And they’re warm white. We’ve found that 2,700K is the sweet spot between too cold and too warm. It’s about the same as a traditional incandescent bulb.
Our bulbs come in 12° (narrow) and 24° (wide-ish) beam sizes.
The wider 24° ones are great for areas where you need more light for tasks, like in a kitchen shining over the worktop or an island. They’re still actually narrower than the standard though to give you more control.
The 12° bulbs are the ones we’d use to create atmosphere. They only light a small area so you can use them to highlight furniture, art and architecture while avoiding seating and that uncomfortable feeling of sitting under a spotlight.
Because they’re really specific, the adjustability of surface-mounted spots is a must with 12° bulbs.
In rooms like kitchen-diners that need to be practical sometimes and atmospheric at others, we’d use both. Wire them up on different circuits and you can go from one mood to the other at the flick of a switch.