It’s never been something I’ve been able to master. Getting the lighting right in any roomfor me means positioning table lamps and floor lights in any spot where I have the space and hoping for the best. Well, I know there are better ways to do it, and after a morning with George Clarke and the Philips lighting team I was more than prepared to give my lighting a real shake up.
Adding the right kind of lights to any room will considerably alter the ambience and mood as well as offer practical solutions of course. We all know not to just switch on the overhead light. We know it creates a harsh light and does nothing for the room at all, no matter what kind of light bulb you choose. But what are the alternatives? How exactly do you go about adding creative lighting to highlight features, give an ambient glow and bring something practical and useful to the room as well?
Ok so let me introduce you to Philips Hue. I’d heard about this a little while ago but didn’t fully understand exactly what it was. But then a few weeks ago I spent a morning with Philips and George Clarke understanding exactly how the system works and how I could improve the way I light my home.
Philips Hue is a personal wireless LED lighting system. Now that sounds very fancy doesn’t it, but believe me it’s much simpler than it sounds. We all know that are homes are becoming ‘smarter’. There’s an app for everything these days allowing us to control many different things from our phones. Well this is exactly what’s happening with our lighting.
Philips have developed a range of lighting products that all connect via a bridge that’s plugged into your router. You download the free app, connect to your bridge and bam… that’s it, you’re about to control every Philips light product with your phone. And there is so much you can do with them.
Firstly, there are many different ‘scenes’ or preset lighting colours, from Savanna Sunset, to Tropical Twilight, to Spring Blossom. Simply tap the button and the lights in one particular room change to that colour. Or you can control certain lights individually. It’s really simple, and very good fun.
I’ve been trying out two of the products recommended by George. I asked George specifically how to fix the lighting in my living room. I felt it was inadequate and poor, not offering a good level of light or really adding to the ambience of the room.
George suggested a Philips Hue Go hidden behind the TV to illuminate this area.
Ok, that really wasn’t something I’d ever thought of doing, and was a little sceptical as to how it would work, but hey, look at that picture above, doesn’t it look great!
Ok so it does highlight the cables a little more than I’d like, and I probably need to change the open TV stand to something more closed in. But I’m really thrilled with how this looks. It illuminates a corner of the room that was otherwise dull and boring and brings a different dimension to the space. It feels much bigger. And whilst I don’t really want to highlight the TV, it is a part of our home and we enjoy spending time here and watching it together as a family.
Next George recommended the Philips Hue Lightstrip to put around the front edge of the fireplace. Now I’ll admit we tried this, but the lightstrip is incredibly bright and without some kind of covering, it’s just too strong a light to look at directly. So, we took another of his tips and put it behind the sofa (you can see the glow coming from the corner of the sofa in the image above). It’s really simple to stick along the skirting and can be cut or added to so you have the correct length. Within minutes it was all set up and this is the result. Pretty neat huh?
Another great idea would be to add this to the front underside of the sofa to glow from the front. This would have worked well, maybe even giving a better light, but we store so many cables under ours that it just wasn’t going to be practical!
So once you have your lights all set up and connected to the app there’s a lot you can do with them.
I’ve set up routines that automatically switch the lights on and off at certain times of the day and night. You can vary this according to the day of the week, and the time of year of course. I love the way I can fade the lights out at the end of the night; it’s a good reminder that the day is drawing to a close and I need to get myself off to bed.
Speaking of bed, there’s a great feature that allows you to use the Philips Hue Go as a nightlight (well you could set up any lights as nightlights to be honest). The app gives you the functionality to fade a light down over 30 minutes or so, soothing your brain and preparing you for sleep. As the morning approaches, it can also be set to ‘fade in’ and wake you gently over a set period of time; a brilliant feature which I know works well for adults and kids alike.
I really like the Hue Go as a product. It’s portable and flexible and perfect for families. Put it in a child’s bedroom and let them use it as they need to. It’s great as a nightlight (there’s a nightlight setting) and perfect for their desk or bedside table. I can see us using this on the tween daughter’s desk with the ‘energise’ setting switched on, helping her to focus on her homework in the winter months.
And of course, don’t forget there are light bulb kits too, so you can fit out all of your lights and lamps with the system to create fully integrated and connected lighting all over your home.
A huge thanks to George Clarke for sharing his expertise and top tips for lighting my living room. It was a pleasure to spend the morning chatting all things design with George!
Philips Hue lighting can be purchased at shops like Amazon, Argos and John Lewis and you can find out more about it HERE.
The Philips Hue Go retails for around £70-£80 and the Lightstrip is a little less.
Written in collaboration with Philips Hue