Norfolk by design

PUBLISHED: 15:00 01 September 2015

Careful use of colour, lighting and an electric fireplace can bring light into a dark room.

Careful use of colour, lighting and an electric fireplace can bring light into a dark room.


Lanassir Lawes, our expert interior designer from Bressingham, shows how to shed light on a dark room with clever choice of colour, lighting effects and fireplace.

One of the best things about my work is that no two jobs are the same. Some projects are a blank canvas that require a full scheme from the paint and wallpaper, lighting, furniture to the decorative touches to complete a scheme, others may require help with making a room look and feel better while keeping some of the existing items.

I love to be presented with a challenging room that a client has struggled with due to its shape, size or bad lighting. Lighting can be a major problem with older properties and especially conversions; I am dealing with such problems in my own apartment.

Recently I have been working with clients who have a beautiful property within a coach house; the ceilings are high and the windows are arched but the sitting room was very dark.

My task was to create a reception room that incorporated existing furniture while adding modern elements and make the room feel much lighter. Also the room lacked a focal point and we discussed the possibility of installing a wood-burner but the disruption and positioning of the chimney would ruin the bedroom above, so I suggested a flame-effect electric fire similar to the ones that we have previously used, as they are very effective and much less disruptive to fit. The key to an electric fire looking stylish is to use a good quality brand and make sure that the electrics are positioned so that you do not see a lead. The idea was to emphasise the height of the room with a strip of split face quartz and then set the fire into this with a floating modern mantel above for decorative pieces. Either side of the fireplace we added grey lacquered console tables with lamps that complement the shape of the quartz tiles. The mirrors with angled edges above were positioned again to reflect the light around the room.

The room is long and thin, so to proportion the room a striped rug was added to give the illusion of width (this can also work with striped carpets but always make sure that the room is “square” before committing to this, if not the lines may run out along the edge of the room).

Most of the room was painted in Little Greene Slaked Lime - a soft off-white to help the room feel light and airy - but I picked out a wall in the dining area in Bone China Blue to use as a backdrop for the clients’ artwork as most of the pieces are landscapes and the blue complements the sky. The additional lighting in the faux beam and the uplighter also help to pull out the walls as they add focus to the furthest point of the room.

The clients were delighted with the transformation, as they no longer have to have lights on during the day!

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