From painters to interior designers, from sculptors to personal stylists, our series titled Portrait of a Creative Mind explores how different professionals in the arts find inspiration and explore their creative side.

In this latest installation, we chat to Rebecca Hutchison, Senior Designer at lighting design service John Cullen Lighting. Read on to discover the common mistakes people make when lighting their homes, her tips for properly lighting a home, and how she’d light her dream house.

What does a lighting designer do?

We transform a client’s home into a versatile space using many different sources of light such as downlights, uplights, strip lights, etc., enabling them to be comfortable and practical at all times of the day and night.IMG_0166How do you go about lighting a home?

Our lighting schemes use layers of light to allow the user to create different scenes to match their mood. For example, when preparing food on a cloudy afternoon you might turn on all the downlights and under cupboard lights for good general light, but once the sun goes down and guests arrive, you can turn these down and bring in some accent lighting in the form of uplights, pendants or shelf lighting.PR imageWhat’s a common mistake people make with interior lighting?

It’s always a shame when people get caught up placing downlights in a grid. It’s important that you put lights where you need them, and position them to light the object or artwork they are required for. This will create a nice focus and a soft, reflected light. Grids of lights don’t light the walls and you inevitably end up with a spotlight right over your favourite armchair.

What’s your favourite room in your house and why?

Open-plan kitchen/dining/living spaces are always fun to light as each area needs to have its own focus, and areas not in use look best if not left completely in the dark. There are also plenty of opportunities to add extra layers of light that make it feel that bit more room lighting What’s one piece of furniture you’ve always kept with you throughout your various moves?

I may be predictable, but I have a favourite table lamp that comes with me wherever I end up. It has a lovely linen shade behind metal fretwork so it gives a lovely, soft and dappled light. It’s just small enough for a hall table or bedside in a spare bedroom so it’s always useful for creating a little ambiance even when there are still boxes waiting to be unpacked.

Does your interior style follow a theme, or is it more of a mix?

I’m a big fan of mixing good-quality, classic pieces with souvenirs from faraway lands. For me this means a neutral interior with splashes of colour, but I do try to keep colour palettes separate so the room has a bit of order. When it comes to lighting, plug-in uplights come in useful to backlight sculptures, and shelf lights can show off smaller items within shelving.

What would your dream house have?

My ideal home would be of classic proportions with large windows to let in plenty of natural light, and a galleried staircase with an interesting multi-drop pendant in the centre. I currently have dimmer switches everywhere but I’d love to have a control system in the main areas to speed up scene setting and allow me remote access while I’m away.

For more inspiration and to learn more about creativity in design, check out our other Portraits, like our interview with textile designer Rachel Reynolds or our very own interior designer Kerry Laird!

And the next time you pay us a visit, don’t forget to stop by our newly-refurbished lighting department!