The first glasshouse was built in 1949 in Connecticut. Designed by architect Philip Johnson, and now preserved as a National Historic Landmark, the building is “an essay in minimal structure, geometry, proportion and the effects of transparency and reflection.” Credit: theglasshouse.org
Glasshouses are now commonplace either as extensions, conservatories or link rooms. Even living rooms with plate glass windows follow the same considerations in lighting.
- Mirror Effect
Conservatories are perfectly designed for enjoying your garden all year round, but at night the glass becomes a black mirror and the garden disappears within reflections of the interior. Lighting small parts of the garden reduces the mirror effect and draws the eye to the garden beyond.
- Consider Reflections
Any lighting will be reflected within the glass. This can create terrific effects, but consider the angle of the reflection to ensure that no one is blinded by the light. Wash the walls with light, if possible.
- The Approach
Simply light steps, walls or planting to frame the conservatory from the garden will enhance the entrance.
- Statement Lighting
If you’re using your conservatory as a dining room, emphasise the height and scale by drawing focus to the dining table with to pre-wiring install a statement chandelier or a row of pendants.
(Photo credit: Ochre, Porta Romana, Tom Raffield)
- Mood Lighting
Simply by adding a few sources of light, you can create mood lighting – a set of table bedside lamps to provide a reading area, a floor light to uplift a corner or create shadows through plants. If there are no soft furnishings or dark colours to absorb the lighting, simply add a dimmer switch.
- Outside In
A conservatory should looks just as beautiful at night as it does during the day – clever lighting will make that happen.