Rays of hope

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There's no point looking back – the incandescent bulb is dead. Trish
Lorenz tracks down the LED lights to get the mood just right this autumn

As the nights draw in and the clocks go back, getting the lighting right at home moves to the top of the interiors list. And this year, alongside style considerations, you'll also need to think about the bulbs your lamps use.

Since September, no British shop has been able to order traditional incandescent light bulbs. Stocks of some traditional bulbs are now running low and retailers are responding by launching alternatives. Ikea announced this week that it is to convert its entire lighting range to LED by the end of 2016 (LEDs use 85 per cent less energy than standard bulbs, making them eco friendly and cost effective).

Practicalities aside, there are also several key style trends emerging in lighting this season. "We're seeing an ongoing trend for plain and sleek design, particularly bare bulbs hung in groups,' says John Lewis head of lighting buying Diane Simpson. There's also a move away from chrome towards warmer metals such as gold and copper and the vintage look, with aged brass or bronze finishes, is growing in popularity."

Before heading out to buy a new light, it's important to think about how you use your room and how much light you need: a floor lamp and strategically placed table lamps might offer enough illumination and can be much more atmospheric than a central pendant.

"Floor lamps can emit a lot of light and make a dramatic difference," says Simpson. "We're also seeing a lot of interest in wall lights, which can add another layer of atmosphere to a room."

If you're looking for a new pendant shade, always measure your ceiling height and the size of the room before you shop: lighting showrooms are large and it can be difficult to judge how a pendant would look in your space. And if your ceilings are low, keep an eye out for semi-flush pendants, which are designed to be hung close to the ceiling. "You can still make a decorative statement even if you don't have the ceiling height," says Simpson.

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<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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