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The Project: Somersbury Manor

The owner of Somersbury Manor approached Hampshire Light to redesign the lighting scheme throughout the building. As a listed property, there was added complexity in addition to the client’s standard requests. Ultimately, our client wanted warm, unobtrusive light through the building, but it needed to be bat-friendly in accordance with the UK Dark Sky Policy.

The project was set to take 12 months - allowing all necessary designs to be completed, approvals granted, and lighting installed. Professional lighting design is worth paying for, and with a budget of £25k, it was an extensive process but one that our team was extremely eager to get started on.

Our Client

Our client desired to transform the lighting design of Somersbury Manor, making it a warmer and more inviting environment. Since Somerbsury Manor was a large property with unique architectural features, he wanted lighting that was fit for purpose in such a beautiful building.


No project is without challenges, and Somersbury Manor was no exception. Since it is a listed building, certain complexities needed to be taken into account. Due to its location and the presence of local wildlife, special attention was paid to the UK Dark Sky Policy. In particular, the area is known for its bat population, meaning all lighting had to be appropriate in that respect.

Our main goal was to achieve warm and unobtrusive lighting throughout the building while managing low ceilings and working with the existing architecture. As a listed building, we focused on achieving strong results with the least number of alterations.

Listed building

Somersbury Manor is a Grade II listed building, which means it is a building of special interest in the UK. Due to the building’s listing, it fell under the management of local planning authorities and the Department for Communities and Local Government. While the property is privately owned, any alterations still needed to be approved.

In order to proceed with alterations to a listed building, you must first obtain Listed Building Consent from the local planning authority. Although installing a new lighting design is a relatively minor alteration, Listed Building Consent had to be granted before commencing work.

Low ceilings

With low ceilings, there was less space for downward lighting to spread throughout the rooms. That presented its own unique challenge because a low ceiling also means there is less room for pendant lights. They can still be used, but there are regulations on how much space is required between the floor and a light fixture.

As a result, we used a combination of spot lighting, wall lights and lamps to provide some upward light where appropriate.

Bat-friendly – Adhering to the Dark Sky Policy

The UK Dark Sky Policy is a set of guidelines that should be adhered to when installing lighting, particularly in outdoor spaces. We’ll go into more specific detail about the policy later in this case study. In basic terms, the policy is designed to lessen the amount of light pollution, particularly in areas where local wildlife habitats are nearby. Many animals have evolved to the point that they need certain periods of light and dark to survive, and lights from housing and other buildings can have a detrimental effect on the darkness required by many animals.

One of the major principles of the Dark Sky Policy is to ensure there is no upward light, as this impacts the night sky. Neighbours weren’t particularly a concern in this case because Somersbury Manor doesn’t have any other residences in close proximity. However, we still ensured that only downward lights were installed outdoors and only where necessary.

Warm and unobtrusive light

Somerbsury Manor required a certain ambience comprising warm light that wasn’t too overbearing. One of the principles we followed was to install more numbers of smaller lights rather than large fixtures that flood each room with light.

We ensured that the light was never too overbearing in any part of the home by using a series of expertly placed spot lights and downlights to create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere in each room.

Our Lighting Solutions

Somersbury Manor is a large building comprising 7 bedrooms and multiple other living areas. One major thing that stood out was the amazing architecture. Being an older, listed building, much of the original architecture remained intact, such as beautiful timber beams, a raised ceiling in the kitchen and incredibly unique use of timber that formed part of the walls.

Overall, our approach was to provide the right lighting solutions for each space while keeping the style uniform throughout. The building had a very rustic feel, so we wanted to highlight the beautiful features rather than flood every room with overbearing light.

Sitting room

The sitting room of Somersbury Manor is beautiful, with exposed timber beams and quite a low ceiling. To achieve a warm ambience, we used a series of mono spots from Lucent and Ascoli spots from Astro. These were installed between beams and angled appropriately to deliver an appropriate level of illuminance throughout the room.

The addition of decorative lamps gave the room an elegant, natural feel.


The hallway also has plenty of exposed timber, creating perfect gaps to add mono spots for directional light. These were positioned to accent some of the architectural features while also illuminating the hall. Coupled with some beautiful decorative wall lights near the entrance and a hallway mirror, the room not only looked larger thanks to clever lighting design but also held an almost medieval charm.

Both the wall lights and spot lights were installed evenly throughout the hall, ensuring the whole space was well-lit with a particular focus on the stunning architecture.


While the hall and sitting room had quite an old English feel, the kitchen of Somersbury Manor was more modern. There was still plenty of exposed timber on the walls and ceiling, but modern benchtops, cabinets and kitchen island gave it a slightly different feel compared to the sitting room and hallway. The kitchen also featured higher ceilings, which were utilised accordingly.

We used Dino downlights from Orluna above the longer side bench because these played well with the interesting stepped ceiling and timber beams while also providing the right type of task lighting for bench use.

Our team went on to install beautiful pendant lights above the kitchen island, adding to the rustic yet modern feel of the room, and used surface spots by Orluna throughout. At the same time, we installed recessed lighting above the stovetop and main cooking area, giving plenty of task lighting where needed.


The bedrooms of Somersbury Manor also featured some unique architecture, with many rooms incorporating interesting angles rather than being flat, square rooms. Wallwash Muro lights by Orluna were utilised throughout, as well as mono spots in most of the corners to provide evenly distributed, gentle light.

Pendants were also used to provide more light from the ceiling when required.

What is the UK Dark Sky Policy?

The Dark Sky Policy is a set of guidelines produced by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). It is primarily in place to lessen the impact of lighting on the night sky, particularly where wildlife is concerned. However, the policy doesn’t exist purely for the benefit of wildlife. Ultimately, it’s there to ensure minimal effect on the surrounding landscape.

For example, your lighting should not impact your neighbours. However, it also shouldn’t affect wildlife or the prevailing dark night sky. Three types of light pollution are considered:

  • Sky glow: Caused by poorly directed light shining above the horizon.
  • Glare: The brightness of a light source viewed against a contrasting background.
  • Light intrusion: Light that spills into neighbouring yards or other natural habitats.

It should be noted that the Dark Sky Policy is not legislated. However, many local planning authorities will defer to the guidelines when necessary. So, you don’t need to follow the policy by law, but it is a good practice.

The Principles of Dark Sky Lighting

When designing lighting according to the Dark Sky Policy, there are several considerations to ensure light pollution is reduced.

  • Useful: The light should have a specific purpose and be designed as such. All lights should be appropriate for the intended setting.
  • Designed: Professionals should design lighting to ensure correct illuminance while controlling light spill and glare. Ideally, the minimum number of lights should be used.
  • Targeted: All lights should be directed to where they are needed and not spill into surrounding areas. There should be zero upward light.
  • Low light: Lighting should have the right illuminance without using over-bright lights. Lights should also be referenced against design standards to reduce glare.
  • Controlled: Lights should be turned off when not in use, either using manual switches, timers or proximity sensors. Where possible, lights should be dimmable.
  • Colour: The colour temperature should be under 3000K.

There are more specific guidelines in the UK Dark Sky Policy, but these overarching principles govern how lighting design should be approached, particularly concerning outdoor lights.

Professional Lighting Design for You

Are we the right choice for your new build or extensive refurb project?

We believe we are because we have been lighting prime properties for the past 25 years and have earned many accolades. 

Houzz Rating: 4.9 stars

Best of Houzz Design Awards: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 

More importantly, people choose us for three reasons:

  1. End-to-End Service
  2. Peace of Mind
  3. Design Within Your Budget

End-to-End Service

We provide end-to-end service. It means we take complete responsibility right from the design to the fitting of your lighting. We also offer interior design services and blinds. This saves you time and makes your task simple. You just have to deal with one company (not 3-4 companies) for your all lighting needs.

Peace of Mind

You get a 100% Design Guarantee - a full refund on your design fee if you’re not satisfied with the design once the design process is complete. (In our industry, no one has this strong a guarantee.)

Design Within Your Budget

Part of your design process ensures that the total project ends up within an affordable budget without sacrificing quality. We have a history with a wide range of suppliers worldwide, which means we can provide options on the lower level, mid-line and premium fittings for you to make educated financial decisions for your project.

Kindly download our brochure. Read what some of our clients are saying about our work.

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