British interior designer Almas Shamsee of Maisha Design lets us in on her trade secrets, especially the key to good lighting

London-based Almas Shamsee, founder and creative director of the interior design practice Maisha Design, says great kitchen lighting is at the heart of any successful design.

I’m a big lighting person when it comes to interior design because I think it can make or break an interior. You can put in the nicest cabinetry and finishes but if you don’t light them up right, you’re not going to bring out the best in them.

Soft white temperament in Almas' kitchen catered by flush natural daylight. (c)maishadesign.com

Soft white temperament in Almas’ kitchen catered by flush natural daylight. (c)maishadesign.com

Shamsee also adds that kitchen lighting isn’t just about the way it can enhance a room, it’s largely about the practical aspects such as cooking and entertaining.

Task lighting is key for cooking and preparation, so she recommends including downlighters underneath cabinetry and hanging a row of pendant lights above an island unit for preparation.

Shamsee also suggests it’s worth installing dimmable lighting so you can set the mood when entertaining guests, plus a low-hanging statement fitting over a dining table in an open-plan kitchen diner can really set the mood as well as create a focal point.

Shamsee actually worked as an economist for 10 years before finding her calling as an interior designer, but she believes that her previous job is responsible for her excellent project management skills.

While I’ve got a creative side, I still have a really good understanding of how to manage a project and stick to the budget, as it’s these sort of constraints that are key to the success of a project, says Shamsee.

A peek at the stunning view of London's Tower Bridge right outside this glamarous kitchen. (c)maishadesign.com

A peek at the stunning view of London’s Tower Bridge right outside this glamorous kitchen. (c)maishadesign.com

When asked about which trends to look out for in the coming months, Shamsee is quick to advise homeowners that they shouldn’t remodel an entire kitchen purely following a certain contemporary style – it’s best to choose a slightly more classic kitchen design and incorporate on-trend kitchen accessories and details for a fresh update when necessary.

You need to pick a kitchen style that will stand the test of time,’ she adds. ‘If you want to be trendy, do it with smaller elements, such as row of cool light fittings that hang over an island, but don’t transform your entire kitchen based on one look, because that’s a very expensive mistake to make.