Why you should fill your room with eight sources of light, according to Abigail Ahern

The maximalist designer has the secret to an ambient sanctuary, and it starts with an unorthodox lighting rule

Chandeliers in a bright living room
(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

With her fearless color combinations and maximalist decor pieces, designer Abigail Ahern has shaped the most audacious of interiors – whilst sharing her sought-after tips along the way. Though, in all her expertise, some advice is notably more unconventional than others. This includes her lighting rule. 

In an exclusive discussion with Livingetc, Abigail explained the secret behind her surprising lighting idea – and why – when it comes to illuminating your interiors – eight is always the magic number. 

‘I think lighting, along with color, are the two most under-considered components on the planet because when you’re doing eight lights, the light is not just general illumination – it is little pockets of glow – so you’re almost lighting your home like a movie director,’ Abigail begins. 

Abigail Ahern for Freemans

Abigail Ahern for Freemans

(Image credit: Abigail Ahern for Freemans)

To fulfill your role as a ‘movie director,’ Abigail encourages you to ‘play with shadows’ to curate different zones – thus creating an ambiance space that oozes coziness throughout the year. 

‘Between the pockets of light, there are lots of shadows – and therefore, it feels more mysterious, dramatic, and beautiful. If you don’t have little pockets of glow, you won’t get this cinematic and cozy effect in your home, which is even more important in the colder months,’ she adds. 

While Abigail is celebrated for her maximalist designs, her living room lighting idea is an example of how this style is not always about injecting vibrant prints or using a kaleidoscopic palette. Instead, maximalism is achieved through a ‘zoned home’ through a combination of light fixtures, softer hues, and textures. This makes maximalism feel more accessible, Abigail suggests. 

Roost episode 5 - pink living room with dining table and gold lighting - PAUL-RAESIDE

(Image credit: Paul Raeside/Future)

‘I think there is a misnomer between maximalism and bold. I am not really bold. Ten years ago, there were really bold, bright colors, but I’m not really about that now. It’s much softer… It’s just creating a really layered home, and you can do that by zoning your home and taking areas.’

‘The thing when you have a home that is multi-layered and multi-faceted is that it feels supremely cozy, and you can’t do that with minimalist interiors, which is why I’m so obsessed with them. When people think of maximalism and bold, they think of bright colors that are unachievable and completely over the top,’ she adds. 

Chandeliers in a living room

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

These modern living room ideas are exemplified throughout her collection with Freemans that launches on October 21. The collection features a curated collection of textiles, furnishings, and accessories that are entirely Abigail Ahern-approved. 

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly loves writing about contemporary styles and trends for Livingetc.