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 is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team.

Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US whilst studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site.

Megan currently lives in London, where she relocated from her hometown in Yorkshire. In her home, she experiments with interior design trends and draws inspiration from the home decor ideas she observes in her everyday work life. Her favorite pieces include her antique typewriter and her expansive collection of houseplants. When she isn’t writing, she is browsing London’s coffee shops and bookstores to add to her ever-growing library, taking over the open shelving in her apartment.