Lighting Design Plan Q & As
One of the first questions a client will ask is How much will a lighting plan cost? But of course it depends. There are reams of other questions as well, so here I’ve tried to pre-empt some and answer them below.
When should I plan my lighting?
Try not to leave the design of your lighting plan until the last minute – start tackling it at the same time as other details such as flooring, heat pumps and kitchen design. It’s up there with the rest.
The earlier you decide on your lighting layout, the more you can weave in modern techniques such as hidden LED lighting profiles and inground LED uplights. And it will help with your budgeting as well. Your electrical contractor can’t really give you a quote until they know what’s required.
Do you need to visit the site to design a lighting plan?
I offer an online service so don’t need to visit provided I’m given detailed architectural plans. Even with local lighting design work I’ll usually work on the plans before the build has even started so distance isn’t an issue.
Will you do a lighting design plan for only part of my house?
I’m happy to design whatever areas you wish although I do have a minimum fee of £250 which will usually cover a large open plan area, such as a kitchen/dining room/family room. This will include one phone call or zoom meeting prior to starting the design.
Here you will see a lighting plan I carried out for a large living room with a high ceiling and two seating areas. I also incorporated a coffered ceiling and some further linear LED lighting. The clients didn’t want any wall lights.
Alternatively, why not check out my article How to Light Open Plan Spaces
How long does a lighting design plan take?
It usually takes 10-14 days but I would let you know beforehand if the lead time is longer.
Do you supply the lighting?
No, I only do the lighting design plan and specify the lights I would recommend. In the past I’ve supplied a huge number of lights and know from experience, which products are worth investing in. I also use my interior design skills to recommend feature lights that I believe will enhance the interior.
What should I supply for a lighting design plan?
I need to have architectural plans and, ideally, cross-sections, especially if there are sloping ceilings or complicated levels. Also kitchen layouts as well as bathrooms and, if you’ve given it some thought, it helps to know how you plan to place any furniture in the living areas and bedrooms.
The above bathroom lighting design plan shows how areas can be integrated without lighting up the whole area when not in use.
It’s always good to have a zoom meeting or phone call to learn about your style preferences and vision for the project.
How will my electrician understand the design?
I mark up the lighting design plan with clear symbols and a legend showing what each glyph refers to. I also supply a section illustrating all the proposed light fittings as well as a spreadsheet detailing each circuit, product reference, and the supplier so everything is clear.
This is a lighting design plan for a hallway and stairs in a traditional house. Every design is different, and the lighting layout here was in line with what my client liked and the limitations of the existing building.
You might like to look at my article on hallway lighting tips
Do you include a switching plan?
No, your lighting design plan won’t include the switching plan. This is for three reasons.
- The plan starts to look messy and confused.
- When home automation is used the switching plan is not really required – only circuits.
- It takes time and is often subject to many changes, dimming positions etc.
Please state from the outset if you would like a detailed switching plan and I quote for this in addition.
Do you plan Home Automation?
I don’t get involved in home automation per se, but I mark up the circuits so this can be incorporated into a smart home set up with ease.
Do you mark up electrical sockets?
No, I don’t include other electrical elements of the project.
Will you work out the lighting design plan for my kitchen?
It’s always best to have the kitchen plans from the kitchen designer but I appreciate that this isn’t always possible in the early stages. If the architectural plans show the correct positions of the kitchen furniture, I can work with those or alternatively, if you sketch the design, I can transcribe this (as best I can) onto the plan and work from there.
This plan shows the early stages of a kitchen lighting design. It was tweaked slightly later when the client decided to incorporate an antique dresser.
Will you do a lighting design plan for a barn conversion?
Yes, I design lighting for a wide range of projects including renovations of traditional houses, cottages and barn conversions.
Will you do a garden lighting design plan?
Yes I will, and it’s an area I really enjoy doing. Again, I will need a detailed landscape plan to work on. Please let me know, when you ask for a quote, if you would like the garden included – usually the quote will just include exterior lighting attached to the house.
I’m also happy to do a landscape lighting scheme separately if required.
What if I don’t like the lights you specify?
This may happen more with the light fixtures rather than the architectural lighting as choosing light fittings is very personal – rather like selecting clothes. I try to gauge your style preferences during the initial discussion (by phone or zoom) but it’s very subjective.
The lights can easily be replaced with fittings that you prefer later but it helps to know the type of fitting and position, so you can select something later. I don’t propose alternative luminaires but I do supply a list of websites to help you source the perfect lights for yourself.
Can I make changes to the lighting design?
Nothing’s set in stone and I won’t charge for one set of changes within two weeks of presenting the design, provided the project layout remains the same. Otherwise, for further alterations a charge will be made based upon an hourly rate.
Claire Pendarves originally qualified as an interior designer and is now a lighting consultant with over 20 years’ experience