Some Top Tips for Planning Lighting
Planning the lighting for your new build or renovation takes time and thought. Here are some useful tips to help you create beautiful lighting schemes.
Avoid Glary downlights
Go for downlights where the light source is set back. Black baffles will absorb glare and work well in classical properties and low ceilings. White baffles are crisper in modern properties and kitchens.
Think Colour Temperature
Many standard downlights state ‘warm white’ as 3000°K which is quite cool. 2700°K is better. You can even get high spec downlights where the colour warms as they dim. Perfect for dining rooms.
Brighter is Not Always Better
Linear LEDs are great for reflected light and integration into a building. Recently they’ve become more powerful but sometimes you only want a glow. Going too bright can unbalance a room.
Don’t Light Every Inch
Beware of lighting your home like an office. Not every square foot needs to be lit. In fact, it’s by highlighting certain areas and toning the light coverage that you’ll create ambience and magic.
Avoid Dark Holes
Tiny LED inground uplights and floor washers consume miniscule amounts of electricity. Use them to light corridors and give gentle light to dark recesses. Space will flow better and be more welcoming.
Don’t Dismiss Automation
Even if you don’t want the expense of integrated lighting automation it’s worth considering if you have a large kitchen/dining/family room. This can use up to 8 circuits and you’ll be glad you used it.
Ensure Your Dimmer Switches Speak to Your Downlights
Buzzing switches and flickering downlights can be very irritating. Check with the manufacturers that the dimming protocol is compatible with your downlights. Do this before you purchase them.
Don’t Create Dead Ends
Lighting should lead you on a gentle journey through your house. Sometimes the structure of the building needs to be softened. Dead end corridor? Add a lovely wall light or illuminate a painting.
Remember that Light is Affected by Its Surroundings
Lighting does not exist on its own. It’s affected by the finish of the walls, floors, and work surfaces. If these are dark less light will be reflected. Textured walls can look lovely grazed with light.
Allow for More Light During the Day
It may seem perverse but on a gloomy day you’ll need more light than during the evenings. Allow for a circuit where you can whack up the light for rainy winter days and when you’re doing the cleaning.
Plan Furniture Positions
Planning where the furniture is going leads to a much sleeker look. It helps determine the aspect of a room and allows for the lighting to be more balanced, e.g. lighting by your seating and over the dining table.
Use Floor Sockets for Lamps
The last thing you want is trailing wires leading from the wall to lamps near your seating area. Planning for lamp sockets in the floor will help with zoning, reading and ambience in a large space.
Don’t plump for downlights just because your electrician always uses them. Quality of light and longevity are key factors. Some cheaper LEDs don’t last long; replacing them is costly and irritating.
Claire Pendarves is a lighting designer with over 20 years’ experience. Meet the Designer here.