Light is good for the soul.
Of course natural light beaming in from huge decorative windows is ideal but when the sun goes down or for that moody northern corner in your home we need to talk lighting.
Lighting needs to be planned at the very first stages of a project. It is messy to install and so should be carefully considered from the offset, definitely not as an after thought.
When creating a lighting plan it is essential to consider the functionality of space and how light can serve it. What mood and atmosphere is being created? What needs to be illuminated or blended into the background. Good lighting can connect elements within a space, it can draw the ceiling down or ground objects and group them together to create a focal point, drawing the eye in. Once the layout is decided use lighting to balance and compliment key elements within the design. Consider pendents above the dining table, LED strips along open shelves and wall sconces to add layers and depth to a space.
Lighting is an essential part of the design process.
Three layers of light
The foundation of light ambient lighting provides the overall illumination within a space. Usually sourced from the ceiling. These can be pendants, down lights or a mixture to create depth and focus.
This layer of light compliments key pieces within a space and can serve as a focal point. For example a standard lamp next to an armchair or a table lamp on a desk.
The final layer highlights key objects within a space, creating visual interest and a more luxurious feel. Whether it is added on shelves, walls or for pictures accent lighting can elevate a space and allow the mood to be changed.
Warm or cool light?
Light is measured in Kelvins. The colour depends on the temperature of the light.
Warm & Cosy
A warm white is low on the kelvin scale and gives a yellow glow. Relaxing and softening this light is really good in homely and inviting spaces.
Clean & Bright
A cool light is higher on the kelvin scale and gives a whiter white. Brighter and clearer this light might be more suitable where light closer to natural daylight is needed.
What does IP RATED mean?
Different countries have very different regulations for lighting.
In the UK we have zones for Bathrooms that dictate what type of light can be used in these wet areas.
Lights are given IP ratings to make them safe to use in different spaces for example bathrooms or outdoors.
IP20 and above – touch proof suitable for indoor areas.
IP44 rating indicates that there is moderate protection against objects and water. Suitable for areas outside zone 2 in the bathrooms & outdoors.
IP65 is even better and offers greater protection against water and objects. Therefore suitable for shower areas.
Light emitting Diodes. LEDS use less energy, cost less to run and last longer so although they cost more to buy they are the gold standard today.
Smart LEDS can be controlled remotely or with a remote control for table lamps so there is no need to worry about cables, this has been a real game changer.
These were introduced to replace incandescent bulbs as a more efficient energy light sources. These can not go in household waste and need to be carefully disposed of.
Incandescent & Halogen
These bulbs use heat to create light and therefore are not energy efficient. They need to be replaced more often but are cheaper to buy. We would try and avoid this type of light.
The brightness of the bulb has always been measured in watts but now that bulbs use much less energy brightness is measured in lumens. How many lumens depends on the purpose of the light.
Downlights 200 – 500 lm
Pendent 500 – 1500 lm
Table lamp 200 – 500lm
Standard lamp 200 – 800 lm
Multi pendent 250 – 800 lm
Switches & Dimmers
Where ever possible use dimmable switches (check your bulbs are dimmable too) These can really alter the mood of the space depending on the season and time of day you can play with light.
Consider installing lights on different gangs. This means you can choose which lights to turn on and off changing whether you use accent task or ambient lighting or all of them together. Switches come in up to 5 gangs as standard and the more options there will be to enhance the space.
Light the way.
With carefully considered light it really is possible to transform a space.
Lighting can be contemporary with down lights and LED strips or lighting can be used to enhance the decor by creating focal points with lamps and pendents, playing with scale and form.
Have fun with lighting it can be a game changer.
Use energy efficient bulbs and add separate gangs on a dimmer to change the atmosphere within a space. The mood can be lifted or toned down at the flick of a switch so consider lighting carefully.
ALWAYS USE A CERTIFIED ELECTRICIAN