How to plan lighting your house and what type of lights are suitable for your home?

Lighting Design is one of the key elements of any new build home or renovation project, as well considered and planned lighting will enhance the architectural and interior design features of the property, provide different lighting levels (moods) for each usage of the room and also enhance the safety and security of the property.

When designing lighting for your home the first key consideration is the architect’s plans of the house, natural lighting levels from windows and skylights, what the room will be used for and positioning of your furniture and artwork throughout the house. Whilst this can be a challenging task at the early stages of a project it is vital to spend the time agreeing as far as is possible the likely positions of your furnishings as this has a huge impact on the effectiveness of the lighting design.

Once you know where everything is and what each space will be used for you can begin to plot on the positions of the lighting in the room. A good residential lighting design will not simply provide bright light evenly across a whole room or area but will rather provide a combination of light and shadow to create different moods or lighting scenes.

You should consider direct lighting over areas where you need to work or carry out tasks using downlights, pendants or spotlights, highlighting lighting to pick out artwork on walls or architectural details using directional downlights, in ground lights or picture lights and diffused, indirect or other soft lighting such as wall washers, ceiling coffer lighting or table/floor lamps to create a warm, relaxed level of lighting. Every room is different needs to be treated on its own merits and needs but we can definitely state that lighting grids with rows after row of downlights in every room are not a good option!

Depending on the number of expected usages of a room you will need a specific number of independent circuits of lighting to allow the flexibility needed to provide suitable lighting moods for each given use of the room. A room such as a kitchen/dining/living room has lots of uses and will require 6,7 or even more circuits to allow the lighting to work for each use of the space whereas an office or gym has much simpler lighting requirements and one or two circuits will often be sufficient.

When selecting fittings to achieve the best results a professional lighting designer will also consider not just their style, size and wattage but also the colour temperature of the light (in kelvins), the quality of the light (CRI value), the lumen output and finally the beam angle. These key considerations allow you to create warm or cool feeling rooms, focus lighting directly onto specific features or provide general, even illuminate dependant on the requirement.

P.S. Remember all LED lights are not the same, the cheapest fittings and may shout of low power and high lumen output but the quality of light they produce (CRI value) will be very low meaning colour look washed out and unnatural and lifespans are considerable less (think less than half) of the high quality LED fittings and finally the fittings style really is affected at the low end so whilst designer fittings are right for a spare bedrooms ensuite perhaps they really do bring dividends when used in your primary receptions rooms.