Traditionally considered a final stage in planning, focus on energy efficiency and innovations in technology means lighting is worth considering much earlier in the design process.
Thanks to the government’s interest in energy efficiency and wise use of resources, lighting design is now getting the focus it deserves. Today, creating a functional and aesthetically satisfying lighting plan has become an essential step in the planning process. The key to developing the lighting in your new home in such a way that it meets the optimum standards of aesthetic appeal, simple yet effective functionality and the maximum energy efficiency is early involvement between your architect and your lighting designer.
Creating a lighting plan
- Target use of spaces, budget, light sources and placement ideas as well as means of control.
- Consider exterior and landscape lighting, along with the use the outdoor areas for entertaining,
- Any particular preferences or references that you want incorporated.
- Which areas should be featured, including highlighting shrubs or trees.
- Define the building at night through the use of exterior lighting.
The design process has three main objectives: functionality, energy efficiency and a lighting design that didn’t impact heavily on the space. Discrete recessed energy reduction halogens were used throughout for the main lighting giving a soft, efficient easy to control light. LED lighting was applied in the high use thoroughfares and landscape lighting.
To eliminate contrast and create balanced light in a room, there should be at least three kinds of lighting, according to lighting experts. The right atmosphere can be created by well designed, carefully planned and executed lighting installation. Lighting can be one of the biggest factors in determining the mood of a room and how comfortable and pleasant or simply practical it is to use.
Soft, indirect ambient light should illuminate the whole room with a glow, and task lighting should be positioned (usually between the top of the head and the work surface) to enable working or reading. Accent lights should be used to highlight artwork and decorative objects. (A decorative light like a chandelier is a fourth, not necessarily essential, component of lighting design; it should never be the sole source of light in a room because it throws everything else into darkness.
There are fantastic affects that can be created using the right lights in the right positions. But also make sure you have lights that are sufficient for work you have to do, such as over kitchen benches or where you like to read. By all means consult lighting designers. Their services can make a huge difference in the quality of your finished installation. The lights themselves can be a significant portion of your budget and are very much a fashion statement if you want them to be.
- Consider whether they will be seen and spend accordingly, with more money spent on lights that occupy highly visible positions.
- Lighting has a huge impact on mood, so consider the ambience (atmosphere) you want to create.
- Consider how the space itself ‘works’ architecturally, and what aspects of it could be highlighted or hidden; the colour and texture of the surfaces being lit; whether you have particular paintings, objects d’art or materials that you wish to make a feature.
- Human eyes don’t like to deal with extreme contrast because it creates eye exhaustion, therefore look to diminish contrast in a room that you will be in for a long time.
- Remember – if you can’t afford a particular light you want, you can always run cable to the point of installation and just leave a bare bulb there for a short while, which is far better in the long run than removing the light from your plans altogether and ending up with something you won’t be happy with.
- Consider low and non-direct lights in areas such as the bathroom that you may visit during the night.
- Consider the bulb beam width: this effects where light goes and the intensity of contrast between light and shade.
- Outdoor lighting can open up gardens for night time enjoyment and the old days of spotlights over the deck are rapidly disappearing, with lighting helping create outdoor rooms for entertaining into the night.
- Even light switches can be fashion pieces – the choices are far greater than the old standard white buttons.
- Are the light switches conveniently placed and in the correct position?
- Have you considered dimmers? Dimmers create lighting flexibility within a room – from bright to relaxed.
- Are the light fittings in the correct position on your plan, taking into account the tasks you wish to undertake, or the ambience you wish to achieve?
- During installation, has the electrician installed the correct lights in the right places in the right way?