This article aims to help you put your home lighting plan together so that you can create an atmospheric home at minimal cost. Check out the tips below and you will be well on the way to a perfect lighting plan:
1. Make a floor plan of your home
First up, draw a to-scale floor plan of your entire home so that you can figure out exactly where to install your lights. Include doors and windows, which will enable you to take natural light into consideration. Plot your main furniture items and fittings into the plan, as these may either limit or help distribute the light.
This is especially true of mirrors and glass surfaces, which can amplify the light dramatically. Knowing where everything sits will help you to pinpoint shadowy spots that need lighting up.
2. Decide on the mood each room should have
Room-by-room, think about the kind of vibe you want to create. In rooms like kitchens you will need strong illumination that promotes liveliness and supports activity; the same goes for utility rooms and offices. However in a lounge or dining room, you will probably want a relaxed atmosphere.
Some rooms will need various kinds of lighting installed. For example, in a bathroom you will need variable lighting so that when you are performing tasks you can see properly, but when you want to relax in the bath you won’t be subject to excessive brightness.
Practically this might mean numerous downlights and task lighting for well-lit rooms, and dimming switches and indirect lighting in relaxation spots. We’ll explain more about those below.
3. Decide on realistic budget
It is a good idea to set a budget well before, not after your lighting plan. As you’re deciding on the types of fittings you want, research the cost of these to get an accurate picture of costs. This will save you time and disappointment later.
Allot as much money as you possibly can to lighting the home properly, as it really is money well spent. Allocating a budget as an afterthought may mean you end up not making the most of your home; tasks could become more difficult and beautiful items may not be displayed in all their glory.
4. Decide on general/ambient lighting
Your general lighting is that which illuminates a space indiscriminately. It just means you will have sufficient lighting throughout a room so that you can see to go about your day. One common mistake is to rely solely on downlights in most rooms for this. It will illuminate the space effectively, but there will be no pleasant mood. Overly lighting a room will do it a disservice, and the same goes for your mood.
It can be more pleasant to go with a wall washer over rows of ceiling downlights. Similarly, you might uplight a ceiling instead. Table and floor lamps also work well to provide extra illumination when needed.
4. Pay attention to task lighting
As well as ambient lighting, you will want to be sure your spaces are sufficiently lit when performing tasks. This is where step one will have come in handy. Look out for dark spots in the rooms that ambient lighting won’t reach. Think about where you’ll be doing tasks such as preparing food, eating, getting ready for work, working on a computer, ironing, etc. Then illuminate those spots with task lights either directly above or around the area.
For example, you’ll want to light up your kitchen workbenches, perhaps the insides and undersides of cupboards; bedside cabinets, desks and bathroom mirrors will also need to be well lit. One good tip is to install lights around mirrors rather than directly above them, to avoid unflattering shadows.
5. Add accent lighting to finish the job
Accent lighting is that which illuminates and accentuates specific details that you wish to draw attention to. If you have a gorgeous dresser or prized piece of art, or perhaps even a beautiful architectural feature, you can shine soft glow onto that to direct attention toward it. This really makes a big difference to the overall feel of a room.
Author Bio: Lisa Wetherell runs the blog Lighting House – where she writes about her knowledge gained from 10 years of industry experience in the lighting and interior design field. To learn more about how lighting can improve your space, you can follow her blog.