Are you thinking of building a new home and unsure what to do about your lighting? Then it's time to start thinking about creating a lighting plan! The ideal time to create your lighting plan is when you are doing the plumbing for your new build project.
For those of you who have been involved on a project before you will relate to the nervous feeling of an electrician shouting at you to ask where are the sockets for the kitchen appliances going! To avoid this undue pressure happening during the build, it's time to think about what questions we need to ask ourselves?
What is the potential use of all the spaces and rooms within your home going to be? With Covid-19 our homes have been turned into the office, the family zoom headquarters, the playroom, the creche... the list goes on. So with all of these scenarios unfolding we need to plan ahead to ensure our lighting not only looks good but is both practical and versatile within the spaces.
You need to ask yourself questions such as where will the kitchen island be located and what type of dining table will best fit in the kitchen? I am a great believer in getting a few pieces of 2 x 2 wood and laying them out on the floor of each room to plan and visualise each area better, from the kitchen to living room, hallway to bedrooms. It is like making a mental mood board of your home and bringing your floor plans to life so that you can walk around the designed spaces. Platforms such as Pinterest will flood you with beautiful images and breath-taking designs but sometimes they have a tendency to also overwhelm.
So, who will be using these rooms? I find when kids are young they are never far from your heels! Many children just want to see you while they are playing or watching their favourite television program. For those of us that are older in age or are thinking ahead, it should also be noted that people over the age of 60 need 15 times more light than a 10 year old child.
At what time of the day will the room be most used?
Where does the natural light come from?
Once all the above questions are answered, you then must see where all the permanent fixtures will be, like the fireplace, windows, doors, alcoves, stairs, radiators and other sources of heat. With your architect take time to mark out where you would like the light switches and plugs located. In my opinion unless you do this you may find that your architect will create a home that is focused on the outside in and not from the inside out.
SO, LIGHT THE WAY – ROOM BY ROOM
As the living room is used for socialising, relaxing and sitting with family and friends, we need a flexible design for the lighting plan. We must realise that we are not fixed to a main central pendant, sometimes our choice may be an ambient light, like table lamps and floor lamps to give the air of cosiness. While others may choose the ambient lights and a main central focus chandelier. In the planning stages accent lighting, as it is called, can be uplighters around a fireplace. Picture lights sometimes can be overlooked, don’t worry about having too many wires coming out of the plaster, it's actually better to have too many sockets etc than too few!
Bedroom designs are certainly getting more exciting! We must therefore plan what direction the bed will go in, so take for example the master bedroom, good planning is required for side tables, will it be locker lights or hanging pendants for example? Will there be a beautiful headboard that requires accent lighting? What height will the ceiling be and are we best to have a drop pendant or do we choose a beautiful flush fitting?
Bathrooms reflect light due to the surfaces and this is something to think about when choosing both your surfaces and lighting.
Clever use of lighting and surfaces in a small bathroom can bring it to it's maximum potential in making it look bigger. While layering your lighting in a larger bathroom can make it look more relaxing for bathing in the evening.
It’s especially important that when purchasing bathroom lights that they are IP rated, or in other words vapour proof. Recessed lights in bathrooms work particularly well and I would advise that a cool white bulb is the best for both shaving and putting on makeup and not necessarily at the same time.
Given the Covid-19 pandemic consideration should also be given to installing a sensor light to avoid contact when you entering the bathroom to wash your hands.
We often overlook our hallways when in fact they are the gateway to our homes! Hallways should therefore be given equal consideration in the lighting plan.
Staircases are becoming more elaborate and we should have both functional and ambient lighting in the hallway area. Lots of sockets for console tables both under the stairs and the surrounding walls.
The landing can sometimes look like a redundant space and in present times when space is of the essence for families, it could double up as a library or a cool seated area for teenagers, so consider the style of the lighting you would prefer.
In my opinion the kitchen is the hub of the home and should be a key focus for your lighting! The lighting should always be inviting, homely and workable.
So, we need background lighting, task lighting and a feature pendant – accent lighting. Look at your kitchen plan and make sure that areas of the kitchen can be potentially dark and light.
Your walkways around your island and table have to be considered. The pantry should have a sensor light and should have sockets for the toaster etc. Ample sockets should be left along the work surfaces. The island should have sockets for pop up sockets or side island sockets.
Photo: Kitchen by Woodbank Kitchens, Omagh
You may decide to put in kickboard lighting, investigate all the possible styles and work alongside your lighting plan.
As the kitchen is now a mixture of both living and dining, comfortable evening lighting helps to create a relaxed atmosphere.
Photo: Kitchen by Greenhill Kitchens, Omagh.
So folks, that is my take on the essential planning for the lighting of your home. Liked this post? Why not check out this Charming New Build Home in the Tyrone Countryside.