When designing your new home, you want to create a space that is stylish and comfortable to live in, but will also yield the best from your financial investment. Creating your own custom lighting plan is one way to add charm to your new home, and will add to your property’s financial value.
It may seem daunting to create your own custom lighting plan, so here are some of the most important things to consider in creating a sophisticated and achievable lighting plan for your new home.
There are three types of lights to consider when creating a lighting plan, which are
- Task lights (which you need for functionality)
- Ambient lights (for atmosphere)
- Accent lights (which serve as a feature, such as chandeliers)
It is important to decide on a lighting plan before building begins, so your electrician can accommodate your plans. Use your floor plan to first mark where your task lights will be, as these are essential to your everyday living, and then your ambient and accent lights can work around these.
The most common choice for task lighting is ceiling mounts, and while they are highly practical, they rarely enhance the mood in a room. Some more interesting choices for task lights are:
- Directional sconces (shown above)
- Downlit pendants, which hang from the ceiling.
- Under cabinet lights, which work to illuminate kitchen benches if you have overhead cabinets.
- Lamps, useful for offices, lounges and bedrooms, where you only need a small concentrated light.
- Recessed lighting. This is similar to ceiling mounts but is more subtle, which is useful for hallways and wardrobes.
The purpose of ambient lighting is to create an atmosphere in the room, so generally lower energy lights are ideal. Backlit panels and LED strips are a creative way to show off the design of your home without ruining the ambience. Even having smaller lights dispersed across a bookcase or a shelf can create a calm atmosphere while not leaving your decor in the dark. You can also achieve ambient lighting with lanterns and candles. Ambient lighting is important in rooms for relaxation, such as a living room, bedrooms, bathrooms/spa areas, gardens or an alfresco/patio area. When it comes to ambient lighting, remember: less is more!
Accent lighting is an opportunity to make your lighting a stand-out feature in your home. It is important to consider how much space you have when considering accent lights, as a large piece will overwhelm a small room, while a small light may be underappreciated in a larger open room. Dining rooms, front entrances and living rooms are ideal for accent lighting pieces, but accent lights can be a feature in any room depending on the size and style. Chandeliers may seem extravagant, but if you find a style which compliments your interior design, it can dramatically add to the luxury-factor of your home. Alternatively, there are smaller light fixtures such as globe lights, which are a better fit for smaller spaces. Your accent lights are there primarily for decoration, so think of how they will work together with your task lighting, and be careful not to over-illuminate using accent lights with your ambient lights.
If you buy an accent light, be sure to find out how to best take care of it, as it may need regular cleaning or maintenance.
When choosing your lights, it is important to consider what the purpose of your lighting in each room, and what colour light will best suit that purpose. In living rooms and bedrooms, warmer tones can prompt feelings of relaxation, while cooler tones accommodate a focused working environment, ideal for an office or study. While incandescent lights provide a natural warm tone, they have been phased out in Australia in efforts to save power and electricity resources. LED’s and CLF’s are available in warmer coloured tones, while Halogen lights are generally available only in cooler tones.
Light layering refers to having all different purpose lights in the one space, such as task, ambient and accent. This trick is useful for multipurpose rooms such as living rooms or dining rooms, where you might be reading, working, relaxing or entertaining depending on the occasion, and will need to utilise different lights for these varying purposes. This is one of the simplest tricks to ensure you have the right amount of lighting for every occasion. Installing dimmers is another easy way to control and change the brightness of your space, and can be used in smaller areas where you may not have many lighting fixtures (such as hallways or ensuites).
Lights to work with your surfaces
Some rooms require brighter lights than others, such as bathrooms and kitchens, but the brightness of the lighting you choose will vary depending on the surfaces you are using. If you are using polished polished tiles, marble or granite, be careful that your bright lights do not create a harsh glare on these surfaces. If you are using softer surfaces such as timbers, matte tiles or linoleum, then having lighting directly on these surfaces will unlikely be too bright.
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