Light is a source that people often take for granted. It is also too often being left as an afterthought from the interior design scheme of a house. Don't let poorly lit light fixtures mark your beautiful interior down - plan your home lighting layout prior to construction!
Before talking through your desired effects and requirements with your interior designer and electrician, there are 3 fundamental layers of lighting you should know - task, ambient and accent.
Task lighting is basic, which serves as a functional light source in specific areas of each room. For example, the downlights and ceiling lights above the kitchen counter, and mirror light at face level in the bathroom.
Ambient lighting illuminates the overall colour scheme of a room or area. Its major duty is to create visual comfort. The accent lighting is the salt and pepper which seasons the creativity and style to a room.
Rule No.1: there must be a purpose for a light.
To make the most of lighting functionality, the best way is to think about what lighting your home needs is by evaluating the size room-by-room:
Consider the purpose of light in the bedroom - do you like to read in bed at night, or at what time of the day will the room be used the most? Here, the lighting position is essential. For example you will never focus light onto the bed, but the area around the bed instead.
Recessed downlights, pendants and spotlights play well as general lighting (a.k.a task lighting) sources for the kitchen to illuminate the entire space properly. Accent lighting, such as LED strip lights beneath benchtop or within open shelving is a great way to create atmosphere when the main lights are switched off.
One classic design of living room lighting is to install a central pendant or styled ceiling light as background lighting. Replacing the main ambient lighting using a combination of downlights and floor lighting is another trendy way to create a cosy and casual atmosphere.
A bathroom responds well to light as there are reflective surfaces all over the space. You will need to choose suitable lights with the right IP rating. The IP rating is how much a fitting is resistant to water and moisture. Recessed downlights are always the first choice in bathrooms as general lighting. Make sure you install more lighting than just a single downlight above the mirror to avoid unflattering shadows.
Rule No.2: stick to your budget!
The quantity of the light is important, but it is more important to keep the amount of light source just about right for your budget. Talk to your builder or architect to make sure your home can make good use of the natural light by the orientation of each room when deciding on layouts.
Light.co.nz provides a free lighting design service - we are here to make smart lighting simple.