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Why cutting corners on lighting can ruin the entire project

When you walk into a room, lights should be the last thing you notice. Good lighting should be seen but not noticed. You want a shadow free light when trying to take a selfie in the mirror, but a dim light for that romantic dinner. A badly lit room can effect a persons mood which is the last thing you want if you are in a business meeting. The right lighting can both reduce energy bills and make the whole look of the room. So why is it that lighting is always left until last.

When looking at a building site, lights are something that would not cross ones mind. Spending that little extra time and money on lighting could make all the difference between an OK room and a great room. As the saying goes, buy cheap buy twice. There are three types of light to light a room; Ambient, Task and Accent lighting.

Ambient

The aim of ambient lighting is to create an even illumination throughout the room. Using a dimmer switch is a perfect way to control lighting in a room. Dimmers can make a space bright which are perfect for families and high energy events. The lighting can then be dimmed for more intermit settings such as dinners and quiet working areas. If it is a big room you are trying to light, add multiple circuits to allow you to dim certain areas and other areas to be brighter. This is perfect for multi-tasking families or busy open plan offices.

Task Lighting

Task lighting says it in the name. If you are doing some sort of task such as; cooking, cleaning, doing work or getting ready, task lighting is what you need. This is a perfect spread of light with very little shadows. Usually a more pure white is used to help keep concentration wether that is getting ready for a night out or preparing for that big meeting. Under cabinet lighting is a great way to add task lighting without light beaming directly in your eyes. Inbuilt wall lights are also a good way to provide task lighting without having garish light installations. To create perfect task lighting ensure all lights are emitting the same lumen output. Keep in mind that the same about of light coming from the sides of the room should  also be coming from the bottom on top of the room. Even lighting prevents shadows and dark spots.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is used to highlight art work, sculptures or a feature wall. Most new build offices have some sort of feature wall to give the office a modern look so accent lighting is perfect in these situations. Track lighting is usually the best for this as it provides an even distribution of light. Having said that, you do not have to go out and spend a fortune on lights, sometimes candles do the job.

So here are my tips when it comes to lighting design

  • Do not skimp on the lighting budget
  • Consider the time it takes for the lighting you want to be acquired
  • Do your research on colour temperatures. 5000k does not mean it is the best because it is the highest Kelvin
  • Avoid Fluorescent
  • Add a dimmer. You can change the mood of the room without having too many lights
  • Localise the light source. Do not try to light the whole room with one light. Separate the room into sections and light each section according to what activity will take place in that section

There is a lot more to lighting a room that one may know. But if the time is taken to light a room well, it will be perfectly un-noticed.