It’s so important to never underestimate just how critical a great lighting scheme is when it comes to home design.
Every day, we all interact with lighting in our homes. It’s often gone unnoticed; most of us assume its simply there to just serve a purpose and only noticed when it goes wrong. When incorporated well, lighting can enhance your home as subtly or impressively as desired. From the small details that make a difference every day, good lighting can be a true delight to be grateful for.
In this article we tackle basic ideas from physical functionality through to how lighting can psychologically influence your sense of space. Lighting can literally have a huge impact, on the planet; on your mood; and on your bank account. Let’s run through some of the fundamentals…
All great projects start with a plan. It’s crucial to know how the space is going to be used so that you can zone lighting appropriately. If you’re updating an existing space, get to know the current lighting layout to assess what needs to stay and what needs to be improved.
Pro Tip No.1
Think about where your light switches are in relation to doors. This is especially important if you’re thinking about rehanging doors with the hinges on the other side. There is nothing more faffy than having to enter a room and hand-stumble to find the switch on the other side of the door, in the dark.
(Faffy and hand-stumble is, of course, professional terminology)
Lighting can be used as a simple tool in its own right to update your space. Simply by only changing the bulbs - if and where possible - this could make a huge impact. Think about each existing light or light-set where connected, in turn, and how these operate in relation to how you function in this space and in relation to other lights. Are these lights warm or cool, bright or dim? Can these be adjusted to function even better for how you use the room?
Pro Tip No.2
Integrate Smart Lighting (or improve/refresh your existing set up). Phillips Hue is a tried and tested brand which we have here at BHD HQ. They offer a huge range of bulbs, sensors, strips and more, which can be operated and customised straight off your phone via their App and via voice.
And whilst Philips Hue is a great investment, it is pricey (but worth it) but there are of course cheaper alternatives that also offer other products that are worth looking into and comparing for your needs, such as the cool and colourful smart lighting brand Hey I'm Home:
Of course switching to smart lighting can be an be an eco-friendly and money saving move if you’re still running the old incandescent bulbs; this is because smart lights are LEDs which are far more efficient and use less energy in the long run, outweighing their upfront higher purchase cost.
Switching from standard LEDs to Smart LEDs is unlikely to be any cheaper financially however, due to the fact that the technology integrated into them eagerly awaiting you to call “Alexa, turn the lights on” means that they’re always on standby. LED lights do have a lower environmental impact than incandescent bulbs, but it is still important that we are mindful of the all appliances that we leave on standby, whether this is your smart lighting, TV, WiFi-printer or microwave. Our 21st century conveniences do mean that although we save energy from lighting being so smart that it switches itself off when not in use, we do have an increased amount of ‘vampire appliances’ around the home, and whilst it’s not convenient to switch them all completely off (the security system doesn’t really do its job too well when it’s offline) we can all do our part to be more mindful of what lights are off and what appliances do need to remain on standby to get the best out of our homes and help play our part in reducing carbon emissions for the planet.
Considering the natural light levels in your home is key. In the ideal world, artificial lighting should only be switched on after dark, but, of course there are some rooms and spaces where this cannot be avoided such as WCs, airing cupboards and windowless areas such as corridors and deep in the centre of your home. Artificial lighting in all scenarios needs to be appropriately considered to run and function optimally. If you’re fully renovating your home, whether though layout reconfiguration or adding a new extension, it is crucial to consider the size and location of openings to encourage as much natural light into your home. Investing in the professional skills from a great architecture studio like British Home Design will really help you to do justice to your home and create it’s optimal layout from many perspectives including lighting design. BHD can take readings of your existing LUX levels and create a digital twin of your home to fully understand both the light and the dark areas in relation to the volume of your rooms and relationship to openings, and come up with a professional lighting scheme tailored to your space whether existing or new.
Pro Tip No.3:
Natural light levels are best understood not just by considering the size and location of the nearest external opening but also, fundamentally, understanding the rooms orientation. It’s basic stuff but is commonly overlooked and it’s also easy to forget about sources of external light-blocking such as overshadowing from a neighbouring property or trees for example. All these aspects add-up to create your homes unique light dynamic, which is further subject to change whether the day is dull and cloudy or bright.
It’s not just about the physical attributes however; the ‘sense’ and feeling you get from a space is so important, and a fundamental technique to control this is through balancing light and colour. For instance, a white/blue light is typically known as a cool tone whilst a yellow light is warmer. In turn, your rooms overall colour scheme can hugely influence the sense of perceived light in your home. A room with a darker paint scheme may encourage you to switch the lights on earlier in the day, or beckon you to utilise ambient lighting you may have incorporated into your design scheme.
Pro Tip No. 4:
Paint looks different whether you’re in a brighter south facing room or a darker north facing room. Understanding how the brightness of a room works with the colours in a room is key to a successful lighting scheme. Everything needs to be considered holistically where possible for aesthetics and function to work together seamlessly. A good interior design scheme can turn a simple lighting plan into a colour-lighting plan, to add an extra dimension beyond simply setting out lights and switches for functional purposes, and create a whole new multi-sensory layer incorporating brightness, contrast, warmth and colour, to add richness and depth to a scheme. The way you perceive and feel space is so important and can be enhanced through a next-level lighting scheme! Combining interior design with architectural design, British Home Design can help you achieve this in your home.
Lighting can truly influence your mood and can play a part in whether you feel happy, energised, focused, or optimistic. Ambient lighting, also known as mood lighting, is fundamentally a comfortable lighting source. It needs to be functional and reflect the energy of the activity within the room at that point of time.
Pro Tip No.5: Dim the lights!
Dimmer switches provide duel functions as mood lighting or general lighting. Where using LEDs, make sure the dimmer switch is compatible so bulbs glow bright without flickering.
Connect dimmers to as many lights as possible so that you have full control over specific zones to truly customise the rooms ambiance. Wall lights and lamps create a lovely soft glow against walls providing a cosy, yet luxurious vibe.
Pro Tip No.6: Get Creative!
If you're planning on going the extra mile with your renovation, we've compiled a Pinterest board of creative lighting ideas that you could implement into your home redesign project. Creating lighting accents to the stairs is a really effective and popular request here at BHD as is creating feature walls with integrated lighting. Here's a gallery to get your creative juices flowing:
There's so much you can do with a lighting strip, so go crazy and have some fun! But equally, you can use a lighting strip to create definition, illusions of floating, and highlight specific areas as seen applied to these kitchen units and cabinets. Create a wow factor by linking your lighting to a sensor so that when the doors are opened, the lights come on.
These creative ideas can also turn into practical ones - in areas such as utility rooms where your hands might be full with laundry, use PIR sensors to allow the light to automatically turn on or off around you.
With so many creative tips and tricks, its impossible to list them all in this article! If you're after bespoke ideas for your home, get in touch with us so that we can help you put the LUX in your dream luxury home!