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  • Writer's pictureJames Treble

Understand Lighting

When building a new home, we spend a lot of time choosing elements like the right façade and an amazing kitchen or flooring, and we might think we've ticked all the important boxes... yet how well have you considered Lighting? Among all the features that make a great home, this a buggy and one that is too often overlooked. So I f you're in 'the dark' about what to look out for, here are some things you may find useful.

First of all, there are three main types of lighting: Ambient, Task and Accent lighting, and each apply to any room in different ways. The standard electrical layout in a home usually consists of one main lighting source in each room, centrally placed on the ceiling, and one, sometimes two power-points per room. But to create a successful space it's important you think of what the use of the room will require, electricity wise, and probably a combination of Ambient, Task and Accent will be necessary.

AMBIENT LIGHTING is the main lighting source in the room, like the down-lights of the main living areas or the oyster fitting in your bedroom. Depending on how big the area is and how you plan to use the room, you must decide if one light hanging from the middle of the ceiling or maybe multiple downlights is going to be sufficient or not.

TASK LIGHTING as the name suggests it’s about illuminating a space for work, for a task, like the lighting above your kitchen bench top, or the table lamp on your desk in the study. Once again, understanding what 'work' will be done in each room, and where, will help you add useful lighting easily and at a fraction of what it would cost if done later.

ACCENT LIGHTING is actually my favourite to play with, and is a great way to add personality to a space, like the pendants above the kitchen island or the dining table, the table lamps that are on either side of the sofa or your bed. It’s also that beautiful floor lamp that lights up the corner, adding mood and character to a space. Planning in advance is necessary to help have plenty of useful power-points where needed and avoid unsightly and possibly unsafe extension cables snaking across.

In the kitchen, for example, Ambient lighting, instead of being just one light source in the middle of the ceiling, usually insufficient, can become a well spread number of down-lights. Kitchen Task lighting, built under the wall cabinets, will make any of the daily jobs there both easier and safer. These light up the bench-spaces, but also it helps to highlight the beautiful splash-back tiles. The final layer here is the beautiful pendants hanging above the kitchen island: the Accent lighting of the room, which adds character and atmosphere. However these also work as Task lighting because they are great at illuminating the bench-space when preparing a meal or entertaining your guests.

Important areas not to leave behind are the entry foyer and hallways. A great light fitting here adds visibility but also character to these often disregarded spaces. Besides a single feature light or a pendant I want you also to consider down-lights, and not necessarily in the middle of the ceiling. Accent lighting, off-centred to illuminate an artwork can also help the space to feel interesting as well as lit.

Just like inside, outdoor lighting must be planned. Accent Lighting will help adding character to the exterior of a home highlighting its features, while Working lights are necessary to help you safely walking around after dark. Furthermore, the external power-points you planned in advance, will make the decorating of your exteriors at Christmas an easy switch-on-off experience, and turning that future electric BBQ ignitor on a well planned an easy after move in experience!

As you can see, planned lighting is the final layer that helps turn any house into a welcoming and functional home. So look at your floor plan, and consider where you can add some Task and Accent lighting: it will help you add warmth, character as well as great value to your home.

A Treble of Tips:

  • define which kind of lighting and power-points are necessary, room by room and outside

  • decide where these must be placed well before the building/renovation starts

  • visit display homes after dark to get inspiration

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in adding value to homes through clever design & styling. Watch his free videos on YouTube, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more free information.


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