Although it really shouldn’t be, the lighting component of a renovation is sometimes overlooked in favour of other aspects. To overlook the lighting as a major part of your renovation is to do a potential injustice to the overall look and feel of the property. You can consider lighting one of the most important components of interior design, in fact; the impact that quality, well-positioned lighting can have on the look and feel of an entire room is quite impressive.
Lighting affects every detail of the room, from the various colours and shades in your fixtures and fittings to the perception of size and space available. Proper lighting also makes it much easier to perform the tasks that the room was designed for in the first place. Nobody wants to cut themselves shaving due to improper illumination, or heading out with lipstick on their teeth!
Here are some tips for getting the best of your lighting when renovating:
Visualize the ideal qualities of each room
For each room, step inside and try to imagine how it might look its best. For example, if it is currently shadowy and dimly lit, it won’t have a very appealing atmosphere. Correctly placed lighting will transform the entire look of the room.
Also consider the assets of each room and how you can best accentuate them. Which details should be standing out as attractive features? If there are any aesthetically pleasing fixtures such as a beautiful fireplace or a marble kitchen countertop, you will want to highlight these with what is known as ‘accent lighting’.
Accent lighting is very important as it maximizes the impact of the décor and draws the onlookers’ attention to the aesthetically pleasing aspects in a room, such as pieces of artwork, ornaments, plants, or even architectural aspects.
Illuminate according to the features of individual rooms
A ‘one size fits all’ approach according to the type of room you’re renovating will limit the potential for each room. Smart renovators will pay the necessary attention to the lighting requirements of each room based on its characteristics; for example, requirements will vary according to how much natural light gets in, the size and shape of the room, and the fixtures and fittings within it.
Prioritise carefully if on a budget
Not everybody has a bottomless supply of cash for the renovation, so it might be necessary to prioritise your lighting requirements. When setting your budget in the first place, don’t leave the lighting as an afterthought. If you can’t stretch to every room, or you can’t install the various layers of lighting needed to optimise the appearance of each, aim to properly illuminate the foyer, lounge, kitchen, and bathroom before anything else. The more features you can accentuate, the better.
Don’t overdo the lighting
There is lighting a room sufficiently, and then there is overdoing it. There is no need to install beaming spotlights in every room; although it will be brightly lit, you will lose any ambience the room would have benefited from. Choosing a mixture of different lighting sources according to the room’s features is paramount. This is known as ‘blending’, and it can literally transform a room. Atmosphere is everything, so be sure to avoid blanket brightness.
Don’t rely too much on natural light
The more natural light the property lets in, the better. A room can look fantastic with sunbeams falling across gleaming wooden floors, but the moment the sun goes down, your room will be relying on artificial lighting to look and feel its best.
Sometimes the natural light alone doesn’t show the rooms best qualities anyway. It is possible to complement the natural light coming in with floor lamps or desk lamps; this gives the impression of greater dimension.
Install fittings with both mood and efficiency in mind
A bright kitchen will inspire motivation for the tasks that happen within it, for one thing; it will also make sure that the tasks can be carried out effectively. Straining to see what stage the food is at in a pan can be quite annoying, and the same goes for examining dishes after washing up. ‘Task lighting’ is the type of lighting that aids efficient task completion, and it refers to bright lighting positioned so that it shines on the areas you’ll be carrying out your activities in.
Dimmer switches on your light fittings are a great idea too, as they allow you to shift the ambience of a room in a couple of seconds. Once you’ve cooked a meal with the help of the task lighting, you might want to turn the lighting down a little in order to better enjoy the meal. Similarly, you might want to be able to turn lighting down to relax in a bath, but have it as bright as possible while performing activities.
Bathroom and dressing room mirrors also require task lighting. Casting unforgiving shadows on different areas of the face not only makes people feel less attractive; it also makes it much harder to see what you’re doing in the mirror. One way to remedy this issue is to place lights evenly around the mirror, rather than just one light shining down from above it.
Get your general lighting right
General lighting is also known as ‘ambience lighting’ and it refers to the kind of light that fills any given space. It is not specific in what it illuminates; that is the job of accent lighting and task lighting. General lighting is probably the most important type of light, as without it, the accent and task lighting won’t work as well.
General lighting doesn’t need to be so bright that your rooms are lit up like a football stadium; harsh fluorescent lights will certainly fill the space, but they are likely to destroy any chance of ambience in the room. Your lounge, bedrooms and dining rooms will all require sufficient, non-harsh general lighting.
It is probably now much more obvious that a successful renovation relies heavily on the quality of the lighting within the property. Those renovating in order to sell the property should be paying even more attention to the interior lighting. After all, potential buyers could be very turned off by dark and uninviting rooms, and if they have to work hard to see what the rooms have got going for them, they will probably be moving swiftly onwards. Well-lit rooms make it much easier for buyers to envisage a happy life in the property, so paying proper attention to the lighting could even result in a quicker or more profitable sale!
Author Bio: Lisa Wetherell runs the blog Lighting House – where she writes about her knowledge gained from 10 years of industry experience in the lighting and interior design field. To learn more about how lighting can improve your space, you can follow her blog.