Lighting; when should you start creating your renovations lighting plan? Simple answer: as early as possible! The reason we plan so far ahead is that the lightings wiring has to be done relatively early in the renovation process when the walls are opened up. If we wait and close up the walls and then make changes to lighting plans we could have to open the walls again to put in a new driver or re-wire for a different light that wasn’t in the original plans. This scenario could be quite costly!
Most people don’t know that lighting takes anywhere between 4-6 weeks to be brought in for regular items and between 8-14 weeks for custom pieces.
When planning lighting you want to ask a pro for sure; the pro’s take in to account how big the area you want to light is, what volume of light you want to fill in the space and how you want it to look and feel.
There are many questions they will ask you like, what styles of fixtures do you like? What items do you absolutely want lit up? What color ranges do you like? And how do you want them to be controlled?
- LED - the newest kid on the block, LEDs are the most energy efficient way to light your new space. You can use a traditional bulb, LED strip lights with different colours. LED lights are infinitely dimmable with the right hardware.
- Fluorescent - A traditional fluorescent can be a great way to light large room with compact fluorescents or bar lamps.
- Incandescent - There are now a ton of really spectacular incandescent light bulbs that look awesome in a bare fixture and can add a very retro feel to a space. One recent trend is to have Thomas Edison inspired looking light bulbs.
There are many different fixtures you can have in a kitchen or bathroom, for the sake of not making an article 1,000,000 words long, let’s just cover the basic types.
- Pot lights - built into the ceiling of the space, pot lights are great for almost any space but do require the work to be done while the ceiling is dropped to be most cost effective, retrofits are available if the ceiling is to stay in place.
- Pendants - hanging from the ceiling, a pendant is a single piece that can be hung by itself or in groups of two or three lights, typical placements are above a kitchen island or a small dining room table
- Chandelier - a hanging light fixture usually used above dining tables, stairwells and entryways. Chandeliers can be simple or elegant depending on the material used to build them.
Controlling Your Lights
There’s the obvious, a traditional on off switch but there are also dimmers, timers or motion sensors. The type of control would depend on the needs of the room (a motion sensor is great for laundry rooms since you usually enter or exit with your hands full and having the lights turn on and off by themselves is convenient and saves you energy and money).
Moving into a trend that has been gaining strength in past year and will only grow even more is home automation. Home automation can take a home with many lights, multimedia systems, cameras, door locks etc and combine them into one simple button or a program on your smartphone.
Visualize leaving the house with the kids in the car, the dog in the back and you’re on your way out; imagine simply pressing one button on your smartphone and every light in the house will shut off, all the TV’s and hi-fi systems will shut off, the doors will lock and the alarm will arm itself. Pretty cool, huh?
There’s many different versions of home automation on the market; more details on that are coming soon in another post!
At the end of the day there are many different ways to light your space with almost infinite combinations of fixtures, bulbs and controllers. Drop by the showroom anytime at 336 W 5th ave in Vancouver to speak with a designer about the best solution for your space.