Lighting design ideas

Posted on 5 Jul 2019.

Lighting design ideas. Top tips and ideas. One of the most popular services we offer is our lighting design, self builders and developers often find lighting a challenge and knowing what products work well and what LEDs to buy can be a problem. So we started to offer a design service to help people. So I wanted to take some time to cover some of the ideas and lighting solutions I offer that are very popular and work well in this blog.

I appreciate not everyone is able to come and see me here in Bristol so I have written this guide to lighting design, which I hope will be a help to anyone working on their home.

I am of course available to speak on the phone or via email 01179425355 or [email protected] you can also find out more about my designs on our Facebook page @ablectrics

Make sure you have a plan to work from

It is always a good thing to have a full plan weather you are taking on the electrical works yourself or you have an electrician working for you. If you take the time to form a proper detailed plan it should serve to ensure no mistakes are made or anything missed at the end of the project. When I work on a design for a client I like to include a mood board as this shows off the lighting in situ. I appreciate it can be tough to visualize things and picture lighting in a room. You can use websites like Pintrest or Houzz to find images of rooms and designs that you like. These sites are full of exiting and inspiring images and are a great tool. From there you can begin to establish the design and direction you want to follow. Like everything careful planning is vital and any extra time spent now will avoid issues later.

Primary lighting 

This is the most important thing to get right on any lightingdesign. Primary lighting in a room is vital. The two most important rooms to get good primary lighting in is the kitchen and your bathrooms. Primary lighting is normally achieved with the use of inset downlights. You can use pendants or LED tape but remember that you want to spread your lighting out to properly light a space. One central pendant in a room or an LED tape running around the perimeter is not always the most effective way to best light a space. It may well look nice and bright when you stand in the doorway and turn the lights on but as soon as you are in the room stand between the subject and the lighting source you will create a shadow. A ceiling downlight sits above you and spreads an even light over the area you are in. This is very effective and works well as a primary light. Also remember you can dim almost light with the right lamp and dimmer switch. I will discuss this in more detail later in the talk.

Be careful when choosing your downlights. Many people choose to fit dedicated LED downlights. While we do sell these I do not recommend them to my customers. If the LED fails it cannot be easily replaced. Meaning the whole unit needs to be taken down and replaced. If you buy a downlight which takes a GU10 lamp this is much better as the lamp can be taken out and changed if it fails. Some dedicated LED lighting is unavoidable, like LED tape. But try not to take dedicated LED lighting if you can avoid it. Ongoing maintenance of your lighting is very important as you don't want to incur problems a few years down the line. I recommend a downlight made by a brand called Integral. It is called an evo fire. It is IP65 meaning it can go in any room even above the shower. It is also fully fire rated so it ticks all the boxes.

Secondary lighting

The secondary lighting is the fun bit. This is when a lighting design really begins to gain some character. Statement pendant lights, decorative filament lamps and side lamps are often used to achieve this. Remember it is vital to spilt your circuits down on a design. You do not want one switch to bring on every light. You want pendants, downlights, LED tape, a floor lamp and wall lights all on their own switch. Lighting isn't just about filling a room with light, shadows and dim lighting create a mood. If your sat watching TV or enjoying a glass of wine after diner you want to make sure your lighting design affords you the options to do this. A pinch of light over the sofa and the pendant light over the dining table on a dim setting may be all the light you need at that moment. So try an imagine all the different uses you may have for a room and then work from there to get the best out of the lighting you choose.

The best advise I can give you with your secondary lighting is even if the budget you have does not cover all of the lights you want, wire for it during first fix and come back to it later. It will not cost a lot to put a lighting cable in the wall for some LED tape or run power outside to light your garden. If you don't do this and you later decide you want to add lighting the costs and disrupt to your home could be a lot more.


Choosing the right colour tempreture LEDs

Choosing the right colour temp for you lighting is very important. While warm white LEDs are great for bedrooms and relaxing I normally recommend a cooler light source for bathrooms and kitchen areas. Warm white is 2000-3000k while 4000-5000k gives a more natural cool light. I have 4000k lights in my bathroom and kitchen and it makes the space feel more fresh. Also warm white will make anything white look peach in colour. It is not a natural colour. So please be mindful of this when choosing your lighting. 

The big question I am always asked is what colour to use in an open plan kitchen, diner and lounge and these are technically three rooms in one. So a kitchen works well with cool white while the lounge and dinner are better with warm white. So I normally advise go for warm white throughout, the diner and lounge count as 2 so its more favourable to get 66% of the room right. Moving forward however CCT technology is coming. If your house is being completed in the next 12-18 months then this is something I would seriously consider. CCT stands for colour control temperature. Effectively LEDs that can give both warm and cool white and can be easily controlled from a wall control or app. There is some stuff out there but it is not the brightest and from the testing we have done so far I have not been over impressed with the control. But it is coming and means you don't have to compromise. You can have a cool white house in the morning when you wake up and want to get going, then at 8pm at night when you have cooked and are ready to relax before bed you can switch to warm white.

Lighting control

Control of your new lighting is very important and is the final piece in the puzzle. You don't want to have the perfect lighting design and lights and fall down with the switch positions and lighting control. Often on designs and especially in large open plan spaces like the one I just showed you, you can have many lighting circuits to control. Most of my designs see at least 6-10 different circuits. You will therefore need many switches on the wall the properly control these circuits. If you want to turn the lights on and off from different positions then the number of switches you will need can double. When working with this many lighting circuits I would recommend you consider a more modern control system. This has many benefits.

We work with Rako. I have a working display area in my lighting showroom in Bristol and I would 100% recommend this sytem as it is cost effective and works well. It goes on 90% of my designs and always rewards the customer with a reliable and effective solution to control their new lighting. With a simple RF wireless wall controls which hold up to 7 scenes you can control all your lighting with the press of a single button. Setting up scenes or moods. Buttons for kitchen lighting, dinning and TV. The whole room will change and lighting dim to a preferred set scene which can be easily changed. You can even use your smartphone or tablet to turn your lighting on and off and when you go on holiday it can play back your button presses as if you were still at home. We have worked alongside RAKO now for 3 years and touch wood have never had a single item returned or not working. It is all tested before it is packaged and they take great care making the kit. You can find out more online now by following the below link and there are lots of videos on Youtube if you simply search for " Rako wireless home automation"


Best selling lighting

So I have also taken the time to group my best selling and most popular lights on the website. I have broken this down by room so I have for example a best selling kitchen lights, best selling bedroom lights section. What you will find here is a choice of the most popular lights that have proven there worth many times on my designs. You will find most of these lights on display in our showroom and we always get great feedback from our clients. Please follow the below link on the website and take a look.[0]=field_product_category%253Aparents_all%3A11749


Lighting showroom in Bristol

Dont forget we have a large lighting showroom with working displays and all the latest LEDs. It is well worth a visit if you are working on your home and we can discuss all of your lighting requirements face to face. If you want arrange a full lighting design please call ahead and book an appointment with me. A design in the showroom will take approx 45-60mins and we can go over all the primary and secondary lighting and any ideas you have had. For me to put a full design and plan togther I will need a set of CAD plans ideally from your arcitect. I can then overlay a full design, moodboard and key on this. Find Out more about our award winning showroom by following the below link.

Free 0800 180 4509 7.30AM-5PM
[email protected] | 33 Zetland Road, Redland, Bristol, BS6 7AH
Company Number: 10317738
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