When planning a new design for your home, considerable time is usually spent on decisions relating to the colour scheme, furniture and flooring. What is often over-looked is the lighting, not the light fittings, but where light is being generated and how this will affect the overall look and feel of the interior.
Obtaining natural light through windows or skylights is the most favourable option. Natural light is pure white, so shows other colours without distortion and it also brings natural warmth. Natural light is also free, so making the most of this resource can help to reduce energy costs in the long term. Whilst highly desirable, natural light isn’t always available, especially through winter months when the daylight hours are shorter, so other solutions need to be installed. In general homes on modern housing developments are built in close proximity to each other, so they can cause more shadows and effectively steal natural light sources from each other.
When planning where to position artificial light sources you need to consider the overall effect that will be created. Ceiling lights, wall lights, lamps and spot lights are available in a full range of sizes, styles and colours, each of which will create a specific look. The choice of lighting will influence the mood of the interior, as well as impacting on how other features in the space are viewed.
Light is a functional design consideration, so it needs to be bright in areas where it is important that you can see clearly, such as in the kitchen or study. In areas, such as the living room or bedrooms, a subtle, diffused lighting solution can create a relaxed feeling, with floor or table lamps used to provide additional lighting for activities such as reading. Spot lights can be great for making a statement as it will draw the eye to a particular area, such as where a piece of art is hung on the wall. Most interiors can be enhanced by a combination of clever lighting solutions.
Some light fittings can be incorporated into other furniture and therefore hidden from site. This technique is employed in many contemporary homes, as the light itself is the design feature, rather than the lamp. Whatever lighting you select, most will be suitable for LED light bulbs. Whilst LED lighting has a much higher initial cost, the long term performance makes them a cost effective and environmentally sensitive option.
LED lighting has excellent light emission efficiency, 10W of LED lighting is equivalent to 70-80W in a standard light bulb, so you gain more light using less energy. As energy bills continue to rise at a considerable rate, using less energy every time you switch the light on will soon add up to provide you with a return on your initial investment in LED lighting. Although it’s no match for natural light, LEDs also provide better light than standard light bulbs, as they rate higher on the CRI (colour rendering index).
LED lighting last much longer too, up to 40,000 hours per bulb, which means you are saved the job of regularly replacing bulbs. This efficiency can be especially beneficial for lighting in harder to access areas, such as high ceilings, or those hidden within other interior furniture. Again the significantly reduced need for purchasing replacement bulbs is another reason why LED lighting is cost effective.
When working under a table lamp, for example in a studio or office, the heat generated can be a problem. As LED lighting is free from Ultraviolet rays it generates less heat, which can be safer and offers protection for heat sensitive objects.
The main reason why people are making the move to installing LED lighting is its environmental credentials. They offer energy savings of between 80% and 90% in comparison to standard lighting. As our demands for energy continue to increase, there are real risks of demand exceeding supply and increasing chances of power cuts. Energy production and use is also a key factor influencing global warming and the destruction of natural habitats. To reduce the impact we are having, we all need to take measures to reduce our energy consumption. LED lighting is also free from mercury and other hazardous materials making them safer to dispose of at the end of their working life.