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Planning Your Lighting Schemes

 

A lot of time is spent by home owners when building or renovating on floor layouts, bathroom fitting and appliance selection, but not so much on lighting schemes, beyond the basics.

So let's look at the main options to consider when planning the lighting of your home - not just from a functional perspective, but also from an aesthetic perspective.

Learn From the Experts

Check out your local large suppliers of light fittings - companies like Clipsal provide a free comprehenisve guide 'Essential Checklist for Everything Electrical'. This guide will walk you through every room in your home and tell you what electrical products you need and where they should go.

The main items include:

Power Points

You can never have enough power points - but having enough and having them in exactly the right place is another thing. How often do you have ugly plugs showing at the end of your sleek new furniture, or end up having to pull out large bookcases to change an appliance. A standard home needs around 30-40 power points - so make sure they are where you will use them, in consideration of your furniture placement. Then give a little consideration to future home owners. A small investment in an extra few plugs may pay dividends when you come to sell your home.

Communications

Most homes now have a television and computer in every bedroom - plus the office and living areas. Whilst many homes use wireless Internet connections - consider the future need for fiber optic cable. Wiring your new space with Cat 5 cable seems like a big investment now, but ripping apart your walls to put it in later is another cost altogether.

Dinners

A big problem with CFL lighting in the first few years was that they could not be used with dimmers. This is no longer a problem. Soft lighting sets the mood in a room. They are affordable enough to use in living and dinning areas, as well as bedrooms and hallways.

Sensors

Sensors are a great energy savings idea for wardrobes, pantries and other seldom used areas. Men in particular are hopeless at turning off lights and closing cupboard doors - so consider them, and use sensors to switch off your lights. They save time and arguments!

Halogen

I was not a fan of early halogen lights - they were a harsh light and the transformers used to step down the main power supply tended to buzz after a while - very iriitating for those with sensitive hearing. They were also quite intense to sit under. However, things have changed today.

Energy saving halogen lights have an infrared burner coating that reduces heat radiation. This makes them 40% more efficient, than regular halogens. The bulbs in the Philips Masterline ES series are claimed to last up to 5000 hours compared to 1000 hours compared to a standard halogen.

Check out each supplier carefully - the last time I invested in some very expensive, modern looking halogen light stands - I paid around $NZ9 per bulb [4 in each stand] and they only lasted around 250 hours.

Outdoor Living

Don't forget mood lighting for your outdoor living areas - there are a lot of great, weather proof systems to choose from

 

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