Let there be lights

Get­ting light­ing right at home is more im­por­tant than you think, writes Ju­lia Gray. Here are some points to con­sider when plan­ning elec­tri­cal work

Rutherglen Reformer - - House & Home - Ju­lia Gray

Light­ing should be at three lev­els in a room – the floor, walls and ceil­ing, so think about all three.

Plan your scheme in ad­vance – if you’re hav­ing elec­tri­cal work done, make sure the sock­ets are fit­ted where you want your ta­ble and floor lamps, for ex­am­ple.

Light­ing can be much more cre­ative and use­ful than just an over­head light in each room. In bed­rooms, do you want wall lights over the bed for read­ing, or will bed­side lamps do?

Don’t for­get wall lights in the bath­room, per­haps for cre­at­ing a rel a x ing at­mos­phere when you’re soak­ing in the tub, and on ei­ther side of the mir­ror for shav­ing and ap­ply­ing makeup. An il­lu­mi­nated mir­ror is another op­tion. Tar­get light­ing, es­pe­cially in kitchens, can be both prac­ti­cal and at­trac­tive. Con­sider fit­ting state­ment pen­dant lights low over a kitchen is­land unit or din­ing ta­ble for a fan­tas­tic fea­ture and, of­ten, a softer way to light the room than with spot­lights. If you en­joy cook­ing, lights to il­lu­mi­nate the kitchen work­tops (fit­ted un­der the wall units) may work well, and think about hav­ing strip lights along the wall units and/ or kick boards for a dra­matic ef­fect. If you’re do­ing ma­jor build­ing work, such as an ex­ten­sion or loft con­ver­sion, you may be sur­prised how early you need to de­cide on the po­si­tion of ev­ery­thing elec­tri­cal and the num­ber of sock­ets, spot­lights, switches, etc.

In both ex­ten­sions and loft con­ver­sions, re­cessed spot­lights are of­ten fit­ted through­out and al­though they’re not the cheap­est, it’s a good idea to re­quest LED bulbs.

Some elec­tri­cians and builders fit LEDs as stan­dard, but not all, and some build­ing con­trol in­spec­tors in­sist that LEDs are fit­ted, but again not all.

LEDs are much cheaper to run than con­ven­tional bulbs and usu­ally last much longer. They’ll also im­prove your home’s En­ergy Per­for­mance Cer­tifi­cate (EPC) if you ever de­cide to sell or rent out your home, so they’re well worth in­vest­ing in.

In rooms with lots of re­cessed spot­lights, ask your elec­tri­cian to zone them so each zone (sit­ting area, kitchen, din­ing area, etc) is on a dif­fer­ent switch, which will give you more flex­i­bil­ity and con­trol.

You may also want dim­mer switches so, again, the light­ing’s fully con­trol­lable and you don’t have to sit and re­lax in bright over­head light. Another thing to con­sider is the colour of the LED bulbs be­cause it will make a big dif­fer­ence to the over­all ef­fect – I rec­om­mend warm white bulbs for a cosy glow.

LIGHT FAN­TAS­TIC The right light will help you wind down and get a good night’s sleep

Choose lights with func­tion in mind

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