Let’s talk lighting
Lighting is a very important part of any remodel and the standards introduced by Richard Kelly (considered one of the pioneers of architectural lighting design) are still in use today. When considering a bathroom or kitchen remodel, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of a well-thought-out lighting design. To get started, you should familiarize yourself with basic lighting information so you know the right questions to ask your contractor before work on your home begins.
There are three sources of electric light used in most kitchens and bathrooms. They are incandescent, fluorescent and LED. LED lights have become the most popular electric light source in remodeling, but they require special dimmer switches to work properly. LED is so widely used because of the low number of watts the light uses, the longevity of the light’s life, and the lack of heat produced by the light.
Once you determine which electric light will work best in your home, you need to consider how it is measured. Light is measured in three ways, flow, strength, and quantity. All three are important considerations when planning an effective design. What will I do in the space that I am remodeling? What items or objects will I need illuminated? Do I need spot or flood lighting? Is mood important to my space? Is decoration important to my lighting design? Finally, you have to take into account your age. People over the age of fifty-five on average experience half the light as people in their twenties, therefore more light must be added to compensate for this factor.
There are six types of fixtures that can be used to add light to a kitchen or bathroom. They are recessed, ceiling or surface, semi-superficial, hanging, wall and portable. A well thought out design will often include several different accessories, each with their own function. These features include task, ambient, accent, wall, and decorative lighting. For a recessed kitchen, lighting combined with under cabinet lighting will offer both task lighting and ambient lighting. While pendants that hang over an island are often used as decorative lighting. In a bathroom, wall sconces are often used as accents, while surface mounts are used as ambiance.
With so many fixtures and lighting features, deciding which is the source of free (natural) light is often overlooked, but it plays an important role in remodeling a space. Natural light or sunlight has a host of benefits. Sunlight is free, it is a renewable source, it saves energy, it offers a natural source of light, it affects mood, production and health in positive ways and it can warm a room. If possible, when designing a lighting plan, include natural light. The two most common ways to bring light into a design are through the use of windows and skylights. To enhance the illumination of sunlight through these sources, the use of reflective finishes and reflective surfaces should be considered. If your space already has a window or skylight, be sure to do everything possible to keep this source of natural light as part of your design.
There are many ways to design a lighting plan, so having a clear idea of the wants and needs of the space is crucial to having the right lighting for the project.