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Let’s talk about lighting

Lighting is a very important part of any remodel and the standards laid out by Richard Kelly (considered one of the pioneers of architectural lighting design) are still in use today. From a well thought out lighting design. To get started, you need to familiarize yourself with basic lighting information so that you know the right questions to ask your contractor before work begins on your home.

There are three sources of electric light that are used in most kitchens and bathrooms. They are incandescent, fluorescent and LED. LED lights have become the most popular electrical light source in renovations, but they require special dimmers to function properly. LEDs are widely used due to the low number of watts the light uses, the longevity of the light’s lifespan, 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, flux, force, 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 to illuminate? Do I need spot or flood lighting? Is mood important to my space? Is decoration important to my lighting design? Finally, one must consider their age. People aged fifty-five and older experience on average half as much light as people aged twenty-five, therefore more light must be added to compensate for this factor.

There are six types of accessories that can be used to add light to a kitchen or bathroom. They are flush, ceiling or surface mount, semi-surface mount, suspended fixtures, wall mount, and portable. A well thought out design will often include several different accessories, each serving its own function. These features include task, mood, accent, wall, and decorative lighting. For a built-in kitchen, lighting combined with under cabinet lighting will offer both work lighting and ambient lighting. While pendants hanging over an island are often used as decorative lighting. In a bathroom, wall sconces are often used as decorative, while surface mount is used as ambience.

With so many lighting fixtures and features, the free (natural) light source 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 provides a source of natural light, it positively affects mood, production and health, and it can warm a room. If possible when designing a lighting plan, include natural light. The two most common ways to bring light to a design are through the use of windows and skylights. To improve 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 your best 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 picture of the wants and needs of the space is crucial to having the right lighting for the project.

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