When is the best time to consult a Lighting Designer?
With so many elements of a self-build project to be taken into account it’s not unusual for the lighting design to be put to the side until the electrical contractors ask for the lighting layout. They will need this so they can quote accordingly which in turn helps to establish the budget of the whole project. So often I’m asked to supply a lighting design scheme as a matter of urgency and although I’m happy to accommodate speedy jobs when possible it does mean that you, as the client, may not have given yourself enough time to think through the style of lighting or light fittings you would like to incorporate into the build.
So when I’m asked when is the best time to start planning the lighting I will always say that the best time is as soon as you have a definite building plan and certainly once you’ve got planning permission. Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that your lighting designer will require the following information:
It’s important for any lighting designer to know the design of a staircase as there are so many different ways that these can be lit. Does it have open treads, stringers, wood, steel, concrete? There are so many variations and each style will call for different lighting methods.
Ideally the full kitchen plan will be available but if this is not possible it helps to know where any tall units are going to be located, if wall units are being incorporated, where the sink is sited, position of the hob and the approximate size and location of the island if there is one. Also, what type of extractor are you incorporating as often these will have integral lighting and some pieces are almost light fittings in their own right. For example some of these extractors double up as feature lights.
The whole flow and symmetry of the bathroom lighting will depend on the positioning of the bathroom furniture and the style of the fittings is also important. For example the lighting around a roll top slipper bath would be very different to that of an inset panelled bath and it helps to know if the basin is a pedestal design or has an integrated unit below it or possibly a wall mounted cupboard above it. For a wonderful range of bathroom furniture visit C P Hart for inspiration.
What type of flooring will you be having in different areas of the house? This will influence the architectural light fittings that are specified and will determine whether in-ground LED lights are to be incorporated. For example uplights can be set into hard floors but would not work well in carpets and the reflective properties of different finishes will create various effects so it’s worth knowing in the early stages.
This doesn’t need to be set in stone but the more information you can give your lighting designer the better the effect. Approximate positions of sofas and beds will help with the layout and having an idea of where any artwork is to be placed will help to incorporate this into the lighting scheme.
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