Home renovation is a big investment. Of course you want to get it right the first time. There’s nothing worse than pouring your heart into a project only to have the end result feel off.
That’s why it’s important to select lighting with the same care and attention you would a piece of art – and to start thinking about the lighting from your earliest planning. It’s something many renovating homeowners take for granted, but understanding lighting types, brightness and colour can be key to building a beautiful renovated residential property.
Never treat the lighting for your interior and exterior spaces as an afterthought. Instead, design the rooms and lighting together, with a mind to the eventual purpose of the living space and how the room will fit into the fabric of your day-to-day life.
Thankfully, just by avoiding a handful of commonplace pitfalls, you can light the way to a better, brighter home renovation…
Avoid wash out
Your home should be a place for you to relax and unwind, not somewhere you feel on display, or worse, under interrogation.
Interior designers and architects in their droves recommend avoiding bright, overhead lighting, which has a tendency to make you look washed out.
"I almost never use overhead lights – nobody looks good, and it casts ugly shadows," says veteran designer and architect Lee Ledbetter. He tells House Beautiful: "I can't tell you how many homes I've walked into where the recessed lighting is pointing straight down – it's horrible." Instead, Lee suggests pointing recessed lights toward the walls, letting the light bounce off of them to cast a gentler glow throughout the room.
Positioning all your lights at the same height is a bit, well, one-dimensional. The key to good lighting is layering. In general, each room should have different layers of lighting that break down into three categories: ambient (up above), task (reading lamp, a light over a cutting board, etc), or accent (used to highlight ornaments, artwork or characterful details).
Mix arching floor lamps with wall lights inside, and mix wall lights, step lights and deck lights outside, for benefits you’ll notice straight away.
You can also hang pendant lights in a multi-level cluster, which doesn’t just add visual interest, it creates a better spread of ambient light within the space.
By playing around with small pools of light, you can draw people into different spaces, while adding depth to your room. When undertaking an open plan renovation style, this is ideal for creating the feel of intimacy within a vast, cavernous space.
You’d measure the length of a wall before buying a new piece of furniture to place against it, right? Considering measurements – in lumens for brightness and kelvins for colour temperature – is just as vital.
Fitting a series of pendants with high lumen bulbs will likely give whoever is sitting underneath them a throbbing headache. Fitting low lumen bulbs in task-lighting areas is likely to do the same.
Thinking about the lighting early on in your renovations is important, since the look of your paint and furnishings will also be impacted by your choice. For example, a particular shade of paint may look spot on with natural light, however it could look off if you choose very cool or very warm coloured lightbulbs. These are things you’ll want to know up front.
The spaces in which you receive guests may receive the bulk of your attention as you renovate – and the bulk of your budget. But what about the spaces that are just for you?
Less glamorous spots, like closets and cupboards, play an important role in your everyday life. Treat them as such by investing in something subtle, such as spotlights or wall lights in a dressing area or walk-in closet.
When you’re trying to distinguish between the black and navy trousers your walk-in closet, you’ll see what we mean. We’re all for the little additions to our homes that make a big difference when we’re on minutes in the morning!Would you like to learn more about our full range of pendant and wall lights? Shop our complete range of luminaires, including our acclaimed Alchemist collection, here