Why use a lighting designer for your home renovation or new build? - Tips
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  • Why use a lighting designer for your home renovation or new build?
  • June 1, 2021
  • Monica Duggan

When lighting what some might call was your ‘standard’ home, people tend to believe that there is no need to pay for the services of a lighting designer. However, and of course, we tend to differ! So what value do we bring to a standard home that warrants paying for the service of a lighting designer?

Below is a project we worked on with a client based in Galway. She originally had her engineer do a lighting design for her build which is very common, we often find if a client is using an architect, they might do it either or in other cases people ask their electrician to do it which, in our experience, is usually carried out by eye when onsite.

Today I will focus on this clients kitchen –

Original lighting plan for clients kitchen

The first image is the original plan. From the initial view, there has been thought put into this. We can see they have clear switching coordination as well which is great. However, there are a lot of light fittings used. This over specifying is very common. When professionals do not fully understand lighting, they tend to error on the safe side and blanket light a space. Ultimately this takes away from the client’s ability to create mood and atmosphere, drives up cost, and even in some cases, though it seems contradictory, means the client may not get the light where it is needed most!

Here the plan has five different circuits allowing to separately switch four different sets of lights – which is great. However, one circuit has 14 downlights alone around the island. This is way too many. They have allowed for three downlights over the sink, which is putting light where it’s needed, but again it’s way too much light. There are three pendants over the island but their positioning is over the edge of the counter missing the functional space while also throwing off the symmetry.

On the entrance into the kitchen, we can see a skylight and two downlights. These downlights are just there to purely give functional light, this functional light could be achieved while highlighting the features or it could be put where it’s needed for example in the built-in units to the right of the skylight.

Our lighting plan for clients kitchen

Now look at our plan above –

In the main kitchen area, we have allowed for nine downlights on the main floor area, and one at the end of the kitchen, lighting the built-in units. With the nine downlights, we have these on different circuits (or switches). This allows us to get light where it’s needed for cooking, and to separately light the main floor area when required. The lights over the island, are positioned to give an even distribution of light on the counter as well as keeping symmetry which is so important.

On the kitchen entrance, we have built-in LED tape in the skylight to bounce light around the skylight at night, highlighting this architectural feature, without seeing the source of the light. As I mentioned above we have also positioned downlights at the built-in units to the right, and have placed a downlight in the deeper unit, getting light where it is needed.

So, like the question posed above, what value did we bring to this home that warranted our lighting designer?

Ultimately, we have taken this kitchen from nineteen downlights to thirteen. We have created a unique space by highlighting architectural features and allowed for separate scene switching and proper positioning of fittings to enhance both atmosphere and functionality. We’ve also saved the client money in the short term with the reduced number of downlights, and in the long term with the energy usage required. 

  • Design,Tips
  • downlights, Electrics, Floor Plan, functional lighting, Home renovation, kitchen, Kitchen Design, Lighting Design, lighting designer, Lighting Plan, lighting tips, Monica Duggan, mood lighting, newbuild, Renovation, selfbuild, willie duggan

About Monica Duggan

Monica grew up with a screwdriver & bulb in her hands before she started to 'hassle' the boss! After gallivanting around the world & getting an education she worked in all areas of the business, and was a natural fit for developing Willie Duggan further. She does her best thinking struggling up a mountain, hiking a trail or beating herself up in the gym!

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