Lighting Plan Review please!

sdegraff77January 16, 2014

Please help with our lighting plan. I am not sure we have all the light we need where we need it. Main floor and basement are ceilings are 9 ft second floor is 8ft.

We have a mix if recesses lights and regular fixtures

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Second floor- concerned with the lighting in the bathrooms and hallway.

This post was edited by sdegraff77 on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 0:56

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 12:51AM
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Basement- not sure we need so many lights in the main area.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 12:54AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I'm no lighting expert and may not be reading the plan correctly, but I'm not seeing any accent lights...we put in lighting to highlight drapery panels, fronts of book cases, sconces over the mantel, recessed cans to light the woodstove area, lighting in the glass fronted cabs in the kitchen, a spot light over the fume hood area to accent the display there, wall sconces in the DR, accent lights to highlight the art work in the DR, at the end of the hall to accent display there, in the foyer to accent the art there. Also, of course under cabinet lighting in the kitchen. Now is the time to be thinking about that as well as, IMHO, it is lighting that can make or break any room design.

Also, keep in mind that recessed cans will light a circle on the floor, but flush/semi flush/pendants will drop the light lower into the room and light all the way around, so you potentially gain more light from those fixtures.

In the bathrooms, think about symmetry around the mirrors...if you want one single fixture or 2 smaller ones on each side. Think about what you want to see and experience when you are in the bath. For example, we installed a seat in our steam shower and put a light underneath the seat so we could have ambient light when steaming vs. the harsher light from above.

Hallways tend to be more utilitarian, but you can make a plain hall look great by lighting artwork for a gallery effect.

Contemporary Hall by Laguna Hills Interior Designers & Decorators Peg Berens Interior Design LLC

Just some things to think about when lighting.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 9:10AM
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The rules and design sequence for overhead lighting that I have developed in my architectural practice over 45 years are:
1. use the smallest practical recessed fixture paying attention to lamp (bulb) choice for insulated ceilings and the height above the floor
2. avoid placing a fixture in the center of a room unless it is a utility area
3. if furniture location is known, avoid lighting the tops of people's heads
4. first, light the walls with special attention to potential artwork and mirror locations.
5. then light the stairs
6. then determine where built-in cabinet, under-cabinet and appliance lighting will be located
7. then determine where decorative floor, table, wall and hanging lighting is preferred (some redundancy is OK but think about shadows)
8.then light the task areas (kitchen counters & islands, dining tables, etc.)
9. then light the floors only in high traffic areas or where featured rugs will be placed (grandma's oriental) and put the fixtures on a separately switched circuit

  1. where floor and task lighting are used together put them on separately switched circuits
  2. then light the exterior and coordinate with the interior
  3. then review the switching sequence for arriving and leaving the house; retiring and rising; and emergencies.
  4. review the plan for day and night use as well as special occasions and select dimmer switch locations
  5. this is a good time to locate the smoke and CO detectors

I find it useful to use a yellow highlighter to mark up the plan with the expected light pools indicating where reflected light might occur with dots or dashes.

The choice of lamp (bulb) types and voltage (Line vs Low) also need to be considered because of different light quality, intensity and pattern as well as appearance and safety.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:08AM
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I just wanted to say that Renovator's list is excellent, and the accent lighting in Annie's house is what we are striving for. In other words you have receive great advice. Two helpful books on lighting are called Perfect LIghting ((Sally Storey) and The Home lighting Effects Bible.

Renovator, do you still recommend using low voltage for accent lighting, now that LEDs are available? I get the feeling from my electrician that accent lighting can be done nicely with LEDs (and I believe he was meaning LEDs using line voltage).


    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 9:00PM
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Thank you for the advice! I have sat down with my highlight and went over the plans again with these tips in mind!

My initial thoughts are that I need to direct the lights in the kitchen over the counters more as we don't have upper cabinets.

I think we could do with either pots or a hanging light in the foyer but not both.

I would like to find a waY to light and highlight the fireplace ( there are two windows on either side of the fire place so I don't think I would have room for any wall sconces but may consider some lighting for art work in the dining side between them. )

Upstairs I am wondering if the hallway would be just as well lit with 3 ceiling fixtures instead if the 8 pots?

The basement still has me stumped. I think that many light fixtures will look odd so perhaps pots are the way to go? Or do you think 3-4 ceiling fixtures would provide enough light?

For bathrooms I am leaning towards sconces on the sides instead of above each mirror. Will this give enough light?

Thank you for your continued help!!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 12:13AM
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I don't know much about lighting design, but do have a couple related recommendations.

1) Make sure your recessed cans are ICAT (Insulation Contact Air Tight) and that they are properly installed. Otherwise, you have a bunch of holes going into your attic.

2) Read my post 'Potential problem with recessed LED lights'.I discovered the hard way that with the rapidly changing LED market, the fixtures you put in last year may no longer be available. If you don't buy them all at once, or experience a premature failure, you might not be able to match one.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 7:50AM
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