Lighting is a very important part of any remodel and the standards put forth by Richard Kelly (considered one of the pioneers of architectural lighting design) are still in use today. When considering a bathroom or kitchen remodel, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of well-thought-out lighting design. To get started, you should familiarize yourself with basic lighting information so 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 remodeling, but they require special dimmer switches to work properly. The LED is so widely used because of 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, strength, and quantity. All three are important considerations when planning an effective design. What will I do in the space I am remodeling? What items or objects will I need illuminated? Do I need spot or flood lighting? Is mood important to my space? Is decoration important to my lighting design? Finally, you have to take into account your age. People over the age of fifty-five on average experience half as much light as twenty-five-year-olds, therefore more light must be added to compensate for this factor.
There are six types of fixtures that can be used to add light to a kitchen or bathroom. They are recessed, ceiling or surface, semi-surface, pendant, wall and portable. A well thought out design will often include several different accessories, each with its own function. These features include task, ambient, accent, wall and decorative lighting. For a built-in kitchen, lighting combined with under-cabinet lighting will offer both task 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 accents, while surface mount sconces are used as ambience.
With so many fixtures and lighting features, deciding on the free (natural) light source is often overlooked, but it plays an important role in reshaping a space. Natural light or sunlight has a lot of benefits. Sunlight is free, renewable, saves energy, provides a natural source of light, positively affects mood, production, and health, and can heat a room. If possible, when designing a lighting plan, include natural light. The two most common ways to bring light into a design are through the use of windows and skylights. To enhance 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 a part of your design.
There are many ways to design a lighting plan, so having a clear idea of the wants and needs of the space is crucial to having the right lighting for the project.