Lighting Design Tips and Trends For 2010

The latest next big thing in lighting design is the ability to have better control and more energy efficiency, also concealing lights in the walls and floor is very fashionable and creates a lovely layered effect. If you only change one thing this year to improve the atmosphere in your home install dimmer switches!
  • Different Lighting Effects
    There are three different lighting effects in your home, all of which should be operated separately so the balance of light can be changed at the flick of a switch to create different mood.
    1. Firstly there is ambient lighting which provides the overall lighting (or background) this is provided mostly by the use of downlights, centre lights, table lamps and wall lights.
    2. Secondly there is task lighting which is for a specific purpose for example over kitchen worktops, reading, lighting stairs etc. Some of the possible options for this type of lighting is again downlights, lamps specifically for reading, leds maybe for highlighting stairs.
    3. Thirdly there is your accent lighting or feature lighting which adds interest and glamour to a space. This is lighting that you use to light a feature such as a painting or a sculpture or maybe even a stone wall.
  • Uplights and downlights
    Uplights and downlights are your main tools and consequently the key to getting your lighting plan correct. Downlights are lights that are recessed partially or fully into the ceiling. Where the bulb is set back by approx 30mm this will provide maximum focus with minimum glare. Downlights serve well for all types of lighting effects. Uplights direct light at the ceiling, which reflects it back. Uplights can be set into the floor, they can be free standing lamps or they can be set into the wall.
  • Sources of light
    The best source of light is low voltage, it is the closest thing to natural daylight you can find. It is totally suitable for a kitchen area where you need good light. The traditional tung-sten light bulb is still suitable for table lamps which give a nice warm glow. LEDs also serve a purpose and are becoming very popular set into decking or as a colour- changing striplight.
  • What to avoid
    It is important not to think of an area as just one space. Think about what the space is used for and light it accordingly. Especially if the area is open plan it is a good idea to create walls of light and not to just uniformly have a row of lights because they fit symmetrically into the room. This can look very office like.
  • How to get it right
    Plan out what your room is used for and what levels of light are needed. Again this is very important in an open plan environment such as a kitchen, living and dining area it is in effect three rooms you are lighting! Create layers of light always using dimmers where possible. It is possible to create different scenes in the same room suitable for different times of the day and for different uses such as watching the television or reading.
  • Kitchen Tips
    1. Low voltage recessed lights that won't collect grease.
    2. Consider under counter lights to light up work surfaces so you are not standing in your shadow.
    3. Where there are high ceilings uplights can be used on top of units to reflect light and reduce the number of downlights needed.
    4. Recessed or spot lights over an island.
    5. Leds set into kitchen unit plinths are great for effect and to high light flooring.
  • Bathroom Light
    1. It is important to make sure that the fittings are bathroom suitable.(appropriate IP rating)
    2. The most flattering look from mirrors would be to have your lights either side of the mirror.
    3. To create atmosphere in your bathroom consider a light in an alcove or around the bottom of the bath or maybe colour changing behind your bath, again making sure it is all bathroom appropriate.
    4. A downlight above the sink or bath is a nice idea as when they are full of water it can create a ripple effect on the ceiling.
    5. Operate lights separately so that you don't have them all operating at once and also consider using a dimmer where possible. There is nothing nicer than soaking in a bath with dimmed lighting reflecting ripples across the ceiling.
  • Lighting Gardens
    1. Less is more! You need to light features and not the sky line you don't want people thinking yours is a beacon for the local disco!
    2. Consider versatility. Do you want to be able to move your lights? Spiked fittings are an option if you do.
    3. Concrete or decking steps can be highlighted with built in step lights. This looks well and is also a safety bonus.
    4. Dark green fittings blend well into the foliage.
  • Hallways and landings
    1. Make more of your flooring by using low level lights in the walls it can bring your gloss tiles to life or really bring out the colour of your carpet.
    2. If the hall and landing area is small it is a good idea to make the landing area brighter as it draws the eye and makes the space seem larger.
    3. If you have art on the walls you can hi-light it with a picture light or directional recessed light.
    4. Avoid having a straight line of recessed lights down the centre of your hallway it can make the space seem narrow.

This is taken from an article by David Cahill (Article Source:
I have been helping clients for the last twenty three years to light their homes with the latest designs and products. Visit my web site at to learn more about my lighting design consultation service and view our new show room.
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