Draw a floor plan
James says the first step is to draw a floor plan of the area you will be lighting. Make it to scale and include detailed information like window and door positioning, and furniture placement.
This way you’ll have a true sense of the area you’re working with and can more easily determine where your lighting should be positioned and how many to include. For example, you don’t need the same spread of downlight across your full living room, rather you may like to have 2-4 above your sofa (depending on its size) so you can illuminate the area you will be sitting and use less elsewhere. Similarly, on walls where you know you will hang artwork, you can use two wall washers (set closer to the wall) to illuminate artwork.
Think about the tasks
Before deciding on any type of lighting, you need to first ask yourself ‘What will you be using the space for?’. Lighting is first and foremost functional and you need to understand how you will use a space before deciding how much and what type of lighting you will need. You might like to mark a small x over the areas you need task lighting.
Add ambience and accent lighting
Once functional lighting has been locked in, you can get onto the fun part of adding ambient and accent lighting. Think pendant lights, decorative wall lights, LED track lighting, up lights, wall washers, table and floor lamps. Consider all lighting surfaces like walls and the ceiling. At this stage you’re still just designing where you want light.
Define a budget
The cost of lighting can vary A LOT! As soon as you look beyond mass-produced lighting, you can start adding zeros to the end of the amount you think it should cost.
Don’t be disheartened though, it’s still possible to achieve a fabulous result with various budgets. Our tip is to create a mood board for your space or new home build, and get clear on the look you want to achieve. This will help you to identify the style of lighting that would suit and then the researching can begin! You can find save vs splurge versions of most lights on the market to achieve the look you want within your budget.
Select luminaires (aka light fittings)
Once you know the type of lighting you need and how many, and what your budget is, you can now get onto the fun part of selecting the light fittings! While the temptation is to often make a statement with lighting, James reminds us that “It’s not always the luminaire that should be the standout element of the space”.