The right lighting highlights your home’s design, maximizing beautiful design elements and illuminating its functionality. While most luxury homeowners appreciate good lighting, it’s often an afterthought to the overall design… when it needs to be a high priority.
An important function of lighting is to allow tasks to be completed safely. Ambiance and beauty come into your decision making; however, ensuring you have lighting that allows you to see properly (without straining your eyes) when you need to. For example, when you are working, or getting ready in the morning.
When to Start Making Lighting Decisions
Lighting decisions begin when you are designing the blueprints (More about blueprints in Blueprints – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know (Part 4)). You will choose the location of fixtures and outlets (which allows for the pricing of electrical rough-ins). It is at this stage that thoughts of fixture size, weight and wattage are to be considered.
When choosing lighting, scale is also important. Imagine, an 18 foot tall stairwell with an insignificant, tiny fixture. What does that say about the space? It doesn’t do it justice. The fixture needs to fill that space and grab your attention. That’s when working with an interior designer and lighting expert will prove it’s value; they will point you to pieces that perfectly suit the space.
In some situations, layered fixtures will be necessary to give consistent, even light.
Have you ever worked in a kitchen that has shadows right where you are cutting with a sharp knife? In that case, perhaps pot lights for overall lighting, under-cabinet lighting, along with pendant lighting to reduce shadows would make kitchen tasks safe and enjoyable.
Choosing Lighting Early Affects the Build Schedule
Making timely decisions directly affects the flow of custom building. We recommend lighting to be chosen at the foundation stage, approximately three weeks from permit approval. This will give you enough time to ponder how you will use the space.
Tips for Choosing Lighting
With hundreds of fixtures to choose from, shopping for lighting can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips to ensure you achieve the ambience and functionality you need:
You may want more light in the rooms that are task oriented: Kitchen, bathrooms, office, hobby/craft room, library, garage.
Dimmer switches for ambient lighting options: for TV watching, in bedrooms, bathroom (for the slow riser), dining/nook, foyer. Personally, I like dimmer switches almost everywhere. Levels of light can change the mood dramatically.
Consider function over fashion: Make sure to have proper wattage and size. For example, with new energy efficient bulbs, the amount of illumination (how bright a fixture will be) can be deceiving. The fixture may be large, but that does not necessarily indicate the amount of light being put out. Be sure to ask a lighting expert.
Adjustable wall sconces can also offer a stylish, functional choice.
Automated lighting: If your home is wired for security, sound etc., there is also an option to add lighting. Your home can have “Scenes” created for how you live. Perhaps you would like a TV watching Scene or a party Scene? Scene choices are endless.
Table and floor lamps: Add style and additional light with table and floor lamps. Remember to add extra outlets for them in a number of locations.
Consistent finishes: I love that interior design has shifted to allow for individuality. There was a time where everything used to match. It was unheard of to have different finishes and styles. We are in a time where celebrating ALL of you is encouraged. If you are true to yourself, think about functionality and consider the overall finished look – you will be successful. Mixing styles and finishes is liberating. Your designer and lighting expert will be a sounding board to give you ideas on how to get your space to best reflect your style.
Make Lighting a Priority
Custom building a home is like layers of an onion, each layer being dependent on the next. Lighting impacts many of the details in a home, such as highlighting tasks, featuring design elements, and changing a rooms’ mood. Without proper lighting, a home can loose it’s pizzaz and be non-functional. Choosing lighting early in the home building process will ensure that your home not only looks beautiful but also works well for those who occupy it.