We’ve just finished a concentrated burst of consumer shows. In the last six weeks we’ve exhibited at the London Homebuilding & Renovating Show, Grand Designs Live at the NEC and the Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show at Harrogate. We love shows. We’ve spoken to hundreds of people and run a number of lighting design masterclass sessions. All of which means we’ve had a really good update on what people are looking for when they’re talking to a lighting designer. We’ve also been reminded of the questions people most commonly ask us.
So, let’s distil some of that down into some simple advice. You’re probably interested in lighting design if you’re reading this. By the same token, you may never have used a lighting designer or know how a lighting designer works. Here’s two tips on how to get the best from us.
Involve your lighting designer early
Don’t wait till you’re on top of first fix to think about about lighting. It’s an easy enough mistake to make because the cabling for your lighting goes in at the first fix stage but you wouldn’t wait till your kitchen fitters were on site before you started thinking about your kitchen design. Lighting design is no different. You want to go into first fix with a clear plan.
Think of lighting as an architectural item. When you conceal a linear LED fitting in a shadow gap you’ll need to factor that gap into the detailed architectural drawings. When you recess uplights into the floor as a way of discretely throwing light up into a space, you’ll need to get the cabling and installation sleeves in before the screed for your underfloor heating goes down. Plan early and you’ll find that you’ve not closed off interesting options simply as a result of leaving things too late.
Let your lighting designer know when something changes
This isn’t just important advice for how you deal with your lighting designer. It’s relevant for your dealings with all the design professionals and trades working on your project. Your new house or extension or renovation is a complicated jigsaw of inter-relating decisions. So it’s important to let the people who are working on the details know when something has changed.
Structural and layout changes can have a large effect. If we’re proposing to light a particular feature which moves, it’s important the lighting is reconsidered rather than ending up with an orphan light. Sometimes though, it can be something as simple as colour. A recessed lighting scheme designed to light the roof of a bright, airy swimming pool presented a few challenges when the ceiling of the pool changed to a light-sapping green. It’s even more important today with LED such an important light source; it’s essential to specify fittings of the right output and right colour temperature. So as a sensible rule of thumb; if your interiors, your layouts or even your finishes change during the design, let us know.
If you’d like help with your own lighting project then the best way to help us help you is to send us a set of plans. With a set of plans in front of us we can schedule a call or a meeting to go through what you are looking to do in more detail. Based on that initial discussion we’ll be able to give you sensible budgeting figures for design, light fittings and light control. So please get in touch and please don’t leave it until the electricians are on-site…