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A high-standard home and office lighting installation represents the icing on the cake of interior design. Lighting systems can make a rather bland room more exciting, but really come into their own when it comes to adding a stylish finishing touch to showcase and complement a well-designed and furnished space.
With home lighting, the concept of layered light is important throughout the whole house, especially in the living room where family members gather for long spells to engage in a range of activities.
The kitchen, with its main function of food preparation and cooking, needs a careful balance of task and ambient lighting, particularly in illuminating worktops.
A modern lighting system for a bedroom might include wall-mounted fixtures flanking the bed or table lamps on nightstands, plus a pair of wall-mounted sconces.
In the bathroom, wall sconces are more functionally effective and pleasing to the eye than conventional ceiling-mounted fixtures.
In office and retail shop settings, lighting fixtures are usually chosen on the basis of the needs of workers, as well as their overall appearance in impressing clients and customers.
Studies have revealed how the quality of lighting affects people in many different ways, according to the USA International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD). For instance, it says well-designed illumination can improve staff satisfaction and productivity. The IALD adds: “Building owners and managers have the potential to add value, reduce costs, and enhance performance through the application of good lighting.”
Lighting fixtures can range from a lamp you just place on a table, plug in and switch on, to integrated design installations that require the attention of professionals.
Although some kinds of fixture are frequently associated with a particular layer of lighting, most are so adaptable they can be put to use in several different ways.
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Different layers in home lighting
Lighting, particularly for the home, can be divided into 3 types or layers:
- Ambient (general) lighting is probably the most common sort of illumination, typically providing a soft glow rather than a harsh glare. It’s achieved by configuring a room’s lighting to be as natural and flat as possible. As such, it’s not suitable for working closely with things. Used properly, ambient lighting in the home generates a relaxing atmosphere in which to wind down from a stressful day. Ambient lighting is also referred to as mood lighting, and some yoga classes are now using it to help draw stress out of the body. Ambient lighting includes recessed or track lights, chandeliers and pendants, wall sconces, and wall lights.
- Task lighting provides a more intense illumination, concentrated on a small area, so you can see what you’re doing when carrying out household tasks, such as working in the kitchen or enjoying activities like reading. Task lighting is only effective when used as contrasting illumination. A room with low-level lighting in which one spot is illuminated by a desk lamp will provide more efficient lighting, with less glare, than if the entire room was brightly lit. Task lighting comes in various forms, including desk, swing-arm and floor lamps, under-cabinet and vanity lights, and pendant and track lights.
- Accent lighting, which provides highly-concentrated illumination to draw the eye towards a focal point, can add a touch of style to a room in dramatic fashion. It’s often used to highlight ornamentation such as artwork, collections, and bookcase displays. Accent lighting can be used outside to spotlight architectural features of a home or business. Accent lighting can be achieved with wall lights, recessed lighting and spotlights, and, externally, with landscape lighting.
Which lighting for which room?
- Recessed or track lights in home lighting work well with all types of ceiling, particularly in the bedroom, kitchen, and living room.
- Chandeliers and pendants are classic lighting features, ideal for taller ceilings; you can vary the height of these fittings according to your tastes and needs.
- Wall sconces and wall lights are highly versatile and can be used almost anywhere; when positioned sparingly, they’re especially effective in hallways and porches.
- Desk, swing-arm, and floor lamps can be used any place you need a little extra illumination, including bedside tables, coffee tables, and, of course, desks.
- Under-cabinet and vanity lights provide the ultimate in task lighting, in kitchens and bathrooms respectively; property experts say modern cabinetry, incorporating under-cabinet lighting, can increase the value of your home significantly.
- Spotlights can be placed below the ceiling or above the floor to illuminate a wall-hung painting or standing sculpture. A landscape lighting can dramatically show off your garden and pathways as well as your house.
Cutting bills with office lighting
- In commercial premises, incandescent illumination has been around a long time, in the form of desk lamps, recessed downlights, and many other fixtures. Sometimes seen as inefficient, they’re still popular because of their wide availability and low upfront costs, although commercial LED lighting (light-emitting diode) is increasingly being preferred nowadays, as it can drastically cut energy bills while maintaining eco-friendly standards. The lengthy lifespan of LED bulbs means that maintenance costs are significantly reduced too.
- Tubular fluorescent lights, long-lasting and energy-efficient, are also popular in commercial premises, usually covered with a frosted or textured lens and recessed into suspended ceilings. Compact fluorescent lighting offers the same level of energy efficiency as tubular fluorescent fixtures, but produces a more natural light.
- Halogen lamps are frequently found in sports arenas and are also used as security lights. They generate an extremely bright, white light. Smaller halogen bulbs can be used as spotlights or display lighting in shops. However, they’re now being substituted by LED equivalent.
- For more powerful illumination, halides – aka high-intensity discharge lighting (HID) – are commonly found in warehouses and other industrial settings.
Common lighting design mistakes
When left in the hands of an amateur, the design of a light installation project can soon become flawed. Realising mistakes half-way through the fitting of a new home or office lighting system, and having to go back to the drawing board, will significantly lengthen the duration of your project and send your costs spiralling through the roof.
Here are 4 common lighting design errors that won’t happen with input from professional interior designers:
- Installing recessed downlights everywhere. This is one of the most frequent blunders lighting design professionals see. Using a balanced combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting allows for a more aesthetically-pleasing layered effect of illumination.
- Failing to control different types of light separately. For optimum flexibility and efficiency, each type of illumination should be managed independently. This can be accomplished without the need for multiple switches, with programmable wall-box systems or wireless controls.
- Decorating with light fixtures. Lighting designers regard light as an actual dimension, visualising the quality of distribution, light, and colour from each fixture. Picking fixtures based on how they look, instead of their performance, can lead to a waste of energy and poor light output.
- Using halogen or incandescent lights without dimmers. Dimming these lighting fixtures cuts energy and heat output and lengthens the life of the lamps.
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Why choose Kepha Design and Contracts
We take ownership of our actions by taking responsibility.
Kepha Design and Contracts, the complete renovation services company in Singapore, recognise that lighting technology and equipment is evolving at such breakneck speed that it’s difficult for the general public to keep abreast of – and understand – these advances.
Specialist, independent lighting consultants within Kepha’s design team keep up with all the latest lighting developments and can offer invaluable, impartial advice on what sort of home lighting or office lighting system is best for your requirements.
Our highly-professional electricians will then carry out your light installation project in a manner that will exceed your expectations.
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If you wish to request a cost estimate, or want to find out more about the services we provide, or just have a question to ask, you may contact us in any one of these 3 ways. We'll respond to you within 3 working days.