Lighting Guide

This lighting guide provides detailed information regarding all aspects of lighting. We also provide a lighting glossary covering some of the terminology used within this guide and throughout the site.

Accent lighting

Direct higher light levels used to emphasize artwork sculpture or particular objects or areas, to direct attention to that field of view to add drama and interest.

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Bathroom & mirror

Shadow-less and diffused abundant light levels are needed for shaving, grooming and applying make-up. New halogen units offer generous good quality light. Mount lights on both sides and over the top of the mirror. Mirrors and cabinets with illuminated mirrors which give good light are worth considering particularly if you only have a single wall power point. Use a ceiling fixture for generous overall illumination. Bathroom lighting needs to be functional and safe. Zones 1 & 2 in the bath room require fittings with an IP rating. Avoid low energy in the bathroom for the simple reason that you need instant light usually for relatively short periods of time.

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The main source of light could be a dimmable ceiling fitting. Bedside lamps will depend on décor practical requirements. Touch lamps come in many styles and have an automatic three stage dimmer. Good light for reading can be achieved with a task light or swing arm adjustable wall lights. Good light over a dressing table can be achieved with spot lights. A row of down lights in front of the wardrobes will aid dressing. Once again ensure that lights are controlled with separate switching circuits.

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Dining room

Dining is very mood sensitive and needs to be flexible. Consider fitting separate dimmers to centre and wall lights. Chandeliers or pendants (consider several) capable of 200W to 250W provide abundant overall lighting. Diameter of chandelier should be proportionate to the size of the table and hung about 800mm above it. A rise and fall light provides an intimate way to light a table. The right light over the table can be used to provide a central focus even when the light is switched off. Matching wall brackets or recessed lighting add sparkle. Light the shelves of a display cabinet with low voltage lighting and highlight that special feature with a picture light or a directional spot. A floor standing arc light looks great over a dining table and creates an effective solution that does not require wiring.

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Energy saving

Save money and electricity by using low energy fittings in applications where continuous use is required.

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Front entrance

Welcome your guests and identify strangers with generous levels of light at the front door. In porches a pendant lantern centred above the door or a single wall lantern on the side of the door adjacent to the lock and handle or better still a pair one on either side.

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Use matching lanterns on the outside of the garage doors or an overhead PIR floodlight. Fluorescent battens are ideal for lighting the interior of a garage and contribute to low energy requirements (part L1).

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General Lighting

General Lighting provides an area with overall illumination. General lighting is basically the lighting that replaces sunlight and is fundamental to a lighting plan. It ensures the visibility of general surroundings and provides location awareness. There are many ways to achieve a comfortable level of overall illumination inside or outdoors. Use chandeliers, ceiling or wall brackets, surface or recessed items and lanterns. In addition, accent lighting can be used to illuminate special features in a room, such as artwork, architectural details and furnishings, creating drama.

General lighting suggestions:

Room Incandescent
For lighting living, bed or family rooms: 1 watt per square foot
For lighting laundry, kitchen hall or workrooms: 2 watts per square foot

Example; For lighting a bedroom 10'x15'=150 square feet, use a minimum of 150W incandescent, or the equivalent of 30 watts fluorescent.

Increase the wattage if:

1. It is an area where tasks are performed.
2. The room has higher than 2.4m ceilings and or the walls or floors are dark colours.
3. The lamps are covered with a diffuser or shade that will cut down the light output.

Develop your lighting plan to fill the three basic lighting needs.

Choose a light fitting that fits the proportions of your room:

Room size 10'x10' suggested diameter 17" to 20"
Room size 12'x12' suggested diameter 20" to 26"
Room size 14'x14' suggested diameter 24" to 36"

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Hallway and Foyer

Use a pendant for general lighting to welcome guests or flush ceiling fitting in small hallways or where the swing of the door is restrictive. For safety in large hallways, use lighting every 2m. Wall lights or recessed downlights can also be used. A table lamp on a side table with a mirror above can add extra interest.

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Recessed mains 50W GU10, 11W low energy GU10 or 50W low voltage fittings all with built in fire protection will give good general light. Concentrate the fittings evenly spaced along the line of work surfaces. Take care to position fittings so that you do not stand in your own shadow. Use pendant lighting over tables and centre islands. Surface mounted spot bars may also be used to good effect. Choose long fittings to get as much spread as possible. Surface spots are useful where you need directional light to light a particular object or work area. For task and under cabinet lighting, use fluorescent light or low voltage systems.

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Lamps- Use the right lamp

Enhance your lighting by fitting candle shaped bulbs or even fancy candles with a glass tail in traditional designs and globes in pendants. For best effect, use clear bulbs in crystal fittings. Remember that energy saving halogen lamps are also available, e.g. 28W=40W and 42W=60W and while this is not as efficient as fluorescent low energy you do save 30% of power consumption. Decorative ‘envelopes' in the shape of candles, golf balls and globes are available with G9 halogen lamps to covert traditional cap types e.g. BC(B22), SBC(B15), ES(E27) and SES(E14).

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Living room

The living room will need a variety of lighting for the space to work best. A combination of general overhead or wall lighting, as well as portable light sources such as table, floor or task lights works best. Separate switching circuits with dimmers for wall and ceiling lights will aid in creating atmosphere. If you have the opportunity install 3A or 5A sockets for your table and floor lamps switched from the light switch. This will allow you to control all from one switch. You may choose a suite of lights with matching chandelier and wall lights or on the other hand you may choose one or more ceiling lights as the focus in the room and have wall washers to light the walls. A wall wash gives a soft reflected light. Works of art or other special objects can be lit with picture lights or spots as an accent.

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Low voltage lighting

Low voltage halogen lamps are more energy efficient than normal incandescent lamps and in addition, they last much longer. Their brilliant white light guarantees excellent colour rendering and enhances the beauty of illuminated objects, with its high light intensity. These lamps come in various sizes and wattages, but must only be used in conjunction with transformers and must not be connected to the normal mains supply. Low voltage downlights direct light downwards in either wide or narrow beams and can be used to produce general background lighting, or accentuate specific areas or objects as required.

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Outdoor lighting is IP rated. For both security and safety, light up steps, driveways, walkways and grounds with flood lights, decorative post lanterns, bollard systems, ‘brick' lights, drive-over recessed lights or lights on ground spikes. All of the above can be simply controlled by dusk to dawn sensors, PIR or radio transmitter switching. Enjoy and enhance your property at night with energy saving lighting to highlight trees, plantings and garden sculpture.

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PIR controlled security lighting can help prevent crime. Households most at risk from burglary have no security measures. Security lighting is so important, as the point of entry is selected for being the quickest, easiest and unobserved. Most burglaries take place between the hours of dusk and dawn. Fitting a simple PIR floodlight stops them lurking in the shadows.

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To prevent accidents, stairs should be lit top to bottom, with two way switches at top and bottom. Ceiling fittings, wall brackets or recessed lighting can all be used to give the necessary illumination. Remember you do not want to look into the light source of a wall bracket, so the type you choose or the position in which you place the wall light is important. The ceiling fittings be they pendants or recessed should be selected to give enough light to compensate for loss of intensity due to the heights involved.

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