11 Common Lighting Mistakes That Every Homeowner Should Avoid
Owning a property that we can call “home” is a rewarding achievement. As we embark on the exciting (maybe a little stressful) journey of designing the interior of our home, lighting is one of the crucial elements that must be considered. Each home needs a variety of lighting configurations that are tailored to suit each homeowner’s individual needs. Having been operating in the Australian lighting & fan industry for many years, we have identified 11 common mistakes that new and seasoned homeowners alike often encounter in the process of building or renovating their homes. After reading this article, we hope that the knowledge you take away today will help you in realising your dream of the “perfect” home.
1. Eliminating natural light
You heard us, it is important to take advantage of natural sun light. Homeowners often neglect about natural lighting in lieu of artificial lighting. You should consider where the natural sun light is coming from and maximise its use in every room. Natural sun light helps our bodies to produce body regulating hormones that keep our Circadian Rhythm in balance (read more about it here). Obviously, natural lighting must be supplemented with proper lighting fixtures, but it should remain the starting point for lighting design.
2. Relying on one single light source
One of the most common mistakes of new homeowners is to use one single light source for every room. Relying on one single light source often results in an unflattering, dull and poorly lit environment that can cause eye strain and increase the likelihood of accidents that can be easily avoided with proper lighting. We recommend investing in additional power points than the bare minimum to set a good foundation for good lighting layout.
3. Over-reliance on recessed downlights
Another common lighting mistake made by homeowners is the excessive use of recessed downlights all over the ceiling. It may seem easy to just install a row of recessed lights and call it a day, but this strategy will ultimately disappoint. Aside from turning your ceiling into an unsightly giant cheesecake, they often do not produce proper lighting for many tasks. Besides that, just using overhead light will not add any warmth or character to a room. Recessed downlights only serve the purpose of ambient lighting and neglects the two other types of lighting: Task Lighting and Accent Lighting.
4. Not thinking in layers
Building on the mistake of only using recessed light fixtures, another common mistake is not thinking in layers. Effective lighting requires multiple layers of lights that complement each other to fulfill different tasks. Most homes require three basic types of lighting: Ambient, Task, and Accent.
- Ambient light is the overall light that sets the foundation in the room. Unfortunately, many homeowners stop here. While ambient light is sufficient for basic activities, they are not enough for task-intensive activities such as reading, working or cooking. This is where task lighting fills in the gap.
- Task lighting is focused lighting that is directed towards a smaller focal point. Task lighting is particularly useful for task-intensive activities such as cooking, reading, shaving or applying makeup.
- Accent lighting is another type of focused lighting that is used to highlight features in the environment, such as architectural lines or artworks.
When ambient, task and accent lighting are combined together, the result is a much more dynamic, interesting, and functional lighting layout. Try layering lights at different heights by mixing a variety of overhead lights, table or floor lamps, wall lights and pendant lights.
5. Using overhead lights that are too bright
Overhead lights, such as recessed downlights, that are too bright can create the unpleasant onstage sensation that feels harsh. We recommend using soft bulbs and dimmer switches, that way you have the control and flexibility over the level of brightness in the room. Set the brightness level to high if you need to concentrate on the tasks at hand and lower it when you want to wind down from a long day at work.
6. Forgetting about shadows
Whenever there is light, there is shadow. Place a light in the wrong spot, and you can create more problems than solutions. For example, placing an overhead light directly above you in the bathroom can cast shadows on your face, making shaving and applying makeup difficult. Similarly, relying on one single light source in the study room can create tremendous shadows on your desk and can cause eye strain. But perhaps nothing is more frustrating than a kitchen workspace that is plagued by shadows, turning cooking into an unpleasant and potentially dangerous activity. You can solve the shadowing issue by incorporating task lighting, such as vanity wall lights, desk or floor lamps, and under-cabinet lights.
7. Getting light fixtures in isolation mode
Many homeowners make the mistake of buying light fixtures such as chandeliers or pendant lights in isolation, without thinking about how all the elements of the house go together to form the big picture. For instance, a gigantic chandelier over a small dining table will make the area look disproportionate. We recommend taking measurements and don’t rely on guesstimates as lighting fixtures often look smaller in our lighting showroom.
8. Placing light switches in the wrong place
Ever had the frustrating experience of having to walk back and forth to reach light switches that are awkwardly placed at the wrong corner of the room? Unsurprisingly, this is also a common mistake that makes turning on/off lights inconvenient, but could also disrupt your furniture placement layout for the room. Remember the big picture, a properly placed light switch ultimately adds to a seamless and smooth living experience for you and your beloved family members.
9. Skimping on the dimmers
Dimmers may seem like unnecessary accessories that add unnecessary costs to your home at first, but dimmers are the best kept secret of lighting design. Dimmers allow you to control your lighting from day to night, for a variety events, and for a variety of mood. Dimmers are simply the easiest way to create that perfect atmosphere for every occasion.
10. Not thinking about wattage
Remember to always read the fine print on the light fixture about the maximum recommended wattage and use this as a guide for purchasing replacement light globes. Globes that are too high in wattage for a fixture may overheat and can cause a fire spark. They may also break and shatter into tiny shards.
11. Neglecting energy consumption
Okay, many homeowners may purchase light fixtures based on its face value. That is, given a choice, they would choose a light fixture that is cheaper than the other. However, what may appear cheaper at first may end up costing you more in the long run. When deciding what light fixtures to purchase, you should take into consideration the energy efficiency of the product. For example, Downlight A that produces 1000 lumens and consumes 10 watts of energy is going to be more energy efficient to run than Downlight B that produces the same lumens output at 20 watts of energy. While Downlight A may be more costly up front, it will save you money over time and is thus the better option. Similarly, LED globes may be more expensive at first, but they are much cheaper to run in the long run than halogen or CFL globes.
There you have it, 11 most common lighting mistakes that you should always avoid when designing the lighting layout for your home. Give our team at JD Lighting a shout-out if you think this article has been helpful to you. We will definitely appreciate it!