Lighting Up Your House

//Lighting Up Your House

Lighting Up Your House


Jagvir Goyal

Lighting a residential unit doesn’t mean just installation of fittings and fixtures. Today, it has become a specialization field that demands a lot of innovation. Whereas lights provided in a house should serve the primary function of allowing doing all tasks with ease, these should also create an environment of celebration in the house. Achieving energy efficiency and artistic effects are additional requirements. Here are a few guidelines:

General Planning: Let the lighting pattern of your house provide ‘effective illumination’ instead of ‘simple illumination’. Planned lighting will add to the beauty and utility of your house. Lighting is classified into 3 categories—Ambient, Task and Accent. Ambient light is for general illumination of the house. Task lighting focuses on a particular area, say a table, kitchen work top etc. Accent Lighting helps in highlighting a feature like a painting, a sculpture, a carving etc. In a way, Ambient lighting is background lighting while task and accent lightings are object-oriented lightings. Keep these 3 categories in your mind. You will see that this classification will allow you to play with the lights and provide effective lighting in your house. You will also find yourself avoiding unnecessary switches here & there.

Front Area: While planning the lighting of your house, keep the entrance area well lit. See that the house number and the nameplate remain illuminated and can be easily read at night by the visitors. Most houses ignore this requirement. Also plan the lighting of Garden, lawn and terrace to create an artistic effect rather than just illuminating these areas. Add a few back-lighters behind plants and some sockets to run fans, coolers or music systems. See that the sockets provided are those with shutters to avoid any short-circuits during rainy season.

Drawing and Dining: Plan two lighting sources for the Dining room—one for the dining table and other for the room in general. Add two hanging lights above the dining table. Add dimmer switches to them to avoid their glare whenever wanted and to have candle light ambience. In the drawing room, always use up-lighters to light up the ceiling. Use corner lamps to highlight a wooden carving or scenery on a wall. Use recessed or concealed lights to add glamour to the room. Here you can keep lamps of different shades in corners to create pools of light. Avoid providing a single light in the drawing room. It looks cold and sad. Visitors don’t feel at home. They feel as if they are just to talk to the point and leave. When flooring is in shiny vitrified tiles, provide lights of less intensity as their reflection from the floor will light up the room and there will be no glare also.

Kitchen: Light up the kitchen through spot lights. Don’t use a single central light. It will create more shadows and less lighting as you move about in kitchen. Put lights above the cooking area, the sink and the working shelf. Put more lights in storage areas. In kitchen, prefer white light to yellow. See that all storage areas are well lit. Plan big size windows in kitchen walls to draw as much natural light as possible during the day. Keep provision of a fan point and a fan box to add ceiling fan whenever required. See that the lighting creates no shadows whenever you are working in the kitchen.

Bathrooms: In bathrooms, provide lights above the mirrors in such a way that your face shines fully with it and your eye gets no glare from the mirror. Never provide a light opposite a mirror. It will simply stop you from using the mirror. Best is to provide 20 W white lights at 1 foot interval all around the periphery of your wall mirror. Choose waterproof lights for the bathroom. Let all electric appliances in bathrooms be pull cord operated. Otherwise, let the switches be either outside the bathroom or away from water splash.

Bed Rooms: Prefer varied lighting in bed rooms rather than a single light. Have several light sources in each bed room. Have bed side lamps, night lamps, foot lights and soft smooth room lights. Bed lamps should have flexible necks to rotate them in desired directions so as to avoid disturbing your partner’s sleep. Hang them on the walls and keep side tables free for other things. Always provide two sets of on/off switches in bedrooms to avoid getting up to switch off the lights and then bumping into something lying on your way to bed.

Study: Provide task lighting in study room. Provide table lamp or overhanging lamp in such a fashion that your shadow shouldn’t cover your writing pad. Avoid harsh lights. Avoid creating shadows around you. If you are to work on the computer, lighting should so fall on the keyboard that your eyes don’t get strained in looking alternatively on the screen and key board.

Kid’s Room: Light up the children’s room carefully. Here, the most important feature is safety. Provide only shutter-fitted sockets. Keep them shut unless in use. Lit the room brightly. See that there are no loose or flexible wires in the room that could be gripped or pulled by a child. Install switch plates at lower levels to enable children to reach them. Provide night lamps and foot lights and keep them on during night hours.

Stairs and Levels: Always provide good lighting over steps. Also provide sufficient illumination of areas where there is a change in floor levels of your house. Even you may yourself not remember this change in floor level sometimes. Prefer to provide footlights at floor level changes and these should remain on throughout the night. Avoid placing any light or lamp on the floor. Always hang your lights from the walls or ceiling. There is no point in reducing your circulation area by providing lights on floors.

Choose Dimmers: Programmable dimmers are now available in the market to control lights in a house through remote control. All lights in a house or a room can be controlled, switched on and off or dimmed up to 4 different intensities through one remote control. Use this control for your drawing room or bed room to add style to your living. Clipsal has now invented a remote control that can cover an area of even 4000 sq.ft. However don’t connect the dimmers to tubelights or CFLs as these remain energy efficient only when lighted to their full capacity. Some of the switches now available turn the light on and off as you enter or exit a room. This is called Passive infrared detection where movement detected by sensors turns the light on and off. You can use these switches in a room or two to add uniqueness to your house.

Invertor Location: Instal the invertor of your house in an open area, preferably outside the house if it is possible to do so. Acid batteries used in invertors emit acid fumes that are not good for humans. If you are keeping the invertor in a balcony, keep it away from plants as well.

Go ahead. Happy lighting!