Top lighting tips

Knowledge is Power

If lights need to be left on for more than two hours a day, L.E.D or fluorescent lights are the most energy efficient. In situations where lights are frequently switched on and off, L.E.D. or incandescent lamps are the best choice. Switching fluorescent lamps frequently (two to three times per hour) may damage the lamp and shorten its life.

To provide suitable light for living rooms and bedrooms, it’s recommended that you use around 15w per square metre for incandescent lamps, four times this amount in kitchens and study areas and twice this for dining areas, bathrooms and reading areas. Fluorescent lamps are more efficient than incandescent lamps, so if you are using this type of lighting you can take around 25 percent off these recommended values. Better still the latest LED fittings can save you over 60% on energy consumption and last over 100 times longer.

Use your lights more efficiently by cleaning the dust and grime off them.

Lighting in living areas should be flexible yet functional, to cope with a diverse range of activities. Nowadays, the dining table can also serve as a desk for tax returns, or school homework, as well as a dressmaking or games table. Dimmers are recommended for background lighting so that the lighting isn’t too bright. Central pendant lights give good overall light but rarely provide sufficient light to work by in all parts of the room. Table lamps can provide areas of concentrated light for reading or sewing. Watching television in the dark will strain your eyes, so make sure there is sufficient low level lighting to soften the contrast, a light source behind the television is a good idea, as it softens the focus for the eyes.

The main idea in the kitchen is to have light on every work surface, sink, stove or bench top. There are few things more dangerous than working in your own shadow – the single light in the centre of the ceiling simply will not do the job. Light in the centre of the room from fluorescent lighting can be supplemented by recessed halogen down lights which are ideal and will not gather dust and grease.

The bathroom is a lighting challenge; bright for shaving or applying make-up but gentler when you’re having a relaxing bath or recovering from a late night. With a dimmer fitted this problem can be solved. Try to avoid spotlights in the bathroom as people are tempted to adjust the position of the lights when their hands may be wet. With mirrors, the light should be in front of you, to throw light onto your face, not behind, which tends to cast an unflattering shadow. It can be above or beside the mirror, but it should give an even lighting effect to both sides. However, a down light fitted above and a single on both sides of a mirror is just as effective. Safety Tip Operate lights by a switch outside the bathroom, or a cord pull switch inside the room. Use enclosed splash proof fittings where possible.

Bedrooms need to have a relaxing, intimate atmosphere, but there must be enough light for reading, dressing and applying make-up. Dimmers again are useful and some form of light lamp is a necessity in most bedrooms. When choosing a lamp shade, look for ones that cast the light downwards onto the pages of the book, rather than shine straight into your eyes.

In the nursery, aim for good overall lighting and avoid light that could shine directly into the child’s eyes when they’re in their cot or bed. Most small children prefer some kind of night light. Use a dimmer switch so that at night the level of light can be lowered for minimum disturbance. A time delay switch works well in this situation. The new energy saver lamps are recommended in these situations because you can leave the light on all night at minimal cost. Wait until children start school before adding bedside and desk lamps.

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