Your Top 5 Questions About Lighting Designers Answered

Jul 1, 2021 | Design

Perhaps you’ve never heard the term “lighting designers” before. Or maybe you have, but aren’t sure what they are or what they do. If you have questions on the subject, we’re ready to answer them here. Below, you’ll find the top five questions that our team are regularly asked and our answers to them so you can be better informed about what a lighting designer is and does, and, most importantly, whether or not you need one for your next project.

What is a Lighting Designer?

A lighting designer is a professional who works in private properties and commercial buildings to create lighting effects and ensure optimal visibility and aesthetics in the space. Lighting designers may work in offices, showrooms, existing houses or new-build properties to integrate effective and attractive lighting solutions into their design. Although some lighting designers work independently, others work alongside architects or interior designers to ensure that a project’s overall vision can be achieved. The basis of a lighting designer’s work centres around selecting the right type, colour and strength of lights to use in any given space, and planning out the best locations for those lights in order to achieve the most beautiful yet functional effect.

What Makes Lighting Designers Special?

Although it may seem as if light is an everyday medium that we use without thinking about it, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, lighting is an especially challenging medium to work with, but when you get it right it can produce astonishing results. The trick is to harness its power to achieve the desired effects, but this isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Many people think that lighting is just “there”. They flick and switch, and on the light comes. But this is the skill that lies behind good lighting – if you get it right, it won’t be noticed. When you get lighting wrong, though, it stands out a mile. You would certainly notice there was something off if your office light was only a single lamp in the distant corner of the room, or if your only bedroom light came from a harsh, bright, white bulb overhead.

A skilled lighting designer spends a lot of time learning their craft and honing the skills they need to interpret light’s artistic principles and develop mastery of its scientific properties. Through colour, intensity, movement and distribution, a lighting designer can improve visibility, heighten desirable elements and soften harsh ones to improve the aesthetics and appearance of a setting.

What Can Lighting Designers Do?

At the most basic level, lighting designers can ensure that a room is well-lit and practical for everyday use. However, they can do so much more than that. As masters of light as an artform, lighting designers can effectively play with your emotions and with the atmosphere of any given space. By selecting a warm, soft light, for example, they can conjure up a romantic ambience for a bedroom, while a well-placed bright spotlight can bring a sense of focus and purpose to a home office. Talented lighting designers can turn any house into a true home, and can turn a commercial space into a highly effective selling tool simply by using light’s emotive powers.

A space may have gorgeous interior design and décor, or spectacular architecture, but when the lighting doesn’t complement those features it will lose its powerful effect. This is where lighting designers excel – they turn a shell into a living, breathing space that reflects the lifestyle and purpose of those who use it.

What Elements Do Lighting Designers Use And Keep In Mind To Achieve Their Goals?

There are five main considerations that a lighting designer must keep in mind when working on any project:

  1. Balancing the four main forms of lighting – general, task, effect and accent lighting – in the space.
  2. Creating an illumination path in the space so that moving between areas and rooms is safe and simple.
  3. Ensuring that natural lighting changes are accounted for from dawn to dusk.
  4. Highlighting areas of visual interest and architectural details.
  5. Conforming to all energy efficiency standards and electrical codes.

Yet, while these five considerations form the basis of everything a lighting designer does, lighting as an art meets with science in order to achieve those objectives. This means that there are several elements that must be borne in mind in respect to all of them. These include:

  • The area’s shape and size.
  • The way in which the space will be used in order to determine areas where more or less light will be required.
  • The ceiling’s shape and height which will affect the amount of reflected light.
  • The colour of the walls as dark shades will absorb more light.
  • Inbuilt lighting, for example recessed lights.
  • Traffic movement through the space.
  • How old the users of the space are. For example, brighter light is required for older eyes, while soft, warm lighting may be best in a young child’s bedroom to better promote sleep.

When these considerations and elements are taken into account by a lighting designer, they can then get to work on planning the ideal lighting design for the space so that it not only suits the purposes of those who use it, but also helps to create just the right atmosphere, ambience and emotions for those living or working in it.

How Do I Know If I  Need a Lightning Designer?

If you’re giving your property a makeover, or if you’re building a new home and want it to look and feel its best, using the services of lighting designers could be the solution you’ve been looking for. If all you need is simple, basic lighting for your rooms, you may manage with just the architect or interior designer’s ideas and plans. However, if you want a lighting scheme that really turns heads, improves your standard of living and gives you the flexibility and versatility that you need, using a lighting designer will always be the best option.


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