What is Lighting Design? All You Need to Know

Oct 28, 2020 | Design

Lighting design is the key feature of any home, commercial premise or historical building that can change its atmosphere and appearance dramatically. With intelligent planning and the right choice of light for every room or space in the property, it becomes possible to create the perfect ambience that adds both value and style. This is where Lightmaster’s renowned lighting designers come into play with their wide range of creative skills, technical knowledge and application of lighting systems.

With lighting, every space must be considered from different viewpoints including from the style of the light to be chosen to the effects the light fitting can create. Selecting the right kind of light is a key aspect of designing a comfortable yet practical feature in every room.

When considering interior design, lighting design is a component that is all-too-often overlooked. However, if it is carefully considered and planned ahead, it is capable of adding enormous impact to the environment in question, whether that be a domestic home, architectural lighting design, a commercial store or office, or even a historical setting. With the right approach to your design, it’s possible to enhance décor, provide atmosphere and warmth, and even identify and separate different zones.

The 4 Types of Lighting Design

Any lighting design will fall into four separate categories. Combining these four is essential to creating an optimal light solution for any space.

The first of these is general lighting. Also, known as ambient lighting or background lighting, this is the type of lighting which is most widely used and best known. It serves the function of providing adequate illumination and light levels in a room and classic examples include main light fittings or primary wall lights. General lighting is said to be the most vital category since it must be bright enough to illuminate the entire space so users can be safe and see properly whenever they enter it.

The second category is task lighting. This is harnessed to illuminate certain areas where extra light is required as well as general lighting. As an example, desks require additional desk lamps or reading lamps so light can be aimed in key directions to see paperwork clearly without damaging the eyes. Standing lamps, lights on bathroom mirrors and lights under kitchen cabinets are all good examples of task lighting that can be planned into a design scheme.

The third category is accent lighting, and this category is interesting and creative, making it especially exciting for designers to tackle. This type of complementary design can be used to create specific moods or to highlight certain features like ornaments, feature plants or fireplaces. Low-energy LED white light can be used to transform gloomy corners, creating a personal and unique touch in the space and turning dark areas into practical but interesting features. This is certainly the most imaginative element of any lighting design scheme.

Lastly, there is effect lighting, which includes options such as colour changing or using light to shape and highlight features. Using the intentional and precise placement of light sources to give intricate effects such as wall washing, scalloping and grazing. This last effect is particularly attractive when the light source is located close to a textured wall such as a beautiful Cotswold stone or a sleek raised tile, the light skims the surface highlighting the raised surfaces and creating striking contrasts.

What Is a Lighting Design Plan and What Role Does a Lighting Designer Play?

A lighting design plan is essential when creating an interior design scheme. With a well-thought-out plan drawn up by an experienced and creative design team of industry professionals, you can determine which kind of fittings you require at an early stage while also ensuring that your electrician knows where switches will be located and which type of fittings will be used.

To be successful and effective, a design plan must take into account every possible use of the space as well as any features or items within it that should be highlighted and accented. Knowing who will use the space and which times of day the space will be used most are also key elements to bear in mind when drafting the plan.

Determining the amount of light needed in the space is something that a skilled designer will take into account along with the amount of natural light that enters the room. Natural light has a vital role to play in the overall ambience and feel of a space and it should never be overlooked when designing a lighting plan. Talented lighting designers such as those in the Lightmaster lighting team know that natural light sources are actually the best starting point when coming up with a scheme that will work perfectly to create the desired effects coupled with clever mood lighting for the perfect ambient light.

Themes To Complement Your Space

One further element of the design planning is to take into account themes that complement the space. Just as with interior décor, it’s important to bear in mind the style of the room. Whether industrial chic, Victorian elegance, modern minimalist or retro-cool, the design of the light must work perfectly with the overall atmosphere and theming of the space so that the effect is cohesive and effective. Lightmaster’s talented team of specialist lighting designers can work with the theme of any domestic, commercial or historic space to create effects with appropriate fittings that work well with the existing décor, furnishings and ambience.

The Impact on Your Well-Being

Lighting design has the power to improve your overall well-being. There have been studies carried out that have revealed that emotions can be experienced more intensely when white light is harsh and bright, so finding the right lighting temperature for each space is paramount. The temperatures of artificial light range from “soft warm white light” (from 2700 to 3000K to cool or “bright white light” (from 3500 – 4100K), and daylight which is from 5000 to 6500K, each of which ranges create an entirely different effect on our moods. While a soft white light creates a cosy, warm feeling, ideal for living areas and bedrooms, it is calming and relaxing, a cool and bright white light is best for kitchens and bathrooms, creating an energised feeling.

Additionally, light is vital for the natural function of our Circadian Rhythms (considered in circadian lighting design), which allow us to get plenty of quality sleep and operate at our best during the day. Circadian rhythm is a 24-hour body clock that is dictated by how the body interacts with light and releases hormones to make you fall asleep or wake up. Natural daylight forms the basis of circadian rhythms, and artificial light in the home disrupts them, therefore, using daylight to its best advantage is essential for well-being. A light scheme that simulates light’s natural cycles is called a human-centric or biodynamic lighting scheme. These kinds of smart lighting systems gradually, cyclically, change the colour of the light to either invigorate or relax as required.

All of this falls within the remit of the talented lighting designer. For example, soft white lights can create a cosy and warm feeling that helps you relax and calm down, while cool and bright white light can create feelings of energy and motivation. Lightmaster’s renowned lighting designers can take all of this into account when coming up with a design plan for any space.

What’s Included with a Lighting Design Service?

Lighting designers offer an inclusive service that encompasses all aspects of lighting in a property to suit the needs of the client. It can encompass both internal and exterior lighting elements, including the integration of the latest smart lighting systems.

A lighting designer will bring their experience in the creation of both complex lighting schemes and simple lighting schemes to the project, along with their in-depth product knowledge. The process will include:

  • The designers discuss with the client their requirements and the effects they wish to create.
  • Once the project requirements have been outlined, the designer will consider the various elements including brightness, light colour, shapes, angles, and shadows in each space to determine the most appropriate and attractive approach. They determine the uses for each space and take into account aspects such as any furniture pieces or features that should be highlighted. They also consider who will use the room, the times of day that the room is likely to be used most, and where the sources of natural light come from.
  • Using their in-depth product knowledge, the designer will then determine the most appropriate products to use to create the desired effects. They will determine the most appropriate and convenient locations for light switches and consider ease of installation for the electricians.
  • The designer will balance their creative ideas with the appropriate Building Regulations.
  • Once all of the above has been completed, the designer shares their ideas with the client and ensures that they are entirely satisfied before handing the plans off so that the electrician and construction team, if necessary, can perform their roles.

What Number Of Light Sources Do The Best Lighting Designs Include?

A large room will need more lights than smaller rooms, but there is a way of calculating how much light is required in any given room. The space size is calculated to effectively lighten the space. The light should come from multiple sources to create the most attractive effect. With multiple light sources controlled individually, the room is better able to meet different needs and elicit different moods in its occupants.

Contact the Lightmaster lighting team today to find out more about how light can enhance your rooms.

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