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Lights and Lighting

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Effective lighting in your home can change the mood in your home for different occasions. Who wants to watch a movie with the lights blazing, alternatively trying to prepare meals in a dim space is both unpleasant and unsafe.

The Facts

Your lighting professional will be able to assist you with planning the appropriate light levels and control for all areas. You should take your electrical plan to the lighting shop to discuss your needs. Also take your site plan and elevations for exterior lighting. Professional lighting retailers will have qualified lighting professionals on hand to assist you. Its always a good idea to make an appointment to discuss your lighting needs.

Most builders will allow for one bayonet light point per room. This is white plastic collar that sits on the ceiling with a standard globe inserted (the light globe may not be included depending on the builder)

It is not standard for Builders to allow for buying light fittings or fitting of the ones you purchase. Your builders’ electrician will be able to do this work for you but the cost will be additional. For example if you have a light in the stairwell void, this may require scaffold to install the light fitting.

Interior Lights

  • Bayonet Fitting
  • Downlights
  • Pendant Lights
  • Oyster
  • Wall Lights

Below are explanations for five basic types of lights. Light fixtures come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but the information below will give you a broad outline.

Bayonet Lights

This is normally the standard installation for new homes. Most people would change this either with the builder or directly after handover. You will need an electrician unless you buy pendants suitable to go over a bayonet point.

Downlights

Downlights are recessed into the ceiling. The light itself sits flush with the ceiling while the fixture sits above it in the roof space. The fitting should be protected from making contact with surrounding materials by a cylinder. Downlights are generally white, brass or silver. If your home is single storey the Downlights sit in the plasterboard ceiling, if the house is two storey the lights may sit in the suspended slab. This will be a more expensive installation, the light needs a canister and prewire which is placed in the slab when it is poured, there is then the cost of the light, fitting the light and possibly a transformer for each light. Also bear in mind that while one pendant light might light a standard room one downlight will not, you will need at least four.

Pendant Lights

Pendant lights hang from the ceiling. A chandelier is a type of pendant light. Pendants are great for making a statement. They will create an intimate space over a dining table, or add decoration to a room. Pendants also look great as a group of three in a row over a breakfast bar. They can take single globes or multiple globes. They come in all types of styles from modern to antique. If the globe is enclosed within the pendant light check the wattage allowed so the light doesn’t overheat but so you will still achieve the lighting level you require.

Oyster Lights

These light fittings sit snug to the ceiling with no space between the ceiling and the fixture. They normally have an opaque circular glass shade. They can take single or multiple globes but often have circular florescent globes. There are some models that you can DIY, but most require an electrician to fit. Simple oysters are pretty cost effective and look fine in utility areas like toilets, laundries and bathrooms.

Wall Lights

As the name suggests wall light are installed on the wall. They can be fitted as uplights, Downlights or wall sconces. Good applications are over artworks to create directed lighting or over bathroom mirrors to give reflected light on your face from the mirror (the best lighting for makeup application). Your builder will need to know where you plan to put wall lights as the wiring must be chased into the brickwork if it is single leaf. This is done prior to any plastering. Wall lights are very popular on exterior walls, these don't have to be chased in as the exterior walls are double leaf brickwork. They can be used to create a dramatic front elevation.

Helpful Hints

Kitchen lighting is really important. Consider recessed strip lighting along the underneath of your overhead cupboards if you have bench space below. This prevents the problem of working in your own shadow. Remember the rangehood will have a built in light so no need for extra lighting at the hotplate.

Related Topics

Home Automation

Planning Your Electrical