As an interior designer or builder, you’re not necessarily expected to be an expert in lighting design. For builders, you need to know how to install and create the framework to allow great lighting, often working closely with a lighting consultant. For interior designers, you would certainly have an idea of how the home lighting design should fit with your vision. But again, you’re not expected to be all-knowing in the field of lighting design. That’s where a lighting expert comes in.
Whether it’s architectural lighting design, commercial lighting design, or simply creating something special for a residential home, the expertise of a lighting design consultant is invaluable. From recommending the best products to designing a system that highlights and compliments all parts of a room, lighting experts bring a lot to the table when building or renovating a home.
The issue for many builders and interior designers is finding the right lighting design service for the job. All homes are different, often bringing in specialists specifically for each job. Here are 5 criteria to narrow down the best lighting design consultants to assist on your building or interior design projects.
The big question you need to ask is whether your lighting assessment consultant is willing to work closely with you on the project. This may sound strange because you would expect consultants would want to deliver precisely what their clients want. However, many lighting designers (and designers in general) are quite particular about how they work and the type of homes they work on.
At Hampshire Light, for example, our approach is extremely collaborative. Whether working directly for a homeowner or teaming up with builders and interior designers, we see the entire process as a team effort. We see our role as providing our clients with all of the available information and options. Of course, we’ll have our own vision and ideas, but it’s crucial that our design partners are fully aware of their options.
Other lighting designers may take a different approach. For them, they might prefer to be given a blank slate, some up with a final design, and expect the interior designer or builder to run with their ideas. While we don’t necessarily agree this is the right way, some builders and interior designers may prefer to hand over complete control and get the job done. Ultimately, it’s all about finding the experts who are best suited to working within your own design methodology.
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t be basing your choice of design partner solely on who is available when you need them. If you want the best domestic lighting consultants or experts in their field, you’d love to plan your project around their availability. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option in the busy real world.
The lighting designers you want to work with most could be booked for months in advance. Ultimately, you’ve got clients (homebuilders and homeowners) to service too, and they’re unlikely to be thrilled with putting their project on hold to wait for the lighting designers you want. In this situation, availability becomes paramount in your decision making.
The ideal scenario is that you’re booked well in advance, meaning you know what projects you’ll have coming up months in advance. That way, you can schedule the lighting designer of your choice. If the job is more pressing, you may have to widen your search criteria a little and find a team that can operate within your timeline.
Naturally, one of the major things you want in a lighting design consultant is experience. You need confidence that they have the skills to help you create a sense of luxury in any home you’re working on. Lighting design isn’t just about picking some nice-looking light fixtures and telling you where to install them.
Premium lighting design services consider every last aspect of creating the right ambience in any room. They enhance the comfort and liveability of any space. A robust lighting control system allows homeowners to enjoy a certain ambience in different settings, not just ‘lights on’ or ‘lights off’. These are the extra touches that you expect from a lighting professional.
Of course, designers are blessed with great creativity, but experience is also a significant factor. This is where it’s crucial to consider who has the right portfolio for your type of project. If you’re working on an office fit-out, you want an office lighting designer, not someone who specialises in luxury homes. If part of your project involves large outdoor areas, you need outdoor lighting experts.
Always check a lighting designer’s portfolio to ensure their experience matches your project. While most lighting consultants are adaptable and will perform reasonably well on any project, many of them specialise in certain areas, and this specialisation is what you should be looking for, primarily when servicing high-end clients.
Once you’ve determined if a lighting consultant has the right type of experience for your project, you may want to check their credentials. Social proof is a common concept used today when making any purchase, whether you’re buying a new pair of shoes or looking for someone to work on your dream home. Social proof comes in the form of testimonials, Google reviews, even comments and interactions on a designer’s social media pages. It’s generally a pretty reliable way to see if these are the people you want to work with.
In addition, look for any awards or accolades your designer may have achieved. If you’re dealing with high-end, luxury spaces and clients, general domestic lighting consultants may not have the flair you need. Check if your consultants have any awards that highlight their exceptional skills in a particular area.
Hampshire Light is proud to have received the Best of Houzz Award for six consecutive years between 2016 and 2021 plus three other awards, making us a 9x Best of Houzz winner. This recognition shows our potential clients and design partners that we have the skills and experience to add real value to their projects. And that’s precisely why you should look for highly credentialled designers. It’s not just about getting a job done. It’s about genuinely improving and adding value to any home or office design project.
The final factor to consider doesn’t necessarily have to do with design skill, experience, or creative flair. Yet, it’s still one of the most important things when choosing a lighting consultant to work with.
Communication skills, including customer empathy, are crucial to any successful project. Sure, you might end up with fantastic lighting design even after working with a challenging personality. But who wants to work like that? Finding a lighting designer or design team who are flexible, collaborative, maintain good communication, and view things from the customer’s point of view makes the entire process so much smoother.
Designing a home or office should always be a collaborative approach. If you’ve been hired to handle the interior design, you’ll need to work with a range of professionals, not just lighting experts. There are also builders, electricians, plumbers and everybody else to consider. If even one of these professionals lacks communication skills, your job becomes incrementally more difficult.
The difficulty is you never really know what a working relationship will be like until you’ve partnered with someone on a project. Don’t be afraid to book consultations, meet your experts, and see how you feel about them. Often, gut feeling is all you can go on when it comes to the personality of your lighting consultant, so take the time to get to know potential home lighting design partners.
It’s probably easy for many people to think that home lighting design should just be left to the builders and electricians working on your home. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. These people are great at what they do, but proper lighting design is so much more than installing light fittings at sensible places throughout a home.
Lighting design experts offer fresh ideas and ways to transform rooms for multiple moods. This is in part thanks to lighting control systems, which lighting consultants are experts in.
Proper lighting design ensures all spaces are comfortable, relaxing, and also well-lit when you need them to be. Kitchen and dining areas, for example. You may want plenty of light while cooking but a more relaxing ambience when you sit down to eat.
The other important aspect of lighting design is the aesthetic appeal of your lighting. Rather than simply putting in some downlights, a lighting design expert carefully works with you to complement the interior design. They know the best and most visually stunning products to use for all interior design styles, and in that sense, their input is invaluable.
Ultimately, lighting helps to highlight and compliment the design style that you create for your clients.
Hampshire Light has been transforming homes and spaces for over 20 years. Our expert lighting designers have the knowledge, experience and skills to add even more elegance and luxury to your new home build or renovation.
Contact the friendly team at Hampshire Light today to book a consultation with our experts or enquire about our upcoming availability. We partner with builders and interior designers, working closely with all essential professionals on any project. Find out why we are the number one choice for many in Hampshire and surrounding counties.