Lighting design goes beyond the selection of lighting fixtures, their location, and bulbs used. It involves the identification of lighting requirements, the calculation of lighting parameters, and the selection of control systems. It also requires an understanding of technical details, as well as the safety guidelines for various building types and room-specific regulations.
In short, there’s a lot more to lighting than what meets the eye.
Because of this, it’s highly recommended you reach out to a lighting professional whether you’re renovating an existing space or building a new one.
The right lighting design consultant will have the expertise and experience you need, approaching your lighting scheme with the following steps:
1. Identify the budget and requirements
First things first, a lighting designer will need to work alongside you to establish your lighting budget. Having discussed the various possibilities with price brackets and what they can achieve, the expert can then work towards creating a lighting scheme that offers your space the best value, without any surprises.
Once agreed, the expert can begin to paint a full picture of what the lighting installation should achieve, and the level of illumination required. This involves working closely alongside you (the client) to establish your desires, as well as taking into account the level of ambience that the lighting should provide. This is achieved through analysing the area’s shape, what to emphasize, the direction of light, and interactions with daylight.
2. Determine the method of lighting design
The method of lighting determines how light will be projected/delivered. The most popular methods include surface mounted, recessed, and portable (think table lamps). At this stage, the direct must be factored in too, along with the decision on direct versus indirect lighting. The light’s main characteristics such as colour temperature and brightness should also be settled at this phase.
3. Specify the lighting equipment
Then it comes to selecting the right equipment, with lumen output, size, and wattage in mind. The lighting designer will a consider the type of bulb to use as well, although 95 percent of the time it’s LED.
To ensure a successful installation and smooth-running project, your lighting design expert will also consider the fixture’s compatibility, sustainability in the operating environment, and even heat output when sketching up the design.
All in all, along with delivering illumination, lighting equipment should work with and enhance its surroundings.
4. Calculate the lighting parameters
Calculating the lighting parameters is a crucial step to ensuring an effective lighting design. It helps determine the total number of luminaires required to produce a given illuminance through various methods and formulas. Lighting designers typically use one of three methods:
- Manual calculation – Many lighting designers will be familiar with the Lumen Method, it’s the most popular form of manual calculation. It calculates the average illuminance in a given space, while taking into account any light reflected from interior and exterior surfaces. The formula used to reach the average illuminance considers the length and width of the room, as well as the height of the fixture used to light the space.
- Three-dimensional modelling – Advancements in technology has made the lighting design process easier, and quite considerably. Thanks to three-dimensional modelling, lighting designers can virtually change luminaire types, play with brightness levels, colour temperature, direction of light, and location to see how each factor effects the lighting scheme, even at different sunlight levels.
- Visualisation – Using visualisation programs, lighting designers can create photographic quality images of the space using the proposed lighting design. This allows the designer to confirm that their plan works well and enhances the space as expected.
5. Think about lighting control systems
One of the most important parts to a successful lighting scheme is the system that controls it. After all, it’s responsible for the flexibility and efficiency of your lighting plan.
Lighting controls consider the number, location, and types of switches you’ll have to turn your lights on and off. Depending on the controls you opt for, you may be able to dim the brightness levels, control your lights from a remote or app, and even select from a list of configured lighting scenes.
Take a look at the example below showcasing lighting scenes. This was designed and specified by our lighting team at Hampshire Light, which benefits from a lighting control system that gives our client full control over the lights in their kitchen. With just a click of a button, this client can set the ideal mood for what’s ahead.
See how it works for yourself by selecting the various scenes on the right-hand side.