You light up my life

As mentioned in my previous post, one of my chores during the renovation is to make a lighting plan for my house, as I’m conscious that at the moment our home is more Middle Ages than mid-century.

Good lighting is something we need desperately (and have done for years now). When we moved into the house, we had only viewed the property during the day and it never occurred to us to look at the existing lighting. (Are you sensing a theme, yet?)

So that fateful January day we packed up the contents of my bedroom in a Hackney flatshare and we drove to our new house. We emptied the contents of our removal truck and went immediately to Ikea to buy important things like a bed as we were really starting from scratch.

Six hours and two Ikea’s later we managed to procure the bed we were looking for and we headed back to spend our first night in our new home. Now imagine the surprised when we flipped the switch to turn on our hallway light and only a soft glow emitted from a single bulb, dangling sadly from the ceiling. At this point, it was well past midnight, we had been up moving since 7am and we still had to take the rental truck back to London for 7am. Oh and we had to build that bed we had just bought.

We dashed around to the other rooms in our house, only to discover that every bulb was low energy and took over 20 minutes to “warm up” though several of them never did. We ended up building the bed using a combination of flashlights from our respective phones, the glare from my computer screen and the sad, lonely bulb in our room. I share this anecdote only to highlight how critical lighting can be and how unexpectedly taxing it can be when you have little control over your surroundings.

Now I have an opportunity to rectify the situation, I’m keen to identify the most effective way to light up my home.

In doing this I’ve had to move through each room and think critically about:

  1. Daily access to natural light. And at what time of day is the natural light most prevalent (see previous post)? When will we be using the room?
  2. Purpose of the room. Will I be watching tv in here? Will I be reading? I work from home sometimes – will the lighting be adequate?
  3. Other members of the house. How will they interact with the space? While it is just me and my partner at the moment, we regularly have guests and will need to take visitors into account.
  4. Showcase pieces. Is there a piece of art we want to highlight? Do we want to build a bookshelf and if so, would that need to be lit?

These are pretty basic questions, but you’ll quickly find that they will lead to more and you’ll want to take notes of your reactions. You may also need to think about the different zones of your room. Be sure to carry your pen and a paper!

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