27 Jul Make Your Own Light Plan
Lighting can make or break your décor and home ambiance. If you know a little about the hygge principles by now, you know that it’s one of the most important factors for creating a cozy atmosphere. We all think about paint, wallpaper, flooring and furniture when we’re decorating our homes. But don’t forget that lighting determines the functionality, atmosphere and character of a space. Sometimes it can be a real struggle to figure out how to create the ambiance you’re after. Making a light plan is a great way to think about the spaces in your home and how to light them.
Making a light plan
In a light plan you can bring your ideas to life about lighting your home. It enables you to see what impact is has on your space. Preferably you make your light plan before you build or refurbish your home. That way you can use the plan to determine where you need power connections. But if you don’t have any plans for a total home makeover, that’s fine too.
To make a light plan for a particular space, you start by determining what function the space has. Is it for sleeping, cooking, relaxing, bathing, watching television or reading? What atmosphere are you looking for? Who is going to use the space? What kind of light do you need, considering the above?
Step by step
Make a detailed floor plan of every space you want to tackle. Add all the fixed elements such as a mantelpiece, doors and windows. Next, draw your large furniture items like a couch, dinner table, and bookcase. And don’t forget your TV, computer, paintings or other pieces of art. Draw your floor plan to scale to get a realistic impression or your room (i.e. 1:50 > 1 cm on paper is 50 cm in reality). You can use the light plan template.
Identify what kinds of activities take place in what part of the space. Sometimes more than one activity takes place in the same area during different parts of the day. You could read the paper at the dinner table during the day and having dinner there in the evening. Or entertain guests in your living room at one time, while watching TV another. Also, think about elements you want to focus attention on like a painting, bookshelf or a plant.
Indicate what kind of lighting you need in your room. Use different symbols for each type of lighting. In the light plan template you’ll find a few examples of these symbols. Don’t think about the exact armature yet. Just put the symbols on the floor plan with a circle around it to mark the reach of their light. Take into account how flexible you are when it comes to your power fittings. If you don’t have power connection points in your ceiling, then build-in or build-up spots are not an option. But if you have a plug socket on the wall close to the ground, an up lighting floor lamp is a great option.
- Start with placing the basic lighting in the floor plan. Good basic lighting consists of the right balance between direct and indirect light. Down lighting or build-up spots are great basic lighters with direct light. Uplighters like a floor lamp or a wall spot are great basic lighters with indirect lighting. Make sure that the circles of these basic lighters have a partial overlap so the light will be spread evenly throughout the space.
- Next, indicate where you need functional lighting. These lights are often used at different times during the day, so it’s very practical when you can adjust their intensity with a dimmer. After all, you need more light for reading the paper than for a romantic dinner. Make sure your functional lighting is positioned in a way that you don’t look into the light source and there’s no shadow on your workspace.
- Further, indicate where you want to have accent lighting. For instance, to single out your bookcase or your favorite painting. Don’t use too many accent lights, otherwise the effect will disappear.
- Finally, decide where you want to add decorative lighting such as a small lamp on the floor in the living area or a string of fairy lights on you mantelpiece.
- Think about options to combine light functions. A lot of armatures have multiple functionalities, for example an uplighter with a reading lamp arm or a dimmable hang lamp above the dinner table.
Now that you know what kinds of armatures you need to light your space, you can select them according to your style and budget. If you feel creative, make a mood board of your space. If your furniture is all set, see if you can find images that resemble major items like your couch, dinner table, chairs. Also add the color of your walls, the flooring and your curtains to your board. Next, look for images of the kind of lamps you need and like and see if they match with the rest of your décor. When you’re happy with the result, go shopping!
Have fun creating your light plan!
Things To Keep In Mind
#1 – age
Be aware that a person who’s 65 years old needs 3,5 times more light than a person of 25 years old. You’d want to be able to adjust the light to different ages within a family.
#2 – contrast
A good light plan contains contrast, like on a sunny day when you have light places and places with shadow.
#3 – heights
A good light plan plays with light on different heights. By highlighting details you create accents that give your interior atmosphere and character.
#4 – space
Would you like your living room to look bigger? Buy lamps that spread indirect light. These lights reflect on the walls or ceiling and create a spacious effect.
#5 – unity
Choose your lamps in shapes, colors and materials that fit together. This way you create unity in your interior.
#6 – dark/light
Mind the colors of your space. Light colors reflect light, darker colors absorb light. You need more (artificial) light in a dark space. Shiny surfaces reflect light better than rough surfaces. Bright colors become even brighter and white becomes whiter.
#7 – connect lights
If you want two or more lamps to be connected, you can install a special unit on your plug socket. It’s operated with remote control and usually comes with a dimming function, too. Ask you local electronics shop for advice.