A successful lighting scheme takes into account each possible use of every room. Begin methodically, ‘walking through’ your plans, or house in the case of some renovations, and in each room, ask yourself the following questions:
What will this space be used for? Consider all possible uses of each room. Will the kitchen double up as a dining or homework space? Will a spare room also be a study?
Will there be pieces of furniture, architectural features such as fireplaces or artwork that you want to highlight in any of these rooms? This will determine your accent lighting.
Who will be using this room? It is interesting to note that someone of 60+ years generally needs 15 times more light than a ten-year-old.
At what time of day will the room be used the most? For example, if you only use rooms in the evening for relaxing, then setting lights on a dimmers is a good idea.
Where does natural light enter the room and from what direction?
Once you have the answers to these questions, draw a plan of the room to help you determine the best points for lights to be situated.
On your plan you should mark down permanent fixtures, such as windows and doors, alcoves, fireplaces and other heat sources, such radiators. Next, mark the direction in which occupants of the rooms are likely to spend most time facing, for example the television, a desk or the cooker. Mark where light switches will be most conveniently placed, concentrating around doorways and at the top and bottom of stairs. Finally, have a think about where you plan to site major items of furniture, such as beds and sofas.