The lighting scheme of a room can make or break how it feels to live in the space. Deciding on your lighting scheme is an essential part of the home design process because it needs to be thought out and detailed on the detailed design drawings. When planning a lighting project, it’s important to follow the following process-
What’s to be lit?
The first step in deciding what to light is to think about the activities planned for space. The lighting design has to accommodate the purpose of each space. For example in a kitchen we cook, in the living room we relax, meet guests, watch TV, etc., in the bedroom we might relax, read or even work. Each of those activities has items in the home associated with it. For example in the kitchen we can plan to light the countertop, in the living room we need lighting near the seating arrangement or objects we want to highlight. In the bedroom, we need a light that allows us to read or relax.
A furniture and decor layout needs to be in place before even jumping into lighting. A well-thought furniture layout clearly determines the size of the area of focus and demarcates the space basis purpose it shall be used for( sitting, reading, sleeping, cooking, etc) and furniture units /decor elements in the home associated with it.
Deciding on the layers (Ambient, Task, Accent)
it forms the ‘base layer’ in a lighting layout; it is what will allow you to walk into a room and meets the necessary requirements safely by bouncing lighting off ceilings for even diffusing and minimal shadows. Typically, a central source, mounted to the ceiling, meets the practical requirements of ambient lighting. Each room should have a solid foundation for ambient lighting. It is also important to consider the amount and duration of daylight space receive and the same to be incorporated while planning the ambient lighting.
The Task lighting layer provides light for a specific activity to make the activity easier. Lighting to be planned specifically for spaces identified where general tasks shall take place. Kitchen countertops, study area, vanities, reading areas, etc. A brighter light is required focussing at identified task areas in space providing illuminance but illuminance alone does not govern visibility. Contrast is equally important, as the poor position of a light source may reduce contrast, compromising the visibility.
Accent lighting isn’t necessary for any activities in the room, but it’s there to add a bit of sparkle to your home lighting design. Examples include lighting up a crockery unit in the kitchen or lighting up a design element in the living room.
Feel of a room – Deciding on lighting atmospheres
For each activity that you have assigned for a particular space a lighting atmosphere is targeted which can be any of these-
- Soft-Low Contrast
- Bright-Low Contrast
- Soft-High Contrast
A calm atmosphere is created by a very dim/soft glow throughout the space with no shadows and few changes from light to dark. Contrast is kept at the minimum. This atmosphere can be utilized in hallways at night time.
A functional atmosphere can be created by a bright glow within a space with minimum shadows. Difference between brightest and darkest portions of an entire space is low, but the atmosphere scene itself is bright and cheerful and usually witnessed when ample bright daylight enters the rooms with lots of reflective surfaces
A sophisticated atmosphere can be created by soft glow within a space with lots of shadows and lots of changes from light to dark. The difference between the brightest and darkest portions of an entire space is high here. Imagine a sensual (soft light, high contrast) mood for a bedroom at night time
Typically each room will have a minimum of two lighting atmospheres, one during the day and one in the evening. Some rooms may have several different moods that you can create based on different activities planned within a space.
How Much Light?
How much light does space require? One could guess and end up overlighting or underlighting his home, there are actually set recommendations for how much light should be in different types of rooms. These recommendations are given by lighting designers, engineers, architects, and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), and they can help you determine the right number of lights to use in different areas of your home. Well, Exactly how much light lumens you need in a particular space, to combining different types of lighting to generate the perfect ambiance. This will depend on various things, including the size of the room, what space is being used for, and the kind of atmosphere you’re looking to create.
How many lumens do you need?
- Use the light table to find out how many lux or foot candles you need.
- Calculate the number of lumens you need. Multiply the area in square meters by the lux, or the area in square feet by the footcandles.
- work out how many bulbs you need. Divide the number of lumens by the number of lumens delivered by each bulb
Today’s energy-efficient LED light bulbs are measured in lumens (lm), with the number of lumens indicating how bright the bulb is. (Lumens are a more accurate way of measuring the quality of the light, compared with the previous measure of watts, which refers to how much energy a bulb uses.)
Lumens are a measurement that describes the amount of light produced from a light source. You shall need to calculate how many lumens you require per square foot ( also known as ‘foot-candle’) or lumens required per square meter( also known as Lux) . This again will depend on the individual space and purpose it is used for.
The lighting table to tell you how many lux or foot-candles you need in each room or for various tasks.
|Living Room- Ambient||5||54|
|Living Room Task||30||323|
|Bathroom – Ambient||5||54|
Work out how many lumens you need
Ambient lighting calculation
Ambient lighting calculation for bedroom
Firstly work out the area of a bedroom.
Let’s say we have a 4m x 3m room. We multiply these two numbers to get an area of 12 square meters.
To get the number of lumens we multiply the lux requirement from the above chart by the area.
This gives us 12 x 108 = 1296 lumens.
If you’re working in feet, calculate the area in square feet and use the footcandle value from the light table.
Task lighting Calculation
Task lighting calculation for kitchen
Here we’re going to work out the surface area that needs to be lit for food preparation.
Let’s say we want to light the countertop which measures 4m x 0.6m. That makes the area 2.4 square meters.
To get the number of lumens the calculation is 2.4 x 538 = 1291 lumens
If you’re working in feet, calculate the area in square feet and use the footcandle value from the above light table.
Work out how many bulbs you need
The number of lumens that a light bulb emits is usually labeled on the packaging.
Number of bulbs for ambient lighting
Number of bulbs for Bedroom ambient lighting
Let’s say we were going to use a fluorescent light source for the ambient lighting. Fluorescent tubes that emit 800 lumens each are available. One tube wouldn’t be sufficient, but two tubes would give 1600 lumens which would be plenty for our 1296 lumen requirement.
Number of bulbs for task lighting
Number of bulbs for task lighting in kitchen
Let’s say we want to use LEDs for the under the cabinet lighting and we’ve found a bulb we light which gives out 350 lumens.
So we need 1291/350 = 3.6 which means we need 4 of the bulbs to light the countertop.
As well as combining different categories of lighting the use of dimmers enables the use of rooms for several functions. A higher level of light can be used for working and a lower level of lights can be used for relaxation.
Colour too is important. A room painted in a dark colour as most will be absorbed. will need more light than a room painted in a light colour
Preparing a lighting plan:
Take the floor plan of complete space which has sizes of each room mentioned along with doors and windows clearly highlighted. Start adding notes on the plan in terms of –
- Type of lighting to be mentioned area wise Ambient, Task, and Accent
- Identify and mark the location for light points, plug points for lamp and charger, fan points, point for AC, media or TV Unit, LAN, an Internet point, etc. Switch Boards should be at a convenient height according to its functionality positioned as per the furniture layout, near entry/exit, near items to be highlighted.
- Respective standard heights for the Switch Board(SB)
These are the various functions and their respective standard heights for the Switch Board(SB)
- Entrance of any room- SB at the height of 54″
On this Switch Board, you should include the master switch and a few two-way switches if required.
- Above the Console or Counters- SB at the height of 33″
The standard height of any counter or table is 30″ and it’s advisable to place the SB 3″ above the Tabletop. Here you could have at least 1 or 2 plug points and light switches for fittings in this circumference that can be given on this Switch Board.
- Besides the Sofa and Bed- SB at the height of 21″ – 24″
Switch Boards above end-table and side tables are a must and are easy to access. So have maximum light switches on these Switch Boards. Fan switch and Fan Regulator should be placed beside the bed and sofa. 6 amp Plug Points on each side of the sofa or bed should be mandatorily installed.
Note: Don’t forget to make provision for 20 amp socket for AC in each room
- Kitchen Counter- SB at the height of 36″
- Kitchen Counter-tops are normally at the height of 33″
It is advisable placing Switch Boards 3″ above the counter. In the Kitchen, make sure you consider all the appliances including refrigerator, microwave, and oven, dishwasher, mixer and grinder, juicer, aqua-guard, chimney, etc. before planning the placements of the switchboards. 16 amp sockets are required for refrigerator, chimney, microwave, electric hob, aqua-guard, and washing machine.
- TV or Media Unit- SB height as per the design of the unit
Decide the location of the gadgets in your media unit and then get the wiring routed and switchboards and sockets installed accordingly. Apart from TV socket make provision for set-top box, DVD, music system sockets. The wiring should be done for HDMI, cable, Speaker and Music System, etc. Cable trunking should be done from the TV to other gadgets.
Quality of Wires
Use wires of recommended brands like Polycab to save a lot of trouble in the future. Proper earthing is essential for your safety and longevity of appliances, gadgets, and light fittings. Even though you may consider hiring a skilled contractor to carry out the electrical work, having personal knowledge about the wiring is essential.
These are the correct thickness for the wires that are concealed:
- 4 sq.mm wires for AC
- 6 sq.mm wire should be used for wiring from Main Distribution Board to the meter
- 2.5 sq.mm wire for wiring from Main Distribution Board to Switch Boards
- 1.5 sq.mm wire for internal ceiling wiring done to loop the lights
Main Distribution Board & Circuit Breaker
Calculate a load of all the appliances and power points before installing the mains.
Circuit breakers are installed in the Main Distribution Board and are connected to each PowerPoint. 10 amp, 25 amp, and 32 amp circuit breakers are designated respectively to the light and fan points, Kitchen Appliances, and Air Conditioner.