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Buying a Light Guide

Lighting can dramatically affect the appearance of a home, both inside and out, making it look and feel stylish. The right lighting can add drama, set the tone and transform any space. And, with careful planning, light can make a small room look open and airy or a large room appear cosy and inviting. For it to be most effective, lighting should be as carefully planned as any other element of interior design, especially when decorating a new house or apartment.

Advance Planning

In the first instance, identify how your space is used and the activities that take place in the room. The nature of the activity will influence the type of lighting fixture you will choose for that space. You may need different types of light for specific functions.

For example, a kitchen will need brighter lights, such as spotlights, for the food preparation area. You don’t want to be chopping the veg in a poorly lit room, as you might lose a finger! On the other hand, you may want to incorporate a dimmer to provide a more atmospheric light for that romantic dinner.

Dare To Be Different

If the ceiling is very high, you might want to consider increasing the light level. And if the room is painted in dark colours which absorb more light, additional lighting may also be required. Various lighting techniques and lighting controls provide you with the flexibility to adjust and adapt the mood and style of your home.

Applied expertly, lighting can make tasks easier to perform and increase security, allowing you to take full advantage of your home and enjoying its full potential. You can choose any of these room lighting examples, or get creative and light your home in a way that suits your own individual style.

Recessed Lighting

If your home is a little dark, you can choose recessed lighting to add brightness. Recessed lights give off a spread of light over the room, which creates the illusion that the space is larger than it actually is. You can now feel the added elegance and style reflected in your space.

Wall Lights

Wall brackets will spill indirect light onto sections of the wall to form interesting backdrops. Wall lights are a great way of introducing more light into a room and they can enhance the décor and furniture layout, by creating a multitude of layered lighting effects.

Table And Floor Lamps

If you don’t have the option of recessed lights or wall lights, then table and floor lamps are ideal for task lighting any space and providing some extra brightness. There is no doubt that well placed, colour coordinated table and floor lamps give any room the ambience you want whilst providing just the right amount of light.

Express Yourself

With so many different lighting options available for every room in your home, it’s easy to express yourself with lighting schemes that reflect your own personality. Light fittings should serve a functional purpose and add a decorative element to your home.

Consider the style of the room, is the design contemporary, traditional, eclectic? What mood or ambience do you want to create in each space? Consider the seating areas - where will people sit? Consider the architectural features – what points are to be emphasised? And then the rest is down to your own individual taste. So you can decorate your home to show off your character and style, whilst bringing a touch of sparkle to the interior of your home.

Bathroom Lighting Regulations

IP Ratings (Ingress Protection Ratings)

All installations must comply with guidelines that are based on a zonal concept similar to that used for the installation of lighting around swimming pools. Each zone rating (IP) is determined by the degree of risk of electric shock.

ZONE 0: This is the area inside the bath or shower basin and is rated at IPx7.

ZONE 1: Refers to the area above the bath or shower up to a height of 2.25 metres and carries a   minimum rating of IPx4.

ZONE 2: Covers an area 0.6 metres wide immediately next to, and all around zone 1, plus the area over 2.5 metres high directly above the bath or shower. Wash basins should also be treated as zone 2. The minimum rating here is IP x 4. Where water jets are likely to be used for cleaning purposes in zones 1 and 2, the rating is a minimum IPx5.

OUTSIDE ZONE: Covers any area outside Zone 1 and Zone 2, there is no special requirement in this zone. Bathrooms are now allowed to contain a socket outlet, this must be located 3M outside Zone 1. Lighting circuits and any socket outlet circuit in a room containing a bath and/or shower must be provided with 30MA RCD protection.

AREAS AROUND SINKS: Covers up to 60cm. Zone 2 IPx4 luminaires should be installed in this zone.

It's all about lumens

There seems to be some confusion these days about how to measure the brightness of a bulb. It was relatively simple when we all used incandescent lights. You could choose from a 40, 60, 75 or 100 watt bulb, and we all have a rough idea how bright that will be. With the introduction of CFL and LED technology, this now has got a little bit more complicated.

A lumen is a standard unit of light as it is perceived by the human eye. Essentially it will tell you how bright something is, unlike a watt, which is actually a measurement of energy consumption or output. The lighting industry has standardised ways that it measures the total emission of light from a product and this information is now included on most product packaging.

Bulb Efficiency

Bulb Type      Bulb Efficiency (Lumens per Watt)    
  Standard Incandescent LampApprox. 15 Lumens
  Halogen LampApprox. 25 Lumens
  Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)   Approx. 50 Lumens
  LED LampApprox. 80 Lumens

Energy Efficiency

From March 2014, luminaries have had to carry an energy rating label in line with the EU Directive 874/2012
This label displays the energy efficiency range of the luminaire and the compatibility with the lamps on the market. The energy rating A++ (very efficient) through to E (least efficient) is calculated based on the lumen output and the wattage consumption. The more efficient the lamp, the higher the eco rating.
Where luminaires can be fitted with different rated lamps and/or the lamps are non-removable (LEDs) a bracket indicated compatible energy classes. Where some rated lamps are not compatible with a luminaire, these energy classes are marked out with an ‘X’.

A guide to current lamp types and their energy classes are as follows:


  LED Lamps CLASS A, A+, A++  
  Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL)   CLASS A, B
  Halogen lamps CLASS C, D
  Incandescent lamps CLASS E