The one thing homeowners prize above everything else is good lighting. Whenever I’ve shown anybody around a home, it’s the first thing they comment on. Whether you’re thinking of selling up now or in the future, getting your lighting right adds value to your home. Not only that, it’ll make living at home much more enjoyable!
Adding value to your home with lighting
Most of us have a ceiling light, known as a centre light, but while it’s great for leaving you with a large amount of light in one place, it’s not so good for helping you perform tasks like reading because of the shadows that it casts. You’re far better off using wall lights because they light from behind instead. It’s a good idea to have a mix of downlighters, uplighters and lamps around the home to focus light where it’s needed but keep the main centre light for a decent all-rounder. Lamps are particularly good if you move your furniture around a lot because they can be easily moved to accommodate.
My advice would be to avoid spotlights if you can help it. They work well when fitted whilst your home is getting built, but become more complex to install retrospectively. They’re also not as cheap as you might expect.
LED lights are a far better option and you’ll get more use out of them. Put them in smaller spaces like cupboards under the stairs and they’ll last for ages. The bathroom is one of the most important areas to get right and LED lights can come into their own here. They don’t heat up and they’re waterproof, giving you top marks for safety in an area that comes into frequent contact with water.
If you do change your bathroom lights, make sure you consult an electrician to check your building regulations compliance. Each light has an ingress protection (IP) rating which guides you towards its suitability in different zones of the bathroom. The higher the IP rating, the more protection the light offers. For instance, zone 0 (the interior of the bath tub or shower basin) requires an IP rating of at least 7 whereas zone 2 (within 0.6m of the outside edge of the bath or shower) needs a rating of 4.
Fittings on leads are a no-no and you can’t drag a tall lamp from the room next door. I’ve heard of people plugging their old radios into a socket in their bedroom and bringing them into the bathroom too. It’s the same principle – electrics and water don’t mix!
If you want to make one positive lighting change, make it the hallway. It’s the first space you come to and it plays a big part in setting that first impression of the inside of your home. Pendant lights set off high ceilings but low level lighting along walls and up staircases also work well. I’m a big fan of low lighting; it makes walking around your house at night much easier!
If you’ve got your lighting just right, you’ll know. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that brightness is everything – often the brightest lights are harsh and gaudy and while they bring a fairground to life, they look out of place in a home setting. Once you move away from lighting the room in one wash of colour, you’ll be on the right track. Divide each room mentally and think about how you use each room in different ways. You might have a computer or laptop on a desk in your bedroom or you might like to read in the evening. Different tasks have different lighting needs.
If you’re really unsure, you could have a professional come and assess your lighting for you. A good lighting designer will make a lighting chart to make sure that the electrics are on point.
If you need help installing new lighting, post your job on Rated People. You’ll be able to view tradespeople profiles, complete with previous customer recommendations, to help you decide who to hire.