Lighting Design & Installation

Lighting is a complex issue. The perfect lighting design not only takes care of illuminating the space, but also brings beauty and practicality to it. Understanding lighting installation is also very important. Even the best plan is useless if it is impossible or too expensive to make it a reality.

Lighting is probably best approached by comparing the process to an artist painting. The canvas is a room, a building or a garden. The paint is the light coming from the fixtures. When someone buys the painting they don’t do it for the canvas or the paint on it. They pay for the complete composition and how it makes them feel.

Many people can tell if the lighting design was done well in a room or not. However, they do not necessarily know why or even how to describe it. The stores do not sell lighting solutions for a “bright kitchen” or a “cosy corner”. The elements of lighting has its own language and it is worthwhile to spend a little time to understand and even learn to speak that language. The payment, at the end of the process is a very well lighted home.

Many believe that the biggest return on investment (maybe after painting) for any home improvement project is installing more modern and better functioning lighting system. So from a financial standpoint it is also good to study this subject.

Design Elements

The first thing to study and understand is the source of lighting. In most cases it is a lightbulb. However, take into consideration natural lighting as well as other type of lighting like candles for special occasions.

Light bulbs come in many different variations. Most of the time people mean the 60 Watt incandescent light bulb. However, even a small hardware store sells several different bulbs. In order to make the correct decision regarding which bulb to pick for a certain task one must analyze the different characteristics for lighting.

Color Temperature

Color temperature is an important concept to understand. It is not intuitive at all. The background goes back to theoretical physics. The temperature of a perfect conductor when it emits a certain color is the actual color temperature. It is usually expressed in Kelvin (K). What complicates the issue is that the low end of the scale for visible light is red that is commonly called a “warm color” while a blue color that has a much higher temperature (7,000 Kelvin) is commonly called a “cold color”. Light sources usually note on the package what the color temperature of the emitted light is.

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