Lighting is one of the most overlooked aspects in designing a space. It's something most people don't give much attention to until it becomes a problem, by that time it's very hard to change what you have. There is a large list of things to consider about lighting alone when you are designing a space. In order to have a good lighting plan you need to consider three main lighting concepts.
Task lighting. Is there enough lighting to perform the task in the space? You need to ask yourself what it is you will be doing in this space to get your answers. Will you be reading a book? Will you be chopping vegetables? Doing dishes? Playing games? Doing homework? Will you just be watching TV? Relaxing with friends?
General lighting. Do you have enough light to see what you are doing? Can you get from one room to the next? Can you see so you don't trip over your furniture? You need general lighting for safety.
Accent lighting. This is the lighting that you use to showcase features in your space. This would include directional lighting you may use to shine at art work, or direct towards your fireplace. It draws your eye to the things you want to highlight or show off. It also creates a mood within your space. I will do another post about mood lighting at a later date.
These three types of lighting should work together as part of a layered lighting plan. You may think you should be choosing your light fixtures at the end of a project, but that is not the case in proper design. It should be thought out at the beginning so the proper wiring can be done during the construction stage. There is also a lighting formula designers use to determine if the light fixture / light output will give you the appropriate amount of light for your task. Another thing to consider is the scale of the light fixtures you choose.
One thing I see time and time again, is just adding a bunch of recessed (pot) lights and not worrying about the rest, unfortunately just because recessed lights are popular, they do not equal a good lighting plan. They are also not always very energy efficient, it's important to do your research. For the best design, talk to a professional and plan your project first, then execute it.
At North Country, we can create a lighting and electrical concept plan that you can then give to your electrician. Although, electricians are very knowledgeable they are not designers, it's important to use both, working together to complete your project.
One thing you must always remember in any design is that form follows function. It must work first and then it can be pretty second. A good design encompasses both form (the pretty) and function (the practical).
For some great lighting inspiration check out my Pinterest board and follow me to stay up to date.