Day 12 - Living Room Refurbishment

Lighting is one of those things you have to think about before you start building or else you will have to do messy work again when you change your mind or want to add something. We discussed lighting on day 6, but that really focussed on the difference between LED’s and incandescent lights. Here I want to explain layers of lighting and why they are important.

Task Lighting – This is pure functional lighting that is required to use the space as intended.

Mood Lighting – This sets a different scene, day, night, movie, reading, dinner party, Sunday morning etc. These different uses of the room require different lighting to make the most of the space at that time.

Secondary & feature lighting – Lamp and artwork lighting (although lamps can be part of the main mood lighting too).

In this room the main single light in the centre of the room didn’t really do what we needed it to! It didn’t light the whole room enough for it to be functional and it’s position was no where useful! So we tried to cut costs and give it a go, because as you will find out, lighting is not cheap! We ended up investing into the downlight which cost us about £45 and the rewiring and dimmers added to that cost. We had to cut holes in the ceiling and fix parts of the plasterboard so the work was messy too.

We got a way with not having very many layers of lighting here because the strip of downlight were adjustable, which was critical to using them effectively in this room. This meant we could angle them in various directions where we needed them. The amount of them also meant that they lit up the whole room, which is not only functional but looked good too. We ensured we bought dimmable LEDs! This is critical because not all LEDs are abel to be dimmed. If we didn’t buy dimmable ones we would of had to consider another layer of mood lighting, because we wouldn’t have been able to dim the main lights. We didn’t need to purchase too many other lamps and lights except for the lamp for reading and the artwork feature light. One tip is to ensure the “loading” on the LED’s is the minimum required for the dimmer. If you don’t meet the minimum loading your lights will flicker!

We added a warm white led into the main downlights to save costs as there are 12 in the ceiling altogether.

For us, the lighting cost more than we wanted it to, but in the end it really makes the room multi-functional in the darker winter months and evenings when we use it the most. Also this room never gets direct sunlight during the day, so it isn’t the brightest room anyway, and I do find I need to turn on the lights even in the middle of the day if I am vacuuming, so ensure you think about being able to clean the space with enough light too.