Choosing lighting can sometimes seem a little daunting. With so much jargon and terms, it's not so simple to get your head around.
That's why we at Netlighting have compiled a list of useful information which you may require when choosing a fitting to fit your space, taking the hassle away permanently!
Proper lighting can enhance task performance and aesthetics, so it really is worth getting it right!
Topics Covered Here:
Click on a topic of your choice from the list below for direct navigation.
Lamp types (Bulbs, Energy Efficiency, Low Voltage, Mains Voltage)
Features (Dimmers, Switch, Photocell, PIR Sensor, Manual Overide Facility)
Rooms (Bathroom, Bedroom, Children's Bedroom, Dining Room, Entrance/Hallway, Kitchen, Lounge/Living Room, Staircase, Study)
Outdoor Lighting (Driveway/Paths/Steps, Entrance, Garage, Patio)
Bulbs: Incandescent are traditional style bulbs available in various sizes and voltages, with an average life of 1000 hours. The following types come under this category: BC, B15, B22, ES, E14, E27, SBC and SES. These do not require transformers and can also be purchased very cheaply. In cold weather, the heat shed by incandescent lamps contributes to building heat, however in hot climates lamp losses increase the energy used by air conditioning systems.
Halogen bulbs give off attractive light similar to sunlight and are twice as efficient as than incandescent bulbs in both their energy consumption and life span. They come as 12V low voltage (Capsule, MR16) and mains voltage (G9, GU10, GZ10, Linear). Halogens tend to emit a lot of heat so they can only be used in fittings designed to take the temperature.
Compact Fluorescents (CFL) are a type of fluorescent lamp, ideal for lights that will be left on for long periods of time, as they are low energy. Many compact fluorescents are designed to replace an incandescent lamp and can fit into most existing light fixtures formerly using incandescents. These have a longer life span and use less power than the incandescent bulb for the same amount of light. Compact fluorescents radiate a softer white light than that emitted by incandescent bulbs. Due to their mercury content, they require proper disposal. Compact Fluorescents come as ES or BC (formerly GLS) and are available with built in ballasts. Other fluorescent lamps include 2D (GR8 16W and GR10q 28/38W) and PL lamps (G24d-1, G24d-2, G24d-3, G24q-1, G24q-2) available in 10-26W, which require special fittings with built in ballasts and the fixed wattage cannot be changed.
LED lamps (Light Emitting Diodes) have been advocated as the very best environmental lighting method. Although the initial cost is higher than compact fluorescents, the significantly higher life span of LED bulbs make them far more cost effective in the long run. Due to the nature of the light output of individual LEDs being small, compared to incandescent and compact fluorescent lamps, multiple diodes are used together. These are available in a number of single colours as well as multiple colour-changing known as RGB LEDs or multi-coloured white LEDs. Unlike compact fluorescents, LED lamps do not contain mercury.
Energy Efficiency: Otherwise known as low energy. Using energy saving bulbs will give you lower electricity bills, for the same time usage, than standard bulbs. Fittings showing as dedicated low energy are designed to be used with low energy bulbs only. Energy Saving indicates that the fitting is compatible for use with a low energy bulb.
Low Voltage: Low voltage lights require the use of a transformer either fitted in the light fitting or remotely. The safer voltage and consequently lower power allow for the production of a wider variety of designs.
Mains Voltage: Mains voltage lights do not require a transformer.
When using Energy Efficient lamps, it can get a little confusing to make sense of the wattage. Therefore, we've included a comparative table to simplify matters.
|Standard Bulbs||Low Energy Bulbs|
|25 Watts||5-7 Watts|
|40 Watts||8 - 10 Watts|
|60 Watts||11 - 14 Watts|
|75 Watts||15-17 Watts|
|100 Watts||18 - 22 Watts|
|150 Watts||23 - 27 Watts|
|0||Inside the bath/shower itself||IP 67|
|1||Above the bath/shower to a height of 2.25m from the floor||IP 44 (Splash proof)|
|2 & 3||0.6m outside the perimeter of the bath and to a height of 2.25m from the floor||IP 20|
Once you have the regulations in place, there's a couple of pointers that will put you in the right direction for well-fitted illumination in your bathroom:
You'll want a nice sized mirror that's either illuminated to provide safer and more even light (perhaps with a magnifying element for a closer shave and perfect make-up application) or a standard bathroom mirror. Standard bathroom mirrors can be illuminated by fitting bathroom wall lights on either side of the mirror or by using a bathroom over mirror light for illumination just where it's needed.
Downlights will lend a lovely ambiance with their refreshing halogen colour, and adjustable spotlights will set the tone, especially when directed at interesting features in the bathroom décor.
A high output flush or semi-flush ceiling light will give overall radiance, so aim to choose one that matches your bathroom décor to add that finishing touch.
Bedroom: This is your personal space, so ambiance and practicalities are imperatives here.
Bedside lights (or overhead wall lights) that are individually switched, and adjustable table lamps, perhaps with dimmers, are ideal for night-time or early morning reading.
You'll want to illuminate your dressing table with directional lights for a better reflection.
Table and picture lights will create pools of light to reduce any sharp contrasts. Your ceiling light will be your central statement piece, so choose a fitting that reflects your taste.
Children's Bedroom: You'll want to remember that a bedroom can become a haven for children, so make it cosy and foster their imaginations & creativity. Nurture their personality by choosing novelty designs and co-ordinating sets. A high output ceiling light will provide good overall illumination for the bedroom in general.
Age is a key factor, so you'll want low-lighting for convenience during night visits for a nursery, wall and ceiling fittings high enough to keep safely away from the little fingers of inquisitive toddlers & younger children, and a reading lamp for older children.
If your child is afraid of the dark, you might want to consider using lights with dimmers or keep a plug-in night light handy.
Dining Room: The light above your dining room table should be your main focus as this will act as your center piece.
A pendant with an adjustable height will ensure a perfectly tailored drop. If you have a long table, using a linear pendant suspended on two wires will give a spectacular effect. Dimmers allow for use of the table for everyday tasks as well as lending a low mood suitable for dining.
Glass tables require overhead lighting with a diffuser, so that you don't get the reflection of the light bulb when dining.
Always remember to keep candles well away from the lighting, so that you don't have your evening ruined!
Entrance/Hallway: Warm, welcoming and practical are the keys concepts here.
Use a high-output ceiling fixture in the entrance for a generous spread of light. Matching wall lights/sconces are complementary where additional light is required. Keep your hallway bright to ensure safety of passage by using ceiling, recessed or wall lights. Adjustable track lighting is useful here for highlighting artwork and family pictures.
Kitchen: Safety in the kitchen is paramount, where so many potential safety hazards are apparent.
The kitchen calls for a higher level of light than any other room in your house.
Recessed halogen downlights, a central ceiling light or a halogen multi-head bar are all ways of achieving a more even distribution of light in the kitchen. Halogen lights as opposed to fluorescents create a more pleasant atmosphere when dining in the kitchen.
Under cabinet lighting is designed to illuminate work surfaces and should be mounted as close to the front of the cabinets as possible, to avoid glare reflecting off work surfaces.
You may want to use small halogen display lights to highlight glass fronted cabinets.
Lounge/Living Room: Dimmers are ideal for using in the lounge, where so many different activities take place, as they allow you to adjust the lighting to suit the activity.
Using a single central light will create hard shadows and possibly glare. You can avoid this by using various light sources to create pools of light for an interesting effect.
Downlights create a glare-free and pleasing effect. Pendants and wall lights are also a pleasing option, just make sure you don't fix them too high or they'll cause glare! Table lamps lend a spacious feeling to the room, as the light they give off radiates inward. Floor lamps are invaluable in areas difficult to illuminate using other light fittings. Floor uplighters give a bright wash on the ceiling, with some models coming complete with a second arm, that doubles up as a reading lamp. Adjustable reading lights beside a sofa or chair which can be switched while seated are another functional option.
To illuminate pictures, articles of interest, bookcases and fireplaces, various lighting solutions can be used such as picture lights, halogen spotlights or wall lights/sconces, fitted above or on either side.
Indirect light from wall washers will create dramatic effects and the light emitted will be coloured by the surfaces on which they are mounted.
Staircase: Pendants with low energy bulbs hung above the stairs are ideal here, as staircases need to be well lit and the light directed to define the edges of the steps for safety. This position will add a shadow ensuring adequate lighting. Fix switches on both ends of the starcase for convenience.
Study: Using energy efficient fluorescent tubes will provide plenty of well-diffused general lighting, which will eliminate shadows on the desk. Lighting placed in front of a desk will cause bothersome reflections, so aim for above, to the right and side of the desk, to bring the light in from over the shoulder.
An adjustable table light will provide additional light to the desk and keyboard areas, just position the lamp away from the computer so that you don't get its reflection in your screen!
Proper exterior lighting will make your home safer and more secure as well as making the time you spend outdoors more pleasurable. Consider energy efficient lighting, to conserve energy where lights will be left on continuously throughout the night.
Luminaires with Photocell attached have 'Dusk to Dawn' sensors, turning on at night; PIR refers to lighting with a motion sensor for lighting up when detecting movement. Have these options in mind when considering security.
The IP rating of the product will show its resistance to particles in the atmosphere (first digit) and water (second digit). Ensure you are using the right product in the right place by checking the stated IP rating against the information in the table below:
|IP23||Lamp protected against ingress of solid objects greater than 12mm and against spraying water|
|IP44||Lamp protected against ingress of solid objects greater than 1mm and against splashing water|
|IP45||Lamp protected against ingress of solid objects greater than 1mm and against water jets|
|IP54||Lamp protected against ingress of dust and against splashing water|
|IP55||Lamp protected against ingress of dust and water jets|
|IP65||Dust-tight lamp, protected against water jets|
|IP66||Dust-tight lamp, protected against water jets and against water spray at a pressure of 1 bar at three metres|
|IP67||Dust-tight lamp, protected against immersion|
|IP68||Dust-tight lamp and protected against the effects of prolonged immersion in water and at depth|
Driveway/Paths/Steps: You'll want to keep these areas illuminated at night to allow safe access after dark. You can do this by using low level path lights to highlight boundaries, post lanterns, brick lights recessed into steps, wall lights attached to the side of the house and shielded bollards to avoid glare standing 30-36 inches off the ground.
Entrance: A well lit front entrance will enable you to greet guests and identify visitors. A wall lantern on either side of the door will give your home a warm and welcoming look. You can brighten your porch by fitting recessed, chain-hung, or flush/semi-flush fittings.
To illuminate a side or rear entrance, use a single wall lantern fitted to the key-hole side of the door.
Garage: You can install a wall fixture on the face of the garage for safety and security.
Patio: The patio can be transformed into a pleasant evening retreat by concealing low voltage mini lights under steps, railings or benches. Add stronger light over the barbeque or serving area by installing a recessed spotlight on an adjacent roof protrusion or on a railing behind the grill.
Please be advised that all information provided is for explanatory purposes only and does not replace the need to refer to current regulations and a qualified electrician.
Much effort has been extended to ensure accuracy. Netlighting takes no responsibility for any unforeseen errors or issues arising from the content of these pages.