What to consider when choosing lights for your home

April 23, 2013

Lighting is one of the most important elements in any space. It heavily influences the atmosphere in a room and can impact upon our mood.

There are some very important questions to ask yourself when making choices regarding lighting:

Needs and Preferences

Everyone has different needs and preferences when it comes to lighting. Some of us prefer spaces to be very brightly lit, while others prefer lower light levels in their homes. Many light globes also come in different colour temperatures which will alter their appearance. For example, fluorescent light globes can be either cool white (which is a whiter and brighter light) or warm white (which is a more golden tone, more in-keeping with the appearance of incandescent light).



(1840s Greek Revival by Alexa Hampton)

Use of Space

One of the first and most important points to consider is what the space is going to be used for. For example, if the room is a kitchen there needs to be enough lighting present to be able to comfortably and safely perform tasks, whereas in a loungeroom lower levels of light would be more suitable especially if the room is used to rest and relax or if it’s a multi-purpose living space then perhaps consider installing a dimmable light source that can be adjusted to suit your needs.



(Coltrane Lights by Delightfull)

Legislative/Energy Efficiency

This is an important consideration as in all states of Australia, as there are laws which dictate the percentage or quantity of energy efficient lighting that must be included in all new homes. Some lighting choices, such as halogen are not considered to be energy efficient light sources and therefore care must be taken in making selections. If you have concerns about reducing energy and running costs then fluorescent or LED lighting may be better options for you, however these light sources may not be suitable in all applications.

Room Dimensions

The size of a room and the height of the ceiling in a space must be considered when making decisions about which light fittings to choose, as this will directly influence not only the number of fittings needed but also their type and placement. 


(Victoria Tower)

Ceiling Structural Features

This is one of the most important considerations in designing any lighting concept, especially if you’re considering installing downlights. Unfortunately, in most cases if the ceiling is made of concrete then recessed downlights are not an option and surface/ceiling mount fittings or pendants will need to be used in their place.

If you’re wanting to add additional lights into a room that has a concrete ceiling then this is also not always possible (as running extra cabling through a concrete ceiling is generally not an option), so wall sconces and/or floor lamps may be a great choice to help introduce additional lighting for you.



(Linear indirect lighting by David Groppi)

Reflective Surfaces

Different substances, such as carpet and timber will absorb light while others, such as high sheen tiles will reflect it. The reflectance of surfaces within a home will influence the quantity and brightness lighting needed.


Probably to most important consideration of all is budget. Budget encompasses not only initial outlay costs, but also ongoing maintenance and energy costs are well. For example, halogen downlights may be a fairly low cost option to purchase (approx. $10), but they are not a long-life globe and will need to be regularly replaced (depending upon use), they are also not an energy saving option and if you have a lot of these lights within your home then their running costs can really add-up. Whereas, LED lighting may cost more to purchase (eg $50), however they may not need replacing for years and use approximately 70% less energy than their halogen equivalent.

None of these factors can be considered in isolation and there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to lighting a home. The best option is to discuss your requirements with a lighting professional and let them create a lighting plan that will best suit your needs.




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