Friday, 11 March 2016

Love your little home - Lighting

This is part of our Love your little home series. 
Part 2 - Lighting 

Lighting is so important, it can make or break how good a building looks. In the day, you want as much natural light as you can get in and when it gets darker you want it to suit your room, whether it be subtle ambient lighting or clean, bright lighting in areas where you need it. 

When we built our extension we wanted as much natural light as possible and a wall of glass on a budget. So we put in reclaimed french doors (my parents' old ones), a window either side and 2 Velux windows. The roof windows and flashing kits to suit are quite expensive for this size but they are a great source of light through the day and they allow the sun to come in and warm your house too, so they're worth the money.

Due to the really high ceiling in our extension, I didn't want downlights, so I reclaimed these old Aluminium bedhead lights from a Hospital when I was working as an electrician refurbishing it. I shortened the arms on them and we love them. 

We just wanted simple lighting especially over the dining table, so we just put in pendants & Emily bought these large Colanders from Garden Trading. I drilled 25mm holes in them and they work as great shades and they let light through the holes too.

Mirrors are a great way to bounce light around, especially in small areas. We have a mirror opposite a mirror, and they seem to infinitely bounce the light about. 

In the kitchen, if you can, I would always recommend crisp, bright downlights. The kitchen is always the most used, party gathering, time spending place so treat yourself to good lighting in there. The difference from when I replaced our one, greasy 60w bayonet bulb is enormous. I can't believe we didn't do it sooner! 
There has never been a better time to put downlights in as LED lighting has come on so much in the last year. You really can get as good lighting from a warm white 5w LED as from a 50w GU10 bulb, which makes any man less resentful of their family leaving the lights on all the time!

I had a couple of bedhead lights left, so made those into lamp shades too. They're darker but the theme through the house is worth it. 

Our attic was the first room I converted. I had never installed a roof window before, but that first moment that I poked my Stanley knife through the roof felt and removed a couple of tiles was like going from the dark ages to the Renaissance. It makes the room light and airy and it's rare that the main light needs to be on, even in winter. 

Emily has always loved fairy lights. It's funny because I spend my life trying to hide wires and putting them in walls and she just drapes strings of LEDs about. However in certain places they can give great ambient lighting and again, because of LEDs you can just leave them on and leave your main lights off.

I really love nice, soft outdoor lighting too, so I installed the same downlights in the soffit above the door to light the decking and walls and put the same lights in the wall to light our brick path. 

I hope you like our choices of lighting. Why not think of ways of brightening up your home?


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