Our future renovation plans are starting to feel very real and less pipedream, more “how can we win the Lottery to do everything we want to do?”. We’re focused on saving and it will likely be autumn 2023 before we get underway but even then, a girl can plan and make lists!
I’ve noticed a real willingness lately from people on social media talking a lot more openly and realistically about renovation work and it’s so helpful. From the costs of projects in these uncertain times, to the myriad of things to think about when planning a project, it’s really useful to hear from real-life people who’ve been through it all.
One of the key elements that I’ve noticed crop up time and again and something that needs thinking about far sooner than I would have thought is lighting. If you’re planning a build, it’s a lot easier to know where light sockets and power points need to be before rather than after everything is done. I’ll return to our extension plans a little later but let’s consider what sort of lighting goes best in which rooms.
For me, occasional lighting is key to creating a warm and relaxing atmosphere. I’m a fan of floor lamps with one in our living room, dining room and one of our bedrooms. They strike an ideal balance between being ambient but also practical, giving off enough light to complete tasks by but not stark.
To compliment floor lamps in a living room, table lamps are the perfect partner. I have a floor lamp in one corner and a table lamp on the alcoves in the opposite diagonal corner. If we have guests round, we’d put them both on but if it’s just us watching TV or when we have the Christmas tree up, one is plenty.
For bathrooms, en-suites or downstairs toilets, combining practical lighting with something more relaxing can give that spa at home feeling. Think about your favourite hotel and the bathrooms, I bet they have some sort of practical overhead lighting but then also a softer focus maybe around the mirror or wall lights above the sink. If you’re planning a relaxing soak in the bath, the last thing you want is an extractor fan and 10 spotlights ruining the atmosphere.
At the same time, clever lighting incorporated into other objects is my new favourite design idea. We’ve recently fitted a round mirror in our en-suite above the sink and there is a motion sensor light running all the way around the frame. It’s the DREAM to apply makeup and is now one of my favourite lights in our home. Also great for social media selfies, it’s like a ready-installed ring light!
The main reason we’re planning to extend is to create an open-plan kitchen-diner as we currently have the very small kitchens typical of 1930’s properties. I’d argue that a kitchen is where your lighting has to work the hardest, especially with the more modern trends of creating a family-focused living/eating/cooking space.
For most people now, a kitchen isn’t just for practical use. It may incorporate a play area for children, larger entertaining options, or an alternative/additional living room. It’s important to think about where your practical, working lights need to be, maybe around a hob or above a work surface. Then pendant lights over an island are also very of the moment and something to think about when designing a kitchen.
Another popular design item at the moment are pantries, whether as a small separate room or “breakfast cupboards” to hide away things like toasters and kettles. Do these need lighting and if so is a motion sensor a good idea? Perhaps low-level lighting along the kickboards at the bottom of the cupboards for a low impact but cosy design feature.
I’m definitely going to have lots of decisions ahead of me, if you’re also renovating or have any suggestions on how you chose lighting then leave a comment – I’ll need all the pointers I can get!
Post in collaboration.
This reminds me of Emily Henderson’s (from the blog) new book on renovations. It is written for US homes, sure, and I haven’t read it because I am not renovating, but from reading her stuff I feel like there would be answers in it 🙂
This is really useful, thank you for sharing!