Your Lighting Questions Answered
We’ve got your lighting questions and answers sorted for common lighting questions or style choices to help you select the perfect lighting for your next project.
Table of Contents
Lighting Design Consultation
As any designer will tell you, there is nothing more important to the look and feel of a room, than lighting. However beautiful your décor, however fabulous your furniture, without the right lighting, it can all look dull and cold.
Your lighting must also be functional, flexible and complement the way you live and work in the home. Little wonder then that achieving this seamless blend of lighting magic can be a little overwhelming. As a longstanding local business with years of design experience we can offer you an inspiring in home lighting design consultation.
This hugely popular service gives you the opportunity to work with our lighting design consultants right in the heart of your home. If you can dream it, they can do it. Experience the difference great design makes.
We can offer you a free in home consultation to find out what suits your needs
- Meet in your home or office and discuss your plans and ideas
- Provide insightful information on local and overseas trends, aesthetics and styles
- Offer expert advice and ideas on what sort of lighting best suits your home and where it should be placed for maximum effect
- Offer energy saving solutions
- Work with you to establish your unique lighting plan
- Answer any practical questions e.g. maintenance and installation requirements, how the height and dimensions of your space can impact your choice
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Energy Saving Tips
Nowadays, with power costs rising all the time, we’re more conscious than ever of saving energy – and money. Luckily, energy saving lighting has come a long way and it’s easier than ever to be stylish – and green!
- Replace any incandescent bulbs with CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) or LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), especially where lights are on for long periods
- Use the lowest wattage bulb required to meet the room’s lighting needs
- Turn off all lights in unoccupied rooms
- Turn outside lights off when you’re not using them
- Consider using timers and sensors for indoor and outdoor lights
- Regularly dust your low energy light bulbs and fittings Make the most of natural light. Open curtains and blinds during daylight hours When you’re installing lights, allocate one switch per light rather than turning on multiple lights with one switch
- Use two-way switching in rooms with two exits to ensure lights can be easily turned off when leaving the room
- Use table or floor lamps fitted with CFLs where most light is required so you don’t light unoccupied areas of the room
- Choose light fittings that allow most of the light through so a lower wattage globe can be used. Some light fittings can block 50% or more of the lights, especially those with coloured glass or fabric.
Why Switch to Low Energy Lighting?
Low energy or energy saving lighting is about reducing the wattage used in a light fitting while maintaining similar light output. By using energy saving lighting you can generate huge savings on your electricity bills, and contribute towards building a better environment.
Low energy lighting alternatives such as CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) and LED (Light Emitting Diodes) cost more to purchase, however the investment is outweighed by the fact that they use only 10-20% of the electricity consumed by a standard incandescent light globe. This produces significant savings on your power bills.
Furthermore, CFLs and LED’s will last from four to 30 years, as opposed to a standard globe that lasts about one year, saving you the inconvenience of having to regularly purchase and replace globes.
And most importantly, energy efficient globes reduce energy consumption and therefore help cut greenhouse gas emissions that are harmful to the environment.
As Australia’s leading national lighting retailer, many of our stores have already made the switch to low energy lighting. We can help you make the switch so you can start saving today! There’s hundreds of energy saving options available, so speak to an expert in store.
Inefficient Lighting Ban
Since November 2009, due to government regulations you are no longer able to purchase the standard incandescent globe.
According to the Australian government, lighting is responsible for 37% of greenhouse gas emissions; household lighting is responsible for 12% of the total greenhouse emissions and commercial lighting such as public and street lighting 25%.
Lighting costs the community over $2 billion in electricity each year and it is predicted that converting to low energy lighting will save Australians 66% off their household lighting bills.
Types of Lights
Due to government regulations, as of November 2009, you are no longer able to purchase standard incandescent globes. These lamps were extremely inefficient because they only converted 5-10% of the energy they produced into light, while the remainder was converted to heat. The result was an extreme waste of electricity.
Traditionally, Low voltage halogen down lights have been the most commonly used light globes in Australia. As a type of incandescent lamps, although they require lower voltages they are not low energy lamps. In fact, each low voltage halogen lamp generates a kilogram of greenhouse gas every 15 hours, which Is about the same as a standard 60 watt incandescent globe.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
CFLs are fluorescent tubes bent into shape to fit a standard light fitting. They use around 20% of the power required by an incandescent bulb and will last an impressive 6-15 times longer.
On a lifetime basis, a standard 100 watt-equivalent CFL will save 480 kilowatt hours of electricity when compared to an incandescent lamp. During its lifetime, just one CFL bulb has the capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as one tonne.
While the cost of a CFL is greater than an incandescent lamp, CFLs are cheaper when the total life cycle cost is considered. A typical CFL will save you around $50 in its lifetime. Plus you’ll save the expense of six or more incandescent globes and you won’t have to change the bulbs nearly as often.
CFLs are available in a range of colours to suit all applications. The higher the Kelvin (K) rating, the bluer the colour gets. Lower Kelvin-rated CFLs have more yellow and are similar to the light colour of an incandescent globe. The Kelvin rating only refers to the colour of the light emitted, not the brightness. Different colours suit different rooms.
Bright daylight (6500K) offers a strong, bright light suited to home offices and work spaces.
Cool white (4000K) is suited to task environments like kitchens and laundries.
Warm white (2700K) creates a more intimate atmosphere for bedrooms and lounge rooms.
Because CFLs are more efficient, they require a lower wattage globe for the same light output.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
LEDs are the next generation of lighting. They don’t generate anywhere near as much heat, take no time to reach full brightness, contain no chemicals such as lead or mercury, and emit no UV rays or infrared radiation.
LEDs are now available as a real option for replacing the commonly used halogen downlight. The recently released LED downlights work very similar to common halogen downlights, but use 85% less energy, last 25 times longer and operate at a much cooler temperature, making them a safer option. LEDs are also available in pendant lights, desk lamps and outdoor garden lights.
Commonly used in gardens to light pathways, solar lighting is the ultimate ‘green’ lighting alternative. Solar lighting is entirely self-sufficient and requires only the energy from sunlight to convert into electrical energy. Solar lights only contain very small batteries and solar panels so the light output is only minimal.
Style of Lighting
Just as you carefully choose your décor, so should you spend time considering the style of lighting you want in your home – as it has a direct influence on your mood. Think about the overall effect you’re trying to create, be it a lively ambience or a cosier feel accented with subtle shadows or romantic corners.
Pendants and chandeliers make stunning focal points, downlights are perfect for general lighting, table and floor lamps add a warm glow, and wall lights illuminate artwork or favourite pieces, or become a decorative feature by themselves.
The coolest energy savers on the market today, it’s little wonder more and more energy-conscious Australians are enjoying the huge benefits fans have to offer. Today’s fans are as much a design choice as a practical one. A swirl of cool white or timber evokes the feeling of a relaxed tropical paradise in your living areas. Create a highpoint of conversation with a cutting edge aerodynamic design, or show your discretion and choose the innovative retractable blade ceiling fan. Perfectly at home in the living room, kitchen, bedroom and outdoor room, isn’t it time you became a fan?
Whether LED, fluorescent or halogen, you’ll find a huge selection of energy saving globes featured on our website, you’ll also find a large range of globes – over 500 different globes in fact! – so our in-store experts can help you find the right one for your needs.
Although it’s often treated as an afterthought, good lighting can make or break your home. We may spend hours poring over paint charts, but it’s actually the light that shows off a space to its best advantage.
You might not realise you’ve got bad lighting but you’ll recognise the symptoms: headaches and sore eyes, frustration in the kitchen at not being able to see what you’re doing and arguments in the bedroom over whose turn it is to get up to switch out the light. Good lighting will make your home feel spacious, clean and welcoming.
The key is to create a flexible scheme that takes you right through the day and all the different uses of your room. At the flick of a switch, you should be able to transform it from a bright, vibrant living space to the setting for a romantic dinner for two.
It’s a fantastic asset to any home, but the quality of the light depends on the aspect of the room. If you’re building a new home or doing major renovation work, plan and cater for the lighting at the same time as the plumbing. Most of us have to work with fixtures that are already there, but with a little strategic thinking it’s perfectly possible to get lighting that works for you.
North facing: cold and harsh rather than direct sunlight. Artists choose north-facing studios because the light gives truer colour rendition.
East facing: bright first thing in the morning followed by long shadows and no sun later in the day. Use artificial lighting to control glare and maximise the available natural light in north- and east-facing rooms.
South facing: warm light all day, although it changes throughout the day and year. The midday sun is usually so bright it flattens everything out. Choose south-facing rooms for the kitchen, main living areas and other rooms you spend a lot of time in.
West facing: sunlight at the hottest part of the day, which can cause glare. In the late afternoon, you’ll get long shadows and softer light.
Starting Your Lighting Plan
Begin by going round the house with a notepad and pen. In each room, ask yourself What do I use this space for?
Think about all its possible uses – your lounge might have to double up as a study, the children might need to do their homework or music practice in there, you might knit or sew or use part of the room as a studio. Do you tend to eat in the kitchen or on your lap in front of the television?
- What’s on display in each room? Do you have a specific picture or plant you want to make a feature of?
- Note it all down, because this will determine your accent lighting.
- Who uses this room? A 60 year old uses 15 times more light for reading than a ten year old.
- At what times of day will people be in this room?
- Where does the natural light come in?
Make The Plan
Now take a piece of graph paper and draw a plan of your room to help you work out the best places to put your lights. It’s better if it’s to scale but it doesn’t have to be.
- Mark immoveable fixtures, such as fireplaces, alcoves, doors and windows
- Next, mark with arrows which way people are likely to be facing – towards the television, for example, at a desk for working or towards the window if they like reading in a particular chair.
- Mark the existing sockets. In many houses there aren’t enough, which can result in dangerously overloaded plugs
- To determine your circuits, mark where the light switches should be. Work logically round the entry and exit points in your home – it’s frustrating when you have to feel around in the dark for a switch that is either on the wrong side of the door or non-existent.
- Mark out where you’ll place large pieces of furniture, such as sofas and beds.
- Think about practicalities such as how you’re going to change the bulb. What if you live in a room with extra-high ceilings or in a loft-style apartment and the spotlights are 20ft high in the air?
Although you’re treating each room as an individual space, you should also take the overall feel of your home into account.
For example, it’s dangerous to go straight from one brightly lit room into one that’s completely. Use light to link rooms together.
Beware of making your plan too complicated. You can use a single light for several purposes by angling the beam in different directions. Take this lighting plan with you when you go shopping for fixtures and fittings.
Do you want to turn all your lights on with a single switch or do you want to operate them individually?
What about dimmers?
Ideally you should fit several circuits in each room, each with a dimmer switch and no more than two lights, which are controlled from a wall-mounted panel.
Try not to place more than three switches on a panel or you’ll never remember what they’re all for. Changing the lighting can alter the way a room looks, particularly the dimensions, just as much changing the colour of the walls.
- To make your room appear larger
- Use wall washers on a large expanse of light coloured ceiling.
- Use uplighters to bounce light onto the ceiling and walls.
- Create panels of light at one end of the room – your eye will be pulled along towards it, making the space appear longer.
- Light all four corners of the room.
- To make your room appear taller
- Use vertical light beams.
- Hang pendant lights low.
- To make your room appear cosier
- Use several table lamps, singularly or in clusters, to create lots of little low pools of light in a large, high room.
- Don’t allow light onto the ceiling.
For most of us, the kitchen is the room where we spend the most time, preparing food, eating and entertaining.
Proper lighting can help make it safe, hygienic and enjoyable. Even if you only pop in to use the microwave, you’ll need to be able to see the timer.
A central pendant light or gives a good general lighting, but if that’s all you have you’ll be forever working in your own shadow and cooking will be a headache – literally.
Whatever the shape or size of your kitchen, the light should come from behind or to the side of where you’re working – not in front.
You also need a high level of task lighting at the sink, the cooker, the fridge and worktops, especially for chopping vegetables.
Kitchen light should be a similar to true daylight so you can see when food is cooked or off.
Most highly recommended is a central fluorescent light enhanced with the addition on task lights in your most useable workspaces.
Don’t plug lights into sockets that are overloaded with appliances such as toasters and food processors.
And don’t put lights in places where they could dazzle you while you’re carrying boiling water or sharp implements.
If you’re buying a new kitchen, you’ll find that most modern ones come with built-in lights, or you can mix and match pieces from the kitchen supplier. Items like cooker hoods come with in-built illumination. Cupboards can have built-in lights that are triggered when the door’s opened.
If you have a central pendant light but want to illuminate a different area, put it on a longer cord then put a small hook into the ceiling above where you need the light and clip it over. This works particularly well over tables.
- Replacing your central pendant light with two (or more) ceiling-mounted fittings set wide apart will allow the light to flow much more evenly to either side.
- Buy an inexpensive clip light and clamp it on where you need extra task light.
- Put mini fluorescent lights underneath wall units. They spread a good level of light over work surfaces. Choose an 8 watt bulb in warm white.
- Paint the kitchen ceiling matt white and keep the walls above the units a pale colour.
- Choose a light coloured kitchen, such as birch or pale laminate.
- If your sink is at the window, fit a light in the window’s pelmet.
- Fit a track system with directional lights you can position over the work surface and the sink. This will mean you won’t need to do any rewiring.
- Install strips against the wall above wall-mounted units – they’ll throw light upwards to give an all-round glow (this only works with a white ceiling).
Fit rows of down lights into the ceiling – they emit light exactly where it is needed and give good colour rendition. Also, because they’re recessed, they’re shielded from grease and dirt. Don’t worry about spacing them out evenly intervals or lining them up exactly – if you do, it can look like an airport runway. Concentrate on where you need the light to fall rather than their position on the ceiling.
Attached is a selection of popular suppliers for you to browse knowing we can get anything you see here.