Building a new home is an exciting time. There are many choices to be made during the design process on the materials, fixtures and appliances that will reflect your design style. Lighting is an essential piece of new home design and must be planned for upfront. However, lighting is often selected and installed at the end of the building process. And to further complicate matters, sometimes decorative lighting – the lighting that makes a statement in the home – isn’t part of the initial design. Here are lighting tips to consider when building a new home.
It’s important to consider light fixtures in the initial budget as great lighting will highlight all the other inspirational home accents and purposeful design in a home. And today, there are lighting fixtures that suit any budget and lifestyle trend the customer desires.
Layered lighting is a must-have. A properly layered lighting scheme features a combination of general (ambient) light sources, task lighting and accent lighting fixtures, creating comfortable, functional light along with style and beauty in a room.
Many new homes incorporate recessed lighting into their design scheme. These fixtures are installed into the ceiling and provide a nice source of functional light. Decorative lighting is usually installed closer to eye level than functional recessed lighting, providing elements of décor that reinforce the home’s unique design. In addition, decorative lighting can help define a space, which is especially crucial in an open floor plan, where decorative fixtures should be selected as a single focal point for each of the living areas.
Discuss the lighting plan during the project’s design phase to ensure you get the functionality and ambiance that decorative lighting provides. Once the build has started, it may be too late and will be more expensive to make changes during the construction process.
Important Lighting Considerations
Ask your builder if the lighting package is pre-determined. Often, builders offer a choice of one or more standard packages. Before confirming your selection, ask if there are packages upgrades available, the cost of upgrading or adding decorative fixtures, and any design limitations.
Ask about the wiring plan. Are there pre-installed electrical junction boxes in fixed areas, or is the home snake wired? Pre-installed junction boxes, or pancake boxes, offer less flexibility as the light fixture must be installed wherever the junction box is. If your new home plan does not include decorative lighting, be sure to ask that junction boxes be installed where you’d like the lighting to be placed. Better yet, ask for the home to be snake-wired, which gives the flexibility to add lighting wherever and whenever you want.
Go LED. Often a builder has already selected the bulb for the recessed and other lighting fixtures, and they are not always LED. Even if it adds to the cost, the investment to substitute LED bulbs or to use integrated LED fixtures is worth it for the advantages of energy savings, brighter light, and longer bulb life. With integrated LED decorative fixture options like the Pivot LED Chandelier and Geodesic LED Pendant, there are now more options than ever.
Ask the right questions at the beginning of the design process because the builder or designer can add decorative lighting to complement the function of basic overhead lighting while beautifully expressing the homeowner’s personal design style.