Careful design of the lighting for your home will ensure that the right amount of light is gets where and when it is needed and can be switched on conveniently. Lighting should avoid over-lit areas, and give control and flexibility to create lighting effects for different situations. Well-designed lighting will be inherently easier to use and will function in an energy-efficient way.
The best approach to home lighting design is to use three levels of lighting: general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. By combining these three levels, the recommended lighting level for each room or activity should be obtained, as below:
|Recommended lighting levels for the Home||in Lux|
|Living rooms general||50-150|
|Kitchen working areas||400|
|Halls and landings||100-150|
The three levels of lighting
General lighting should ensure a sufficient minimum level of light in the room. There are plenty of LED light sources that can be used for this purpose: LED modules, strips, luminaries or spotlights. Decide on the desired illuminance level (lux). In living rooms and bedrooms in particular, give a certain degree of flexibility (through control settings/dimmers) so that occupants can raise or lower the general lighting around the set level. Design for the upper end of the Lux ranges in homes with elderly occupants, which generally appreciate a higher level of general lighting. A minimum level of general lighting is required for safe movement in the home, especially on the stairs, but sufficient general LED lighting is considered important for general well-being.
Workplace lighting is needed for certain activities at home, such as reading, preparing food and working from home. LED lamps must be carefully selected, correctly positioned and controlled. Recommended are LED spot lights and high flux LED modules. Lamps or sockets are needed in the right places to ensure flexibility in the availability of work and accent lighting. Depending on the task, LED workplace lighting may be required at different levels. The color rendering of the light is also very important for some activities and we recommend LED lights with CRI 95 or more.
Accent lighting contributes to the ambiance of a house and is usually done with LED spots and strips. As with workplace lighting, LED luminaires (or sockets) are placed in the right places to emphasize architectural features, furniture and ornaments. Accent lighting is a more personal matter, and depending on the circumstances, spotlighting or floodlighting can be useful.
For each of these levels of lighting, controls can provide a range of lighting options. So in an living room there could be separate controlled circuits for:
- general lighting
- task lighting (typically positioned under the wall units)
- accent lighting
Similar control patterns can be considered in other rooms, with dimmers providing a different lighting atmosphere in salons, dining rooms and bedrooms. Advanced controls, sometimes controlled by a mobile phone or a tablet app, that allow remote adjustment of the amount of light and its color are increasingly popular. Lighting is establishing itself as a lifestyle statement and houses with new and innovative lighting systems are perceived as a marketing advantage.
Lighting of each room in detail:
Living rooms need a relaxed atmosphere and a certain flexibility in terms of lighting level and position. The controller should ensure that the floor lighting of the living area can be adjusted to approx. 100-150 lux, whereby flexibility can be reduced to a damped value of approx. 50 lux. This may require a variety of light sources. General light can be obtained with a central LED fixture (pendant, ceiling lamp) or an array of spotlights. Task lighting with spotlights or linear LED lights is a common approach. Ambient lighting with glare prevention can be obtained form LED cove lights and wall luminaires. Due to the long life of the living room, LED lighting will also lead to significant energy and cost savings compared to CFLs. Good ambient lighting can be complemented by portable luminaires such as table lamps or floor lamps that provide the higher local illuminance required for reading or other detailed activities.
Lighting can be used to create different moods. A wash of light over one wall or the ceiling, from a LED strip inside a cove light, can provide a background level of lighting against which a variety of lighting effects can be achieved using portable luminaires such as table lamps. Lighting specified in dining rooms should have a color temperature within the limits of 2,700K-3,000K, and provide about 150 lux at floor level. In many homes, dining room tables, are used for variety of activities as well as dining. For this reason some flexibility in lighting for the dining table top is recommended: it should be possible to provide flexibility for dining between 150 and 200 lux, and between 400 and 500 lux for situations when the table is used for other tasks, such as homework and hobbies. Dining room lighting should have excellent color rendering, at least CRI 95.
Bedrooms are best lit with indirect light from bright LED strips inside cove lights or LED spotlights that direct light onto wall surfaces, both approaches aimed at reducing glare while providing good general light levels. Provide a separate circuit specifically for bedside lighting, with lighting socket outlets and two-way switching to help ensure lights are not left on unnecessarily. Lighting levels in bedrooms should be controllable, with flexibility to provide subdued levels of 50 -100 lux at floor level and a maximum of about 150 lux. There should be provision of good task lighting for activities such as reading, offering focused illumination of up to 400 lux. Good color rendering is an important consideration in bedrooms to help in the choice of clothes for example.
Studies and home offices
It is recommended to arranging diffuse background lighting in order to prevent harsh lighting to create glare on computer screens and paper-covered desks. LED cove lights or dedicated wall uplights can be used to create a general wash of light. Task lighting can be provided by using LED desk lamps. Studies and home offices require good levels of lighting with between 400 and 500 lux for task lighting on desks. If more intricate work is being undertaken, we recommend 750 lux.
In kitchens the detailed tasks being carried out require high levels of lighting, particularly because of the use of sharp tools. A lighting level of at least 400 lux should be on the worktop, hob and sink levels and is best obtained with LED strips or modules placed under the cupboards, lighting downwards. We recommend you choose LEDs with CRI at least 95, as high quality light can make food look best and can influence how we experience its taste. For kitchen floors, appropriate luminance levels are 150-200 lux for floors from light sources such as a central LED luminaire or an array of LED spotlights.
Bathrooms, Hallways and Stairs
LED downlights are particularly suitable for bathroom lighting where they can be positioned to provide lighting where it is needed, for example over the bath and shower. Aim for good task lighting levels around bathroom mirrors and illumination levels of 250-300 lux for bathroom floors. When specifying bathroom lighting, take care to check how far from a water source it can be fitted. A bathroom is divided into zones 0 to 3, each requiring a respective waterproof level (IP protection). Choose only bathroom lighting with the appropriate IP protection level for the zone in which it will be used. It is recommended that general bathroom lighting and task lighting (e.g. lighting for mirrors) are on separate circuits.
For hallways, LED cove lights can maximize headroom in what is often a small area and down lighting is often the most appropriate solution. Since hallways are often lit for long periods, the use of long life LED lighting will maximize energy savings. A lux level of between 100-150 is recommended at floor level.
As in the case of hallways, flush fittings are useful when headroom is limited. To provide adequate lighting stairs may require luminaires either along them, above them, or in proximity on the landing. To avoid falls on stairs, lighting should be operated by two-way switching situated at both the top and the bottom of flights. Lighting should be positioned to ensure that stairs are easily visible (by providing contrast in lighting between treads and risers). Ideal color temperature for lighting on stairs and landings is around 3,000K and lighting for stair treads should be at least 100 lux. Lighting on stairs and landings (including daylight as well as artificial light) should be designed to minimize glare.
For choosing the right LED strip or fixture in order to obtaine the desired LUX level in your home, you can use our calculator to transform the Luminous Flux (Lumen) in LUX.