By Sanford Fogg
In a new monthly column, Sanford Fogg, of Fogg Lighting in Portland, offers his best advice on illuminating your home.
Q: What’s the most important thing to consider when planning lighting for a new home or remodel?
A: Bringing in a lighting designer at the start of a project is key. This is not a luxury reserved for people with big budgets. We will consult with any customer, free of charge, in our store. For a reasonable charge, we’ll also make a house call, but this is not typically necessary. Working with floor plans or drawings, we can determine how much light you need in a room, what types of fixtures will work best, and where they should go. Because lighting is one of the last things to be installed in a house, people often don’t contact us until the final weeks of a project. At this point, the wiring is done and it’s no longer possible to alter the lighting plan. We see kitchens that are drastically under-lit, with a grid of recessed lights in the center of the room instead of over the work surfaces. In living rooms, people frequently use recessed fixtures like klieg lights overhead, when they should be positioned around the room’s perimeter to create more comfortable, ambient illumination — to name just a couple of potential pitfalls.
Because contractors’ allowances are sometimes not enough to cover the type of lighting homeowners want or need, we also help clients devise a realistic budget up front so they are not hit with unexpected costs at the end of the process. You can spend a lot of time and money on your plans and architect, and choose the prettiest countertops, tile, and art, but if you don’t light it all properly, you can’t take full advantage of, or truly appreciate, the work you’ve done.
While cooking and cleaning functions endure, kitchens are hubs of activity in homes today. I know that when we entertain guests at our house we cannot get them out of the kitchen. We entertain, eat, prepare food, wash dishes and even read in our kitchens. That is why kitchens require several layers of light to serve all the needs of the modern home.
|Lots of Layers of Light|
Please note the different layers of light in this kitchen. There are pendants over the island, recessed lights over the counters, under cabinet lights (also lighting the counters), range hood lights, picture lights, a chandelier over the kitchen table and even a table lamp! That is seven layers of light! And how good does it look, and how pleasurable it would be to entertain in this space. Cooking would even be more enjoyable. (Of course I love to cook so I would love having a kitchen like this).
You do not need to have a magnificent home to have good lighting in your kitchen. If you choose correct lighting for your space it will look great and allow you to perform all the kitchen tasks. Really good recessed lights are quite affordable and should be used over the counter tops, not behind them. Island counters require good lighting. Multiply the square footage of the counter top by 2.5 to determine how many watts of incandescent light is needed. Then select fixtures (usually pendants) that can deliver that amount of light, or augment those fixtures with additional recessed lights spaced between the fixtures. Most families spend a lot of time the their kitchens so make it a priority to light your kitchen well.
Please visit us at www.fogglighting.com and like us on Face Book. I am always available for consultations on proper lighting for your home, and my design team can help you find fixtures that are beautiful and affordable.