As the home has also become the workplace for many people post-lockdown, the importance of versatile living spaces has, arguably, never been greater. This is where smart lighting can make a world of difference, whether installed in a single room or throughout the dwelling. It can meet the practical challenges of a self-build or renovation project, tailoring lighting levels to a wide variety of spaces and providing visually-stunning effects that lift an area above the ordinary.
Given the high level of technology involved, you’d be forgiven for thinking that smart lighting systems are complex and troublesome to install, but actually, the opposite is true. They are simple to set up via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and are controlled and hosted on the cloud, so there’s no hub or wiring to install, and the majority of units are simply installed like a standard light lamp or switch.
Lighting can influence structural choices – for example, different types of lighting are suitable for various ceiling heights – so it is best to plan it at the earliest possible stage of your project. And don’t be afraid to seek advice – a smart lighting specialist will help you harness the latest technology to map out a bespoke solution.
Natural light plays a key role in the overall feel of a space, so your first question should be: ‘how much lighting do I need, and how will I use this area’? Consider where windows and doors are, what time of day you will need the light, and for what purpose before locating fittings. With this crucial task done now, you can really unleash your creativity.
Lighting for work and play
The modern kitchen provides a perfect example of the many diverse options smart lighting offers, with millions of colour options suited to different tasks or uses of space. Commonly considered the heartbeat of the home, the kitchen plays host to a wide range of activities, from preparing food to entertaining guests – often all simultaneously. This calls for directional lighting for areas where you want to chop vegetables or rustle up a cocktail, as well as ambient lighting to set a sociable tone.
Recessed LED downlights can be used to create a backdrop of uniform illumination, with LED strip lighting providing downward or angled light distribution for worktop spaces or inside cabinets – a visually-impressive as well as a practical solution. If you are looking for the wow factor, undercounter lighting completes the transformation from a kitchen to a sophisticated social hub.
Smart lighting is equally effective in more intimate spaces such as bathrooms, where you can select cooler hues for task lighting around mirrors and vanity units or warmer tones for a soak in the bath at the end of a long day.
Controlled lighting for cost efficiency
Wireless technologies have advanced apace in recent years and, as a result, lighting control systems are becoming a more common feature in the home environment. For example, operated via Wi-Fi, our WiZ-connected smart lighting products offer tremendous benefits. Connected products can be programmed to respond to voice or motion and be time-scheduled or operated remotely from any location. You can choose how many lights are on or off at any given time in any space, while you can use accessories, such as motion sensors, for example, to keep light levels low during night-time bathroom visits. §An energy-efficient home is high on most people’s agenda, never more so than at a time of spiralling energy costs. With the Carbon Trust estimating that automatic sensors alone can cut electricity usage by up to 40%, low-energy, smart lighting and controlled systems are well worth considering at the outset of your project if you are looking for long-term savings.
Lighting for wellbeing
Lockdown has made many people realise how important their home is to their mental wellbeing. A vital benefit of a controlled technology system is its ability to employ specific combinations of brightness, intensity and colour settings to help regulate the circadian rhythm. This natural 24-hour body clock allows us to carry out essential functions such as the sleep-wake cycle. If you work from home – whether in a designated office or at the kitchen counter – you should select cooler light hues to help you feel more alert and productive. At the same time, warmer lighting can promote creativity and problem-solving or signal the time for rest as the working day draws to a close.
Lighting for modern living
The possibilities of sophisticated lighting systems are constantly expanding, moving in fun and creative directions to support modern living. With WiZ-connected products, for instance, your lighting can be controlled wirelessly, remotely by an app, or paired with voice control devices including Hey Google, Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri. It can even be integrated with pizza-delivery apps, with lights changing colour automatically when your pizza is ready.
Such is the flexibility of smart lighting that, should you want to host a party, you can cater for the mood of every type of guest. You can programme colourful light changes for those who like to hit the dance floor or create a late-night bar vibe through toned-down, undercounter lighting for those who prefer to be ‘in the kitchen at parties’. Even within open-plan spaces, individual corners can be turned into intimate spaces using dimmers and deeper lighting hues.
However you plan to celebrate the completion of your project, one thing is certain – get the lighting right, and the end result will be not just a home but a haven.