In the words of J. K. Rowling, “Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light”. That’s the power of light, and a lighting designer knows the many different ways of using it to achieve various moods and effects. He has the knowledge, expertise and innovativeness to plan, design and execute aesthetic and functional lighting designs for homes, commercial complexes, restaurants, hotels, party halls, shopping malls, airports, railway stations, historical buildings, theatres, sports grounds and much more. Here is a look at what he can all do for you.
The many services offered by a lighting designer comprises of concept lighting design, detailed lighting design, product design or customization, lighting specification, documentation, coordination and consulting, installations, lighting assessments and presentations. The designer can work with myriad types of lights to achieve the purpose or ambiance you require, such as lamps, chandeliers, ceiling lights, solar lights, hanging lights, wall lights, decorative lights, led lights or led ceiling lights, spot lights and garden lights etc. A professional always keeps himself updated about the latest technologies and products so that he can offer modern and futuristic solutions to the client, be it powerful lighting, dim lighting or layered lighting. Light designs can have varied effects on people and they have the power to soothe, excite, inspire or depress the state of mind. Designers realize this and can hence come up with distinct light intensity or patterns for employees in offices, readers in a library, patients in hospitals, customers in spas etc. At home, they can create unique lightings for bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens and so on. A lighting designer understands that lighting techniques are intricately linked with architecture of any building or space. And he has the experience and talent of setting lighting dynamics, which improve visibility or compliment certain forms and colours. In order to achieve results that are sustainable, reliable and creative, lighting designers utilize their knowledge of physics or optics, electricity, ergonomics, business codes or standards, environment, energy saving techniques, construction and a holistic vision. The flexibility of a designer lies in the fact that he can work equally diligently whether it’s a large scale project or a small one. For instance, he can take care of the entire home lighting design or just focus on the interior lighting design, bedroom lighting design and so on. Last but definitely not the least, a lighting designer knows exactly how to keep costs under control and accomplish what you desire within a set budget. He sources cost effective equipment or fixtures and streamlines operation expenditure but never compromises on the quality or objectives in the process. If relatively expensive lights or related items are needed for a specialty project, he can clearly explain the reasons and benefits behind using them.
You can look for professional lighting designers online, especially on listing websites like Homify. You can also go through yellow pages or ask your friends, colleagues or family members who have availed such services recently. Find out what kind of project it was and how satisfactory was the work of the designer. If you know a local lighting designer, then ask around about his credentials and reliability before hiring him.
An efficient lighting designer can highlight the best features of a room or space using clever techniques and creative ideas. But if you end up with a shoddy designer, then wrong or unflattering lighting can mar the entire ambiance and make the room an eyesore. So here are the questions you can ask a professional or a company before hiring.
Ask him about the years of experience he has and the type of lighting design projects he has been involved in. Enquire if he has any qualifications, certifications or is a member of some reputed professional society.
Ask for the images or descriptions of past projects and reviews or testimonials from clients. Don’t shy away from making a few calls to former customers to find out about the reliability and quality of the designer’s work.
Discuss your ideas and objectives with the lighting designer and note if he is respectful of your wishes, has a practical approach and has the ability to create a clear plan of action. He should also be able to suggest improvement or alternatives to any of your idea which is difficult to implement.
The designer should provide you with a cost estimate and timeline before you hire him. It should include the prices of lights, fixtures or other equipment necessary for the project. Check the fairness of the quote by comparing it with estimates from 2 or 3 other designers and then take a call.
To understand if the lighting designer has an eye for details, here are the questions to ask.
Will the lights go well with your lifestyle?
Before the designer starts planning, explain to him how you plan to use the space in question. If you love spending a lot of time in the kitchen cooking or baking big meals, then your work space should receive adequate light. It is quite often natural to use the living room for watching movies, reading, playing games with children or just chatting cozily with your partner. So probably, different kinds of lights will be desirable for different moods. If you are in the habit of taking long baths in the tub or want a spa like experience, then bathroom lights which shine directly on your eyes are a complete no.
Will the lights enhance the colour scheme of your space?
Lights come with varying colour temperatures which add certain levels of warmth or coolness to rooms. Depending on the temperature, a light source can be friendly, intimate, welcoming, clean, efficient, bright, alert and so on. The lighting designer can be considered knowledgeable if he is aware that warm colour temperatures go well with reds, pinks and yellows and cool colour temperatures complement whites, blues and greens.
Is the designer suggesting layering of lights?
Well then he is correct. Just having lights on or near the ceiling is passé. Any professional lighting designer will go for layering to create visually attractive areas and reduce shadows. He may introduce ambient lighting (track lighting on the kitchen ceiling), task lighting (table or reading lights) and accent lighting (lights for paintings or artworks).
Will the light design have a focal point?
An experienced lighting designer will know that lights should be placed in a way so as to guide the observer’s vision to the most charming corner of a room, such as a an architectural element, furniture or wall décor. Accent lights can attain such effects easily.
Ask the designer about the cost of lights
It will be wise to take both the initial and recurring costs into consideration while picking lights. They should not just be affordable in the beginning, but also consume less energy and require minimal maintenance in the years to come. LED, xenon and fluorescent lights have a higher longevity than incandescent ones.
Is the designer suggesting modern fixtures?
Then he is up to date about the changing styles in the lighting industry. For example, ceiling fans with lights are no longer in. Crystal chandeliers and wall sconces are trending instead.
The price a lighting designer quotes will primarily depend on factors like, the type, size and complexity of the project, type of lights and fixtures being used, experience and repute of the designer and the time required for successful completion of the work. We suggest that you ask him for a strict cost estimate before the commencement of the project, so that random extra charges can be avoided in the future. You can also decide to opt for materials which are less expensive but high grade to keep your costs down.
As you now know, a lighting designer can lend a complete and appealing makeover to any room or space with lights which do more than help you see things. But along with him, you may need to avail the services of some other professionals, too. Homify acts as a smart and convenient virtual platform for you to get in touch with them.
Electricians – It is not necessary to stress that there can be no lights without electricity, unless you plan to go with a bonfire! So hire proficient electricians to install, maintain and solve issues related to electrical wiring systems or replace old systems. Besides lights, they can take care of various electrical appliances or equipments inside and outside a building, too. You can also ask your lighting designer if he can arrange for such a professional when required.
Interior Designers and Decorators – These professionals can plan, design and adorn any interior space in a manner which is tasteful and utilitarian at the same time. Interior designers and decorators can also work in collusion with lighting designers to ensure a seamless look for any room, where all elements complement each other nicely.
Home Media Design and Installation – Life without technological entertainment is unimaginable today. So you may need to avail these services when you want to set up home theaters, multi room audio systems, media rooms, lighting controls, structured wirings, and computer networks.