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How to choose the right lights for you

Mar 17 , 2022

How to Choose the Right Lights for you

Lighting plans are one of the cornerstones when building new and renovating old.

 

 

Lighting design is an important step on the way to building or renovating a house and it is good to make plans sooner than later. Not a lot of people succeed in getting perfect lighting for a big project by just walking in a (web)shop and by stacking up the trolley.

In this article we try to shine a light on what to take into consideration when making lighting plans for your home and how can lighting design make things easier for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR_Pa-a0W6k, How to Choose the Right Lights for you, more info of led lighting see here: http://www.sinolumi.com/products/

 

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Vincent used a pendant light, perimeter lighting, and table lamps to create an interplay between light and darkness in a living room in the Bahamas.

 

Mix It Up

Most designers agree that you need more than one source of light in a room. Think layered illumination: Every room should have a mix of lighting, including overhead, accent, and task lights.

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In the living room, for example, you might begin by hanging a decorative ceiling fixture near the center of the room, said Vincent, a lighting designer based in New York City and Southampton. “Then we look toward the outer walls for down lighting that can gently wash the walls, curtains and art with warm, functional brightness,” he said. This can be achieved with soffit or valance lighting, or even plug-in torchier floor lamps that bounce light off the ceiling.

Depending on a room’s layout, he said, accent lights could be used to highlight art, and table lamps could be placed beside seating to add another layer of light. And for extra ambience, he added, “a candle never hurt.”

The goal, he explained, is to create contrast between the light at the center of the room and around the perimeter, and the darker spaces in between: “Without the darker, quieter moments, everything is flat and boring. It’s the subtle interplay between light and dark that creates appeal.”

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The lighting requirements of your home are the starting point of the lighting plans

What does your lighting designer usually want to know before starting:

§  Are you building new or renovating old? With new buildings there are usually a lot fewer restrictions on how the lighting can be done, as when renovating, there might be quite a few things you need to consider.

§  How do you want to use and control your lights? This includes for example dimming, color changing, motion sensor, etc. options. Usually is also good to know if you are planning on using it. DALI, TRIAC, or wireless controls.

§  Requirements for the amount of light needed depending on the spaces and users? For example, if some room might be marked as “storage” on the plans, but will be used as an arts and crafts room, the lighting designer needs to know that. Storage rooms and workspaces are lit very differently. It will also be good to know if some of the residents are hard of seeing or over 45 so that the amount and quality of light can be determined accordingly.

§  How is the budget that is reserved for the lighting? A good rule of thumb is that the lights for the house cost approximately as much as the kitchen does. It can be more and it can be less, depending on the lights you want to use and how much extra you want to put in the plans.

§  How and what do you want to light? Do you want indirect lighting, mood lighting, spotlights, lights that change color from warm to cold etc?There are plenty of options!

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Other things to consider

How we experience light differs from person to person. Some like brighter and some like darker spaces. Age also has its effects on the amount of light we need to see properly. These are just a few factors to take into account when starting to plan to light.

We usually share the need for mood lighting, work lighting and general lighting. Lighting plays a big role on how we feel the spaces and how usable the spaces are, both emotionally and physically. By making smart solutions for different lighting set ups, it is possible to create comfortable and easily adaptable lighting with reasonable budget. All projects are different and have their own requirements, but with those requirements it is easier to plan a good lighting.

 

What background information is needed to create a good lighting plan?

When making the lighting design, it is important that the designer knows the measurements of the spaces, where there are windows and doors as well as how the ceiling is going to be build (angle, recessing possibilities, beams). Most of this can be seen on the basic plans of the house.

To make a successful lighting design, we need at least:

§  Minimalistic led strip lighting on an architectural ceiling. 

§  Floor plans (preferably with measurements)

§  Cutaway drawings

§  Pictures of the facades (all sides)


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Useful extras:

§  Plans for kitchen, utility room and bathroom

§  3D pictures of the house (indoors and outdoors)

§  Layout of the plot

§  If it is a renovation project, pictures from inside are a must!

If possible, we recommend you to get the lighting plan done before you meet your electrician who will make the complete plan. This way you will save their time as well as your own time (and money).

If you are meeting with your designer, you can further discuss about the ceiling and wall structures before starting to plan. If you are building new, this discussion about structure is usually done after the first draft as the ceilings can be modified to suit your needs anyways. With recessed ceilings, the wires are not visible and lights look minimalistic as the are mostly hidden.

General lighting – using one type of light to create a united and minimalistic feel

By choosing similar kinds of lights to most of the spaces, you can create a lighting that looks and feels more united trough out the house. The light levels and lighting style will be more united and the look will be finished and minimalistic. It helps to choose lights that are similar in shape like round or square as well as in colour; white, metallic or black. Also having the same quality of light in all rooms is good (high CRI for example).

Lighting designers at Sinolumi LED Limited can help you to select lights that go well together, give enough light to different kinds of rooms and to figure out what lights to use in more demanding spaces (high ceilings, work spaces etc.).

When renovating spaces it is good to let the designer know of any lights you want to include in the plans as what you would perhaps want to change. Most people have some lights they have grown to like and want to include in their lighting plans in both renovations and when building new.

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Choosing the right lighting for the different rooms in your home can be complicated. There’re bright lights, and dim lights, and hanging lights, and wall lights, and chandelier lights, and LED lights; there are so many lights! And if you’ve been to a store that carries lights, you’ll understand precisely what we mean.

A lot of time and effort go into selecting the perfect lights that are right for you and the space they’re going in. For instance, you need to make sure you’ve chosen lights with an actual functional purpose, with the right amount of illumination shining off them, and with a stylistic element to add to the room’s aesthetic. You can’t put a simple, yet modern ceiling light in a room full of antique furniture, it just won’t match!

That’s what we’re going to help you out with. If you’re looking to learn a little bit more about the lighting options you have, and how to choose the right lighting for every room in your home, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started because there’s a lot to cover!

There are three types of lighting… What are they?

First, let’s start with the different types of lighting you can choose from:

1.    Ambient Lighting

2.    Task Lighting

3.    Accent Lighting

Often, you’ll find that every room has at least two different types of lighting, but there are times when a room will have all three. Check out what each kind of light does below.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is generally the primary source of light found in a room. They can be anything from overhead fixtures to recessed lighting.

Usually, the amount of ambient lighting a room has will be decided by your contractor. He or she will likely measure the lighting in “foot-candles,” or how bright a light is one foot away from its ‘home.’ Typically, kitchens and bathrooms will need brighter lighting or more “foot-candles.”

Task Lighting

Task lighting is used to provide light for certain activities, like reading a book or doing your make up in front of a mirror. These lights are never used to brighten an entire room, just a small area of the room.

Task lights come in all shapes and sizes. They can be mounted on a wall, sit on a desk, or be implanted into a mirror. Some of them even have swivel or rotating capabilities to go wherever you need them to be, and at whatever angle you need them to be.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is the most decorative lighting in a room. These lights typically draw attention to something that you admire in the house, such as a painting, fireplace or bookshelf. In general, these lights make something stand out for all your guests to see.

Accent lights can be simple and elegant, but they can also, but they can also be luxurious and out-there. Chandeliers, sconces, and lamps all act as accent lights.

There are lighting categories, too.

Now that you know the details about what types of lighting you can choose from, next you’ll have to learn of the lighting options you have. Let’s check them out.

Sconces

Sconces are always directly mounted on the wall. They can be hardwired into the wall, or a cord can hang down to be plugged in.

Typically, wall sconces are purchased in pairs, each on either side of a mirror or a fireplace. Swing-arm sconces, on the other hand, are usually mounted by themselves as an accent light, bringing attention to a piece of art or a bookcase.

Flush Mounts & Semi-Flush Mounts

Both mounting lights are typically rooted in the ceiling, where they brighten the room and allow for extra walking space. In other words, they don’t take away from the room; the most they’ll hang away from the ceiling is approximately six to twelve inches.

Pendants

Pendant lights are not like mounting lights, in that they do hang drastically low from the ceiling by a cord, chain, or wire of some sort.

A pendant’s primary function is to act as a task light, hanging above a dining room table or a kitchen island. They do range in size.

Chandeliers

Chandeliers can be referred to as a large lighting system, as it gives off more than one light source at a time. These lights are always suspended from the ceiling, and they can be functional or decorative depending on where you place them in the house.

Lamps

You probably already have a floor lamp or a table lamp in your home, but if you don’t, it’s another option to add to your choices. Lamps don’t brighten an entire room, which makes them a perfect candidate for a task light.

This light category has endless options to choose from. What’s more, is that they’re easy to move around the room and they’re quite inexpensive.

Each room needs a different lighting scheme… what could it be?

Almost every house has an entryway, living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. Let’s see what each room should have for lighting!

Entryway

The entryway is the first place your guests will see in your home, which means you’ll want to make it friendly and inviting. Don’t pick a bunch of task lights and accent lights to shed brightness in certain areas of the room. Instead, try mounting a chandelier in the middle of the ceiling (this works well with tall ceilings).

If you don’t have a tall ceiling, that’s okay. Try to choose a lighting fixture that sends out a warm tone.

Living Room

The living room is made for entertainment or relaxation. With that being said, you’ll want to be able to have access to bright light if needed, but you won’t want to use the bright light all the time. Here, floor lamps, table lamps, and sconces will be your best friends.

Dimmer switches are also great for living rooms; that way, you can put the bright light on and dim it according to the mood of the room.

 

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The living room is the place for hanging out, relaxing, cozying up with a book or watching a movie. Lots of daily activity occurs here. That means you'll need a variety of lighting.

If your living room has areas with no light, or the current light casts shadows, you'll need more ambient and accent lighting. Recessed lighting and flush-mount or semi-flush-mount lights are good options for ambient lighting. Track lighting provides accent lighting, allowing you to direct light toward paintings, glass vases or whatever you’d like to showcase. If you have a focal point in the room, like a mantel, add wall sconces to either side for additional accent lighting.

Other ambient lighting options are ceiling fans, chandeliers, pendant lights with a drum shade and torchiere floor lamps. A torchiere floods the ceiling with light. These lamps work well if you’re not in the market to install permanent lighting or if you need to light a small space like a loft or apartment. Some ceiling fans can also offer perfect LED lights for home spaces like the living room.

Dining Room

The dining room needs a bright enough light for you to converse and eat at the dinner table comfortably; that does not mean you should go out and purchase LED lights!

Instead, try placing a chandelier directly in the middle of the dining room table. If you don’t like the look of a chandelier get a couple of pendant lights and hang them over the dining room table; remember, don’t get extremely low pendant lights, you don’t want to be hitting your head on them consistently.

Besides mealtime, the dining room can be a place for arts and crafts or family game night, and it needs to be lit accordingly. Chandeliers are still a classic option and serve as a good ambient light source. Try placing table lamps on a server or framing the server with wall sconces for extra ambient and accent lighting.

 

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Kitchen

The kitchen can be difficult to light; as different areas of the room require different lighting schemes. For instance, you’ll want to put bright lighting over the kitchen island, but you’ll want to have dimmer lighting in areas of the kitchen that are not used as often.

If you have a wide sink, an open bar, or a beautiful kitchen island, pendant lights will be your best choice, both functionally and stylistically.

A kitchen requires multiple layers of light. Recessed lighting is great ambient lighting for both big and small kitchens. If your kids do their homework at the kitchen island while you chop veggies for dinner, hang an island pendant or individual mini pendants in a row over the island for both task and accent lighting.

Under cabinet lighting provides additional task lighting and takes up little space. It’s also helpful for the holidays when you have lots of chefs in the kitchen. To light a breakfast nook, a pendant or a chandelier works perfectly.

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Bedroom

Bedroom lighting should evoke a feeling of calm, but you still need ambient lighting, such as a ceiling fan or a flush-mount light. Bedside table lamps, or wall sconces mounted above the bedside table, provide task lighting for things like reading in bed. Wall sconces are a great space-saving trick for smaller bedrooms or for a guest room. If you have a sitting area or workspace in your bedroom, table lamps work best.

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Bathroom

A bedroom is a place where light becomes a necessity. Sconces and bright LED lights are recommended above the mirrors in the bathroom, as these areas are key focal points in the bathroom.

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While a vanity light above the bathroom mirror is still a traditional option, many homeowners are installing chandeliers for a more glamorous, spa-like feel. A bathroom fan with light provides ventilation and overhead light. 

Wall sconces or pendant lights on either side of the bathroom mirror paired with a vanity light above create the perfect ambient and task light combo. The sconces provide cross-illumination, making activities like applying makeup, shaving or flossing easier. Recessed lighting works well to light a shower or water closet.

 

 

Lighting design according to colours, materials and furniture

High-quality lights guarantee that the colours of your interior look as they should and the lighting is safe and comfortable. It is good to plan the lighting of the spaces according to the use as well as furnishing. It always helps with the lighting design if you can determine the places of big furniture pieces like wardrobes and build-in shelving. You wouldn’t want for example spots to be more off to one side of the room after the permanent wardrobes are installed, so it is better to have them already on the layout.

The right lighting can make or break a room. But when it comes to home lighting design, a lot of us look at light fixtures as finishing touches, rather than essential features within a space.

Lighting doesn’t need to be the very first thing on your design to-do list, but it shouldn’t be an afterthought either. From statement chandeliers to the most unassuming of accent lights, the choices that you make play both a functional role and contribute to a room’s ambience. To get it right, you want to make sure to put plenty of research into your home lighting design decisions—and to know exactly what you’re trying to achieve with each fixture and bulb that you pick out.

To help take the guesswork out of the process, we’ve gathered seven of our very best home lighting tips all in one place. Read on and discover all of the basics that you need to know in order to choose lighting that complements your space and offers you the ultimately in functionality and utility.

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7 must-know home lighting design tips

Whether you’re building a new home or making upgrades to a current one, lighting is one of those design features that you definitely can’t ignore. Done well, your home’s lighting can add a lot of overall value to your property, and it can also serve as one of the primary distinguishing factors in creating a room that really wows.

Lighting isn’t cheap, so it’s important to get it right. Follow these tips to guide your decision making process and make smart, attractive, and impactful home lighting design choices.

1.   Understand the different types of lighting

There are various types of lighting, and each serves its own unique purpose.

·         Ambient (or general) lighting – This is the most basic type of lighting that you’ll have in a room, and is intended to illuminate the space so that you can see what you’re doing and move around safely. Examples of ambient lighting include recessed can lights, flush mount fixtures, and track lighting.

·         Task lighting – Task lighting is what you’ll use when you want to light up a specific part of a room for a specific purpose. For example, under-cabinet lighting that provides increased visibility on your kitchen counter tops, or even just a standing lamp next to a desk or reading chair.

·         Accent lighting – Accent lighting serves a similar purpose to task lighting, but instead of providing targeted light to an area that you want to utilize it serves a more decorative—but equally specific—purpose, such as to offer mood lighting or to highlight a piece of artwork. Dimmers are a good example of accent lighting, since they can have a big effect on both the look and feel of a space.

Generally you will want to include each type in every room, with strategic placement depending on where you spend the most time and what features of the space you want to highlight.

2.   Start with a focal point

The key to how to light a room is to give the eye something to focus on, with the rest of the fixtures working more subtly in the background. More than one statement piece will overwhelm your space, and it will also take away from the impact that you’re trying to make.Examples of lighting focal points could be something extra dramatic such as a crystal chandelier, but it could also be something more understated, such as pendant lighting above a kitchen island or a mid-century modern or contemporary fixture over a dining table.

Your focal point lighting may serve an ambient purpose, or it may provide more of an accent. In the latter case, keep the rest of your home lighting design choices more simple so that you don’t over-shadow your statement piece and give the eyes too much to try and focus on.

    3.   Go room by room

You can certainly shop for general lighting fixtures you love and then find a place to put them, but an easier way to light a home is usually to go room by room, since different types of rooms have different lighting needs.Here’s a quick look at various types of rooms in your home and where you’ll want to start with your lighting picks:

·      Entryway – Because this tends to be a small space, your focal point lighting should be enough. You can go for a dramatic overhead option, or something more subtle such as decorative sconces.

·         Kitchen – If you have an island, use pendants above to center off the space. From there, recessed lighting and under-cabinet lighting (if it’s in the budget) should be more than sufficient.

·         Bedrooms – Bedroom lighting is all about comfort. In addition to ambient lighting, bedrooms are a great place for dimmers as well as other accent fixtures. You may also want to consider a ceiling fan, which can offer a lot of additional comfort on warm evenings.

·         Bathrooms – Most bathrooms include a mixture of ambient and task lighting. If you do want an accent piece, consider the size to ensure proper balance.

·         Dining room – The dining room is an excellent place to display a large and bold fixture. This should suffice, but use accent lighting as needed if you require a bit of additional light.

4.   Balance outsize and scale

As with any design decisions that you make, size and scale are just as crucial to keep in mind as aesthetics. A too-large overhead fixture or lamp, or simply overloading the space with too many fixtures, will take away from the space instead of adding to it. A good rule to follow is to start with the diameter of the room and then work out the size of your fixtures from there. You want your fixtures to be no larger in inches than the size of your room in feet—so if your room is 8 feet by 12 feet, add 8 plus 12 to get 20 and then keep your main lighting fixture to a diameter of 20 inches or fewer.

5.   Layer your lights

Lighting is a fantastic way to play around with dimension in your space. Instead of just sticking to one type of lighting per area of a room, creatively layer your light by putting in various accent touches and mixing and matching different shapes, styles, and even bulb wattages. Figure that you’ll likely need at least three various layers of light in most rooms, with smaller rooms requiring smaller fixtures.

6.   Don’t forget about natural light

Natural light plays an important part too in optimizing the lighting in your home. During the day, you can maximize the amount of natural light that your space gets by using well-placed mirrors to reflect windows into other parts of the room. (As a bonus, mirrors will also reflect any non-natural light fixtures in the evening hours.)While it might be tempting to make heavy use of window treatments for privacy purposes, look for ways to bring more natural light in instead of keeping it out. That may mean opting for more transparent treatments that still allow light to flow through, or even skipping blinds, shades, or curtains entirely in areas where doing so won’t leave you uncomfortably exposed to the outside.

7.   Prioritize energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is crucial in lighting design—and in your home in general—and fortunately, it’s easy to adapt to pretty much any fixture. Stick to LEDs whenever possible, which offer a much longer lifespan than other types of bulbs. Even better, look for bulbs that are certified by Energy Star, since in addition to saving you the most money on your lighting bills, they also use 75% less energy and produce 75% less heat than non-Energy Star bulbs. What you spend up front on more energy-efficient lighting you’ll gain back later in savings, so consider investing a bit more at the outset for bulbs that last longer and cost less money to run.

Lighting a home isn’t hard, but it may take time to get it right. If you’re concerned about budget, use lighting placeholders that you can then upgrade as your finances allow. You can also start simple and then add on as you discover where lighting is missing in your home and where it would make the biggest impact.

And of course, don’t neglect outdoor lighting either. Floodlights, pathway lights, and other types of outdoor lighting are great for curb appeal and ambience, and also make your home more safe and secure.

 

How does the interior colour affect the lighting?

If you are planning on having large, dark feature walls in your house, it is good to take into consideration when determining the lighting levels. Big, white glossy surfaces reflect light a lot, when dark, matte surfaces tend to make things dark. And there is also choosing of the colour temperature of the actual light. Unless of course you are going for CCT lights, where you can change the light freely between cool and warm white. We mainly recommend you to choose warm tones (3000K) for beige and brown interiors and neutral tones (4000K) with cooler tones like blues and monochrome interiors.

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When is it time to select the colour temperature?

Mostly the light colour selection is done last (unless CCT), when you are almost finished the renovation or building and are entering the installation phase. We can include the recommended colours on the lighting design or the offer, if you wish. If you have the possibility to visit our shop, we highly recommend you do so, especially if you have selected wallpaper, colourful tiles etc. This way you can actually compare the difference that the change in light colour temperature makes in them. For example, some greens look more olive on warm lighting and more bluish in neutral lighting. We are also happy to lend our customers some lights with different colour temperatures to take to the site to compare.

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The lighting of the details

Spotlighting is an easy way to accentuate some features of your interior. Sinolumi LED Limited has different solutions on highlighting architectural features, functions and accent walls.

Led strips can be used to highlight longer straight lines, recessed ceilings and staircases in a subtle way quite easily. Paintings, accent walls and special wall structures are more often lit with spot lights.  To light pictures and sculptures, we recommend you to use our ZOOM spot, that has an adjustable light beam (in size).

When using spots on some areas, it is good to make sure that also other areas of the space are well lit and the lighting is balanced. Our lighting design will make sure of that.

Lighting design for different rooms of the house

Different rooms need different amount of light. Planning lighting according to the use of the rooms guarantees that you’ll have perfect lighting for every function. That is why you’ll want to use the lighting designer.

Well lit workspaces are a must

Workspaces like kitchens, utility rooms, hobby rooms and home offices should be well lit and with minimum glare. This way you can easily see what you are doing without having to squint. Working is so much nicer when there is enough light and your eyes won’t have to work hard to see.

Perfect colours

People who cook a lot as well as people doing arts and crafts or photography know that the quality of the led chip really matters. If you are working with colours, or with food, you want the colours to look perfect and the colour that you intended them to be. Especially with photography, look for lights with the minimum CRI of 95. Also if you can, ask for the graphs that tell you the value of all the different colours measured, so you can see if some of the colours are missing. Most of our lights have the test reports as pdf-files included on the web site. CRI is a mean value of the 15 colours measured. High quality light is also good for spaces where you do your makeup and choose your clothing, like walk-in closets.

Work spaces are recommended to be in between 500-800 lux in power. For private housing, the calculations are done by estimate as most spaces also have dimming. With dimming, it is better to have a bit more light than actually needed, so there is something to dim from. So on those darkest days of the year, you can have enough light to feel good.

Minimising glare

For general lighting for work spaces we mostly would recommend panel lighting as the light is very even with virtually no glare. Panels usually are also bright, but the brightness is divided on a much larger surface than in a spot light. Led strips are used to provide lighting for kitchen countertops as they can be installed in a continuous line. When selecting a strip for kitchen, we recommend strips with 120 leds/m minimum if you use a very slim profile. This way the leds will not show as dots, but as a continuous line of light. You might not see the actual strip while standing next to your countertop, but in most kitchens, you will see the reflection of the strip on the countertop.

Let us know about your specific lighting requirements, so we can include some good solutions for you in your lighting design.

Where to use dimmers?

Dimming gives an extra comfort to living. We recommend to used dimmers on the rooms that you spend most time or in the spaces you want to be bright during the day and dim during the night. Most of our lights are dimmable and dimmers can also be added later. Wireless dimmers can be used in spaces like bedrooms, where you want to be able to adjust the lights remotely, from your bed. Wireless dimmers are useful on renovation projects where installing a basic dimmer is not possible. Wireless dimmers can also be added to old existing lamps.  Do not hesitate to ask us for help when in doubt!

Livingroom

§  is the space that dimmers are mostly used at as you spend most of your time there. During the day, it is nice to have bright lighting but during the evenings it’s good to be able to enjoy the cozy, dimmer lighting.

Bedrooms

§  can also profit from dimmers. In early mornings and late nights the lighting can be set to low and when cleaning or putting away laundry, set to bright. Also, wireless dimmers are handy, as you can control your lights without getting out of bed.

Children's rooms

§  are also good places to use dimmers as you can differentiate the active and peaceful times by adjusting the lighting. Note that you can also do this by having a bright general lighting and cozier lighting (created by table or floor lamps).

Spa style washrooms

§  gain a bit of extra luxury by dimmable lighting. Mostly this is created by brighter (maybe nondimmable) general lighting combined with led strips that create indirect soft light. In these cases, the led strip is most commonly connected to a dimmer. Having the lights on a different switch allows you to also control the scenes easier.

Lighting design at sinolumi led light – we know our products

Modern led lighting might be hard to handle by yourself, so do not hesitate to ask us for help. We will find you the right solution for your spaces and needs. There are plenty of dimming options and combinations to use to achieve a perfect lighting for you. Our collection has high CRI lights, dimmable lights, water resistant lights, CCT adjustable lights, RGB lights and more. So let us know your hopes, needs and requirements for the lighting and we’ll help you to select the right lights for your project!

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