Smart lighting for self-build and renovation projects

Lighting can make or break the ambience of a home.

Get it right and the mood and usability of your living space can be enhanced beyond measure; cramped spaces or corners become open and functional, while large airy rooms offer surprisingly cosy spots to relax. Get it wrong and even the costliest interior design can lose its sheen.

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, as well as providing visually stunning effects that lift a space above the ordinary.

Given the high level of technology involved, you’d be forgiven for thinking that smart lighting systems are difficult 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 normal light lamp or switch.

 

Getting started

Lighting can affect structural choices – for example, different types of lighting are suitable for different 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 your creativity can really be unleashed.

 

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 at the same time. 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 such as the Prism Pro range 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 practical solution. If you are looking for the wow factor, under-counter lighting completes the transformation from ‘kitchen’ to 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 controlled systems are now becoming a more common feature in the home environment.

Operated via wi-fi, smart connected lighting solutions such as OCTO WiZ Connected offer huge benefits. Connected products can be programmed to respond to voice or motion, and can 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 accessories such as motion sensors can be used, 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 key 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 – the natural 24-hour body clock that helps us carry out basic functions such as the sleep-wake cycle.

If you work from home – whether in a designated office or at the kitchen counter - cooler light hues can be selected to help you feel more alert and productive, while warmer lighting can promote creativity and problem solving, or to signal the time for rest and relaxation 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 innovative directions to support modern living.

With OCTO 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 – programming colourful light changes for those who like to hit the dance floor, or creating a late-night bar vibe through toned down under-counter 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.

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