How to Plan the Lighting and Electrical Points for your Home
One of the many things you have to plan for when it comes to your home renovation is where to locate your lighting and electrical points. It’s not easy right off the bat, but we’ll guide you along and present some questions for you to think about as you do up your lighting and electrical plan along with your interior designer or contractor.
Plan waaay in advance
Plan early. It doesn’t have to be set in stone from the start, but you do want a proper idea of where the power points and switches go. A good interior designer or a contractor will do this with you in the early stages of your renovation.
Having a plan early will give allowances for switches and other power points when planning for built-ins. Knowing where everything goes allows the professionals to do the necessary carpentry work for any concealment if necessary. Get started on the lighting and electrical points once your interior design is more or less finalised and preferably before any work commences.
Design: Rezt n Relax Interior
For homeowners considering a smart home system, make sure you accommodate for that early on. If you are going for the basics e.g. smart light bulbs, you may not need to plan for that at this stage. However, if you are going for the full kit (video doorbell, digital lock, motion sensors, light switches, etc.), you will need to do some wiring work, which is better done at the renovation stage than after.
Do several walkthroughs
When planning the lighting and electrical points for your home, you will want to do several walkthroughs in your new place. If you can, get everyone in the household involved because each one of us has different needs.
Go room by room and think about how you’ll spend time in each space. Think about the positioning of your furniture and built-ins and have an idea of where they should go. Think about where the electronics and appliances will be located.
Once you have a rough gauge, mark them out on your floor plan. In the subsequent walkthrough with your interior designer or electrician, pay heed to their professional opinions, in the aspects of safety, practicality and outlook and then adjust accordingly.
Example of an electrical plan.
Image source: The Reiki Sanctuary
Understand the three types of lighting (ambient, task, accent) for each space
Consider a layered lighting approach when planning out the lighting points. Not every space will need all three types of lighting, but it’s good to have a variation as it adds to the depth and function of the space.
Example of a layered lighting plan.
Image source: Eat and Travel Later With Us
Ambient lights refer to a general type of lighting that will be able to light up the entire area evenly. Task lights are more focused and are targeted at areas where you need to handle tasks. Accent lights are for ambience, to uplift the mood, highlight certain features or boost the aesthetics of a room.
Design: Charlotte’s Carpentry
Here’s an example of how you can do up your lighting plan for the different areas of the home:
Kitchen / Dining
Ambient: Recessed lighting or flush mount lighting
Task: Concealed LED strip lights under cabinets (to light the prep counters and cooking zone), lights inside drawers and cabinets, pendant lights over the island and dining table
Accent: Toe-kick lights, wall sconces
Pro tip: When planning where your recessed lights should go, make sure the light source isn’t blocked when you open up a top cabinet door.
Ambient: Recessed lights, flush mount or a large pendant light if you have enough height
Task: Adjustable floor lights or swinging wall lights for reading
Accent: Spotlights casting light at pictures, table lamps or track lights to highlight certain features
Design: UNO Interior
Ambient: Flush mount or pendant lighting near the centre of the room, track lights for the closet area
Task: Table lamps or wall-mounted lights by the bed, LED strips lights inside the wardrobe, vanity mirror with built-in lights
Accent: Concealed lighting under the base of your closet, table lamps with dimmer function
Design: Fifth Avenue Interior
Ambient: Recessed lights
Task: Wall sconces or pendants by the side of the mirror to prevent casting shadows over your face
Accent: LED strips along the mirror or under the vanity cabinet
Design: Azrul Yusoff Interior Studio
Ambient: Flush mount ceiling lights and take into account natural lighting!
Task: Desk lamps that are adjustable or floor lamps
Accent: Monopoint lights for highlighting certain parts of the room
How many power outlets and switches and where to locate them?
The number of outlets you need in each room will depend on the number of electronics and appliances you have and how many are used at a time. Also consider any plugged-in lighting you may have and make sure you account for the existing outlets you are planning to keep.
You don’t need one outlet for every single electronic or appliance, only for those that are permanently plugged in. For everything else, think about the frequency of use and the number of electronics or appliances you are using at any one time.
How do you usually spend time in each room? Take into consideration your lifestyle habits before allocating the positioning of switches and outlets. And if they tend to stick out against your sleek interiors, you will also want to think about how to conceal them.
Here are some tips when planning out switches and electrical outlets:
Kitchen / Dining
Design: Starry Homestead
- Appliances that are usually fixed in place: Hob, hood, ovens, refrigerator.
- Countertop appliances: How many will be left out on the counters—those will require fixed outlets. These appliances are commonly left on counters: Kettle, steamer, air fryer, blender, rice cooker, toaster, coffee machine, pressure cooker, etc.
- For appliances don’t have a permanent place on the counter, where are they usually used? You’ll want to locate a couple of outlets there to make sure cords aren’t running across the stove or across the floor.
- Do you have a baking station? Include outlets for appliances like your stand mixer.
- Most portable appliances don’t have very long cords, so you’ll want to make sure the outlets for them aren’t located too high.
- Will you be using any appliances/electronics at the dining area e.g. hot pot, fan, etc? If so, you’ll want to include an outlet near the dining table.
- Will you be working at your dining table? If so, include extra outlets for charging laptops and phones.
- Group several outlets together to minimise visual clutter.
- Where to hide outlets? Underneath top cabinets, within cabinets, the side of counters and cabinets, recessed outlets and blending in with the walls or backsplash.
Design: Next Door ID
Design: Arche Interior
- Electronics that will likely need a fixed outlet: TV, sound bar, fans, speakers, air purifier, dehumidifier, table and floor lamps, vacuum cleaners.
- For those with large open spaces, think about going with a two-way switch so you can control the lights from more than a single location. This is useful to minimise foot traffic.
- Do you need an outlet for charging devices by the sofa?
- If your TV’s wall-mounted, consider an outlet that is located near to the middle of the wall. If your TV’s positioned atop a console stand, an outlet nearer to the floor will make more sense.
- A built-in console is a great spot for hiding outlets for media units. Make sure you let your designer know in advance so that he or she can accommodate room for them.
- Where will you be placing your floor or table lamps? This should be planned out early if you don’t want to see too many cords running across the room. Outlets for floor lamps should be located closer to the floor, while outlets for table lamps should be around side table height.
- Will the switches of your wall lights be located in the same area as your other light switches? If not, consider how to place your wall light switches at a more discreet location.
Design: Key Concept
Bedroom / Bathroom
Design: Earth Interior Design
- Electronics that will need outlets: Phone charger, TV, bedside lamps, hair dryer, curling iron, straightener, electronic shaver, electronic toothbrush, fan, air purifier, dehumidifier, garment steamer, etc.
- Go with a bedside switch that can control the main lights of your bedroom, so you won’t need to get up from the bed to turn off the lights.
- Plan for enough outlets by the bed for charging your devices. Bonus: include a USB outlet for charging phones.
- Make sure you know the dimensions of your bed and bedside table when locating your outlets. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where you’ll have to shift your nightstand just to charge your phone.
- If you have a dressing table in the bedroom, have outlets for plugging in appliances that you are likely to use there like your hairdryer, straightener, etc.
- Consider a dimmer switch for the bedroom so you can adjust the lighting in this space. Warm lights are great for unwinding but if you want to read before bed, a cooler light will be more suitable.
- Will there be a TV in the bedroom? If so, make sure you account for that.
Design: Rezt n Relax Interior
- Electronics you will need outlets for: Desktop, fan, laptop, phone charger, adjustable desk, desk lamp, printer.
How many desktops and laptops will be used in the same space?
- Think about the length of your cords.
- Outlets on the wall are useful if your desks are against the wall, but not so if you plan to position your desk in the middle of the room. Consider floor outlets or outlets built into your study table.
Image courtesy of Line8
Design: Ace Interior Design
- Appliances and electronics that need an outlet: Washer, dryer, vacuum cleaners, iron, automated laundry rack.
- Will you be using this space to iron your clothes?
What else have we missed in our lighting and electrical point guide? Let us know in the comments!
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