New Build – Part 2 (Bedrooms and Bathrooms)

The modern bedroom is more than just a place to sleep, and finding the right balance between form and function can be surprisingly difficult. There is no more personal space inside any home than the bedrooms. While other rooms are designed to be communal, our bedroom is the sanctuary we retreat to at the end of the day to rest and relax.

However, the 21st century bedroom is much more than that. It has evolved into a multi-purpose space used not only for sleeping, but often for watching TV and working on the computer too, which makes choosing the right bedroom lighting more difficult than it might first seem.

As we continue our series of features on lighting a 2-bedroom new build home, we look at the key issues facing builders, architects, electricians or new home-owners in deciding on the ideal bedroom and bathroom lighting, plus we look at some great suggestions from the Lyco range.

Bedroom lighting: What to consider

A bedroom is a bedroom, right? Not even close. In most family homes the largest bedroom will typically be for mum and dad, with the children taking the smaller rooms. This lends itself to the lighting in the master bedroom being more upmarket and stylish, while the emphasis in the other bedrooms is more on practicality and function.

Regardless of the room size, however, it’s important that your choice of lighting provides adequate light without overpowering the room, both in a physical sense and in terms of the amount of light produced.

An ornate chandelier-style pendant might be a touch of elegance in the master bedroom, but will look ridiculous in a small bedroom. And if you are thinking of installing a hanging fixture, bear in mind that the lower it hangs, the less effective it’s going to be at illuminating the entire room.

At its most basic, lighting is about providing illumination, whether it’s to set the mood for a romantic evening or provide enough light for the kids to play or do their homework. Fitting a dimmer switch gives you the flexibility to cater for every need, and can be particularly useful for parents with children who are afraid of the dark.

Master bedroom lighting

The bedroom is a place to relax and a luxurious feel can be key to achieving this. Good decorative lighting that offers both style and substance can certainly put a smile on your face and leave you suitably laid-back.

Recommended: Phantom 7 Light Pendant

The Phantom 7 Light Pendant certainly offers a great deal, especially if your master bedroom is on the larger side. A mixture of polished chrome and white fabric this adjustable pendant offers clean lighting and great illumination. It also has matching wall lights if you’re looking for a co-ordinated theme.

Winding down

Taking it a step further, if you’re the type who likes to sit in bed reading, having a bright hanging pendant shining in your eyes is less than ideal. A dimmer switch can help reduce the problem, but a better option is to invest in a dedicated reading light that can be controlled from the bedside rather than the main switch at the door.

Recommended: Junius Reading Light, satin chrome

The simple elegance of the Junius range makes it ideal for a modern bedroom, and the dedicated wall lamp is just the thing for some bedtime reading. The satin chrome finish is well complemented by the cream shade, and the wall lamp with adjustable arm is matched by floor light and table light alternatives.

Second bedroom lighting

The second bedroom is the smaller of the two, and so favours a functional rather than decorative approach to lighting so as to avoid overpowering the room visually. If its a children’s bedroom, from a safety point of view, we’d recommend sticking with wall- or ceiling-mounted lights that are out of the reach of younger children.

Recommended: Tuscan 3-light fitting pendant, Taupe

For a bright and powerful pendant that won’t overpower even small bedrooms, look no further than the Tuscan 3-light pendant. The attractive Taupe finish has a soft visual appeal, and the extensive range also includes floor, wall and table lamps should you wish to co-ordinate.

If you want to see more please take a look at our full range of bedroom lighting.

Bathroom lighting

For the purposes of safety, the bathroom is divided into three zones based on likely exposure to moisture, and bathroom lighting needs to have an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of anything from IP44 up to a maximum of IP68 (total immersion), depending on which bathroom zone you’re talking about. If you’re unsure about IP ratings or how these zones are measured, we’d strongly advise speaking to a member of Lyco’s knowledgeable team before making any buying decisions. However, many of our bathroom lighting products are suitable for use in all three zones, and either way the IP rating is clearly marked so you’re not left in any doubt.

Recommended: EON Directional Downlight, 230V, white

As the only directional IP-rated downlight on the market, this new addition to our bathroom lighting range is easy to recommend. The IP65 rating makes it suitable for use in Zone 1, plus it also comes with 90 minutes fire resistance certification. A choice of three colour options – white, polished chrome and satin chrome – available in both low-voltage 12V and conventional 230V variants makes it the perfect bathroom downlight.

Take a longer look at our bathroom lighting range.

In Part 1 we looked at Living Room and Hallway lighting.

For more advice, inspirations and news take a look at our Lighting Advice section.

High Frequency Lighting – what is it?

Think of fluorescent lighting, especially in an office, and your first thought will probably be of harsh strip lighting, flickering slightly, and with a faint buzz that’s almost outside the range of hearing, but not far enough so that it doesn’t irritate. While that fluorescent buzz and flicker is great if you’re Michael Mann, and are looking for atmospheric urban effects for your latest film, they’re not so good if you have to live with them every day while you work.

Flicker no more!

You don’t need to put up with that flicker and buzz any more, as high frequency lighting produces strong, steady light that doesn’t visibly flicker, and eliminates hum and buzz completely within the human aural range.

High achievers

High frequency lighting achieves these results by doing exactly what it says on the box – increasing the frequency of the electric charge to the tube. Standard fluorescent lighting operates at a frequency of around 50-60Hz, while high frequency lighting boosts that to 30 KHz. As well as reducing flicker and hum, this also increases light output, and that’s not all. They also start up much more quickly, offering full light output within one second – no more hanging about waiting for the light to get bright enough to be able to do anything.

No added expense

You might think that all these benefits come at a much increased energy cost, but you’d be wrong. High frequency lighting actually improves energy efficiency by about 10%. They also maintain peak light output for longer than a standard fluorescent tube, and have a longer life-expectancy, so they more than cover the initial outlay involved in fitting them.

Less symptoms

There are potential benefits for the many people who find that they suffer from headaches and eyestrain if they spend a great deal of time under fluorescent lighting at work or school, particularly migraine sufferers. Published studies have shown that under high frequency lighting reported symptoms of headaches and eyestrain were more than halved, and that people were more likely to use the lighting when conditions required it. As well as making users happy, switching to high frequency lighting could also improve efficiency and reduce sick days.

Options

Since the introduction of LED, problem with flickering have become less and less common. When replacing standard switch-start fluorescent lighting, we would recommend strip lights and recessed light fittings in offices and corridors . Stylish external lighting can also be fitted thanks to  brick lights, which look absolutely stunning alongside a swimming pool, garden path or in a car port, among many other uses.

There are a number of options if you want to fit lighting that won’t annoy users with noise and flicker, and will also save you money if continuous use is required. These include emergency recessed fittings, golf bulkhead fittings and low energy bulkhead fittings, which are ideal for stairwells and walkways.

Take a look at our collection of High Frequency Lighting.

Looking for more news, information or inspiration? Try our Lighting Advice section.

Bathroom lighting – professional choices

Bathroom lighting, how important can it be? The busy lives most of us live nowadays mean that the percentage of each day that we actually spend in our bathrooms is quite small. Despite that, the bathroom in modern times has become one of the main focal points in our homes, pretty close behind the kitchen in fact.

Regardless of the amount of time we spend in our bathroom we always want it to be pleasant and relaxing. That’s why we spend so much on luxury fixtures and fittings, baths, showers taps and so on. The right lighting forms a major aspect of the ambience we strive for. Short though the average time we spend in the bathroom is, it is getting longer as we learn to pamper ourselves more.

Brush up on your knowledge first

Before we go any further, don’t forget that IP Ratings and Bathroom Zones play a huge part when it comes to the suitability of bathroom lighting. So if you aren’t familiar with either of them please take a look at our IP Ratings Guide and Lighting up your bathroom features. If on the other hand you are already IP Rating and Bathroom Zone savvy then please feel free to read on…

Five main areas

Bathroom lighting falls roughly into five main categories, Ceiling lights (the most traditional), wall lights of various kinds, mirror lights, shaver lights (for electric razors) and perhaps the most decadent of all… shower lights.

Let’s take a look at each of these categories or areas in turn and consider some products from the Lyco Direct range in each of them. Where better to start than with the bathroom lighting familiar to most householders, ceiling lights.

Ceiling lights

The Carina Flush Ceiling Fitting is a contemporary design which looks like the kind of light that has always looked right in any bathroom. Fitting flush to the ceiling it is out of the way, sealed against the ingress of moisture and is rated IP44.

The extremely durable and robust Massa Flush Ceiling Light is designed to be vandal proof and pretty well indestructible for public and commercial buildings. It is however also perfect for the gentler environment of the domestic bathroom. It is IP rated 66 which means it is watertight even against heavy seas so bathrooms will present no problems.

Of these ceiling lamps, while both are excellent products for bathroom lighting and both take advantage of low energy bulbs, the Massa light is the best new ceiling light on the market for a bathroom. Its robust construction combined with simple, elegant style and high levels of IP protection make it the classic bathroom light in this category.

Mirror lights

Mirror lights are a brilliant idea whether you are shaving, eyebrow plucking, or doing anything that calls for good light and a mirror. They are also an elegant way of lighting a bathroom especially when used as an additional light source with background lighting.

Lyco offer a range of mirror lights with or without shaver sockets built in. The Zodiac mirror light is an excellent example, using LED lighting for lighting power and economy. The LEDs have a life of up to 55000 hours. The light output is super bright too.

Shaver lights

Many men prefer using an electric shaver to the old fashioned wet shave. Ladies have uses for electric shavers too, so shaver sockets in bathrooms are popular all round. Better still, incorporate them into light fittings.

Lyco’s range includes bathroom lighting with built in shaver sockets and a fine example is the multi-purpose Coronation Shaver Light. You get a shaving light with two removable chrome-effect end caps to give it style, a shaver socket and even an electric toothbrush charger all combined in one neat, attractive unit. The features all work independently and the light uses a low energy bulb for economy with a life of 100000 hours! Its IP rating of 44 means it is safe in the bathroom or en-suite as long as it is away from the shower.

Shower Lights

Finally… shower lights. Inside shower compartments lights are exposed to the wettest conditions in the bathroom so a high level of ingress protection is vital.

IP65 Down-lights are built to withstand water under pressure from a jet and can be adjusted to direct light just where it is wanted. You can choose either mains voltage models or the low voltage versions.

The popular Fireguard LED 6 downlighters fit flush into the ceiling and bring all the advantages of an LED light source as well as boasting an IP65 rating. As their name suggests, they are actually fire rated too. They are more expensive but if someone wants the luxury of having lights in the shower these have to be the best new light on the market for the purpose. They are the classic bathroom lighting you can depend on without a doubt.

Bathroom lighting provides professionals with plenty of choice to offer their customers and the combination of classic fittings and contemporary styles these days means they make a bathroom inviting as soon as they switch on the light.

Take a look at our full range of Bathroom Lighting

Looking for more information / inspiration? Check out our Lighting Advice section.

Lighting controls explored

The most basic form of lighting controls consist of simple on/off switches built into lamps themselves. That’s fine for such things as table lamps and work lights and in its most advanced form gives us the ability to switch the lamp on or off just by touching the base. The most developed types even provide brightness control.

Then there are the familiar wall-mounted switches, usually placed just inside the doorway controlling lights fixed in various places in a room. Again these can incorporate dimmers to control the level of brightness. For landings and staircases the switches can be two-way so that the light can be switched off or on at the top or at the bottom. For some situations, communal staircases in apartment blocks for example, timer switches provide the simple solution to human forgetfulness. The Electronic Time Delay Switch is a perfect example. When the light is switched on it remains on for long enough for anyone to ascend or descend the stairs and then is automatically switched off. The timing is adjustable to suit the situation.

Activated by changing levels of light is the Flush Mount Photocell Sensor controller. This clever piece of kit is capable of controlling as many different lights as you wish and can be overridden by the normal manual wall switch when required. The level of light is variable by adjustment too.

Another lighting control suitable for controlling multiple lights according to natural light levels is the 250W Dusk To Dawn Photocell. Part of a range of dusk to dawn photo cell controllers, these can control outside security lighting as well as indoor lights.

The next level of sophistication in lighting controls works, not on light level but by detecting movement. If someone is moving about in the dark they must need a light, so the light obligingly switches on and stays on until a pre-determined time after all movement has ceased. This is all made possible by the Passive Infra Red detector, PIR for short.

PIR controllers come in many forms. Some such as Lyco’s 360° PIR Light Switch, can be used to control a number of separate lights from one location. The Light Switch with Movement Detector, is also used to replace the normal light switch and turns an ordinary lighting set-up into an automated system.

For a really unobtrusive PIR system of lighting controls there are small Flush Ceiling PIR Movement Switches. Several of these mounted at intervals of about 5 metres will ensure detection of movement everywhere in the room. These versatile units can be used with lamps of any kind and can even be used to control fans!

These controllers are ideal for use in rooms which are not occupied all the time, such as cloakrooms, so that lights are only on when actually needed. These lighting controls are not only a great convenience but over a year can save a great deal of expensive electricity.

The 360° PIR Light Controller is another one. Cunningly designed to detect movement over 360 degrees it doesn’t matter what the angle of approach, there is no blind spot. The length of time the light stays on when activated can be adjusted to suit the location making them ideal for corridors and staircases that are not in constant use.

Lighting controls then do rather more than take the effort out of flicking switches. They enable lights to come on when you enter a room with both hands full and similarly go out when you leave. Much better than trying to turn the lights off with your chin! They turn on lights when someone enters where they should not, alerting others to the incursion. Whilst performing these useful functions, lighting controls are also saving a fortune in electricity.

Looking for more news, information or inspiration? Try our Lighting Advice section.