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5 tips when shopping for lights for your home

Shopping for lights for the home is no easy task. 

I recently went in search of lighting options for my new home, and here are some tips following my personal experience.

I visited Sol Luminaire after having met its owner Jospeh Ho coincidentally at a home shoot (check out his home here), and wanted some advice on how to choose the right lights to get the warm, cosy ambience I want in my home. Here's what I gathered after the shopping trip:

1. Lighting options

It is important to know what types of lighting there are. Learning about the range in the shop, there were lights for different functions and uses, including recessed, surface-mounted, track, pendant and wall lamps.

"How are they different?" I asked. And here's the concise explanation:

Recessed: These lamps are recessed into the ceiling board, which means a false ceiling is required if you'd like to use these options. The housing of the lamp are often out of sight and this makes it look extremely sleek, without any fixtures sticking out of the ceiling.

Surface-mounted: As the name suggests, these lights are mounted directly onto surfaces — in most cases, ceilings. False ceiling is not required and the beauty of these options lies in the appreciation of exposed lighting fixtures.

Track: Also a type of surface-mounted lighting, track lights are increasingly gaining popularity for their convenience and ability to blend into many industrial-style homes, thanks to the exposed track. With the ability to mount several light fixtures on a single track, homeowners only need to spend on creating one electrical point to serve up to as many bulbs that the track can fit. They can also be positioned at various angles to illuminate a wider area.

Pendant: A pendent lamp is a hanging light fixture that provides maximum direct lighting to a specific area. It is very often used above the dining room, where the dining table is the focal point.

Wall lamps: There are many uses of these types of lights, such as by the bedside, in the balcony or along the stairs to illuminate the path.

2. Budget

Next up, how much are you intending to spend? Knowing this will help narrow down your search. 

If your home does not come with existing false ceilings, erecting them just for the sake of concealing cables and recessed lights may set you back quite a bit. In this case, surface-mounted and track lighting might be more suitable, as it can be fitted over the existing surface immediately without the need for additional construction works. Depending on the number of existing electrical points you have in the home, you might also want to consider the number of surface-mounted pieces you'd like as every additional piece will mean you'd need to get your electrician to lay another wire to create a new electrical point — these can add up to quite a substantial amount.

3. Function

Ask yourself what you'll need the lights for. For example, if you are using them to illuminate and highlight art pieces, spotlights might be more suitable. For spaces such as the living room and bathroom, consider recessed lighting, which have less direct glare, and a softer glow that creates a cosy ambience.

4. Preference

Do you prefer to dim the lights before you sleep, rather than snap the room into darkness immediately as you switch off the lights? Be sure to check if the lights that you're choosing have dimmable functions. Speak to your electrician and plan in advance so switch plates can be accounted for too.

5. Style

What interior style are you going for in your home? Of course, if the minimalist look in what you want, avoid exposed track lights as these will immediately draw the eye up in a pared down environment. Choose recessed lighting options in this case then. Check with your interior designer and see which lighting options best match the style you want.

With all these in mind, I hope it'll help with your light shopping journey!

Need more tips? Check out: 

Defects checking in your new home: 5 things you need to know

Shopping for laminates for my home: Tips to take note of 

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