Renovation: Lighting design in your home

home lighting living room

Haire Living gets it right, using proper lighting to enhance the room.


You’d think that something as basic as lighting can’t go wrong, but you’ll be surprised. It can become a tricky subject, as you not only need to plan how it will function in your space, but consider its aesthetics, too.

Whether you live in a HDB flat or landed house, good lighting can dramatically and effectively enhance your space, but poor lighting will take away from even the most well thought out designs. And what’s the point of spending all that money renovating your home, if your lighting just becomes an eyesore? 

Here are some things people commonly oversee during their renovations.


1) Concealed lighting being reflected

The point of concealed lighting is so that it remains well, concealed, such that you can achieve a back-lit glowing effect on a feature wall or TV panel, for example. So it is a huge disappointment to see the “hidden” lighting tubes being reflected on glossy surfaces such as a dark-tinted glass backing or polished marble floor. Either rethink your lighting design or choose other non-shiny materials.

2) Neglecting colour temperature

It is no problem having a mix of colour temperatures in the same setting, if, for example, you use warm white (warm, yellow light) for the ambient room lighting and cool white (cleaner, brighter light) for essential task lighting such as desk lamps. However, it is inexcusable to change the bulb of only one recessed downlight and have that in cool white, when the rest of your downlights on the same ceiling are in warm white. Needless to say, this uneven effect looks even worse in cove lighting.

3) Installing a ceiling fan below recessed lights

You know the disturbing shadows you get from a spinning ceiling fan under a downlight? This is probably the most annoying. So when you plan out what goes where on your ceiling, mind that the whole width of your ceiling fan is clear of any recessed ceiling lights to avoid the “flickering”.

4) Gaps in cove lighting

To achieve the desired continuous glow strip effect of cove lighting, the proper installation method of the lighting tubes is to overlap them rather than position them side by side. Be sure to cater enough width to allow for this overlapping. This ensures that your cove lighting doesn’t appear like dashes and spoils your whole design. While you're at this, make sure also that you have the appropriate lux level (brightness) for the depth of the cove, as you don't want the light to be too concentrated in a shallow cove.

5) Misuse of lamps

Lamps are often designed for specific purposes. Do not use a desk lamp, for example, as a bedside table lamp, no matter how cool its design is — unless you want glaring light shining into your eyes when you lie down. Or a too-big chandelier meant for a high ceiling as a pendant lamp over your dining table, or your guests will keep hitting their heads. Also, if you want to install recessed halogen spotlights, mind their placement and your ceiling height, as it does get very warm sitting directly underneath them.