Thomas Lane, Smart Home Product Manager, Aurora Lighting Group, examines how technology and lighting can create stunning spaces for modern homes.
For a number of years lighting technology has developed faster than ever, and with the digital age it has capabilities that go far beyond what people had imagined possible. Today technology and contemporary design are closer than even before and, when it comes to the term ‘modern home’, they are now synonymous with one another.
With the right blend of products, design techniques and innovation you can create some truly stunning residential lighting but, more importantly, a lighting design that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye that also streamlines the lives of the occupants.
But how do you go about this, what products can be used, which lighting design techniques are essential and what are the benefits?
We’ve put together a guide to give you a head start.
Know your space
It’s important that you know how the space is going to be utilised, this will affect the lighting you want to implement and where it is placed. Decide whether the room will be used for comfort, functionality or whether a stylish design is the essential factor. Is there a particular painting or feature you want to highlight? Do you have a certain theme in mind for the room or the entire property?
It helps to consider the direction of any windows throughout the building. South facing spaces typically benefit from direct light all day long, whilst North facing ones get very little to no direct light. An East and West facing property will get direct light for a proportion of the day (either morning or evening depending on the direction). Ultimately, the more natural light a space has, the less artificial light you will need.
With a good smart home system however, you can be more versatile and automate lights to fit around natural light levels of each room.
Aurora’s AOne™ is a Smart Home Lighting system with a substantial range. It offers 30 smart inside devices and can make over 1,000 Aurora products smart. The majority of Aurora’s AOne Smart Bulbs are dimmable and either RGBW (colour tuneable) or Tuneable White (warm to cool white) so a room’s lighting can be adapted for the circumstances e.g. night, day, party, work or relaxation.
The right smart home lighting system should be chosen to accommodate the needs of homeowners. This means flexibility, safety and simplicity are essential. Furthermore, if being considered for installation throughout multiple properties it is essential to ensure it delivers excellent value for money.
The AOne system by Aurora is versatile and offers a full smart home solution, with an easy to use app and other products, including: Smart Sockets, Smart Wall Dimmers & Switches, Smart Downlights, Smart GU10’s and Smart Candles, as well as Smart Sensors for security and automation, all with their own innovative design that makes them unique.
Interior and exterior lighting, as well as appliances around the home can all be controlled on one system from anywhere in the world via a handheld device. Additionally, it can be easily integrated with Amazon’s Echo and will soon be compatible with Google Assistant. Most products can also be used directly with the Samsung SmartThings hub.
The AOne, whilst being perfect for new builds, is also designed as the go-to retrofit solution as there is no additional wiring required, it is just as straightforward to install later down the line or even after a project has been completed.
Safety & legislation
Fire rated products are essential for all residential properties. The National House Building Council (NHBC), the UK’s leading warranty and insurance provider for UK house-building for new homes, recently stated that steps should be taken to ensure that fire rated downlights are suitable for use with i-Joists being used in new build homes.
Aurora Lighting & partner Staircraft Group, the UK’s leading supplier of i-Joists, are the first to have a downlight range successfully assessed to demonstrate that i-Joists and downlight combination will satisfy fire safety Building Regulations. (Read more about this development here)
Aurora offers multiple downlight ranges, including the new A series and the AOne mProZX™, which are fire rated, compliant and are either smart inside or can be made smart.
Lighting can be used in a number of ways within a home to create luxurious spaces:
- Ambient Lighting: General lighting that provides uniform and comfortable LUX levels across an entire room. This is usually some form of downlight, pendant lamp or chandelier. Within a residential space adjusting brightness and colour temperature would be essential to set the feel of the room. Also look at how light sources complement each other in the overall space but also what they bring to their individual areas of a room.
- Accent Lighting: If ambient lighting is the canvas, then accent lighting can be described as the brush strokes across it, a technique that makes a feature pop. It is used to highlight architectural or interior design elements, creating the right atmosphere. In an art gallery for example, accent lighting would be used to draw focus to the pieces on display, and likewise in a store to display or feature products. It could be used similarly in a home to highlight a painting, ornate displays or furniture. This ‘directional lighting’ is achieved with spotlights and wall lights.
- Task Lighting: This is lighting for areas where occupants need to see what they are doing. Task lighting is key in environments where productivity and concentration are essential such as offices, workshops and garages. Flexibility and adjustability are also needed so the user can alter positioning and lux levels for their comfort – this provision helps to prevent user eye strain and has been known to increase efficiency in working environments.