A large, open-plan kitchen/dining/living room can make a wonderful space, but each area requires a different lighting treatment. Make sure the ambient lighting is bright enough for food prep in the working areas of the kitchen, and zone the dining and relaxing spaces with more decorative fittings.
Open-plan living often goes hand in hand with limited fixing points – the physical place where the light fitting is connected. This dining area would make a fantastically bright breakfast or lunchtime spot, but there are no walls and little in the way of a ceiling to provide lights at night-time.
If your open-plan space is multi-level, it’s even more vital to plan the design in 3D and give careful thought to the elevations. There will be a wider range of sightlines through the space, so creating linked themes and avoiding clashing features in your lighting or wide disparities in colour temperature is important.
Good lighting can help to integrate internal and external spaces. Thanks in part to its lighting, this relaxed entertaining area feels like an extension of the inside space.The external lighting is simple, with strategically placed accent lights picking out the soft planting with interesting shadows, while the interior has a lot more happening. Linear lighting inside and lighting in the recessed ceiling area emphasise the strong, geometric lines of the space, while high-output downlights provide functional illumination. The key to the success of this lighting is the consistency of colour temperature across the scheme.
Having a double-height space offers heaps of fun lighting options. This striking pendant cluster matches the eclectic style of the interior perfectly.
If you can look from a high space down into a lower one, consider how the light fittings will appear when viewed from above. If you have a direct sightline down into the fittings, opt for a larger number of decorative ones, as seen here, and use architectural fittings in more discreet locations, such as a bookshelf.
The architectural light in this space is immense. The color palette is light and airy , but the down-lights and decorative fittings combine to bring out the color and texture of the hard and soft furnishings.This scheme is deceptively simple and understated, with all the light sources working together with no discordant notes. Test how different light sources will work with fabrics and hard surfaces, and check how each fitting or light source renders each colour. It’s also essential to ensure consistency of color temperature.
This games room highlights the need to use fittings with the right output to deliver the required level of light in a double-height space. The owner was keen to avoid hanging pendants to keep the sightlines clear between the lower and mezzanine levels, so light washes, using high-output linear fittings, were integrated into the wall coffers to deliver a wash of light up the ceiling and down the walls.Linear fittings in the mezzanine and discreetly built into the staircase help to link the levels, as they take your eye though the space, while high-output, ceiling-mounted fittings deliver great lighting for a game of pool without the need for a suspended pendant.
Continued development in LED means that increasing numbers of high-output fittings in more discreet, smaller forms are coming onto the market.
Large, open-plan rooms often have ‘standard’ ceiling heights of 8′ . While this isn’t low, the size of the room can make it feel so.If you have an unusually large room with a standard or relatively low ceiling height, it’s important to find ways of lifting your eye line. In this kitchen-diner, down-lights for the work areas are supplemented with up- and down-lights, and lit walls and units, to provide a strong vertical light that takes your eyes upwards to ‘lift’ the space.
One aspect that’s often overlooked when planning a lighting scheme for an open-plan space is how to control it. The pictured kitchen in located in Grey Oaks was controlled entirely by a Lutron Radio ra2 system designed entirely by the client to fit his specific needs. The entire home is controlled on an iPhone iPort system using an iPad.Conventional switches make it tricky to control lighting from multiple points, and you’ll only be able to dim at a single point. Zoning the areas of the space with light means having individual control over multiple circuits, but this can make for a rather messy mass of multi-gang switches on the wall.
A lighting control system enables you to dim from multiple locations, while changing the balance, shape and feel of a space with pre-programmed lighting scenes. A single keypad replaces multi-gang switches, so it’s well worth considering.