The first thing we considered, was the different functions we wanted out of our lighting and how different layers combine in an overall lighting plan. First, we wanted general downlighting with the flexibility to be in full-clean/bible study/game mode (I want to see everything in the room), but also wanted a dimmer discussion mode and a minimal light setting that just accents our art-work. With the general modes defined, we could consider the contribution of each layer. I used several resources on the internet to get a rough feel for how lighting should be arranged, with a focus on recessed lighting since that is the most permanent.
- Recessed Lighting for Living Rooms (suite101.com)
- How to lay out cans (forteelectric.com)
- Plan Recessed Lighting (ehow.com)
- Recessed Lighting Plans (illuminationslighting.com)
- Recessed Lighting Guidelines (illumenate.com)
Due to my lack of experience, I had to create a model to test our ideas and Google SketchUp with the Podium plug-in provided a great opportunity for this. To build my model, I first use my laser measuring tool (critical for rapid drawing) to get quick dimensions of the room and built a mock up that allowed for openings where the sun would enter to allow for an understanding of sunlight and shadows.
Based on the reading above, we built several zones: general task/accent lighting (via lamps), wall washing (to make room look bigger, highlight art, independently controlled) and two zones of downlighting (independently controlled and dimmed). To determine downlighting locations. From the above recommendations, I drew a box 30″ in on all sides that produced a 14′ 8″ by 8′ 2″ box. Using SketchUp’s divide feature, If I wanted symmetry, I had to pick 7′ 4″ apart (too much) or 4′ 10″ (almost perfect for a 5″ light). With the 8′ width, there was a perfect space for two internal cans, which would make up the second downlighting zone.
Since our first wall could be lit by free-standing lighting, we focused on our fireplace and main art-piece from Youngmi Organ. To simultaneously wash these walls, and highlight the art, I drew another line 24″ away from the walls and picked two locations for the eyeball or spotlight halogens. Knowing full well that all this will change when I look at hardware, take account of the ceiling joists and talk to the contractor, you can see the drawing with dimensions below.
So what does all this look like? Let the iterations begin. Again this is just a rough hack, but here are some of the renderings. Regarding podium, I tried to keep the main thing in focus, so I am not looking at diffusion or baffle designs. Just a rough idea of how the lighting will look, so I used circles as LEMs (light emitting materials) along with really course rendering settings. Apologies for the lack of polish, but this is what we are considering now.