Our Big Build: Let there be light

When planning a renovation, considering the lighting is something not to be overlooked, or, ahem, be in the dark about.

The day an electrician turned up (unexpectedly) to ask where each wire needed to be on our framework for sockets and lighting, I was relieved we had somewhat discussed what we thought we’d like, but also slightly panicked that I might get it all wrong. No going back, right?

So, here’s some top tips to share with you…

1. Optimise natural light. Going from 4 walls and a ceiling made from transparent material, to bricks and mortar, I was worried we would lose a lot of the natural light we loved in the existing space. We did consider a wall of bi-fold doors, but that is a huge sacrifice of work surfaces, if you don’t have an enormous area to work with (or, the right layout). We therefore decided against them. Our kitchen plan also meant sacrificing the window panels adjacent to the patio doors, leaving just the windows and french door panels, plus the VELUX windows our architect had drawn into our plans. The VELUX windows do an amazing job of making the room light in daytime hours, and well ventilated (they open of course, which was a huge bonus this summer).

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When open, the air flow through the whole room is a comfortable breeze, and the girls love looking up at the clouds whilst enjoying their breakfast! image

We sourced our VELUX windows through our builder, but you can purchase them via www.roofblinds.co.uk. We purchased our VELUX pole online, and are thinking at looking into blinds for next summer, both of which can be purchased from Itzala online.

2. Practical lighting. There will be times you need extreme lighting. Kids doing their homework, looking for the earring back you dropped on the floor. Reading the small print on an important document. We found spotlights to be the best solution for this. We installed two rows of 5 across the ceiling, which is sufficient light to be seen from outer space.

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3. Mood lighting: The over island pendant. Lighting in option two will blind you in the 2 am hunt for a Calpol syringe, or the 5am warming of bottles. It’s also a bit harsh on the senses if you want a calm environment. The perfect option for our design, with an island, or with any focal point in a room, is the oh so popular pendant light. It’s popular for a reason… This creates a setting of kitchen dreams, perfect for chatting with friends, or the hubster over a bottle of wine.

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4. Under cupboard lighting. The lighting described in 2 will be problematic for your work areas if they have cupboards above them, as this will create a shadow in the areas you need light the most.  The pendant light probably won’t cut it when you’re cutting up onions either. We toyed with putting in under cupboard lights later, but the electrician thought we were mad not to have them wired in at the mains, so we took his advice and went for it. We are so glad we made that decision. We picked ours up from Howdens and are very pleased with them.

5. Hood lighting. Very similar to item 4… But you can’t wire in lights above the cooker if there’s no surface…just make sure your hood has lights. Most do, but worth checking.

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6. Outdoor lighting. Again, if you have a sparky in your home wiring up the essentials, it’s a great opportunity to think about lights on the exterior of the building. Easy to be overlooked, and you’ll be kicking yourself later – especially if you aren’t handy Andy like Mr G. We grabbed a pair of movement sensor lamps from B&Q and the guys got them installed in no time at all.

Have fun choosing your lighting options…and above all, be prepared for that electrician when he turns up!

x MMT

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21 thoughts on “Our Big Build: Let there be light

  1. thismummylark Reply

    your kitchen looks amazing! skylight in the kitchen wow i bet thats amazing at night to sit under with a glass of wine. Hoping to do mine next year if pennys allow it and id be happy if it looked even half as good.

  2. wonderfulandaverage Reply

    The more I see of your kitchen, the more I love it! I love how much thought has gone into every detail and that pendant lamp is gorgeous 🙂 xx

    1. MMT Reply

      Thanks lovely! A lot of it just sort of ‘came together’ so I’m obviously fooling my readers well 😉 xxx

  3. cvnxena Reply

    what a lovely kitchen! I love Velux windows they are great for looking out at the sky! great use of natural light! #TwinklyTuesday

    1. MMT Reply

      Thanks! It all came together in the end 🙂 x

  4. naygreg Reply

    Looks gorgeous! I hated the electrician asking me where I wanted all my new kitchen lights! And the carpenter asking me which way I wanted each cupboard door to open…I had no bloomin idea! #twinklytuesday x

    1. MMT Reply

      Definitely a ‘can I phone a friend?’ moment! Thanks for reading and taking time to comment x MMT

  5. Midnighttuna Mama Reply

    Fab post love the pendant light over the dining table and the cosy mood it creates! Fab blog too xx

  6. traceycwilliams Reply

    I love your kitchen and that you have so many different options for lighting in there. Would love spotlights in our kitchen as ours is very dark x

  7. Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) Reply

    It looks stunning – and I love the idea of being able to look up and out while eating breakfast! 🙂 #HomeEtc

  8. Stephanie Robinson Reply

    It’s so important to get the light right and it’s something you just take for granted normally – I’m sure yours will be fine. No really it will be. I read somewhere once that each room needs seven light sources – thankfully one of those can be the windows and you think you’ll never have that many, but my favourite rooms – yeap there the ones closest to seven. Spooky huh? #homeetc

  9. Louisa Reply

    Your lighting solutions are great, I especially like the pendant light. We have 5 windows in our kitchen but it can still be quite dark due to poor lighting so I will bear you tips in mind for when we redo our kitchen. #HomeEtc

  10. sisterk1n Reply

    So jealous of your lovely kitchen. Great tips too. #HomeEtc

  11. Fionnuala Reply

    I really like the various light sources you have and that you have considered the children in this.
    When we got our bathroom done last year, I was a bit stuck when the electrician asked me where exactly we wanted the nine spots. I think I said “I need to phone my husband” and felt like a real little woman with no clue. #homeetc

    1. MMT Reply

      I think I recall handing my phone, i.e. husband at the end of it, over to the electrician too! Thanks for reading…

  12. dadblogukJohn Adams Reply

    Never underestimate the importance of having the ability flood a room with light when necessary. I know of builds where lighting has been given little consideration and all that’s been left has been poor quality mood lighting. Interesting post as we’re about to go through a big build ourselves. #twinklytuesday

  13. booandmaddie Reply

    Such great tips, I’ll have to bookmark this for when we eventually get round to our bigger building projects, whenever that might be! I think lighting must never be underestimated, nothing worse than dark, poky spaces X #HomeEtc

  14. Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby Reply

    Great tips! your kitchen looks adorable, I’m jealous. I’m not really too keen on pendant light but looking at your kitchen, it actually looks gorgeous. #coolmumclub

  15. Caro | The Twinkles Mama Reply

    Aaah it looks so fabulous!!! Am very, very envious!! I’m SO desperate to update our kitchen — am waiting for a lottery win first! 😉 Thanks so much for linking up with us — fab tips lovely! #HomeEtc

  16. mummyofboygirltwins Reply

    Looks gorgeous and what a wonderful space – agree that lighting plays an important part. Thanks for linking up – much appreciated 🙂 Jess xx

    #HomeEtc

  17. min1980 Reply

    Love your kitchen! It looks absolutely fab. I may be reading more of these posts soon as in the process of buying a house (with a kitchen I’d like to alter, but I fear I won’t be able to afford it for some time).

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