How technology can put the magic back into the lighting in your home
With a little thought, planning and creativity, lighting can not only complement the various elements of a home environment, it can also uplift the overall quality of a room and completely change the ambiance and feeling of a space.
However, while lighting is one of the easiest and most effective ways to make a home feel relaxed and comfortable and can even be used to re-energise a living space, it is often one of the most overlooked areas of interior design and setting the ambiance for day-to-day living says Derek Yung, sales director, Greater China for lighting management and control firm, Lutron. ‘’People often underestimate the level of comfort and touch of lighting magic that can be introduced into the home by fitting dimmers or a lighting control system,’’ says Yung.
Making his point, Yung says in the majority of Hong Kong homes, lighting controls are a traditional on and off switch, rather than a dimmer. ‘’Whether it is the middle of the day, evening or nighttime, the exact same amount and type of light is being produced,’’ notes Yung who explains through the use of dimmers, the quantity and atmosphere that light installations provide can be adjusted to fit specific moods, tasks or situations.
By using a control system, in the kitchen where safety and attention to detail is needed, functional or ‘’task’’ lighting can be the priority, while lighting in the dining room can be adjusted for entertaining or even doing homework. For families with young children, lighting in bedrooms can be set to a low-level eliminating the need for night-light gadgets. Bathroom lighting can also be set for nighttime use to avoid sleep-interrupting harshness.
When upgrading or renovating, Yung says home dwellers tend to focus their attention on interior finishings, carpets and furniture – forgetting that good lighting brings out the best of the space. ‘’Good lighting is an important design element and crucially important for creating a comfortable and relaxed living environment,’’ says Yung. He adds that fitting dimmers or a lighting control system can also be far less costly and time-consuming than redecorating, and in many cases can make just as much of a statement.
Technology lights the way
Importantly, in addition to creating various lighting moods within the home, balconies, patios and gardens, dimmers can cut energy usage, extend bulb life. ‘’ Technology innovations and various inventions in the light control industry offer infinite possibilities without compromising on quality,’’ says Yung. For instance, wireless technology does away with the need for multiple cables and offers the flexibility of being able to place lighting devices where they are the most effective.
As there are with many things these days, there are apps that allow lighting to be pre-programmed and integrated with other devices including home security systems. Lighting preferences, for example, can be preset and with a single touch of a button or finger-sweep of an app. ‘’Lighting systems can be operated at home or remotely from a tablet, smartphone or a iWatch with the emphasis on convenience and flexibility,’’ says Yung who adds with the simple touch of a button, users can automatically and, almost noiselessly, open and close curtains to add privacy and protect furnishing and artworks. Lighting systems can also be set to work in conjunction with a security system to switch on lights in case of a fire or intruder alert.
To fully appreciate the different effects and mood settings that can be achieved by placing and adjusting lighting, rather than reading about it, Yung says it needs to be experienced first-hand. To help home dwellers to learn about the effects of lighting, Lutron in cooperation with PCCW and various lighting specialists have set up lighting showrooms to provide an immersive experience for customers.
Incidentally, according to the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, alongside a Mark Wilkinson kitchen (with a granite-topped island), Miele or Sub-Zero fridge, and a Gaggenau cooker, a Lutron lighting system is among the must-haves among a select group of top-paid football players.