Designing a Smart Lighting Scheme

Matt Nimmons from CEDIA reveals the key factors to consider when installing a smart illumination control system in your home
25th June 2017

When planning a self-build or renovation project, the importance of a carefully thought-out smart lighting arrangement is often underestimated.

A well-executed scheme can boost wow factor indoors and out, which is why a growing number of people are incorporating the latest tech to create an illumination strategy that suits their needs.

Multiple lighting scenes can be programmed into your setup so an array of ambiences can be achieved at the tap of a button, giving your project the edge.

Smart lighting controls

Intelligent lighting operation systems are managed via built-in, custom-designed touch panels that can also be used on remote devices, including tablets and smartphones.

An advanced setup comes with a selection of features that the humble, everyday light switch isn’t capable of matching.

As well as providing a more efficient illumination arrangement that utilises dimming technology and location awareness, lighting controls can incorporate a selection of other home automation formats, too.

You may choose to fit a ‘good night’ button on a keypad by the bed, for instance. Once pressed, all the lights and televisions in the rest of the house turn off and the garden gates could lock. Or pushing the ‘movie night’ switch in the family room could dim the lights and fire up your television and film streaming service.

A smart setup can also function as a security system, making the property appear lived-in even when you’re out. This can be achieved via remote control access or pre-programmed settings.

A carefully thought-out system can also complement occupants’ daily routines.

Using personal data, the level of illumination can be synced to reflect the time of day, with brighter settings helping you feel more awake during the day and dimmer lighting creating a relaxing ambience later on. This can be used to gradually prepare you and your family for a good night’s sleep.

Planning your lighting scheme

This type of control system can be used anywhere in the home. As a first step it’s useful to establish exactly how you plan on using the zone. It’s also worth thinking about lighting design early on in your project, as an automated setup won’t be able to create dramatic illumination scenes on its own.

In the kitchen, it’s important to install suitable lighting in the right position to ensure it fulfils the varied demands of this zone. The food preparation area requires ample shadow-free illumination, but you’ll still want to be able to produce a welcoming atmosphere at the flick of a switch.

Discreet coffered fittings (concealed ceiling uplighters) and downlights provide great flexibility, and can be easily adjusted via a central keypad.

The living room also offers potential for a layered lighting scheme that adapts to different activities. This could mean a high level of brightness for reading a book or a dimmed effect for when you want to watch a film.

Coffered ceiling fittings are ideal for establishing a flexible solution that can be adapted easily at different times of the day or various seasons of the year. These can be combined with downlights and wall fittings to produce a variety of moods.

Tiled, shiny surfaces are common in the bathroom, but highly-reflective expanses can result in an intense level of brightness. To avoid this, fittings can be positioned in ceiling slots and behind cabinetry to create an attractive, glare-free solution.

To change the atmosphere for your dip in the tub, installing colour-changing LEDs can conjure up an effective ambience.

In the bedroom, optimum levels of comfort are required to aid relaxation. Lighting control arrangements can play a vital part, as they allow self-builders and renovators to set up a soothing ambience at the swipe of a button.

Ask the experts

When it comes to lighting design and control systems, getting the wiring right is crucial. In our industry, it’s often said that the most important cable is the one you forget to fit.

Working with a CEDIA member can provide peace of mind when it comes to putting together the arrangement you want, as they are able to provide advice and ensure the right cabling infrastructure is used to support the lighting technology.

Matt Nimmons is managing director at CEDIA, an international trade organisation dedicated to advancing the home technology industry. From designers and manufacturers to integrators, CEDIA members gain access to high-quality training and certification, which ultimately goes into your project. For more information about CEDIA call 01480 213744 or visit

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