Home Lighting

How a Lighting Pro Can Transform Your Home

By Susan Bloom

Why Use a Lighting Designer

A professional lighting designer can help homeowners navigate the complex world of home lighting.

Ever feel like the lighting in your home could be better … but you’re not sure how to fix it? That’s because lighting is a sophisticated element that can significantly impact the mood, ambiance and décor in your home, and the process of selecting the right light source and layout isn’t always simple. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of trained experts in the market who can design an optimal lighting strategy for your home and help take the mystery out of this important facet of interior design.

“Light is a technically difficult, yet astonishing medium that requires mastery of varied and continually evolving disciplines,” concurs Stefan Graf, principal of Ypsilanti, MI-based firm IlluminArt and a member of the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD). “Lighting equipment and control technologies are developing at light speed; hundreds of new products are introduced to the marketplace annually,” making it difficult for the average homeowner to stay abreast of the latest and most effective options.

As a result and because there is often a fee to use a lighting designer, many households end up with “average, mediocre and uninspired lighting and interiors” created by the homeowners themselves, says Mark Roush, FIES and principal of New Jersey-based Experience Light.

But an experienced lighting designer can “create an innovative lighting solution that achieves the perfect balance of function and aesthetics, meet the needs of the people who use the space, solve unique lighting challenges, and select cost-effective and energy-efficient products most appropriate for the project,” says the Boulder, CO-based Lumenistics group.

And, adds Graf, “lighting professionals regularly attend educational seminars locally, nationally and internationally to keep their designs fresh and stay current with product technologies and application techniques.”

Though lighting designers are not required to hold any certifications—“anyone with a business card can call himself a lighting designer,” says Graf—accredited organizations like the IALD and IES and industry certifications such as LC (Lighting Certification, offered by The National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions, or NCQLP) and CLC (Certified Lighting Consultant, offered by the American Lighting Association) can help qualify those individuals who have demonstrated a basic understanding of lighting principles, application and design.

In addition, says Roush, homeowners should inquire about any awards the lighting designer has received and should request a portfolio of successful lighting projects to further qualify the designer’s skills and experience. “Word of mouth through an architect or interior designer, local IES chapters, real estate boards and specifier chapters, etc. can also be helpful in locating a qualified professional. Frankly, just like buying a car,” he says, “do your homework when selecting a lighting designer.”

The results—a warm, comfortable, inviting, aesthetically pleasing and efficiently lighted home—can be well worth the investment. For more information on the value of lighting designers or to reach one in your area, visit www.iald.org.

What you need to know:

  • Lighting design is both an art and a science
  • Experience can be critical to gain the best result
  • Lighting designers offer services to homeowners
  • Designers are creative design and technology experts
  • Do your homework to find the best designer for your project

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