8 Steps to Do an Electrical Walk-Through of Your Home
To create the best lighting plan for your home and avoid common mistakes, take these steps before you renovate
Browse through your Houzz ideabooks of spaces you like, and home in on the lighting in those photos. Can you identify where the lighting source is located and what type of fixture is being used? Jot down notes, such as ‘need a power point behind the sofa’ and ‘love the cove light in this dining room’.
Print out your floor plan and sketch in your anticipated furniture layout. If you’re working with an interior designer, solicit their help. Don’t just look to the ceiling for placement of overhead lights. Mark walls that you might use for hanging art and highlight dark corners that could benefit from additional light.
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Make sure you or your electrician or contractor come with a floor plan, a tape measure, permanent markers and a clipboard. It never hurts to have a tape measure to figure out spacing and furniture arrangement. Permanent markers will allow you to mark the studs and sub-floor with locations. And the clipboard? It may be the only clean writing surface in your home during renovations.
Walk through your home (or building site) room by room, and expect to spend several hours if you are building a new home. Compare your marked-up floor plan with the actual structure to make sure your preferred light fixture is possible in that location. Take note, too, of how natural light will move through each room throughout the course of a day.
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Look for architectural features such as ceiling coves, niches, arched ceilings or deep overhangs. Ask your contractor or electrician for extra illumination in these areas of your lighting plan so you don’t lose those special details once the sun goes down.
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When a recessed downlight is placed over the space between a kitchen bench and the island, where will it cast shadows when you are standing at the range hood? Too often, fixtures are installed in the wrong place because ceiling geometry is considered more important than what you are doing with the chef’s knife. Creative lighting solutions can greatly improve workspaces.
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Mark your floor plan with precise lighting locations so you can refer to it later, and be sure to make a copy for the electrician so there is little room for confusion. Ask your contractor for an updated quote in case there are any cost increases due to lighting changes as a result of the electrical walk-through.
Walk through your home after junction boxes are installed but before the plasterboard goes in. Are the right lights in the right places? Will your countertops be well-lit? Will your art be in the dark?
It may be a hassle to move a light fixture now, but it is much easier and less expensive to do it before plastering and painting. And every time the sun goes down, you will be grateful you did.
What are your fail-proof tips for drawing up a lighting plan? Tell us in the Comments below, like and save this story and join the conversation.