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How to light a loft

how to light a loft

Loft lighting is today’s topic. Up to now, we’ve been giving these articles titles like ‘Our top five tips for awesome kitchen lighting’, ‘Our top five conservatory lighting ideas’, and ‘Five great ways to make your garden glow!’

But there’s no way to make lighting a loft sound exciting, even though knowing how to light your loft space properly is vital if you’re going to make the most out of using it (and avoid falling through the ceiling when you’re up there.)

So, here’s the bottom line.

What kind of lighting is best for illuminating a loft space?

There are basically three choices (or four if you want to hang fairy tales and turn your loft into something from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but that’s not very practical and could potentially be pretty dangerous.)

Fluorescent lighting

Fluorescent lighting is excellent because it spreads the light evenly over the whole space. It’s also very energy efficient and good for the environment, and because fluorescent lighting doesn’t heat up the way that incandescent bulbs do, it’s safer too. (Think: enclosed space, a lot of insulation, a lot of stuff you don’t have anywhere else to put stored up there = possible fire hazard.)

Other lighting alternatives tend to produce light in pools or spots and leave everything else in shadow, which defeats the point of installing loft lighting in the first place. Standard pendants – the kind used in most rooms of the house that can take a variety of different bulbs and fittings – can also get in the way.

The critical thing to think about with fluorescent lighting is where you’re going to place it so you don’t knock into it or bump your head on it when you’re moving around inside the loft.

Traditional fluorescent strip lighting – the kind you’ll find in many offices and schools – is probably the most straightforward, but it can be a bit expensive to run.

On the other hand…

LED batten lighting

You already know that everyone here at Oliver Lamps is a big fan of LED, so don’t be surprised that we’re going to push the advantages of LED lighting in lofts pretty hard!

An LED batten strip light is very similar to a fluorescent strip, but it will provide all the light you’ll need (depending on the wattage you choose) and is a lot cheaper to run. It also doesn’t have that annoying buzzy fluorescent strip light sound that happens sometimes, which can get seriously irritating if you’re up in the loft for a while, and it doesn’t flicker the way that fluorescent strip lights often can.

LED panels

LED panels are a lot pricier than LED battens or fluorescent strips, but you’ll eventually make that investment back (depending on how long you spend in your loft) because they’re even cheaper to run.

Another upside to LED panels is that you can install them flush with the roof beams or insulating boards so they aren’t going to get knocked over.

Recessed LED spotlights

We lied. We said there were three basic lighting choices at the beginning, but we’ve just thought of a fourth. That’s an excellent example of the extra care and attention you’ll always get from the team here at Oliver Lamps 😊

Seriously, though, LED spotlights are worth thinking about, especially if your loft isn’t huge and you don’t have to do a Cirque du Soleil-style high-wire act across the loft joists to get anywhere.

Remember: lofts aren’t intended to be load-bearing rooms, so if you’re going to store anything heavy up there, you’re going to need to strengthen it and lay down boards.

LED spots are long-lasting, energy-efficient and cheap to run. They might cost a little bit more when you first buy them (although we’ve always got some great deals at Oliver Lamps), but you’ll quickly recover that in running costs.

Natural lighting

Oh, look, and now we’ve thought of a fifth alternative!

Actually, no, we haven’t, because natural lighting isn’t a solution unless you’re never going to go into your loft after dark and you also live somewhere that you’re always guaranteed sunny weather (i.e. not the UK.) If that’s not the case, and you don’t want to resort to a torch and tippy-toes, you’ll always need to put some form of artificial lighting in there as well.

Last quick bit of advice: even if you’re a competent and confident DIYer, always bring in a professional electrician to install your loft lighting. It might look like a big space with not much going on, but making it safe is number 1 on your lighting list. The last thing you need is an electrical fault you don’t know about in an enclosed room you probably don’t visit very often.

Don’t forget, for all your home and business lighting needs, Oliver Lamps is the only place you ever need to visit. You’ll always find lots of fabulous ideas and offers at our fantastic 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, showroom, or give us a call / drop us an email on 01328 855028 / [email protected]. Alternatively, you can use the contact form on our website too.

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