Lighting Levels

There are two elements when considering Lighting levels for your new house.

  • Electrical Power (Watts)
  • Amount of Light (Lumens)


In the old days with incandescent bulbs it used to be simple, bulbs came in 40, 60 and 100watts and you were allowed up to 25 watts/square metre of floor space.

Now for your new build, in order to limit energy consumption, you are only allowed:

  • Indoors 5 watts /sqm (5W/sqm)
  • Outside 4 watts/sqm (4W/sqm)
  • Garages 3 watts/sqm

This doesn’t mean you have to have a gloomy house. 

Modern light fittings such as Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFLs) and Light Emiting Diodes (LED) give much more light than Incandescent Bulbs.

The above power consumption figure are for the initial construction. (After handover you can add additional lights)


Probably the best way to think about lighting is to consider what task you are going to do.

Then look at how you will provide enough light in that area rather than the whole room.

Here are some suggested light levels for various tasks.

Under 10 lumens/sqm – Outside Security.

10-20 lumens/sqm – Conversation, Eating, Watching Television, General Circulation.

20-50 lumens/sqm – Cooking, Casual Reading, Bathrooms.

50- 100 lumens/sqm – Detailed Craft Work, Study.


A typical LED delivers around 80-100 lumens per watt so a single 10w LED will provide a high lighting level for a 10m2 room (1 watt/sqm)

For more posts see Electrical or Light Fittings


How to Choose the Perfect Lighting for your New Home

Guest Post by Alex Charles

If you are soon to move into your dream home, you have probably had a hand in the design, and now comes the interior design, of which lighting is a major component.

Technology has brought us many innovative improvements, and for the lighting industry, LED revolutionised things, and for the first time, the homeowner has many lighting options to choose from.

Incandescent bulbs are not only power guzzlers, the light spectrum is very narrow.

Bearing in mind they were invented in a time when basic lighting came from candles, the traditional light bulb has served us well, but LED solutions offer so much more, with lower input – high output.

There are many ways to really get creative with modern lighting, and here are a few ideas to transform the look of your home.

LED Ribbon

Light Emitting Diode can be formed into ribbon, which comes in a roll, and with strong double sided tape, it is very easy to attach a series of LEDs under a window sill, or above a kitchen worktop.

The strip is waterproof and can be cut to length, and with a wide range of colours, there really is no limit to what you can do.

The exterior can really benefit from LED ribbon, which can be tastefully positioned in trees or shrubs, creating a surreal ambience in the early evenings.

Multi-Purpose Lighting

For the interior, pendant lighting is a popular choice in kitchens, dining and living rooms, and halls, as it offers both general and task lighting.

If you live in Australia, there are online solutions and Carlton’s pendant lights come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours, so there’s bound to be something just right.

Pendant lighting should be at the correct distance from the table top or work surface, and around 30 inches is fine for a table, and the closer you get to the table surface, the more focused the light becomes, with 18 inches being ideal for task lighting.

Online Solutions

Remember the days when you would spend an entire afternoon driving around looking for lighting stores?

Even a large shop would have a limited selection, and it might take a few expeditions before you finally find what you are looking for.

With online solutions, you can literally browse to your heart’s content, and with an impressive range of styles and light control systems, it is the ideal place to sort out your lighting for the new home.

Free Advice

Actually, in this digital age, the Internet provides us with information and knowledge on just about every topic you can think of, and there are many informative articles online about domestic lighting.

With LED, you can really get creative.

Professional lighting experts have given the world their secrets, and with lots of high resolution images, you can really see the effects lighting has on the room.

Lighting design is critical, as this is a major component of the ambience, both inside and out, and with online suppliers, you can order everything in one simple process.

Are You Causing Light Pollution?

When I first arrived in Australia I lived in a rural area and I was struck by how impressive the stars looked at night.

Now I live in Melbourne the views aren’t quite as good.

A large part of the reason is lights shining upwards that illuminate specks of dust which make it hard to see the stars clearly and blocks out the fainter stars.

This slide shows the effects of various fitting and how to reduce light pollution.

For more information check out this slide show: Light Pollution

Economic Luxury – Tips For Brightening Your Home

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

Whether you are walking down a bustling street or settling into a warm sofa, it’s hard to deny the profound effect lighting has on us, so it’s important to make sure you have the best of the best when decorating your dream home.

With that in mind, comfortable lighting can be difficult to acquire without breaking the bank, and so many choices can also mean a lot of potential pitfalls.

To help you along the way, here’s just a few solid options for making the economical choice in style.

Ceiling Panels

With homes and offices slowly moving away from fluorescent lights and other less favoured options, LED lights in Melbourne have been booming, and for good reason.

Ceiling panels can give the impression of a natural light source and make a room feel larger and less constrictive.

These simply reliable squares of light take up little space and bring a surprising amount of illumination for their size.

They may not be lighting an Olympic basketball court any time soon, but for a stylish touch to your living area, a few well selected panels are sure to impress.

Motion Sensor/Auto Dimmers

Creating a welcoming entrance to any room, while also taking the stress and expense out of consistent, on-demand lighting, motion sensors and auto dimmers can be a luxurious, cost effective addition to your home.

These lights can often be set for brightness, so you can always be sure that your room hits the perfect lighting just as you walk in.

The interesting difference between auto dimmers and other kinds of automatic lighting is that they are always illuminated to various extents, sometimes going as low as three watts equivalent, to conserve energy while still creating a fluid and natural feeling as it brightens to your preference.

Window Space

One oft overlooked factor when setting up a room is how furnishings will affect light entering it, which can lead to dark, gloomy areas that have the potential to be warm and inviting with just some small alterations.

Making sure that you are minimising the obstruction of natural light will go far in creating a living area or bedroom that you can be proud of.

If this isn’t possible in your current abode, using soft light bulbs in these rooms can supplement the light lost and still leave you with a cosy, comfortable place to wind down.

Room Mapping

Having a strong light source in the middle of a room is all well and good, but it can be distracting, and neglect corners and walls that can’t be reached.

Making smart choices about where your lighting lays can completely transform a room, providing an even glow and avoid the risk of walls becoming overshadowed.

This layout will be different depending on the size and purpose of room being furnished, but a keen eye is often all you need to make sure that your home is at its best.

While it may be difficult at first, specifying the lighting of your home can make all the difference to how comfortable you and your family will feel within it.

In the end, the best choices will be different for everyone, but the more information you have going into an endeavour of this kind, the better.

8 Ways To Lose Money On Your House


When you are looking at building a house the builder will be happy to encourage you to upgrade, telling you you are adding to the value of the home.

Follow their advice and you might be disappointed!

It’s much harder to sell the most expensive house in the street than the cheapest.

You may have to drop your price to even get anyone to look at the house!


Taste is a very personal matter so something you think is good taste may be considered over the top by someone else.

Similarly fashions changes so a house which may be very fashionable when built may be considered dated after 3-4 years.

One persons idea of quality finishing may be much different to someone else.

The List

Here are my 8 ways which could lose you money!

Pools and Spas

Most pools and Spas are only used for 4 – 5 months a year, but need to be maintained for the whole 12 months.

Although there are lots of people that like a pool there are as many who look at a pool like me and think “Time, Power, Chemicals, Child Safety, No Thanks!

I see there are now companies specialising in filling up pools!

Top Of The Range Kitchens

I would agree that kitchens do help to sell houses . . . so it is worth paying for decent cupboard doors and counter tops.

Just don’t go over the top; you are never going to get back what it cost for that imported marble counter when most people will be happy with Caesarstone.

The same goes for $3,000 plus imported 6 burner stoves with double ovens, not a lot of use for working families where the microwave is more commonly used, and takeaways are common.

Expensive Bathrooms

After kitchens bathrooms are the most expensive rooms in most houses.

Like kitchens there are a lot of expensive upgrades . . . but when I look around bathroom showrooms I find it hard to see much difference between a $200 toilet and a $500 toilet.

The same goes for basins, tap wear and tiles.

Go for a free standing bath and you really need extra room to set it off so with additional building costs that $3000 bath has cost you upwards of $10,000,

Expensive Light Fittings

I was walking past a shop that sells chandeliers the other day and couldn’t resist going in for a look.

There wasn’t much for sale under $1,000, and a very fine line in appearance between classy and over the top!

Home Office

If you full time work from home you may want a home office, but some are fairly small.

Make sure it is big enough to be converted to a bedroom.

Don’t go for an expensive built in furnished office,  free standing furniture is the way to go. . . That way people will be able to see the potential to convert to a bedroom.

For most of us who do some occasional work at home see this link: Mission Control

Man Cave

A pool table and some sporting pictures on the wall may be However some people go for themed rooms of which this this Alien inspired home theatre is an extreme example.

Huge potential to give children, and grandchildren, nightmares

This is likely to put off many more buyers than it interests.

Expensive Landscaping

Landscaping is another area where buyers may or not appreciate your taste.

Whichever way it is they are unlikely to want to pay much more for an extensively landscaped property.

Once you have provided; a path round the house, some shrubs to hide the fence, and a lawn for the remainder, you have covered the basics.

Dodgy DIY

When people they can save money by doing some of the fit out of themselves I always remember looking for a house around 30 years ago.

The owner proudly said ” I built this kitchen myself.” as both my wife and I thought ‘Yes, we know, because it looks really amateurish.”

When we considered what it would cost to rip it out, and replace it with a professional looking kitchen we quickly lost interest in that house.

I’m not saying don’t do any of these upgrades . . . . just understand they are your lifestyle choices, so you are unlikely to receive the money you put in them when you sell.

Light ‘Colour’

When you are buying a light bulb you may have noticed the box says things like “Warm White” or “Daylight White” but what does it mean? . . . . . . and which should you buy?

Colour Temperature

Light colour  is measured using the ‘Colour Temperature’ and is quoted in Kelvins (K).

A higher Kelvin temperature means the colour is cool. while lower K temperatures are warmer colours. (No wonder it can be confusing!)

For domestic lighting you should be looking for lights in the range from 2700K to 5000K.

Light Colour Options

Within the range 2700K to 5000K there are three options of colour temperature to choose from:

  • Warm White – 2700K to 3500K  Has a slight yellowish tint which gives a relaxing and calming light. Good for bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms.
  • Natural White – 3500K to 4500K Closest to sunlight, which makes it good compromise for any location, but particularly; walk in robes, pantries, garages and other areas that don’t have a lot of natural light.
  • Daylight White Light – 5000K to 6000K A slight blueish tint provides a crisp and bright white light that helps you feel more alert. Good for the home office or workshop.

En Suite / Bathroom Light

I know there are a lot of ladies out there who want to be sure their appearance is just right. To help with this the light on the make up mirror should be appropriate for the lighting you will encounter over your day.

If you mainly work in an office or brightly lit factory Daylight White may be the best choice. . . . Otherwise Natural White is a good option.


If you are worried about Brightness see Lighting Levels

For more posts see Electrical or Light Fittings



Light Bulb Comparison

In a previous post on Lighting Levels I talked about using lumens to plan lighting. . . . . but which type of bulb should you use?

There are now 3 types of bulbs in common use

  • Halogen (A more efficient version of the old incandescent light bulbs)
  • Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)
  • Light Emitting Diode (LED)

Light Output

Typical values of light output are:

  • Halogen – 15 Lumens/watt of power
  • CFL – 54 Lumens/watt of power
  • LED – 90 lumens/watt of power

Actual values will vary from manufacturer and also depending on the  colour temperature of the light.

From the above figure it can be seen that a LED provides a significant power saving, even compared with a CFL.

Initial Cost

For an output of around 450 lumens enough for something like a desk lamp you can expect to pay:

  • Halogen – $3
  • CFL – $6
  • LED – $20

Bulb Life

  • Halogen – 2,500 hours
  • CFL – 10,000 hours
  • LED – 50,000 hours

The long life of LEDs meant that though the initial cost of $20 seems expensive over the life of the bulb you would have needed 5 CFL bulbs ($30) or 20 Halogen bulbs ($60)

Other Issues

CFL lamps do contain a small amount of the toxic element mercury, and do take several seconds to Warm up to full brightness.

Both halogen and CFL lamps tend to have limited durability if subject to vibration or rough handling.

A dimmable LED is around 40% more expensive than a basic LED.


For more posts see Electrical or Light Fittings