Preparing for the lighting consultation. The point of seeking lighting advice is to help make good decisions and avoid costly mistakes. The more prepared the client is for that meeting, the better the outcome can be. Thorough preparation can expedite the discussions and help the owner come in with a sharp focus on the project.
Know your space. Know what you want to light and the dimensions of the target space. How high is the ceiling?...dimensions of the room?...how long are the cabinets needing under cabinet lighting? If you have a plan that shows the space to scale, bring it. What color are the walls? Do you have pillows or small cushions that would give a sense of the color palate in the room? The more information that the client brings to the meeting, the quicker the consultant can understand the space.
Know your needs. How do you use the space? Would you use it more if it was better lit? Make a list of activities the space supports: reading…needlepoint…card-playing...writing...dining...Think about what the best-case-scenario use of the space would be. Come to the meeting with an idea of what you want. That can change during the discussions, but if the client has considered space usage, at least a starting point exists.
Bring your dreams. Often, clients have dreams that affect the eventual lighting plan, some of which seem unobtainable. Bring them all. Put them on the table. Sometimes, sharing aspirations with an objective third party can begin their realization. There may well be simpler ways to accomplish goals, integrating lighting with the solutions.
Book it. A great way to organize a project is with a loose leaf binder. Get some plastic sleeves, and save magazine pictures that approximate the ideal. Put paint colors, wallpaper and fabric samples, floor plans, furniture pictures and anything else pertinent that helps give form to the project vision. Keep a couple of empty sleeves to preserve notes and quotes that arise during meetings.
Planning your lighting can be an exciting process. But it is rarely a singular effort. It is most often just a part of a much larger building or renovation project. Ensure that the lighting developed for your project is well thought out and finely tailored to your lifestyle and needs. Spend the time to dream, scheme, and bring to the table some goals and ideas to breathe life into the lighting. Others can help with ideas, concepts, plans, and experience, but personal preparation is a valuable key to ultimate project success.