Lighting and Electrical Plans

During our first reno. I did very little planning for electrical. I bought a couple of beautiful pendant lights, drew them in different colours on top of the floor plan, and gave it all to the electrician. He did his best to fill in the blanks, but with every question he asked, my coloured ‘electrical plan’ overlay looked more like a child’s squiggle doodle, and inevitably things were missed.


I have since learned to draw lighting and electrical plans with the help of some great software, but in the back of my head has always lurked the question, “What if I hired a professional lighting consultant to do these plans?”

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So for our last renovation, I bit the bullet, and hired a lighting-design consultant, Jason from DesignFilter. We met and went over the plans. I shared my design schedules and selections. Hey presto, I had an electrical and lighting plan that I could confidently hand to the electrician, and a schedule from which I could start locking in the purchase of fittings (knowing I wasn’t missing any).


Just as importantly though, with Jason on board, I had expertise available to bounce things off. I saw a brilliant sale on some architectural downlights. Prior to impulsively swiping my credit card, I sent him the make and model and asked if they’d be a good substitution. The answer was an emphatic ‘no’, and provided with lots of reasons why.


I selected the feature pendants myself (I LOVE pendant-light shopping), but everything else was selected by Jason, with lots of thought about colour temperature; LED-dimmer compatibility; and function, flexibility, and consistency.


With a reno, it’s likely you’ll need to do a second pass at your plan. Until the builder and electrician get into the roof and wall cavities, you won’t always know what you can do. Once the electrical rough in commenced, we had to swap some downlights for wall lights, remove some dual heat lamp/exhaust fans, and change the placement of a few lights.


It’s a good idea to get your lighting consultant across these changes, so that the electrical and lighting plans can be updated. A bit of time passes between the electrician doing rough in, and doing final fit off, and you want to avoid a lot of head scratching and time wastage over the wiring that was actually installed vs what is shown on the original plans.


My advice is simple, pinterest beautiful light selections to your hearts content, but hire a professional lighting consultant early in the design stage.  They will make your lighting dreams come to life by drawing up a lighting and electrical plan that ensures all your requirements are met, and allows your home can be properly wired before the internal walls are lined.


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