What to consider when renovating


Here’s my number one lighting tip for anyone undertaking a home renovation. Recessed downlights are not your only option! Please don’t fall into this trap because it’s easy or budget-friendly. Trust me, a good lighting plan is crucial and should never be an afterthought in the design process.

More often than not, a standard lighting plan consists mostly of recessed downlights throughout the home with a few feature pendants sprinkled around for good measure. The problem with this is every nook and cranny looks and feels the same. There are no features, no focal points, and no intriguing spots for the eye to land on.

A shift in mindset is required from “lets just illuminate each space from above with downlights” to “how can I create moments within each space by highlighting specific features and creating the right mood.” I promise this will completely transform the atmosphere of you home and how you use your space!

Before embarking on a lighting plan, start by answering these four questions…


What has this got to do with lighting? You need to understand the overall look you want to achieve so that you can start to envisage the end result and make informed decisions. If you need help defining your unique style then jump back to blog 3 How To Define Your Unique Style



Lighting is extremely emotive, it truly sets the mood of a space. Visit Blog 4 The Feel of Each Space Within Your Home to understand how to define the mood for each space. Start writing a list of the various spaces within your home.

Let’s say you want your master bedroom to be elegant, casual and cosy, you’re going to select lighting that conveys this vibe such as, any elegant pendant above your bed that’s on a dimmer so you can control the level of light. Which reminds me, remember to use dimmers on most areas within your home, they are inexpensive to install and give you control of the ambience within each space.


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Make a list of the particular functions you will perform in each space. For example, applying make-up, chopping veges, reading, cooking, getting dressed, studying etc. These are the zones that require general and task lighting.

Any lights near a bath, shower or vanity will likely need to be a low voltage and have the correct IP rating in accordance with the zone.


Understand the key focal points within each space; is it a fireplace, a bedhead, a view, a fabric, a piece of furniture, a treasured piece of art etc. Now highlight one or two of these focal points by illuminating them with accent lighting. It could be a feature wall with a row of recessed narrow beam tiltable downlights washing down. Or a prized piece of furniture highlighted with table lamps or a bath with a hanging pendant or uplights behind it.


A well considered lighting plan is so important when you’re creating a home with heart. It can make such a big difference to your environment and your mood. For more practical tips on how to select the right lighting when you build or renovate, enter your details below to instantly receive my video 5 WAYS TO INSTANTLY REFRESH YOUR HOME INTERIOR. You’ll also be sent my comprehensive HOME INTERIOR GUIDE which includes an entire section on Lighting.


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Or feel free to contact Auckland Interior Designer Hayley Brown via the STRATEGY SESSION BOOKING PAGE and we will create a level of illumination far beyond your expectations.

Downlights be damned…..or at least limited!!

Hayley x


A word from our clients…

Hayley from Lou Brown was outstanding. Right from which pieces to buy, where to buy them, where to put them and, importantly, how they will all work together, we left the consult feeling excited about getting on with the project. No more decision fatigue, just clear direction. Great value, would thoroughly recommend.
Derek Stone

Thanks, Hayley, for Weaving Your Magic, an awesome session. I got so much value from the time we spent together. Your ability to read the large open space we have, help with colour choices and making decisions around the furniture was amazing. Such good value, it’s also great to know I get to re-cover my 30-year-old lounge suite and give it new life too. Many thanks Shona.

Shona Oliver

After moving from a large home and downsizing to an apartment, Hayley’s help in planning and choosing new furniture, and also adapting pieces brought with me to fit the space and feel of the apartment, has been invaluable! Her knowledge and understanding of my style and needs have been exceptional.

Jenny Bownes