Current garden office design includes large expanses of glazing to maximise the amount of natural light that fills the garden office but there are times of the day and in the winter months when natural light isn’t so bright and you will have to rely on artificial light.
You will have seen in our Q&A sessions with the garden office suppliers we have asked about the type of lighting they have chosen and why they chose it, we asked this question because lighting is a very important consideration of garden office design.
Most garden offices come with a general / ambient lighting system the most popular form of ambient lighting are downlighters which are recessed into the ceiling and give the room a modern feel, but spotlights, fluorescent tubes and wall mounted uplighters and even pendent lights are all options:
Downlights are very popular in garden offices and they are recessed into the ceiling, they come in two types – low voltage which operates on 12v and requires a transformer and mains voltage which doesn’t require a transformer and can be dimmed. Down lighters fill the room with bright, clear light.
Spotlights are ideal for directing the light to specific areas of the room such as over a desk area; they come in many styles from tracks of three spotlights to single spotlights. Spot lights can be fitted on the ceiling and directed down into the room or at the top of the wall and directed up into the roof.
Florescent tubes yes we are talking about those tubes you used to find in kitchens, they are considered quite slick in garden office design and give off a bright light but very little heat.
Uplighters are fixed on the wall and shine light upwards; they normally give off quite a soft light ideal if you want to create a mellow environment.
Track lighting is popular in garden offices with vaulted ceilings as it can bring the light down into the room, it also has a very modern feel, cables with a current running through are stretched from one side of the office to another and light fixings clipped or screwed to the cable.
With a garden office you will probably want to incorporate some task lighting, some garden office suppliers will be able to incorporate specific task lights over desks but in many cases task lighting will be installed after the office is finished in the form of desk spotlights.
If you have shelves or units in your garden office why not consider recessed lighting, this can look great.
Types of Light
You will probably only find incandescent light fittings in the most basic of garden offices as this type of lighting is being phased out. Incandescent bulbs are cheap to buy but not economical or efficient to run, about 80% of the energy used by an incandescent light bulb is given off as heat rather than light. Incandescent bulbs produce a steady warm light useful for most situations they can also be dimmed, bulbs typically last 1000 hours.
Halogen bulbs are a variation on incandescent technology, electricity is passed through a tungsten filament enclosed in a tube that contains halogen, the tungsten filament is hotter than the filament in a incandescent bulb meaning a halogen bulb gives off more heat than a incandescent bulb so care needs to be taken where halogen bulbs are used so they don’t come into contact with flammable materials. Halogen bulbs are more expensive than incandescent bulbs but more efficient energy wise; they also last longer at typically 3000 hours.
Florescent tubes are popular in garden office design as they look quite modern, one bulb can light a large area and they give off very little heat. Florescent tubes work by passing a current through argon and mercury. Florescent tubes have ballast components which provide the right voltage, there are two types of ballast magnetic and electronic, electronic ballast overcomes the problem with humming and flickering that used to be associated with florescent tubes. Florescent tubes last approximately 10000 hours.
Compact Florescent Lamps
Known as CFL’s they are the modern low energy light bulb, they work on the same principle as a florescent tube and give off little heat and are cost effective to run. CFL’s fit in most standard light fittings and have replaced the incandescent bulb in many situations. Compact florescent bulbs have a typical lifespan of 8000 hours.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes these are a different type of lighting to those described above, a LED produces light when electrons move around within its semiconductor structure. A LED light is very efficient it is typically 85% more efficient than an incandescent bulb and around 5% more efficient than a CFL. As well as being energy efficient to run LED bulbs last much longer at around 45,000 hours, the down side is that they are much more expensive to buy than other types of light so you will probably only find them on high spec garden offices.
Which is the brightest light?
Whilst you will want to compare your choice of lighting by its energy efficiency, cost and lifespan you should also consider the amount of light it gives off. The amount of light a bulb gives off is measured in lumens and the lighting we have mentioned here varies greatly, the table below shows the lumens for different wattages of bulbs:
Don’t Forget Outside
It’s worth considering exterior lighting for your garden office, again there are several types – many contemporary garden offices have down lighters recessed into the soffit board or veranda overhang, other garden offices have wall mounted exterior lights , and some have LED lights in the deck. Exterior lights can be controlled by a switch in the garden office or by PIR sensors which switch the lights on when movement is detected – a good security feature.
A few companies also offer remote controls for the lighting system meaning you can switch the lights on and off from your house, some even have apps for your Smartphone so you can control the lights of your garden office from anywhere in the world!
As you can see there’s quite a lot to consider when thinking about the lighting of your garden office.
In the next part of this guide we will look at garden office heating.