Thinking of updating a lighting system and don’t know what you should be looking out for?
Follow our tips to avoid making the 10 most common mistakes.
Rule no. 1: request a sample and do a test beforehand
This is probably the most common mistake of them all; so it’s well worth noting. Always request a sample and do a test beforehand. Only in this way will you discover the real performances of the lighting device, whether the cables are long enough, whether making the connections is complicated, whether the hole or cut you’ll have to make are compatible with your furniture system and so on.
Rule no. 2: not too much and not too little light
Assess the illuminance level. What is illuminance? To put it simply, it’s the quantity of light projected by a device on a surface. Remember that it must be sufficient but not excessive. It’s therefore important to carefully assess the piece of furniture on which you are going to install the device. Obviously a kitchen undercabinet light or a bathroom mirror need a high illuminance level. But don’t risk creating a dazzle effect by choosing the same level for a device installed in a walk-in wardrobe or bookcase.
Rule no. 3: check that the CRI of your device is at least 80
Avoid lights that made colours look opaque. All artificial lighting has a varying ability to show us colours exactly as they are. This is known as the colour rendering index (or CRI) and it is measured on a scale from 0 to 100. As a general rule, always choose lights with a CRI of at least 80 (this is also the standard set by an EU regulation). In fact 90 is even better if possible. As well as complying with the regulations in force, you’ll also avoid changing the colours of the surfaces; especially wooden ones.
Rule no. 4: choose a device with a warm colour temperature
Keep an eye on the colour temperature. The light from white LEDs can be cold, neutral or warm; sometimes it is particularly warm. This parameter is known as the colour temperature and it is measured in kelvins (not kelvin degrees!). Make sure you choose the correct colour temperatures. Generally, warm temperatures (from 2700 to 3500 kelvins) or neutral ones (around 4000 kelvins) are the most appropriate. Avoid cold temperatures (over 4500 kelvins) because these are not suitable for illuminating furnishing surfaces and can prove downright uncomfortable in the home.
Rule no. 5: don’t forget that a switch might also be needed
A switch for turning on the lights on a piece of furniture is not always available. For this reason, evaluate the possibility of offering a switch in your system. Our advice? Choose one that works at a very low voltage (12V or 24V) and perhaps also with a dimmer function.
Rule no. 6: ask if the power supply can be dimmed on the primary voltage
Ask whether the power supplies are compatible with dimmers. If you’ve decided not to add a switch to your new lighting system, remember that wall switches with an incorporated dimmer are very common in homes. And bear in mind that these accessories are not always compatible with the power supplies currently in use.
Rule no. 7: if possible, choose products that are easy to replace
Analyse the potential need to carry out maintenance. When designing your new lighting system, carefully assess the potential need to carry out rapid maintenance. This could be essential if the system breaks down or isn’t working properly. If compatible with your requirements, choose devices that are easy to install, with cables that can easily be disconnected or extracted if built into the furniture unit.
Rule no. 8: ask whether duration tests have been carried out and, if so, based on which standards (L70 or LM80 are the most reliable ones)
Duration? Presumed average life cycle? Operational duration? Warning: don’t let yourself be fooled. Always enquire about the average operational duration of the devices. For lighting devices, this is generally the point at which the light emission is reduced to below 70% of the initial value (that is, when new). It’s called L70. Therefore, you don’t need to know for how long your device will emit even only a faint light. But rather for how long its performance will no longer be of an acceptable level.
Rule no. 9: request a copy of the certificates for each product
In which countries do you want to sell your furniture? Lighting devices, power supplies and accessories are all electrical appliances. Check carefully whether they are designed and certified for use in your country and all the countries in which you intend to sell your furniture. Remember that the CE marking is only valid for countries in the European Union, while for all other destinations, technical modifications and a different marking or certification may be requested.
Rule no. 10: choose a certified supplier with a good, stable reputation
Is your supplier reliable? Do you call your supplier to obtain a replacement and you are told: “We’re not producing that model any longer, but we can supply you with our latest model”? Warning: the latest model could prove to be very different from the one you’ve installed. Or, worse still, you might never receive it because the company no longer exists.