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Why use lights in the floor and where to position them

Low level and floor recessed lighting are versatile additions to a design-led interior. Also referred to as uplighting, using lights in a floor brings both practical and design benefits to an interior space that architects and interior designers are keen to achieve for their clients.

Detail Lighting design contemporary lighting systems that increasingly include lights in the floor. We can advise not only on the type of lights that would work best in a room, but also where to position them to maximise their effect.

Creating effective lighting design that includes lights in the floor can appear complex. Here we will demystify the concepts behind using low level and floor recessed lighting.

In-ground lighting for drawing attention to features

If an interior has prominent features, in-ground lighting is a subtle, yet highly effective, way of drawing attention to them. Features may include sculptures, artwork or textured walls. Unlike wall washing where an entire wall is illuminated to highlight a range of features, in-ground lighting covers a much smaller area.

To create this effect, in-ground lights should be positioned just 50-150mm away from the wall; the exact distance depending on the product and ceiling height. Detail Lighting can advise you further on this. The result is prominent beams of light exactly where you want to highlight specific features.

In-ground lighting for theatrical effect

Using the same design process, in-ground lighting is perfect for creating theatrical effect. Why have a beautiful entrance or bay window without highlighting it? Using in-ground lighting is an effective way of creating theatre or drama in a room. Again, the lights should be positioned 50-150mm from the wall.

An ideal light for these scenarios is the highly popular Mini Allegro. It is a fixed (no tilt) in-ground uplight that is dimmable with an optional anti-flare shield. Its discreet dimensions of 40mm x 38mm allows it to go unnoticed when switched off. It is also ideal for niches and step washing.

In-ground lighting for orientation

Particularly in commercial spaces, orientation lighting is important for safety and also to simply guide people around a building that they’re unfamiliar with. They can be used also to indicate steps or a change of floor surface.

In-ground lighting for orientation

For orientation lighting, the lights should be located as close to the edge as possible and emit a low brightness beam to reduce glare. A contemporary, design-led choice of in-ground orientation lighting would be the Sagitta Micro.

This is a modern minimalistic orientation light that is dimmable, IP67 rated, has low glare, and available in two light temperatures of 2700K and 3000K.

In-ground lighting for step-washing

The choice of lighting for step-washing should be guided by the style of the stairs and how much glare is required. Lighting every second or third step is typical of traditional step-washing design. The lights should be angled onto the treads of the steps asymmetrically so that the beam is directed sideways as opposed to in all directions.

The lights should also be baffled (have a trim) to minimise glare. To create the desired effect the lights should be positioned 200mm – 300mm above the tread, avoiding mounting and skirting. A contemporary staircase can be given a ‘floating’ design with carefully routed LED linear lighting positioned under treads, on a string or as a handrail detail.

In-ground lighting for step-washing

A classic in-ground uplight is the Astra 2018. This is a round LED path light that is small in dimensions but has a big effect in terms of lighting. It gives you the option of a medium or narrow beam, and with an anti-glare ‘half shield’ design it provides effective, focussed lighting for stairs and other floor areas.

Contact Detail Lighting for advice on in-ground lighting

For further advice on using floor lights and where to locate them, get in touch.

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