Working With Interior Designers
Our expert explains when a lighting designer should be brought in on a home design project.
 
As a lighting designer, how do you work most effectively with interior designers? At what point should you be brought in on the process?
I like best to be brought in prenatally, or at least the first trimester of a project. Too often, I get a call as the last coat of paint is going on the walls and the homeowner's whole family is arriving for the holidays. If I can get in at the preliminary design stage, then the lighting, interior design and architecture can all evolve together. The best design happens when everyone is at the table, throwing out ideas. Creating a working rapport with all the players really helps the project run more smoothly and avoids letting a design decision by one member of the team negatively impact other aspects. Design changes can have a domino effect. Keeping everyone in the loop via e-mail helps keep all the players informed. For example, simply reversing a door swing can have widespread ramifications. For the contractor, it may mean reframing or a threshold modification to accommodate a difference in floor levels. For the interior designer, it may mean that a painting or large piece of furniture can't go on the wall where it was intended. For the lighting designer, it may shift where the wall sconces are located or create a situation where the switches end up behind the door as you enter the room.
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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