Saturday, 31 December 2016

Lights - positioning them

In real life we move into a house and arrange our lives/furniture around lights and sockets wherever they are and I suppose there is no reason not to replicate this in small world.  You can simply do as UK builders do and put a ceiling light (pretty much) in the centre of the ceiling and a socket on each wall in the corner and arrange your furniture accordigly.

If you are dealing with a pre-electric house this won't prove so simple and you will need to consider where you want chandelier, wall lights, candles or lamps on furniture. So there is much to be said for collecting loads of things to go in your house during the building stage.

That way you will know exactly what you need to wire in where.

I long ago gave up on being that organised and I am lucky if I even have any sort of constant idea of how I might want my rooms to look.  

For this 'electric' house I decided anything that was going to be lit would exit the back wall and that was that: so any table lamps (etc) that found themselves at the front of the house after the floor had gone down just won't be lit: otherwise I would be in a permanent state of stasis waiting to find the perfect desk light for the desk at the front of the library for example.  Every level that doesn't have the wiring finished prevents the level above from being worked on.  In my case, waiting for concrete ideas and then shopping for items, would mean the whole house would always be half done.

Even though this is set in 2016 I don't want most of my ceiling lights slap bang centre as they often look offset in some way when the furniture goes in.  

The dining room light for example really needs to be centered over the dining table.  The diary is standing in for how far forward the fireplace will be.  The table and chairs may not be the final ones but they do very well to give me an idea of where the centre of a table might be. 

The hall lantern presented less choices and is just placed centrally.  I suspect they actually were nearer the front door in Georgian houses (?) but it is so dominant it would 'stop your eye'.

I don't have any furniture for the sitting room which makes positioning the light a bit fraught but basically there will be two pieces of furniture either side of the fireplace on the back wall and a pair of sofas lengthwise down the room.  I used some stand-ins even though they are possibly a bit small.  This was still good as it made me realise that I didn't want to count in the first three inches of space (depth into the room) space in front of the door as being part of the seating area.  Therefore the light should go in the centre of the space between the sofas and half way between the fireplace and the right hand door jamb.

All these rooms were simple enough to allow me to just measure from the front of the room, make a mark and then measure from the left hand side and make an intersecting mark. 

If the room is an odd shape for any reason I just make a paper template and use that in the room above to mimic the space.  This has not been necessary on this house so far.

Drill a hole big enough to take the wires where the lines cross.

I like to keep my posts short so ..... see next week for making grooves and then the next week for getting your lights and roses ready and putting them in.

Happy New Year



  1. great post ~ more good ideas to file away in my head (or perhaps I should actually write them down!) for future use!

    1. Hope your head doesn't leak like mine, resembles a sieve these days. Thank you Sharon.

  2. HI Marilyn and HAPPY 2017! :D
    I find the wiring and the lighting of any doll's house such a chore! The biggest headache for me is always trying to think ahead to where I might require power, so I usually over-wire just to be on the safe side.
    It is usually the case as you have pointed out, of not having all the require fixture needed which often holds up other rooms in the process.
    I often wish I was able to have ALL of the lighting before hand, however the cost of lights can be quite forbidding and like you, I don't always know what I need, until I NEED it.
    Very Frustrating- to say the least.


    1. I always use the round wiring system so every single light has to be planned in advance.....I wonder if copper wiring is easier.....mind you that brings its own problems. No simple solution I guess just do the best we can and curse later when something dead obvious occurs to us. As you say lights are not cheap and, in my case, I am never able to find exactly what I want. All moans aside I do think a house needs to be lit to make it magical and alive. M

  3. Hello Marilyn,
    This is a very helpful post! Following real life lighting rules in miniature can often ruin the effect. I have used the copper wire method and I despised it! The thickness of the tape shows through paper finishes, and more then once the connection breaks and needs repairing. I have used it once and never will again!
    Big hug

    1. I was lucky to meet a real expert in lighting right at the beginning of my first project (he sold both types). He told me simply not to use the copper wire method. You need to make good joins, not use wallpaper paste or any other glue that can affect it over time etc etc etc and even then he said if you house is to be a keeper over many years it will at some time fail and it is a pig to discover where and repair. At least with each individual light and fire wired in on its own - if that happens to one of them - it is a relatively simple repair or replacement job. He convinced me, and I don't find it particularly challenging especially as I don't have to replace the plugs to plug them in those gang plank affairs, I have something better, courtesy of the same lovely chap. M