Lightings (in Singapore, at least) are the first essential things you notice missing (evident from the wires hanging overhead) when you first open the door to your new BTO flat, Executive Condominium (EC) or private Condominium. They are solely missed especially when you intend to visit the site when night falls, to drop off something there, or simply to confirm certain measurements or just to proof test a design/decor concept you have in mind.
That said, lightings usually end up as being the most overlooked (after the door bell-we will come to that) and often the most under-budgeted aspect of a home renovation. Let's not even go to the part about using lightings to create effects and ambience and how it also affects our circadian clock.
Don't blame the pushy sales person
Some pure online shop wants you to believe that you do not need an advisor to respond to your questions, or you need not to view the physical items before you decide to make that purchase. Sales person are there for a reason, and they will always be there be it an online store or a physical retail shop. They are there to share information and also to make a sale. Of course there are good ones that share experiences and opinions, good product knowledge and dishes out sound advice. They do this for a living, you have to trust them to know more than you, unless you own multiple properties and shop for lightings every few months. They are able to share with you if a particular lamp or bulb is sufficient to light up a certain area or are suited to be used in a certain environment (outdoor/bathrooms). It is your job to identify the right shop and right sales person to assist you. Yes, they take a cut of the sales as commission, but hey, they have families to feed too. Competition is strife nowadays, and the rule of the game has changed - prices are becoming more transparent, so expect the decent shops to price their items competitively to match the market rates. Sure, do your research and own due diligence before you head down. There is always Google.
Remember, there are sales person behind any online stores too, and like in a retail shop, there are good and not so good ones. Having a physical shop/sales gallery or studio also provides for accountability in the case of a dispute or exchange/warranty claims.
Work with Interior Designers/Contractors
If you are engaging an Interior Designers(ID) for your house, work closely with them in the lighting department. Since you have decided to entrust them with your home design and outsource the coordination work to them, consider letting them complete the lightings unless it is stated upfront that the services they provide does not include lightings. Again, one might think that the ID/contractor takes a cut of the profits as commission but again, they too, have families to feed. Unless you are working for your employer for free, do not expect them to be working for you for free too. It is not like you are paying them to do nothing, it takes effort to source for the right lightings. If your ID is a responsible ID, It is in their interest to recommend reasonably good products with good support to complement their work, as the last thing they would want is to deal with post sales support issues. That being said, if you do have much time on your hands to scour the internet and the local lighting shops, by all means. But then again, you probably engaged an ID in hope that you are able to free up those time to do other things? No?
Many new home owners tend to spend much of their time fussing over what furnitures, what layout and what colour of the walls, what fridge, what washer to invest in, unaware that lighting can eventually change the look and feel of even the most aesthetically pleasing piece of art on the wall or that top of the range sofa that one believes that he/she will be spending most of the time on when home. It is inevitable as lighting usually takes the backseat until most of the fixtures and carpentries are up, when by then, most would have found out that along the way, they have already chalked up unexpected cost and thus exceeded their budget, leaving them to believe that they should cut back on one of the most important aspect of the entire house renovation process. Some would just lament and accept using less than ideal lighting solutions that does not justify all the earlier efforts they have spent on working to build the perfect home setting, mainly out of exhaustion and the need to move in. Perhaps it is time we all start to realise that lightings, which are the single most used but under budgeted electronic devices (other than your handphone) that you depend upon on a daily basis. And one that potentially saves you a whole lot of money in fact- A survey, conducted by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on household energy consumption, revealed that lighting accounted for 4.3 per cent of the total household consumption and was among the top five types of energy-consuming household appliances and devices. (see chart below)
Hoverboards went up in flames, ceiling lamps falling off, toys found unsafe for children. They all have been making news in recent memories. We used to have a single light source on the ceiling in single room, now with false ceilings being a common feature in most modern homes, we are presented with a range of lighting solutions to perform various functions within any given space. Which also means, we have more electrical and electronic components above our heads now. In order to capture this tremendous growth opportunities for LED lightings, we have witnessed in the past few years the advent of numerous retail lighting shops mostly claiming to be "Factory Direct", "Direct Import" with prices that are hard to resist a second look. Also, we are spoilt for choices with numerous online marketplace touting irresistible offers. With no professional governing bodies to keep check on such imports, the consumers are being exposed to products from unknown sources, and are thus left to decide, based on their risk appetite, to try out these products. It is worth noting that insurance companies will always have the right to refuse payouts should they find that the cause of the incident is due no less to uncertified products. In light of such situations, since July 2016, NEA has started rolling out the MELS (Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme) for manufacturers to comply to. As it involves a considerable sum of money to meet this compliance, manufacturers who have a long term interest in the business will work to ensure their products are fully compliant. While this may not necessarily mean that the market will be rid of any shoddy fly-by-night retailers/individuals and dubious products, it seeks to restore some balance to the market. So expect the months leading up to July 2016 ( the retailers are given 1 year grace to clear their existing stocks) to have many sellers dumping their products at further reduced prices. Take this with a pinch of salt as this also means you'll probably be getting no post sales support for such items. So, buy wisely, for something you use daily, and invest in something that you will have a piece of mind instead of a risk over your head everyday.
Why Shop with Threecubes Lighting Singapore
We do not claim to be the best, or the cheapest, or the most extensive, or even the best quality in town, but we seek to help educate and to offer our customers a decent range of products with decent quality and affordable prices.
We seek to maintain the balance of the local lighting industry by keeping out untested and unsafe products. We are not FACTORY DIRECT as we believe strongly in working with an established manufacturer to ensure proper product support matched with a well developed product roadmap. We do not believe in selling untested products in bulk at very low prices in hope of a quick buck and then shun away from post sales support and warranty claims. We believe in pricing our products competitively by keeping post sales support resources low by ensuring the products have a low failure/return rate.
We also make recommendations based on customer's interest instead of just trying to clear our stock level, which we constantly try to maintain at lowest by only identifying products that we believe will not only benefit us, but also our customers. For example, we encourage our customers to go for fittings with bulbs that are easily replaceable and also share with what others may rather you not know or ask. We also try to remind you of things you are likely to overlook, like the door bell (often neglected and only come to realise after you have moved in). Last but not least,we complete your home by introducing technologies like Smart Home Automation (HA), like a Digital Door Lock (DDL).
We maintain our sales gallery so that you have a complete Online to Offline shopping experience where you have the convenience of shopping in the comfort of your home and when you like to have a physical look and feel of the product before you make that purchase.
We do not claim to be Singapore's No.1 lighting shop, but we promise you we will try our best to make you our No.1 customer.
Check out THREECUBES LIGHTINGS featured at HDB Show Flat gallery: