BARCELONA RENOVATION: Early decisions – plugs, lighting, radiators

renovating a property in barcelona spain radiators heating

Although it makes perfect sense when you think about it, I was surprised that decisions about the positioning of plugs, switches, lighting, and radiators, came so early on.

This is my first experience of renovating a property, and it’s not something I’ve thought about before, so I’m learning all about the sequence of decisions you have to take.

One of the first decisions I’ve been asked to make by my builder concerns the number, type, and location of electrical plugs, light switches, TV wall sockets, ethernet jacks, and radiators. The building team need to know where all these things go so they can lay the tubes and pipes for the electrical wiring and plumbing, which all goe in the walls and ceiling.

renovating a property in barcelona spain electrical wiring

Switches and plugs seem like small details but their number and position make a difference to small, repetitive tasks in daily life. You really want to have them located in just the right place to make it easy to do small things like turn the lights on and off. So you need to plan where beds and other key bits of furniture will go. Luckily my builders have interior design and architecture in house so I’ve got great professionals to help me draw up plans and make changes as we go along. At this stage I don’t have to decide on the style of these features, just their number and location.

I’m going for lots of plugs in lots of places, as I hate having to resort to plug extension leads that look ugly, get in the way, and collect dust. In my office I’m going for a rack of ten plugs to be on the safe side.

I’m putting digital TV wall sockets in all 3 bedrooms, my office, and the living room, just for safety’s sake. I don’t plan to have TVs in any bedrooms but who knows what my kids will bully me into when they get older.

But as far as TV goes, these days you don’t need TV sockets if you have a fibre optic internet, TV and telephone bundle like the one I have with Movistar. All the data travels over ethernet cables, or wifi. I’m putting ethernet plugs in all the rooms just in case, but the plan is to be wireless as far as possible. I’ll explain the options at a later date.

I’ve kept the old radiators because they are traditional cast iron and cost a fortune. I also like that retro look. We’re going to spruce them up and have them dotted around the flat, though we’ll also install some slimline modern radiators in some places. But I’m not planning to use the central heating much, as I’m putting in lots of insulation, which I’ll explain in my next article.

renovating a property in barcelona spain radiators heating

renovating a property in barcelona spain radiators heating

Lighting is a big and complicated subject that I’ll also be writing about in more detail. It can make all the difference to the mood and look of a home. So often I see lighting installation badly done. I’m determined not to make the same mistake.

Next time I’ll look at the question of insulation, what are your options, and what they cost.

Builders in Barcelona

I’m pleased with the company doing my renovation work, whom I found through personal contacts. They are handling everything for me – design, planning, and building. If you need to renovate a property in Barcelona, or need any building work done, and want to get a quote from a good builder who can take care of all your work and deal with you in English (or Spanish / Catalan) I can put you in touch with them.

Barcelona Renovation Articles

About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based Spanish property market analyst, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008). He can be reached by email on ms@spanishpropertyinsight.com. All articles published in good faith as a general guide but no substitute for professional advice. Please read the SPI disclaimer

3 thoughts on “BARCELONA RENOVATION: Early decisions – plugs, lighting, radiators”

  1. GarySFBCN

    Yes to lots of sockets, including in spaces where you may not think you need them. We only included 4 sockets in the pantry/dispensa and they are all being used. I wish we had 8 of them. Also, if you are going to have one of those vacuum/brooms in a closet or other items that need to be charged, include a socket or two in each closet. Don’t forget lighting in the closets.

    We went with a combination non-LED 12v lights on dimmers and LEDs not on dimmers. I didn’t see any LED lighting that gave me the ambience I wanted in the living room and master bedroom, hence the non-LED lightning. But in the kitchen, bathrooms and hallways (but not the recibidor) we used LEDs.. The non-LED lighting on dimmers provide us with really nice ambient light and, other than a reading lamp, we don’t have any lamps. But our place is modern, so it works. When looking at the plans before the work began, it looked like we had too many lights. But it turned out to be just right.

    We also included one ceiling light on it’s own switch for a hanging lamp over the dining table whenever we get around to choosing the right table.

    We put in extra switches and electrical cable in the living room an master bedroom to allow us to install ceiling fans should we decide to do so.

    You may want to consider putting electric sockets behind the toilets, close to the floor, to allow for future ‘smart’ toilet seats. Also, if you are going to have mirrors with their own lights in the bathrooms, minimally you’ll need electrical wiring or even a socket on the wall behind where the mirrors are going to be located. If you use a electric toothbrush, you’ll probably want a socket located near the surface of the bathroom counter, and other sockets for hair dryers, electric razors higher up.

    Also, don’t forget plenty of sockets and lighting in the gallery.

    1. Mark Stücklin Post Author

      Thanks Gary. I think I’ve got all those ideas covered, and I do plan to instal ceiling fans as I prefer them over aircon for sleeping at night, unless it’s unbearably hot. Also, I’m going to have masterswitch at the entrance to turn everything off, as I always leave something on when I go out. Not sure about smart loo seats though. I’m going to have traditional wooden ones, though I might have to import them from the UK. Got your PM thanks.

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