Proper lighting can make or break the look and feel of any room in your home. With so many lighting options to choose from, it can be overwhelming trying to select the right lighting setup. Asking the right questions will help you determine the best lighting plan for each room based on how you want to use the space. Here are 5 key questions to consider when planning your room lighting:
What Activities Will Typically Take Place in This Room?
The way you plan on using a space should significantly influence the type of lighting you choose. Determine what you’ll primarily use the room for, as different activities have different lighting needs.
Living Rooms and Family Rooms
If it’s a living room or family room, you’ll likely be using the space for:
- Relaxing and conversing
- Watching TV and movies
- Entertaining guests
For these activities, you’ll need versatile lighting that can be adjusted to various settings. Include layers of light, such as:
- Ambient lighting – overhead lighting to brightly illuminate the entire room
- Task lighting – like a floor lamp or table lamp for more focused light when reading
- Accent lighting – give visual interest to specific areas, like Pictures and Bookcases
Dimmers allow you to easily control the light levels for different occasions. Wall sconces next to seating areas provide ideal reading light.
For kitchens, you’ll need:
- Abundant ambient lighting – bright overhead light for cooking, cleaning, and prepping food safely
- Task lighting over workstations – like undercabinet lighting or pendant lights above islands
- Accent lighting – like above glass-door cabinets or display shelves
Choose easy-to-clean fixtures and aim for a mix of natural and artificial light.
Key lighting for dining rooms includes:
- Ambient lighting – a dining room chandelier that provides overall illumination
- Accent lighting – like a buffet lamp or wall sconces to add style
- Dimmable lights – to create a relaxing mood for intimate dinners
Layer multiple sources for flexibility. Wall sconces help spotlight displayed dinnerware while eliminating shadows.
For bedrooms, consider lighting for these needs:
- Ambient lighting – overhead light for getting ready in the mornings and moving around at night
- Reading lamps – by the bed for cozy late-night reading
- Mood lighting – like string lights or wall sconces to create a tranquil environment
Opt for dimmable wall or overhead lights to control brightness as needed. Position adjustable reading lamps on both sides of the bed for convenience.
When lighting a home office, factor in:
- Task lighting – like desk lamps to brightly illuminate your work surface
- Ambient lighting – overhead lighting for general illumination
- Accent lighting – like floor lamps in reading nooks
Minimize glare on computer screens by positioning fixtures off to the sides.
What Is the Room’s Size and Layout?
The physical size and layout of the room will dictate how much lighting you need and where you should position the fixtures. Larger rooms need more light overall to feel comfortable. Consider:
Lighting for Large, Open Rooms
For sizable spaces with high ceilings, you’ll likely need multiple sources to sufficiently light the entire area.
- Place overhead ambient lighting in several locations, using pendants, chandeliers, or recessed cans
- Include ample task and accent lighting – like floor lamps, reading lamps, and wall sconces
- Space out and layer the fixtures to avoid dark spots
Lighting for Small, Compact Rooms
Smaller rooms need fewer overall fixtures. But they also require more strategic placement to distribute light effectively.
- Stick with one overhead ambient light source in the center of the room to avoid clutter
- Add portable task lighting like table lamps for reading nooks and work areas
- Use space-saving fixtures like wall sconces for accent lighting
Position fixtures carefully to minimize dark corners and eye strain.
Lighting for Rooms with High Ceilings
Rooms with high ceilings often feel dark and cavernous with a single overhead light. Enhance brightness with:
- Chandeliers or pendant lights hung at multiple heights
- Powerful overhead fixtures projected upwards to reflect off the ceiling
- Uplights placed high on walls, pointing upwards to create ambient glow
Include multiple sources at varying heights for sufficient coverage.
Lighting Rooms with Low Ceilings
For rooms with low ceilings, traditional overhead fixtures can feel overly imposing. Opt for:
- Flush mount lights or semi-flush lights that hug the ceiling
- Wall sconces placed near furniture and task areas
- Table and floor lamps to draw attention downward
Aim for smaller fixtures that won’t overwhelm the compact space.
What Activities Will Take Place in Adjoining Areas?
Think about how you use adjoining spaces and select lighting that flows well between rooms. Create cohesion by:
- Repeating lighting styles in adjoining rooms – like matching chandeliers and sconces
- Using similar fixture finishes from room to room – like all black fixtures
- Choosing fixtures in corresponding size scales for visual continuity
You can still use different fixture types to serve each room’s unique needs while maintaining overall harmony.
Also consider sight lines between rooms. Avoid jarring contrasts by:
- Using dimmers to adjust bright task lighting if visible from adjoining rooms
- Limiting glare and spill from accent lighting to areas with darker ambient light
Transition smoothly by thinking about lighting from a whole-home perspective.
What Style of Decor and Ambiance Do You Want?
Your lighting choices should complement your room’s decor style and desired ambiance. Consider options that align with your goals:
Lighting for Traditional Decor
If you have a traditional decor style, look for fixtures like:
- Crystal chandeliers
- Wrought iron wall sconces
- Tiffany-style lamps
- Candlestick lamps
Stick with elegant designs and natural materials like crystal, iron, and wood that fit with classic style.
Lighting for Modern Decor
For a sleek modern look, shop for:
- Slim linear pendants
- adjustable track lighting
- geometric table lamps
- matte black fixtures
Focus on simple, streamlined contemporary styles.
Lighting for Rustic Decor
To complement rustic style, look for fixtures like:
- wrought iron chandeliers
- exposed Edison bulbs
- industrial pendants
- mission-style lamps
Choose raw, natural materials like wood, metal, and leather that feel earthy and organic.
Lighting for Cozy Ambiance
To create a cozy feel, try:
- warm white light bulbs
- dimmers to control brightness
- table lamps for soft illumination
- sconces flanking seating areas
Layer fixtures at multiple heights for a welcoming glow.
Lighting for Energetic Ambiance
For lively spaces, opt for:
- overhead lighting on dimmers
- task lighting for activity areas
- colorful accent lighting
- modern statement fixtures
Use ample bright lighting that can be adjusted as needed.
What Special Considerations Exist?
Factor in any special requirements unique to the space that may influence your lighting plan.
Lighting Wet Areas
In bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements, look for:
- moisture-resistant fixtures
- recessed cans with damp location ratings
- vanity lighting around mirrors
Prioritize safety with durable and low-voltage options.
Lighting Children’s Rooms
For kids’ rooms, use:
- durable polyresin fixtures resistant to knocks
- lamp shades to prevent exposed bulbs
- plug-in underbed night lights
- desk lamps to avoid eye strain
Emphasize safety, adjustability, and accessibility for children.
Lighting Rooms with Sloped Ceilings
To illuminate angled ceilings, try:
- Rotating recessed cans
- arm lamps that allow adjustable heads
- swing arm sconces
- pendant lights with long stems
Look for fixtures with flexibility to direct light where needed.
Lighting Dark Hallways and Entryways
Brighten shadowy corridors and foyers with:
- overhead ambient lighting
- wall sconces flanking doors
- mirrors to reflect and amplify light
Provide ample illumination for safe navigation and visibility.
Choosing the ideal lighting involves asking the right questions to understand how you use each space and identify needs. Consider activity, room size, layout, adjoining areas, style, mood, and any special requirements. Answering these key questions will help you select well-suited fixtures tailored to your lifestyle and decor. With the right lighting plan, you can transform the look, feel, and function of every room in your home.
Heading 1: Living Room and Family Room Lighting
When lighting a living room or family room, it’s important to include versatile layers of light that can accommodate different activities. Here are some key recommendations for lighting these multifunctional spaces:
Use Ambient Lighting as a Bright Base Layer
Overhead ambient lighting evenly illuminates the entire room to create a bright, welcoming environment for conversation and relaxation.
A central chandelier provides a stylish source of ambient light. Opt for clear glass globes that won’t obstruct the glow. Dimmable chandeliers allow you to control the brightness as needed.
Pendant lights hung in multiples create ambient lighting while adding decorative flair. Stagger heights for greater coverage across the room.
Recessed cans recessed into the ceiling deliver ambient lighting unobtrusively. Use multiple cans spaced evenly to avoid shadows.
Include Task Lighting for Reading Areas
Localize pools of light in seating areas to illuminate books without glare. Flexible task lighting options include:
Position floor lamps next to chairs and sofas to provide direct illumination for reading without casting shadows.
Table lamps are ideal for next to couches and side chairs. Opt for adjustable lamps with swing arms to direct the beam.
Wall sconces mounted over seating provide focused downward task lighting without taking up table space.
Add Accent Lighting for Visual Interest
Use accent lighting to highlight display areas and architectural details:
Picture lights mounted above artwork illuminate it while adding sleek style. Opt for LED picture lights to protect artwork from heat and UV damage.
Bookcase lights mounted on shelves provide a pool of light to feature treasures displayed. Opt for small, unobtrusive fixtures.
Cove lighting recessed into walls or ceilings casts a soft, ambient glow to accent the architecture. Uplighting wall sconces also splash light onto high walls.
Control Light Levels with Dimmers
Install dimmer switches for overhead and task lighting fixtures. Dimming allows you to set the right mood and brightness for any activity, from movie watching to entertaining.
Thoughtfully layering ambient, task, and accent lighting gives living and family rooms versatility. Mixing fixture types, positioning lights strategically, and using dimmers allows you to adapt the lighting to any situation. The result is a multifunctional space ready for relaxation, entertainment, or quality time with loved ones.
Heading 2: Kitchen Lighting Tips and Ideas
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms to illuminate effectively. With multiple work zones and tasks taking place, it takes strategic planning to light a kitchen properly. Follow these tips to choose the best mix of lighting.
Install Bright, Full-Coverage Ambient Lighting
Bright overhead ambient lighting ensures you can safely and comfortably prep ingredients, cook, clean, and navigate the space.
Recessed cans recessed into the ceiling provide full, shadow-free illumination. Use several spaced evenly apart.
Multi-pendant configurations provide both ambient lighting and decorative flair over islands and dining areas.
Central ceiling fixtures like shallow dome lights distribute ambient light evenly across the full space.
Include Task Lighting at Key Work Zones
Target additional lighting at work areas to support food prep and cooking tasks safely.
Undercabinet lighting illuminates countertops perfectly for tasks like chopping, meal prep, and plating dishes.
Pendants Above Islands
Mini-pendants or drum pendants above kitchen islands shine light right where you need it for mixing, rolling dough, etc.
Long LED strips above the sink provide focused light for washing produce and dishes without shadows.
Add Stylish Accent Lighting
Accent lighting adds personality while highlighting display areas and architectural details.
LED strips inside glass-front cabinets or under shelves spotlight your favorite dishware and glassware attractively.
Small LED puck lights under open shelving create pools of light to feature decorative cookware and accents.
Sleek rail lighting under upper cabinets amplifies ambient light while adding modern style.
Let in Natural Light
Maximize sunlight to reduce dependence on artificial lighting:
- Strategically place skylights in dark zones.
- Use reflective surfaces to bounce light around.
- Limit wall cabinets to allow more light reach countertops.
Supplement ample natural light with adjustable task lighting as needed.
Control Lighting with Dimmer Switches
Install dimmers to adjust light levels seamlessly for everything from party prep to late-night snacking. Dimmers help create the perfect ambiance and reduce energy use.
A well-lit kitchen improves functionality, safety, and enjoyment of the space. Layer ambient, task and accent lighting thoughtfully throughout the kitchen to support all needs. Taking a strategic approach ensures your kitchen lighting is tailored to how you cook, entertain, and live.
Heading 3: Dining Room Lighting Tips and Ideas
When planning dining room lighting, factor in both form and function. Follow these tips to choose lighting that sets the desired ambiance for meals while meeting practical needs.
Install a Statement Chandelier
A stunning chandelier instantly becomes the focal point while delivering much-needed overhead ambient lighting.
- Choose a size and style that aligned with your decor.
- Opt for dimmable so you can control the brightness.
- Place the chandelier centered over the dining table.
Finish it off with stylish chandelier shades or clear globes.
Add Wall Sconces for Task Lighting
Flanking the dining table with wall sconces provides ideal task lighting for reading menus and eating without casting shadows:
- Place sconces approximately 60 inches above the table.
- Position them to align with seated eye level to avoid glare.
- Choose sconces that match the style of the chandelier for harmony.
Sconces with shades prevent glare while contributing ambient lighting.
Use Buffet Lamps for Display Areas
Position buffet lamps behind buffets or sideboards to spotlight displayed china, crystal, and serving ware:
- Opt for adjustable buffet lamps to direct the lightbeam.
- Make sure the light is focused on the display objects, not guests’ eyes.
- Choose buffet lamp styles that coordinate with the overall lighting design.
Properly positioned buffet lamps eliminate shadows and create a gallery-like display.
Include Dimmers for Ambiance Control
Install dimmer switches for the chandelier and wall sconces to allow customizable control over the dining space:
- Dim lights low for intimate dinners or crank them up for festive family gatherings.
- Create the desired ambiance with a simple dimmer slide.
- Use LED bulbs in dimmable fixtures to enable smooth, flicker-free dimming.
Dimming allows you to adapt the lighting for any occasion.
Layer Multiple Fixture Types
Combining the chandelier, sconces, and buffet lighting provides ambient, task, and accent lighting to meet all the room’s needs stylishly.
A dining space requires lighting that complements your decor while accommodating key activities like eating, entertaining, and displaying treasured pieces. A stunning dimmable chandelier paired with targeted sconces and buffet lighting checks both boxes, letting you customize the perfect setting for any meal or gathering.
Heading 4: Bedroom Lighting Tips and Ideas
Bedroom lighting deserves careful consideration because the space is used for so many functions, from sleeping to getting ready to lounging. Follow these tips to choose versatile, customized lighting.
Include Overhead Ambient Lighting
Install overhead ambient lighting to brightly light the full space for activities like dressing, cleaning, and moving around the room.
Flush mount ceiling fixtures provide ambient light while hugging the ceiling plane, keeping the room feeling open.
Semi-flush ceiling lights deliver ambient overhead lighting while adding decorative style with drum-shaped fixtrues.
Recessed can lights focused upward create even, shadow-free overhead illumination ideal for bedrooms.
Position Reading Lamps Beside The Bed
Reading lamps allow cozy late-night reading without disrupting someone else’s sleep.
- Place matching lamps on both sides of the bed for convenience.
- Choose adjustable lamps to direct the beam precisely.
- Use wall-mounted swing arm sconces or table lamps.
Position them at seated head level to avoid glare.