For some, home deign comes naturally, but you should determine the way you light the room since it may completely change the space. Having multiple lighting sources will not only allow you to control ambiance and mood but also how you use the space. When it comes to lighting, it is one of the basic elements that helps make your house a home.
With the proper illumination of your space, you will be able to feel not only safer but also more comfortable, which allows you to enjoy your space at its full potential. Here is a complete guide to getting you started.
1. Determine the function of each room
The proper lighting can make you feel productive or relaxed since certain types of lighting serve a specific purpose. When it comes to your space, you should choose the right type, depending on the purpose of your room. In order to optimize your home’s lighting, you must determine how you’re using the space. Generally, you can choose from three categories of lighting which are ambient, task and accent.
Ambient or general lighting is an overall source of light in a room and it illuminates all of it and is considered the room’s basic light. You can choose the chandelier, pendant light, wall sconces or track lighting for creating ambient light that fills the room.
Accent lighting should highlight a particular piece such as a work of art or a bookcase. This type of lighting usually creates the shadow around the object which brings a dramatic effect. One of the most common options when speaking of accent lights are wall lights and landscape ones.
When it comes to task lighting, it is meant for work or reading areas. This source of light should give a brighter light than the ambient one, to create the contrast which focuses the light in a specified place. You can pick desk lamps and under-cabinet kitchen ones since they are most common task lighting options. Keep in mind though that track lighting and pendants can be uses for task lighting too.
If you want to light your space right, you’d better consider how you’re going to use each room and whether there’s anything you want to accent in the space. It’s advisable to start layering with ambient lighting. Then you ought to consider task and accent fixtures.
2. Choose your bulbs properly
Because the bulb is your light source, you have to determine what type you need in order to achieve the best effect.
- The incandescent bulb is a traditional one which most of us have used for years. They are becoming to phase out in favor of more energy-efficient types. This type of bulb produces a glowing, warm light.
- Compact fluorescent bulbs use 75% less energy than the previous one and them last longer. Keep in mind that this type emits a cooler tone, but you can easily find them in a range of brightness levels and temperatures.
- LED bulbs are just as efficient as CFLs, but they can last up to three times longer! It’s best to use them for task lighting since they provide a harsh, direct light and are very efficient. Plus, these bulbs are less hot to the touch, but may also be more expensive.
- Halogen bulb gives off a bright, white light, which is similar to a natural daylight. It’s best for task lighting and uses 10 to 20% less energy than an incandescent one.
3. Decide on the lighting fixtures
- Now it’s time to choose the best type for optimizing your space illumination.
- Ceiling mount fixtures are the most popular for ambient lighting and are great for hallways, bedrooms, entry foyers, task spaces and stairways. It’s recommended to space out your fixtures in hallways every 8 to 10 feet for the best illumination.
- Chandeliers are often used for general or ambient lighting and work best in dining rooms or bedrooms.
Wall-mounted fixtures (sconces) can be picked for any space for accent, task or ambient lighting, depending there you mount them and what kind of bulb you choose.
- Pendant lighting is great for the task or general illumination since it hangs from the ceiling. Also, this lighting fixture is equipped with shades to avoid glare and work great over dining room tables, countertops, and other work areas.
- Recessed lighting can be used anywhere you desire for general, task or accent lighting, depending on how bright it is and where it’s mounted.
Track lighting is meant for almost anything, and it’s especially versatile since you can often move the individual lamps around. You can also use it as an accent in order to highlight your artwork, but it’s also a good idea to use them to illuminate the whole space.
- Table lamps are a great accent lighting fixtures for a living room, but they also perfect in a bedroom as a task lighting.
If you put your lighting fixtures on a dimmer, you will be able to easily change up the brightness.
5 steps to the best home illumination
- Step 1 – Living room – In order to bring out the best in your space, you have to focus on the right lighting. There is a wide range of types of lighting fixtures that will enhance your room’s ambiance and provide general illumination for your space. You should choose a few different types of lights for creating a general and accent lighting.
To light a general area it’s best to use recessed lighting since the light source is concealed. Also, you can choose wall sconces, interior lamps, and close-to-ceiling fixtures, which are great choices to for bringing ample lighting. You can choose beautiful decorative wall sconces, which are gaining popularity for accent lighting, and incorporate them in your living area. In addition to ambient light, consider using an accent one in one corner of the room to make your space more alive, and accent your artwork or other decorative pieces by adding the track or recessed lighting to a room. If you don’t have enough space on your table, choose wall lamps.
- Step 2 – Kitchen and dining room – Since the kitchen is the busiest part of the house, you should incorporate sufficient and proper lighting, as it’s a must for performing all culinary needs. It’s advisable to sketch a plan of your space that focuses on activity areas in order to decide what kind of light you need. Try to incorporate ambient light overhead, lower task lighting for illuminating the counter space where you work and an accent or decorative fixtures. If possible, the sink is also a great place to add task lighting fixture. For providing an ample up-lighting, consider adding a glass or plastic pendant to cover the entire dinette area with light. It’s recommended to choose decorative fluorescent fixtures centered over a workspace. Remember that if your kitchen is larger than 100 square feet, you’d better install two fluorescent lamps. If your space is up to 250 square feet, it requires supplemental lighting. One of the best ways to bring additional general lighting to your kitchen is mounting down lights 18 inches off the edge of the cabinets. If you want to add critical light to your workspace and avoid shadows on the counters, go for under cabinet lighting. For a cost efficient option it’s best to pick fluorescent under cabinet fixtures. For open spaces over the sink, you’d better choose recessed downlights mounted directly over the sink. If you have a breakfast bar or counter dinette, consider installing mini-pendants 18 to 24 inches above the work surface and a pendant on the dimmer mounted 24 to 30 inches above the dining table. Keep in mind to size the lighting fixture to roughly 12 inches less than the diameter of your table. Illuminating architectural details and decorative objects are great with the track or recessed lighting and it’s best to use it under cabinets to add drama while bringing additional light to your kitchen space. In order to fill in your space’s shadows, light vertical surfaces and reduce contrast, choose fluorescent lights to give your area a brighter appearance. When it comes to choosing the right lighting for a dining room, it’s recommended to create a focal point with your lighting fixture. The one you choose should express your own personal style while satisfying your room’s general lighting needs. It’s best to use a pendant or a chandelier for general lighting since these fixtures are great sources of light and will surely set the tone of your dining area. If you want to visually enlarge your space, consider recessed wall washers, which will also provide additional lighting. It’s best to make sure that your chandelier is 6 to 12 inches smaller than the narrowest side of your dining table. Keep in mind that the bottom of the pendant or chandelier ought to be about 30 inches above your table. For an abundant illumination for your dining room, pick chandeliers with 200 to 400 overall wattage. You can also choose one with an integral downlight to bring more light to the table. Don’t forget to add accent lighting to the dining room. It’s recommended to install adjustable halogen recessed fixtures because it will not only provide additional light but also bring out the brilliance of the chandelier. You can also consider companion scones on either side of your cabinet to add drama.
- Step 3 – Bathroom – It can be tricky since it is probably the last place you want to invest money and time. But it’s best to spend some little extra time on planning and deciding which lighting fixtures would work best in your space. One of the standard choices for bathroom lighting is halogen bulbs. The newest option is compact fluorescent ones.
In a bathroom space, it’s best to choose several recessed downlights or decorative wall fixtures for areas over 100 square feet. In order to compliment bath wall brackets, consider adding close-to-ceiling fixtures for your large bathroom.You ought to install one lighting fixture over the mirror for illuminating the space, but keep in mind that it can cause shadows on your face. It’s best not to mount your fixture directly over the mirror, instead, add wall brackets to the side of it since it’s the most efficient way to prevent shadows on the face. If your mirror is under 48 inches wide, choose vertically installed wall brackets and mount them 75 to 80 inches above the floor.If your fixture uses exposed lamps, keep in mind not to use a higher wattage than 40 watts, but for a fixture with well-diffused glass, you can use wattage up to 75 watts. It’s recommended to incorporate extra lighting fixture for decoration and function. You can add a small recessed fixture directed at a piece of artwork or gorgeous powder basin for creating an additional layer of lighting. Using recessed lights in the shower is the best option, but you can also pick ceiling mounted plastic unit.
- Step 4 – Foyer, halls, and stairways – It’s best to use lighting and decoration for a first impression. In order to create basic illumination and bring a welcoming vibe to your space, it’s advisable to center a traditional chandelier, contemporary pendant or transitional close-to-ceiling lighting fixture in your hallway. You should make your artwork shine by illuminating it with halogen light from track or adjustable recessed down-lighting. Another option to add a stylish, decorative pop to your foyer is incorporating mirrors.
Keep in mind to size the fixture to the space, since you may not be able to fit a giant chandelier in your space – check if the size proportions are correct. For a larger space it’s best to choose a larger lighting fixture, but keep in mind to pick a piece that looks attractive from second story viewing. If you have stairways, you should install a good general lighting for safety in order to prevent accidents. It’s best to light your stairs from top to bottom with switches in bots places. You better install your lighting fixtures every 8 to 10 feet. Don’t forget to tie in the look with matching foyer chandelier or pendant with close-to-ceiling lighting fixtures for hallways and smaller chain hung one for your stairway. In order to complement the hanging fixture in your foyer, incorporating matching wall sconces is always a great choice. It’s best to install them above eye level not to see the lamp source.
- Step 5 – Exterior lighting – You should focus on functional and fun lighting outside your interior since it will not only enhance the beauty of your home but also provide additional security. Plus, you have a wide range of lighting options for your exterior. Consider the types available since you can find two primary types: functional and decorative. If you want to compliment the look and feel of your landscape, it’s advisable to choose decorative fixtures, which are best used along pathways, entrance foyers and on walls and posts. Plus, they provide sufficient lighting for safety and functionality. If you want to incorporate a wall lantern, don’t forget to size it to the door and surrounding space, since it should be installed slightly above eye level at about 60 to 66 inches from the center of the fixture to the floor. You can add post top lanterns to match the style and it’s best to use them in a large open space. Keep in mind that most lantern fixtures are glaring light sources, which can be a cause of light trespass onto other properties and distract glare for drivers. For functional purposes, it’s best to choose hidden lights, as they are strategically positioned around the space to illuminate architecture and plants.
Don’t forget to incorporate some lighting for security, such as landscape, deck, and step lighting, which will also bring out the beauty of your home at night.
You should focus on a specific and unique lighting needs for each room, and there are many tips and ideas for you to consider when planning your lighting. It is a subtly powerful thing, that can impact everything from your sleep schedule to your brain power. Lighting fixture style is important, and so is its quantity and quality.