Lighting – it can make or break a room, budget, or mood. Do you feel inadequate to style your home whether it is a new build, under full renovation, or just itching for some change?
Knowing proper interior aesthetic and design principles; including contrast, balance, movement, texture, proportion, repetition, and color when it comes to incorporating the right type of lighting in your home can be difficult. You can feel completely overwhelmed as to where to start and have no idea how to make your home feel like those you see on television, in showrooms, or displayed in magazines.
We are here to help. We have years of experience and lighting experts to assist you every step of the way to make your home a place you love.
When it comes to selecting the proper light or style for each room in your home, consider the following tips. This simple home lighting design guide can help you become the skilled interior designer you’ve always wanted to be.
Broken up by room, this home lighting design guide will become a quick reference and can assist you in knowing what types of light to add, incorporate, or switch out of your space.
Regardless of the room, there is a key principle to consider and understand when implementing the perfect light into a space.
Layering Light is the secret to creating the perfect light in every space. There are three common ways to layer light which include ambient, task, and accent or decorative forms.
- Ambient — also referred to as general lighting fills a room. It can be in the form of recessed lighting, wall-mounted lighting fixtures, or even track lighting.
- Task — takes into consideration what activities or events will take place in a specific room. Some tasks require brighter more focused light, whereas other tasks could be completed with dimmer accent lighting options. Table or floor lamps are a great example of task lighting. This type of lighting will influence the type of fixture and the placement throughout the space.
- Accent/Decorative — can be bold or simplistic depending on the placement. It is usually implemented to highlight a specific area of focus. An example might be picture lights or wall sconces. Dimmer lights would also be considered a form of accent light as it helps build mood an ambiance when applied strategically.
Lighting Tips per Room
Consider what activities, events, or tasks are completed in each room of your home when trying to find the right lighting solution. It will provide insight into where you need to place a lighting fixture, how much light is needed, and what style could be best.
Most activities or events are conducted in other rooms throughout the house, but this space cannot be forgotten, so using a home lighting design guide will be crucial in achieving the look you want. Within the bedroom, you might want to read a book in bed or browse the internet on your mobile device. Task lighting, such as adjustable wall mounted lighting fixtures installed on both sides of the bed can help you receive directed light and help you focus. A combination of general and task lighting can help establish a space where you can wind down, relax, and enjoy peace and quiet.
Previously, bedroom lighting has solely consisted of a single central lighting fixture overhead like a flush mount, semi-flush mount, or pendant lighting fixture with the occasional task lighting on nightstands or end tables. Some improvements to bedroom lighting might be adding easily accessible switches for each of the wall mounted lighting fixtures for easy access to turn on and off before bed, upgrading the central switch in the room by adding a dimmer, and purchasing energy efficient light bulbs.
The lifestyle, age, and preference of those who reside in your home is also important to note, as more light might be required to accomplish specific activities. If utilizing a desk, table, or floor lamp directly, adjust the light so you do not look into the light bulb when lying or sitting in bed.
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As a general gathering place for events and activities, this room has a lot of foot traffic. Engaging in a wide variety of activities, the family room is most likely the most popular gathering place within your home. Additionally, this room is used to entertain when guests come over to play games, watch television, read, or just hang out.
Utilizing vertical planes when upgrading lighting in the family room will cause you to look towards the ceiling instead of down at your feet influencing your mood and energy. Brighten up a corner throughout the room by adding accent or task lighting like a floor lamp or wall sconces. Another way to add light is to highlight the fireplace, book shelves, or other large furnishings with background lighting solutions.
Improve your current lighting design by changing the room architecture, if possible, by integrating cove or valance lighting in addition to installed lighting. Switching out flush mounts, installing a large intricate chandelier, or adding wall sconces are all great lighting options to consider also. Consider installing a dimmer to all lighting fixtures to maximize control and create flexibility with how much light is emitted.
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The primary focus of this room is the table, as you gather your family to eat which is usually lit minimally with ambiance or general lighting fixtures overhead. Focused lighting in this space is important.
Usually narrow in space and unique in orientation, the dining room, can be difficult to configure; however, evaluating the wall treatments and implementing lighter wall colors with strategic lighting fixtures into the design will make the room appear bigger and brighter. If the wall color is darker in color, consider increasing the lumens in all fixtures to create more light.
The dining room traditionally has one general illumination, like a chandelier, flush mount, or island light, in the middle of the room or above the table. However, you could add wall sconces, floor lamps, or cove lighting in conjunction to a statement piece to create more compelling lighting treatment. Adding a dimmer to the central switch could allow you to have more flexibility to the amount of light throughout the space.
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The kitchen is also a common gathering place for people and activities, but the area of focus is food preparation and very focused tasks. Bright light is best in this room and can be achieved by high lights and a large number of recessed lighting around the perimeter of the room.
Depending on the size of your kitchen, it will determine exactly what layers of light are recommended. This space is great for implementing all three types of light – ambient, task, and accent. Be sure to use a home lighting design guide to properly implement the diverse light design in this space.
For a small kitchen, rely on a central ceiling fixture for ambient light, with lighting placed under the cabinets to provide task lighting for the counters and workspace when prepping food, and pendants above the island as additional task or ambient lighting. These improvements or layers of light will make the space appear larger and more inviting. Whereas, in a larger more elaborate kitchen you may have to incorporate more task and accent lighting to light up the entire space with more cabinets and a larger island.
The sink, usually placed below or near a window, is a functional and key design within most homes as it provides natural light into the space and creates balance.
Changing all of the lights to be on a dimmer and ensuring light bulbs are energy efficient will improve the lighting flexibility.
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As this room is used primarily for personal grooming, it can require intricate lighting. Being aware of shadows and knowing the best way to disperse light can make this space more inviting.
Integrate motion lights under the cabinet base as accent lighting to give the space a nice glow and add another layer of light. Add task lighting to balance out the ambience lighting options throughout the space. It is important to have task lighting to provide a focused area and make sure it is bright enough to get the job done. Shower lights or bathroom exhaust fans can also help in adding brightness to a small space.
Avoid ambiance lighting fixtures above the sink, as it will create a dark shadow when looking into the mirror. Instead, try strip lighting behind free standing structures or floating shelves or bathroom sconces.
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As a complete home lighting design guide, outdoor lighting is an extension of your home.
Exterior lighting, also referred to as landscape lighting, primarily comes from the sense of providing security and safety to your home. As this lighting will be exposed to extreme weather conditions, it is best to think about the durability and quality of each fixture.
Keep the lighting outside simple, as more is not always better – a few bright lights in areas around your yard and house also creates dark corners making safety a concern. Therefore, lower amounts of light levels consistently will make a big difference. Increase the value to your home by adding post lights, security lights, or hanging lights to enjoy outdoor spaces even in the dark.
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Hobrecht Lighting also offers fixtures for all other spaces within your home including offices, stairways, entry ways, and hallways.
Try implementing some of the lighting recommendations and design elements provided in this home lighting design guide to make a room shine, on a budget, and increase your general happiness. Feel adequate to conquer any space in your home whether it is new or old.