How to Improve the Lighting in Your Home

Photo via House Seven Design

Photo via House Seven Design

The right lighting in a room can help us feel uplifted, comfortable and more productive. Lighting is one of the most important elements in the design of a home. However, selecting and planning lighting can seem intimidating and mind-boggling. I understand completely, and I am here to help!

In this blog post, I will share a few expert tips to help you select and plan the best lighting for your space.

How to Select & Balance Your Light Sources

Lighting sources can be categorized into three groups: overall, task and sparkle. A well-lit room will provide a balance between these three categories.

  • Overall lighting consists of light sources that illuminate the entire space, such as recessed and ceiling mounted fixtures, as well as natural light.

  • Task lighting is meant to assist in specific tasks, such as lighting above a kitchen counter to prep food or a floor lamp for reading.

  • Sparkle lighting adds that touch of glimmer or visual interest to a room, for example display lighting in a shelving unit or an accent light.


How to Effectively Plan the Overall Lighting of a Room

Overall lighting should be considered first when planning the lighting of a space. The number of light fixtures to achieve a comfortable lighting level will depend on the size of the space. For example, a 10x15ft living area will be generally well-lit with four to six recessed fixtures. I always suggest placing ceiling fixtures on a dimmer, to adapt the lighting level to the changing needs of a space.

In addition to electric lighting, always try to maximize the natural light by installing sheer drapes and light surfaces. The overall lighting efficiency and comfort will be greatly enhanced by balancing electric and natural light.

How to Choose the Best Task Lighting

Task lighting in a room depends on furniture placement and the specific functions of a space. Will this room be used for reading, if so where? Is this space meant for eating or preparing food?

Consider any and all activities that take place in the space, and select lighting that will help to perform each task. For example, add a floor lamp by your favorite reading spot, and make sure your kitchen island has direct lighting to prep and enjoy food.


How to Introduce Sparkle Lighting You will Love

Sparkle lighting is all about beauty and surprise. This is similar to jewelry, when getting dressed for a party. It's what adds that final touch!

Sparkle can be understated or overt, depending on the style of your space. Consider adding LED strip lighting under shelves to brighten up ornaments, and installing wall-mounted accent lights to highlight artwork.

Photos via Focal Point Styling/Rupert Bevan (left) and Circa Lighting/J. Randall Powers (right)

Photos via Focal Point Styling/Rupert Bevan (left) and Circa Lighting/J. Randall Powers (right)

What You Should Know about Bulb Options

In terms of bulbs (aka. lamps), the most efficient type of bulb today is LED (light emitting diode). However when using LED lamps, always choose warm white (2500-3000 kelvin), since this will create a softer, more inviting glow.

I typically use a mix of incandescent, halogen and LED lamps. This creates a nice balance of warmth and energy efficiency. I strongly advise to stay away from fluorescent lamps. This type of light will make your room appear cold, wash out colors and has actually has been linked to depression.

How to Select Dreamy Hanging Light Fixtures

A word about hanging light fixtures - chandeliers and pendants. These beautiful fixtures may fall under the category of overall OR sparkle lighting, depending on size, location and material.

For example, a dining room may have recessed fixtures in the ceiling and a glass chandelier above the table. The chandelier in this case is meant less as a source of overall lighting, and more as a statement piece -- to add visual interest to the space (i.e. that beloved sparkle)!

Photo via Archdaily/Govaert & Vanhouette Architects

Photo via Archdaily/Govaert & Vanhouette Architects

Where to Find the Best Lighting for Your Home

When sourcing lighting for my clients, a few of my favorite to-the-trade vendors are Arteriors and Flos. Some of my go-to retail lighting vendors are Rejuvenation, Circa Lighting, Restoration Hardware and Revco (in The Hamptons). All of these sources have an extensive variety and high quality fixture options.

I hope these tips have helped to encourage you to fearlessly tackle your lighting challenges! Most of all, have fun and experiment with the lighting in your home. Remember lighting is all about balance and joy :)

If you decide you'd like a professional hand to style your space, don't be shy! Just reach out and I'd be happy to help.