INTERIOR LIGHTING TIPS FOR YOUR HOME
Lighting in the home is often overlooked, yet so important in many ways. Good lighting is not just crucial for reading and cutting carrots in the kitchen. Lighting highlights special areas and art in your home, it creates a mood and atmosphere in your most lived in rooms, and it can even be art itself.
As a former interior designer, people would often ask me, What kind of lighting does each room need? That is not always an easy and quick answer. When I learned lighting in college, it was less about aesthetics and more about two page calculations. We learned the proper way to light rooms the way engineers and electricians know lighting.
It was way more complicated and more than I ever needed to know in my actual interior design career. I never actually had to calculate a single foot-candle to light a room.
Don’t worry, this speedy lesson in lighting is more about lamps, fixtures, and bulbs (plus some room-by-room tips) that will help you illuminate the way.
There are two basic rules of thumb for lighting your home:
1.) You should have a mix of light sources at different levels to create a flattering ambience
2.) You need appropriate task lighting for whatever you do in that space (reading, sautéing, getting dressed).
Here are tips for five key rooms in your home.
Light three of the four corners, focusing one of those lights on an object (art, a plant, a collection of something, or a striking chair). Use a combination of table lamps and floor lamps, some with a downward glow and some that shine upward- or even use outdoor garden lights for up lighting. Garden spot lights are wonderful inside the home too behind your indoor plants.
Most homes have overhead ceiling fixtures, but don’t be afraid to add more overhead lighting in creative and unique ways, such as the lighting shown below illuminating the hearth, fireplace, or central focal point of a room.
Allow for reading in as many seats as possible with down-glowing lamps on three-way switches. If you have an overhead fixture, put it on a dimmer, it is well worth it. Light up architectural features in your home, such as ceiling beams, pillars, or built in bookcases or display cases as seen below.
To draw people in, make the table the brightest spot in the room. Use a chandelier or a pendant above the table, limiting the total wattage to 100. Elsewhere in the room, indirect lighting is best—it’s relaxing and flattering. Give the space a subtle glow with a pair of small table lamps on a sideboard or matching sconces on the wall above. Battery-powered votives inside a glass-front china cabinet can be a nice touch.
Focus on overhead lighting (on a dimmer that you can crank up when cooking), and add lower sources to illuminate work surfaces. Use pendants, under-cabinet lights, or a sturdy table lamp (kept away from the sink).
Aim for a cozy, warm, comfortable and insular atmosphere by placing reading lamps or sconces by the bed—but not pointed directly at the bed. If you have recessed or track fixtures, angle them away from the bed, toward the dressing area. On a low table, include a small, intimate lamp with a tinted low-wattage bulb to mimic candlelight.
The best choice for applying makeup is sidelights, such as a pair of sconces flanking the mirror. An overhead light helps fill in any shadows on your face and also fully illuminates the room (important when cleaning). In a large space, you might also want a light directly over the shower and bathtub. Don’t be afraid to let in the natural light through open windows. Use softer fabric blinds that can be closed while showering and dressing but opened for some natural light while applying makeup. Additionally, most homes have very small bathrooms, so the light from window can actually help to light your house more by opening them during the day and also warm your bathroom in the winter months on a sunny day.
I hope these lighting tips have helped and if you have some older lighting in your home, consider updating it and adding additional lighting to each room. It truly will change the overall warmth and atmosphere of your home.
I have many more lighting ideas and inspiration on my Pinterest Profile on my lighting board. Click below to check out those illuminating ideas-