Ten Tips for Better Lighting in your Home

Who knew there was so much to know about lighting. What does that have to do with organizing and design you might ask? A lot actually. Proper thought and planning and choosing the right lighting can make or break your space. You know how much I love lists, so here goes.  Below are ten tips for your next lighting project.

A Clients’ Kitchen with a Whole Lot of Lighting!

  1. Plan where you would like your light fixtures placed. Think about ceiling, wall sconces, in and under cabinets, and even within steps.
  2. Consider the size of your rooms to choose the right amount of light. You normally want 2 to 3 times the square footage for watts or lumens. For example, a bedroom which is 10′ x 10′ or 100 square feet, should have 200 watts or 3000 lumens of light.
  3. Measure the height of the ceiling when determining how high to hang a fixture. In a dining area with an 8′ ceiling hang the chandelier 36″ over the table. Raise your fixture 3″ higher for every 12″ above 8′. But don’t go too high or the fixture will be lost in the space.
  4. Define your style.  Is your taste traditional, contemporary or perhaps transitional? What finishes are you using elsewhere? You may want your light fixtures to coordinate with these finishes or not. There really are no rules here. Mix a few contemporary fixtures with more traditional decor.
  5. Decide if energy efficiency is important. LED (light emitting diodes) fixtures are the most efficient and the selection of LED fixtures and bulbs is growing rapidly. They last longer than any other bulb reducing landfill waste and greenhouse emissions.
  6. Layer your lighting. In addition to your main light source, you can have accent lighting for artwork; cove lighting around the ceiling perimeter; under cabinet lighting for work surfaces; decorative pendants over an island; portable lamps for ambient lighting; all in the same room but on different switches.
  7. Don’t forget dimmers. These will control your light levels and save energy.
  8. Do your best to understand the terminology. Many of us are used to using the term “watts” to measure how much light we receive, this is actually measured in ” lumens”. Watts is the amount of power being used to run the lamp and lumens measures the amount of light being emitted.  I have a cheat sheet that I keep with me when I am shopping for lighting and bulbs.
  9. Please set a healthy budget for lighting. Light fixtures are often an afterthought when your budget is exhausted. Proper lighting can truly make or break a room.
  10. Hire a qualified electrician. You can feel comfortable knowing your lighting is installed in a safe and professional manner.


2 thoughts on “Ten Tips for Better Lighting in your Home”

  1. Hi Jane! I found on Craigslist a Nelson Saucer Bubble Pendant that I had been coveting for YEARS! It brings me such joy, from the moment I drive up to our house & see it through the window to when I work / eat / play games in the dining room where it resides. Dimmer, check. Qualified electrician, check. Great advice!

    • Oh wow that is so exciting. I love anything by Nelson and you scored a vintage one. Well done!


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