Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lighting tips, tricks and pointers

One of the must-haves in my family room renovation is more lighting.  I have 'made do' with 2 lamps on end tables and a pharmacy floor lamp but it was sadly not enough. I am installing some recessed lighting for additional accent on the fireplace wall and over the sofa for reading and illuminating the art wall.  This brings to mind some of our lighting recommendations: 

Rule of Thumb # 1:
Place lights in every quadrant of your room.  Divide your room into quadrants and put lighting appropriate to the task in that area. 

Rule of Thumb # 2:
Know your wattage requirements- you can never have too much light!
Dining Room: depends on the mood you want to set but 60-100 watts is recommended over the table, with other sconces or accent lights of 40-60 each.  Dimmers are preferred in this setting.
Reading areas: 75-100 watts
Bathroom: overhead 75 watts and side lighting 60 watts.
Workspace: 100 watts, multiple overhead bulbs.
Kitchens: pull out all stops with maximum lighting overhead, task lighting and accent (ambient) lights. 

Rule of Thumb # 3:
You need overhead, floor and table lamps.  The best lighting is at eye level, since most overhead lighting creates shadows.  The color of your lampshades, and bulbs all affect the color light cast in your room.  We opt for the whitest color light to best show off your interior.  LED lights work great under kitchen counters to avoid shadows.

Rule of Thumb # 4:
Layer your lighting.  Start with the ceiling for overall effect (use a dimmer switch), table and floor lamps and then accent lights ( down lights, up lights, sconces). Vary the size of the light you use from large, medium to small. 

Some of our pet peeves are too many recessed lights in a room (looks like swiss cheese), a ceiling fixture that is too small (make a statement!) and not enough light (check your quadrants).

Do you see an overall theme in decorating recommendations? 
Layer, layer, layer!

Most of all have fun with your home, it is your own artist's canvas.


  1. He he swiss cheese! I hate that too. I never thought much about lighting until my family room had a sconce, lamps, recessed, and an overhead pendant. I wouldn't have it any other way now!

  2. Great tutorial! Lighting is one of my favorite necessary accessories!!

  3. This post is making me realize I need to move lighting to the #1 priority around my house. I think we are committing every one of your pet peeves around here. But lighting is sooooo hard!!! Committing to lamps - ugh!! I can do it for other people's houses but not my own. Thank you for sharing all these great tips.

  4. Thanks for your tips, Nancy! I love lamps and have a little addiction, I wish they didn't take up so much room! :(

  5. Wonderful tips Nancy!!!! I need a good overhead in my living room other than my recessed ones, right now I have a measly ceiling fan/light which I hate. I'll keep your tips on mind for sure when I start picking out lighting for that room! Thank you!

  6. Also a room without one single lamp. Crazy how little effort people put into lighting.

  7. Great points Nancy! This makes me realize that I could use a couple of extra lamps at the least!
    The Arts by Karena


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