Lighting Tips

Lighting Tips

Select a Fixture Style

Not sure if you want a rustic feel or perhaps something more industrial? Start with a favorite element in your room and look for a fixture that complements it. If you have a more modern sofa, look for lighting with clean lines to enhance your space.

You can also take a cue from the existing finishes in the room. If the door handles and cabinet hardware are all brushed nickel, choose lighting fixtures in a complementary finish.

And don’t be afraid to add a little sparkle. Many lighting fixtures are adorned with beads, crystals or decorative glass shades. Have fun mixing materials to create a personalized look


Layers of Light

There are three layers of light: ambient, task and accent. The size of your room and room type will determine which types you need, but in general you want at least two to properly light a room. Sometimes simply adding a layer of light can dramatically increase your home’s quality of light.

Ambient lighting or general lighting is needed in every room. It provides a comfortable overall level of light. Ambient light sources are typically overhead lighting, and as a general rule it’s the best place to start when lighting a room.

Ambient light sources to consider for your lighting plan: ceiling fans, chandeliers, flush-mount/semi-flush-mount ceiling fixtures, pendants, recessed lighting, torchiere lamps, track lighting, vanity lighting and wall sconces.

Task lighting is just that – lighting that allows you to perform a task. It supplies the intense, direct light needed for detailed work – reading, cooking, prep, applying make-up – in places like the kitchen, office and bath.

Task light sources to consider for your lighting plan: desk lamps, island or mini pendants, track lighting, under-cabinet lighting, vanity lighting and work lamps.

Accent lighting allows you to spotlight interesting features in your home decor, such as a painting or a mantel. It also serves as a secondary light source to augment ambient lighting in a room. Ambient lighting mainly provides overhead lighting, and accent lighting helps fill in the rest of the room where ambient light can’t reach.

Accent lighting sources to consider for your lighting plan: recessed lighting, track lighting and wall sconces.


Lighting Your Home

Think about common activities in the room. For instance, your office needs more task lighting than your bedroom, and your living room needs more accent lighting to highlight pictures and other artwork.

For flexibility with your lighting system, add a dimmer switch. This allows you to turn up the light when the kids are at the dining table doing homework and turn it down when you’re having friends over for a dinner party. For more information on lighting your home



The foyer creates the first impression of your home, so you mainly want ambient light here with a couple accent light sources. You can’t go wrong with a flush-mount light or a semi-flush-mount light. If your foyer has a vaulted ceiling, go bold with a chandelier or pendant lantern for a more dramatic entrance. If you have a side table, a table lamp provides a secondary light source.


Living Room

The living room is the place for hanging out, relaxing and cozying up with a book or a movie – lots of activity occurs here. That means you need a variety of lighting.

If your living room has areas with no light or you have light that casts shadows, you need more ambient and accent lighting. Recessed lighting and flush-mount or semi-flush-mount lights are good options for ambient lighting. Track lighting provides accent lighting – it allows you to direct light toward paintings, glass vases or whatever you’d like to showcase. If you have a focal point in the room, like a mantel, add wall sconces to either side for additional accent lighting. If you like the look of wall sconces but don’t want to deal with hard wiring a light fixture, a pair of wall lamps works, too.

Other ambient lighting options are ceiling fans, chandeliers, pendant lights with a drum shade and torchiere floor lamps. A torchiere floods the ceiling with light. Torchiere lamps work well if you’re not in the market to install permanent lighting or for lighting small spaces like lofts or apartments