Lighting is one of the single greatest ways to create a mood in your space. Think of a swanky restaurant... the lights are probably turned down much lower than at your favorite pizza stop down the road.
You can create these moods in your own space, too. Dim and intimate lighting can help bring a family closer in the living or dining room, while bright overhead kitchen lights can keep the designated cook awake and the social chatter flowing.
In other words, lighting is very important to how you live, work, and play in your space. So how do you select the right ones?
Take a Functionality Inventory of Your Space
The function of your spaces will largely affect which lighting you choose for them: the lighting best suited for food prep will probably be different from the lighting you want for reading in bed.
As you go through each room, ask yourself...
- What will I be doing in this space? Could it benefit most from functional or decorative lighting, or both?
- Do I want warm or cool lighting in this space? (Warm light is better for relaxing activities; cool light keeps you more alert.)
- Do I want my lighting to help set a mood in this area?
Plan the Space & Layer Your Light Fixtures
A great strategy for lighting that is functional and wows in your space — layering.
We’ve seen many homeowners who have installed their own fixtures, and they’re almost all on the ceiling! We’ll never say no to gorgeous and well-placed pendant, but there are many other options you should incorporate throughout the room as well.
When it comes to planning the spread of your fixtures, sconces, lamps, and more, here are some quick tips to follow:
In general, you want…
- lighting at several levels from ceiling to floor and evenly dispersed throughout the room (see an example of light at two levels within the image above)
- balance between light fixtures (ie. equally spaced along a wall) and within the room as a whole; a heavy-looking pendant on one side of the room and recessed lighting on the other will feel lopsided!
- avoid directing any light directly into people’s eye
- light dimmers are great for creating the ex act ambiance you want at any given time
In an open concept space...
- a large, low-hung pendant or chandelier, especially over a table, can create the feeling of it being “a room” within the larger room
In the kitchen...
- task lighting is perfect for under cabinets
- a large pendant (or two, or three) over your island can make a beautiful impression, but make sure to hang it just above eye-level so you don’t block people’s views. See our Pro Tip below.
- if you use several smaller bulbs over the island area, you can hang them lower since they won’t block the view
- light that is directed downward and doesn’t hit eye-level, such as lamps or sconces
- wall-mounted options are a great way to free up bedside table space and create
In your foyer, living and dining room, or entryway…
- chandeliers and pendants are beautiful options
- if you’re hanging one over a table, leave at least 30” between the fixture and the table
Pro Tip: To determine the ideal diameter of a pendant or chandelier within your space, measure the length and width of the room and add the two numbers together. The result is your ideal diameter in inches. So, if your room is 14’ x 16’, you’ll want a 30-inch diameter pendant, approximately.
Select the Design & Style of Your Fixtures
We could talk about fixture styles for dayssss. There are so many! Here is just a tiny, tiny sample...
We suggest reading our previous post about the stylistic elements you want in a finishing touch and applying them to the fixtures you’re using to make an impact — pendants, chandeliers, sconces, lamps, etc.
Note: Recessed or can lighting probably won’t fall in the “impact” category, though they are wonderful for functional needs, such as over kitchen counters!
Some general tips...
- Light clusters and lamps can help create a cozy vibe
- Pendants and chandeliers make a statement, but don’t overdo it! Stick with one large fixture or two to three smaller, symmetrically-placed fixtures within a space.
- Choose something you LOVE!
Uttermost and Currey and Company have some of our favorite lighting selections, but the important part is finding a design that speaks personally to you, your lifestyle, and your home’s theme. So take your time, browse around, or reach out for some advice if you need it.
And remember, lighting is the jewelry of the home — make yours shine!
Need help selecting your light fixtures or planning their placement? Dallas Roberts Design can help! Contact us here.