How to choose lighting for your home

How to Choose Lighting for your Home

Lighting is an essential component in both a functional and beautiful home. I don’t typically have many hard and fast “design rules”, but having adequate lighting from a variety of sources really does make a house a home. I’ve seen many times a beautiful room that doesn’t live up to its potential because it has bad lighting.

It can be difficult, however, to choose the right lighting for your space. You’ll want something updated but also practical and not too expensive. And you need enough. A layered approach is best. Here’s what I mean.

3 kinds of lighting options:

1. Ambient lighting- this is the general lighting that lights a space from overhead and fills in shadows to create a brighter feeling in the room. If possible, try to allow lots of daylight into your space for natural ambient lighting - consider extra large windows, a skylight and removing upper cabinets to let more natural light shine in. Add in overhead recessed lights or ceiling light fixtures with LED bulbs  that mimic daylight conditions. Make sure to have enough lights in a room, and consider putting your lights on a dimmer to cut electric use by up to 40%.

2. Task lighting- this is lighting directed at an area where you need to see clearly. Under-cabinet lighting and pendant lights over an island and the kitchen sink are effective at layering in more light and style. Task lighting might also be a floor lamp beside where you read. Have these light sources on multiple switches so you can turn on only the right amount of lighting where you need it for your task at hand. 

3. Accent lighting- this is decorative lighting used to elevate the style of the room and focus on special areas. It might include spot lighting for artwork or puck lighting inside glass cabinets. It could be table lamps that give off a soft glow in the corner. This is where you can show your own personal style and layer in softness and warmth to a space.

Ideally you’ll have a mix of lighting in each room of your home, in a style that’s somewhat similar throughout the house. That said, you can have lamps that are eclectic and unique that you’ve chosen because you love them - go with that. Just try to spread lighting out to all corners of a room so it’s balanced.

Need some great light sources? Choose from both new and vintage:

DIY vintage lamp and shade refresh - see tutorial

DIY vintage lamp and shade refresh - see tutorial













Hope that helps simplify your home lighting decisions so you can make good choices and amp up the light and style in your life!

Need simple colour advice for your home? Download my free guide: How to Use Colour to Create a Naturally Serene Home.