How to Choose the Right Amount and Types of Lighting

November 25, 2022

When decorating your home, one of the most important areas of focus should be the lighting. Inadequate light can make a room look dark and dreary, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks comfortably. But too much light or the wrong types of fixtures can be an annoying distraction. 

Types of Household Lighting and Fixtures
Ambient lighting from overhead or recessed lights can serve as the primary source of light in a room. Task lights can be used in specific parts of a room for certain activities. They may sit on a table or desk or be mounted on a wall. Accent lighting is used to draw attention to a particular feature, such as a piece of artwork. Accent lights can take a variety of forms.

Flush and semi-flush mounting lights hang down a short distance from the ceiling. They’re designed to illuminate a room without taking up too much space. 

Pendant lights are attached to a cord, chain or wire and hang down farther than mounting lights. Pendant lights vary in size and are often used in kitchens and dining rooms for task lighting.

Chandeliers are hung from the ceiling. They contain many bulbs and may be functional or decorative, depending on their size and placement.

Floor and table lamps are used for task lighting. They can be placed around a room and easily rearranged.

Sconces are light fixtures that are mounted on a wall, either individually or in pairs. They can be plugged into an outlet or hardwired.

How to Choose Lighting for Each Room
A living room should have multiple sources and types of light. An overhead fixture with a dimmer switch can provide an appropriate amount of ambient lighting. Table and/or floor lamps can allow individuals to relax while reading or playing games.

Having adequate lighting is especially important in the kitchen for safety reasons. The kitchen should have plenty of ambient lighting, as well as task lights in certain areas, such as above the sink and stove.

A dining room should have an amount of ambient lighting appropriate for the space. One chandelier may be ideal, or you may want two or more overhead lights if you have a long dining room table where you host large gatherings. 

In a bedroom, you may want ambient lighting or just a series of lamps. It’s often a matter of personal preference.

A bathroom should have overhead lights, as well as task lighting over the sink. That will make putting on makeup and shaving easier.

When choosing light fixtures, think about how much light you need and where, the style of your home and decor and the type of vibe you want to create. Select a combination of fixtures that provides an aesthetically pleasing mix of styles and an appropriate amount of lighting for your family’s needs.

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Bill Cullin
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