Whether your building your dream home or remodeling an existing one, you know that good lighting can make or break a space. If you want a good balance of natural and artificial light that helps keep a space well lit for daily tasks, but with a warm ambiance consider the following:
What kind of lighting does your home need? Sure, you need a mix of light sources at varying levels, but how can you make sure that it’s both practical and comfortable in summer/winter/fall or spring?
Before we break down lighting tips room by room, let’s take a look at the kinds of lighting available to you. Ambient or general lighting illuminates the entire room. It usually comes from a recessed or track lighting fixture. Sometimes it’s bright, like a wall sconce in a bathroom, sometimes it’s dim, like an overhead light in the den. Most ambient or general lighting should have dimmer switches for added flexibility.
Task lighting provides enough light for you to do daily tasks such as making food in the kitchen, reading, shaving in the bathroom or sewing. It also tends to be direct overhead lighting, though it’s best if it doesn’t provide much glare.
Accent lighting is what creates a mood in your home. It’s focused light that illuminates a specific element in a room, such as a painting or bookshelf. It’s brighter than ambient lighting, but serves a similar role.
Natural lighting comes from skylights, windows, doors and varies dramatically throughout the year.
Remember that for any room in your home you’ll want to provide multiple sources of light at various levels. Think about what the function of each room is and how best to serve that function and your comfort.
Here are five tips for lighting each room:
- Kitchen - In the kitchen it is especially important to have sources of direct, task light. You need to be able to see what you are doing whether you are sauteing garlic or rolling out pastry dough. You can use under cabinet lights, overhead recessed lighting or a wall sconce.
- Living Room - A living room doesn’t demand as much direct lighting, but it does require some. Floor lamps provide nice direct reading light, while overhead or sconces provide a brighter omni-directional glow important for cleaning. Windows will provide a lot of natural light to brighten this room perfectly.
- Bathroom - Natural light can be difficult in a bathroom. That’s why skylights are a great option for these intimate spaces. Direct overhead lighting is a must for shaving, but a small table lamp can be nice mood lighting if you are having guests over and you want to save energy by not leaving the overhead lights on all night.
- Bedroom - Bedrooms need good reading and mood lighting, they don’t need bright overhead light fixtures. Good sources of natural light will help stave off winter blues, while warming the space. Think cozy, intimate not clean and sterile.
- Dining Room - A dining room needs to draw guests in. Use a chandelier or pendant light to draw focus to the table itself. Throughout the rest of the room indirect lighting is appropriate. Candles are always a nice touch in this room.
Avery Lane is a freelance writer based out of Portland, Oregon. If you’re looking for other ways to warm up or cool down a room, check out these guides to furnace prices and split air conditioner prices.