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Home Lighting Design Tips

Home Lighting Design Tips

A gold chandelier lighting fixture in a dining room: Home Lighting Design Tips
The right lighting makes all the difference in a modern home, but choosing bulbs and fixtures that provide the perfect level of illumination while matching each room’s look and decor can be easier said than done. Check out these tips before you buy to make sure you get everything you want out of your new home lighting.

Choose the Right Bulb Strength for Your Light Fixture

Pendant home lighting fixtures with Edison light bulbs - Home Lighting Design Tips

Even on the cloudiest of days, the right bulb will fill your room with plenty of ambient light. But to avoid warming and melting wires, it’s important to compare bulb ratings with your light fixtures. By considering both the wattage of the bulbs you choose and the make and material of your fixture, you can safely provide a strong enough illumination for your space.


Here’s how you can prepare. Multiply the square footage of each area by 50 to get the minimum lumen or wattage level needed for a well-lit space. You can then plan for one high-wattage fixture that can power it all and a few little lamps that can work together. A combination of decorative and practical fixtures will give you full lighting coverage.


Take Room Measurements to Create An Even Glow

A complementary floor lamp and chandelier in a living room - Home Lighting Design Tips

When it comes to shadow and contrast, everyone has their own preference. There are some general room rules for home lighting, just to keep smaller spaces feeling open, but to achieve a particular effect with your lighting, you’ll want to take some measurements. Your ceiling height and the length of your walls will not only affect how your fixture hangs, but how the light spreads. Smaller lights cast sharper shadows and larger lights generate less contrast. To calculate your ideal lighting balance, learn the benefits of size and material in our guide to Types of Lighting Fixtures.


Set the Mood with the Right Color of Bulb

Black chandelier light fixture with glass bowl lamps - Home Lighting Design Tips

Whether you’re wanting a yellow warmth of an incandescent bulb or the blue cool of fluorescents, using the right type of light bulbs is your shortcut to a major style edit. In fact, the brightness level in your home can fuel your daily productivity and happiness. Investing in dimmers will help to make the brightness of your fixture more adjustable to your level of comfort. You can find all the charts and comparisons for Choosing a Type of Bulb in our guide. To give certain corners a boost or bring down the intensity, learn more about ambient, task, and accent lighting in our guide to Lighting Types.


Design a Visually Cohesive Lighting Style

Mid-Century Modern lighting style with sconces and a floor lamp - Home Lighting Design Tips

When you’re lighting by style, it’s important to match the scale of each of your fixtures. It gives everything a feeling of balance and flow. It’s also handy to consider whether light fixtures gel with the size and shape of your couch, table, and other furniture. When the weight of all of your pieces is consistent, it will create a relaxing, welcoming environment. That being said, there’s a big, fun world of baubles and pulls that can help showcase who you are. Try mixing fixture shapes, materials, and colors to dangle your personality and accentuate your other decor.


Weigh the Cost and Safety of Installation

Ceiling Fan Lighting Fixture installed - Home Lighting Design Tips

Before you fall for the perfect lighting fixture, it’s important to consider the ease and affordability of its installation. If you’re a renter, simple power cords and plugs are your best bet. Your landlord might be alright with you installing a ceiling fan, but probably won’t be too keen with you going “Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor” on their building’s hardwiring. They’ve got to fill your unit after you move out, and the new tenant might not share your affinity for big, bold lighting fixtures.


If you’re a homeowner, decide whether or not your new fixture is easy enough to install yourself. To put safety first, hire an electrician if new wiring will be needed or if you have a complicated install. For specialty lighting installation tips, explore our guides on How to Choose Kitchen Lighting or Installing Recessed Lighting Above Your Shower.

You don’t need swaths of pillows and blankets to make a room cozy. Thoughtful, cohesive, functional lighting can help create a the relaxing, cozy ambiance you desire. Browse our full spectrum of lighting guides for more information.