Lighting Tips and Tricks

Good morning everyone! Today, I’d like to take some time to discuss some tips and tricks to lighting design around some troubling areas of the home.

The first area I’d like to discuss is the kitchen. In any area of the home, the key to truly wonderful lighting is the ability to create layers of light. Being able to have several layers like: ambient, task, accent, and decorative layers will set your home apart from the rest. In regards to the kitchen, under cabinet lighting (specifically under the upper cabinets) are multi-functional as ambient and task lighting. Ambient lighting is often overlooked in the kitchen because most people see their kitchen as strictly a work space as opposed to a relaxing or entertainment space. Making sure to incorporate several types of subtle ambient lights will distinguished yours apart from others as an entertaining space as well. Task lighting should be used throughout all the areas that you do most of your cooking and need great lighting. As I stated before, under cabinet light really aids in task lighting. Also, incorporating pendant lights above an island help you to utilize all the space on your island for you and your guests. Accent lighting in the kitchen can be found in different types of track lighting, up-lights, or directional eyeball lights. These accent lights are used to highlight certain areas of the kitchen such as; the tiling, artwork, fine china, etc. Decorative lighting often takes the center stage in regard to your lighting. With that being said, you need to make sure that the decorative lighting piece you choose is directly proportional to the size of your kitchen. If your kitchen is small, you don’t want to select a lighting fixture that is so big that you can’t see anything but the light! On the other end of the spectrum, if your kitchen is larger you don’t want a small decorative light that gets lost. With all of these layers of light, you need to take the time to find the balance between these layers depending on the mood or situation. This can easily be done with dimmer switches. When cooking or preparing you will need the brightest amount of light; but when you are entertaining, you will want to dim the lights a bit to set the mood.

kitchen 1

The next area of the home I would like to discuss is the bedroom. Mixing lighting types and layering is a general theme you should make sure to incorporate throughout the entirety of your home, not just the main traffic flow areas. If you are planning on using a ceiling mounted fixture to be the main source of illumination, make sure you DO NOT install it above your bed. The last thing anyone wants in the morning is to wake up looking directly into a bright light. The majority of the bedroom that needs illuminated is not located on the bed. Using a light fixture that gives off this ambient lighting but is also a decorative piece helps create harmony between the two. To contribute to the ambient lighting, use recessed lights for a subtle way to illuminate the room. For those who enjoy a bit of reading before bed, consider installing wall sconces or pendant light fixtures to free up space on your night stands and help frame your bed. Since it is your bedroom, you want to be sure you illuminate it with warm light as opposed to cool lighting. Jamie Bush, an architect in LA, says, “No fluorescents and no halogens. If you use LED lights, aim for 2700-3000 Kelvin.” This will give you the best type of lighting for your bedroom.


The last area, which tends to be a big problem area for most homeowners, is the bathroom. Getting just the right lighting is always a struggle, especially in an area in which you plan your outfits or do your makeup. I cannot stress enough: layers, layers, LAYERS. Make sure that on top of ambient lighting you also include decorative lighting and task lighting, mostly around the vanity area. Vanities are the main task areas that will be utilized in the bathroom. One of the best ways to illuminate that area is by having a sconce or pendant on either side of the mirror. As opposed to the bedroom, you really want natural cool lighting in the bathroom. Sticking around 5,000-6,000 Kelvin will give you the best lighting for this area. Including dimmers in this area is a major priority. In the morning, you want bright vibrant lighting to get ready for the day; but at night, you want dimmer more relaxing lighting to wind down for the night.

bathroom 2

However, none of these tips work unless you sit down and take the time to plan everything out before executing. In order to get the best results and utilize your money to the best of its ability, consider hiring a designer. Hiring a designer will ensure that you don’t waste your money or your time. Designers have been trained to know the calculations behind creating the best lighting plan for your home.

Tips to take away:

  • Layer your lighting between ambient, task, accent, and decorative
  • Put your lighting on dimmer switches
  • Create warm lighting in the bedroom and cool in the bathroom
  • Mix light fixture types
  • Plan before execution