Lighten Up Your Life: The Importance of Lighting in Your Home

Lighting plays a key role in setting the mood and visual appeal of your home. Choosing the right lighting can make or break your space, preferably make it! Unfortunately, I’ve been involved in projects where the lighting made the project unable to be professionally photographed. You really don’t want to be that project, after all, you are paying for the entire project including the lights so think long and hard about the lighting plan and fixtures to avoid that from happening.

Here are some “Hints & Tips” to help make your project successful…

  1. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your lighting fixtures especially if you are on a budget. The most expensive part of the electrical is the labor to wire and install the fixtures, so you can always replace a fixture later once you have more funds. 
  2. Think about your finishes. It’s a good idea to stay consistent with the finish in each area – exterior, common space, bathrooms and bedrooms. But you don’t have to make the entire house the same. Do be conscious that there is door and cabinetry hardware as well as plumbing fixtures that will have a finish on it so while they don’t need to match exactly, they should work together. Three finishes in one space is one finish too many!
  3. ALL lighting should be dimmable!
  4. See below for my favorite online retailers. I don’t typically use a local lighting source because we can get a variety of unique and beautiful fixtures online.
  5. Order your lighting early to make sure that you like it and that it’s not damaged. I recently waited a month for fixtures from Las Sola and all 4 fixtures were smashed to pieces. Unfortunately, they didn’t respond at all and I’m simply out that money but otherwise I typically don’t run into any problems when returning lighting (only if uninstalled).

RECESSED LIGHTING: Recessed lighting can be used in all rooms or just common areas and your electrician can usually determine the lighting pattern or placement of the recessed lighting with you. I typically create a lighting plan to pre-determine the placement and functionality, if only for the electrical bid.  

PENDANTS & CHANDELIERS: I think of these like earrings. They are the pretty touch on a project but they must work together and too many is simply too much! If you have pendants over the island don’t put another pendant over the sink and keep in mind that the chandeliers should work well with the other pendants. If you are going for a wild and crazy chandelier, skip the pendants and use recessed lighting instead.

VANITY LIGHTING: You have three options when it comes to lighting the vanity…

  1. Pendant. 
  2. Side Sconce. 
  3. Sconce Over. 

Each one of these should be pre-planned and purchased so that you know exactly where to put the fixture and place it at the correct height. An over the mirror sconce absolutely never goes on the side of the mirror. Also, be sure that you have room for the side sconces – it takes up a lot of wall space if you are doing 2 mirrors and 3 sconces. 

CLOSET: Lighting is not something to forget about in your closet, but it doesn’t have to be overly expensive. I recommend large, dimmable fluorescent lighting with warm bulbs. Yes, you can dim it down but it’s really nice to be able to find what you are looking for in a closet and why pay a lot of money for a light that no one sees?

EXTERIOR: Think about the size and scale of your fixtures and how they will be applied to the facade of your home. If you have trouble visualizing what it would look like, get a box the same size as the fixture and tape it to the house to make sure it looks right. Lights that are too small or large are just terrible – especially at the garage door.

Also, think about how it will be installed. A barn light must be installed over the garage doors and sconces are applied on the side. 

LANDSCAPE LIGHTING: This lighting can make or break a house and the experience people receive when outdoors. If you are on a budget, look into using the twinkle string lights to light up your exterior. Your electrician or landscaper can also install low-voltage lighting in your gardens, pathways and even highlight trees to boost the aesthetic appeal of your home.





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