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How to Plan The Lighting for Each Room of Your Home

Lighting serves a variety of purposes, from functionality and creating the right mood, to safety. While every single room in your home will have some specific lighting needs, these would have to be addressed both individually, as well as part of the whole. This might sound clichéd, but well-planned lighting truly is important. Lighting impacts the mood and ambience of a space. And when you get this aspect right, it can uplift the look of the entire house.

Chandelier-with-shades-in-comfortable-loungeOne of the primary reasons most people are unable to get the lighting in their home right is because some rooms in the house serve more than one purpose. For example, if you have an open floor plan, your kitchen and dining room spaces will flow from the main living room space. Similarly, children’s bedrooms need special attention, because they will be used for sleeping, playing and study.

All of these activities will require specific types of lighting. Failing to take these factors into account while designing the lighting plan can mean some space will either be poorly-lit or over-lit. In this article, you will find pointers on how to plan the lighting for each room in your house.

Home Lighting - Aspects to Keep In Mind

In order to get the lighting of each room right, it’s necessary to have knowledge of the different lighting techniques used to light any space. The four key techniques to use while lighting your home are: decorative, accent, task and ambient. Each of these provides a very distinctive effect and serves a specific purpose.

While aesthetics are important, you also need to keep the functionality and safety aspects in view. Before you buy and install any lighting, create a detailed, room-wise plan and identify what the primary, secondary and tertiary uses of a room are. Use this information to select the option(s) that will help you achieve optimum lighting for that particular room’s function(s).

This becomes the base on which you build your lighting plan. It will help you determine which type of fixtures will work best in that space. You would also need to keep in view aspects such as your budget, the styling of the room etc. What follows is a room-by-room guide to help you achieve the effect you want.

1. Living room

Sometimes, living room spaces have a dark corner or two and it’s a good idea to eliminate these shadowy spots. Use a mix-and-match of lighting fixtures including recessed lights, floor lamps, table lamps, wall sconces, pendant lamps or even a chandelier. Vary the type of fixtures you use in the room, taking extra care to ensure that any chairs/recliners specifically meant for reading have adequate lighting. You can use some focus lights to highlight artwork on walls, an ornate fireplace or any other focal point in the room.

2. Dining Room

Lighting fixtures in spaces where you entertain guests, need to be welcoming. It’s important to draw the eye to specific spots while remaining subtle in others. The dining table is usually the main feature in this space. This is why the brightest lighting should come from a chandelier positioned above the table.

Installing dimmer controls will give you the flexibility to create mood lighting. In the rest of the areas, install sideboard lamps and sconces on walls as required. If your dining room flows from your living room or kitchen (open floor plan), focus on creating a seamless lighting effect in these areas.

3. Kitchen

The kitchen is the workhorse of your house and needs the right kind of lighting. While floor lighting creates a great effect, you will need some recessed and under-cabinet lighting as well. This will illuminate the countertops and food prep areas. Track LEDs work well for this type of lighting. If you have a kitchen island, a well-crafted, elegant chandelier can add the perfect touch to the space.

4. Bedrooms

Bedroom lighting needs to create a cosy and warm atmosphere and some of the things to focus on include:

  • Lighting should be much softer around the bed areas.
  • The dressing areas can have brighter lighting.
  • It’s important to get dimmers installed here as well.
  • An elegant chandelier is a great addition to a master bedroom; it creates a focal point and lends drama to the setting.
  • Wall sconces and recessed lighting will complete the look.
  • Add bedside lamps for reading.
  • The closet area needs to be well-lit so does your dresser space.

As mentioned earlier, children’s bedroom lighting would need a good amount of attention to detail. Make sure there are no dark spots and place table lamps on the study tables. The idea is to make this space cosy, yet provide sufficient task lighting for studies and other activities too.

5. Bathrooms

Bathrooms can have sconces or track lighting around mirrors. Pendant lamps and smaller chandeliers are increasingly being used in bathroom design to great effect. In case of an en-suite, make sure the lighting syncs with the bedroom spaces. You can use recessed shower lights to light up the shower area.

6. Home Offices

Home-Office-WorkerAn increasing number of people now work from home, and have a designated room for their home office. There is the possibility that this room will have more different requirements for lighting than any other room. Lighting may be required for reading, and this could differ between reading printed material and on a computer.

Or, you may be involved in something creative, and need lighting that will clearly light up what you are producing as you place it against walls etc for inspection.

It may become obvious to you as you use your room more frequently that it actually requires 3-4 different lighting sources all within the same small room.

7. Other areas

It’s important not to neglect the rest of the spaces in your house. Some things to focus on include:

  • Sconces & recessed lighting work well for hallways.
  • Install flush-mount lighting fixtures in corridors.
  • Recessed lights add dimension, definition and depth to low height rooms or outdoor living areas.
  • Install in-step lights along stairways.
  • Walls sconces and floor lamps may be a good choice for basements that serve asan entertainment room, family or game room.
  • Make sure that all the utility spaces such as the pantry and laundry area are well lit too.
  • Another factor important for areas such as pantries or cellars where food or wine items may be stored is the heating produced by the lighting chosen. You don’t want your lighting to affect the desired temperature of the room.
  • Install dimmers in all the rooms; this will give you the flexibility to adjust the brightness levels as required.

When you’re planning the lighting in your home, focus on maintaining the perfect balance of style and function. Opt for good quality chandeliers and other lighting fixtures. When you have the right type of lighting in each room of your home, it helps showcase your furnishings, wall paints, carpets, rugs, artwork etc, in the best light.