From minimalist pendants to luxurious, breathtaking chandeliers, concerned home owners are considering tenths of lighting options and solutions to give their interior design scheme the ideal finish.

Glass and metal fixtures is how we usually imagine luxurious ceiling lights for living rooms and bedrooms, as they make our design schemes more opulent, and bring with ease the vibe of glamour and sophistication we’re looking to acquire.

Home owners, nevertheless, are also expected to choose the best room lighting for kitchens, bathrooms, and hallways, which makes their task far more complicated than getting a pair of chandeliers.

How to light a room?

Image source: Elad Gonen

Indeed, good lighting is a serious piece of work, and depends on a variety of factors among which the needs and preferences of the prospective user.

In order to help you choose cool lighting for your room, we’ve gathered the best tips and guidelines of leading designers around the world.

Home ceiling lighting

Image source: Tate Studio Architects

A room with lights properly taken care of will always look trendy and fresh, and that’s a trick designers often rely on.

Ceiling fixtures and different types of ceiling lights can be acquired in all colors, sizes, and styles, including trend-setter pendants, exquisite chandeliers, and energy-efficient lamps.

Basically, it will be almost impossible to lack a suitable chandelier, even with the most specific and rare dressing up ideas in place.

Which type of ceiling lamps should you consider? We recommend centrally-positioned flush mount fixtures as the ideal living room lighting alternative, as they spread light evenly, and provide overall illumination for large salons and reception areas.

Semi-flush mount fixtures, on the other hand, work great as ceiling lights for kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms, as they are simple to install, and support all types of DIY renovation schemes.

We once again remind you that your choice is not limited to these options, and that the selection of ceiling lights is almost unlimited.

Everything starts with the size

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Before you’ve considered any interesting fixtures for your room, think of its size. As self-explanatory and silly as this sounds, many home owners neglect doing it, and end up purchasing expensive chandeliers that were just not made for their rooms.

The area of simple light bulbs in the middle of our rooms is long gone, and we should make the most of what the lighting market has to offer for us.

Many home owners are still convinced that large bulbs will do the job, but what they’re forgetting is that bulbs of today are hardly as bright as the ones of the past (the usual 150 watt bulbs are now banned from the market).

What is more, lighting fixtures are no longer perceived as plain necessities, but rather decorative features that make our rooms look more beautiful. They have to be both appealing and functional, which, as simple as it sounds, is still a balance difficult to strike.

Here is a simple size formula that can help you chose appropriate lighting fixtures:

Image source: Big-D Signature

Take a 4 x 3 meters room as an example (12 m2 overall). You will need 25 watts of illumination per meter square, or 300 watts (3000 lumens) total:

12 x 25 = 300 watts (3000 lumens)

A major role in the process is ascribed to the ceiling height, which won’t always be standard.

Avoid low pendants that will obstruct movement around, but also make sure the fixture is not too high, and won’t require you to use a large ladder each time you need to change the bulb.

Lighting layers

What does light layer even mean? What we have in mind here is a solid, general lighting scheme with several mood & task lights distributed in areas of interest.

Such will be necessary for reading, cooking, cleaning, doing homework, and so on.

General lights

Image source: Beckwith Interiors

You will also come across the expression ambiance lighting, referring to centrally-positioned and general sources of illumination.

Instead of a central fixture, you can use several wall sconces to illuminate a large room, as long as there is a single switch that can activate all of them and allow unobstructed movement.

Mood lights

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Any fixture used to add interest and understate the purpose of different areas and features in the room can be considered a mood light. Here, you can get very creative with levels and types of light, opting for any solution that can make your room charming and more personal.

This is where most of the lighting fun is coming from, so feel free to experiment and observe the different effects of the same lamps positioned in diverse locations.

The good news is that these fixtures are available in all sizes, colors, and styles, which means that it won’t be difficult for you to find the right one.

Task lights

Task lights are used to provide extra brightness for accomplishing a particular task, as for instance reading. For the purpose, you can use floor lamps right next to your favorite rocking chair, a bedside table lamp, or a specially added cupboard lights hat help you cook and store dishes in the kitchen.

These are the types of lighting fixtures you will come across:

Flush-mount fixtures

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A flush-mount fixture is a term used for whole-room illumination lights, commonly applied in kitchens and bathrooms. Their brightness doesn’t have to be harsh – in areas such as living rooms and bedrooms, you can swap the bulbs with lower-wattage ones, ideally 60 watt in total.

Semi-flush mount fixtures

Instead of literally ‘hugging’ the ceiling as flush-mount fixtures do, semi-flush ones are hung at least one foot from the ceiling.

Thus, their brightness is not that overwhelming, and they create a cozier and more charming ambiance. For most designers, these are the perfect ceiling lights for bedrooms, as they provide enough clearance to move around, but still have a relaxing effect.

Pendant lights

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All types of fixtures suspended from cords and chains are called pendant lights, including modern, minimalist lamps and luxurious chandeliers.

They look the best placed over counters and tables, but are only suitable for rooms with ceilings higher than nine feet.

The best way to measure the ideal length of the pendant is to add up the width and length of the entire room, and choose a fixture whose diameter has the exact same number of inches.

Recessed lights

Recessed lights are usually embedded in the ceiling (also called can lights or high hats). They are modern and inconspicuous, usually very sleek and hence perfect in low-ceiling rooms.

Depending on their size, you can use them for whole-room or task illumination, but the smaller they are, the chicer they will look.

Track lights

Image source: The Spotted Frog Designs

There are two main ways to adjust track lights: slide a fixture all along the wall, or angle it around a desired area to accentuate artwork and large furniture.

Apply them in small units and areas, in particular around objects with metal finishes that can reflect the light coming from them.

Placement and size tips

Bedside table lamps

The ideal bedside table lamp’s bottom should be slightly lower than your line of sight, preferable 16-18 inches below the level of your mattress.

The height of the lamp will depend on the height of your bed and the overall size of the room, but a 26-28 inches one works well in most cases.

The ideal lighting for each of your rooms

Family rooms, living rooms, and reception salons

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Living and family rooms are just cut for layered lighting, having in mind the number of activities that are performed in them.

Living rooms are where people gather with friends and relatives, but also play games, watch TV, read, or simply rest after a busy day at work.

Altogether, we spend significant amounts of time in our living rooms and thus avoid very bright or recessed down-lights.

What we’d all prefer is ambient illumination, with dimmers and remotes that help adjust the level of brightness, and direct light towards a specific area (early lights).

Earleylights that are designed to bounce off ceilings will naturally inspire people to look up instead of looking at their feet.

Image source: Lacuna Design architecture + interiors

The ideal way to obtain ambient lighting in your living room is to integrate valance and cove lights within its architecture.

Better yet, use the entertainment units and bookcases to place millwork, and install linear fluorescent behind them.

An even easier trick to achieve such ambient is to use valance and soffit lighting, or even tracks directed towards your walls that will wash them with light.

Creative homeowners would also recommend floor lamps and translucent plug-in torches to shed light on beautiful artwork.

In some living rooms, you will also find adjustable table lamps, LED, and incandescent bulbs for task lighting, in particular with game tables, small diners, and reading chairs around.

Image source: Gonyea Homes & Remodeling

The task of those fixtures can also be to accentuate important architectural elements (built-in bookshelves, art collections, paintings, or fireplaces) or to shed enough light on plants.

A good way to launch a complete remodeling project is to remove table lamps and recessed cans and think of a whole new architectural lighting concept that will meet your needs and help you to cut electricity expenses.

We recommend installing two valances (ideally mounted a foot lower than the ceiling) on two opposing walls, and a single soffit placed above an important architectural feature (fireplace, for instance), this time in line with your ceiling.

Of course, you can always add a lamp or two where necessary, but the valances and the soffit are more than likely to suit every program with a single switch.

In case you own an average-size living room with a single switch wired to the outlet, you can still control the versatility and efficiency of your lighting by replacing that switch with a dimmer. You can also conceal a faux-cove fixture behind your bookcase, and wire it to the same outlet.

Lumens size: For ambient lighting in your living room, you should have between 1,500 and 3,000 lumens. Task lighting, on the other hand, should be at least 400 lumens.


Blending lights

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Kitchen lighting ought to blend four layers in one in order to be effective. Those are: ambient, task, accent, and decorative lights, which combined together ensure a beautiful, practical, but also lively and warm area.

Flow illumination

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Not that many of us have considered floor illumination in the kitchen, as this is where we prepare food instead of chatting with friends or playing with our children.

According to Whitehead, flow illumination transforms kitchens into entertaining rooms, and helps you to visually connect them with the living room and the dining area.

Accent lights

Image source: Darren James Interiors

When looking for accent lights for your kitchen, you should consider up-lighters, directional lights, wall sconces, and track lighting.

Your primary choice should be low-voltage and adjustable fixtures that use MR16 bulbs and spread beams in a variety of ways. In case of the art diameter changes, you will simply need to replace the bulb, and the effect will be the same.

Kitchens nowadays are not solely cooking areas, but also dining rooms, family time rooms, or even offices.

This is why they could use several layers of lighting, even such whose styles and finishes don’t match at all. It is your kitchen, and you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with it!

An interesting consideration about the kitchen is that they don’t really need lights coming from the ceiling, as such will most likely throw an unpleasant shadow on the cooking area.

A better solution is to light the backsplash or install LED lights under the cabinets so that you can always have enough clarity while cooking. Before you do so, however, consider the backsplash material, as it will likely reflect the light and cause an overwhelming glare.

Exactly because of being the home’s multi-functional cleanup, preparation, and gathering spot, kitchens deserve some serious work planning their ambient and task lighting.

The main priority, however, is task lights placed over the counters, sinks, and cabinets.

Thinking about it, light is the main reason why sinks are most of the time located near windows.

In such a way, they benefit from the natural light coming inside, which is why you should always try to augment this source with recessed fixtures and pendant lights located in the same area.

Image source: Lazy Suzan Designs

Another smart idea is to install under-cabinet lighting, so that your countertops and similar work surfaces won’t be damage by the shadow of the person working at them.

In case you have a small kitchen and don’t want to spend a fortune remodeling it, here is a basic illumination plan you should follow: a central mounted fixture for ambient lighting; under-cabinet task fixtures for your counters, and soffit lights over the sink (or an ambient pendant) instead.

The good side of this plan is that it is applicable in most kitchens, including those which already have flush-mount installations with energy-efficient bulbs and dimmers.

A larger and middle-sized kitchen will also work well with cove lighting on two opposed walls, as it will provide bounce-off ambient lighting instead of centrally mounted fixtures and straight-down pendants. Complete the look with valances in the sink and cabinetry area.

Lumens: The ideal number is 5,000-10,000 lumens for ambient lighting and a minimum of 450 lumens for task lighting


Image source: DKOR Interiors Inc.- Interior Designers Miami, FL

In the case of bathroom lighting, the emphasis should always be on function and careful placement. The traditional whole-room lighting concept doesn’t really make sense here, as ceiling-mounted fixtures like those from the past cast shadow on the person looking at the mirror.

The first step in your bathroom lighting makeover should hence be to light the sides of your mirror (or at least attach a LED layer on the top).

Next, replace outdated ceiling-mounted lights should with two or three mid-sized wall sconces, placing them either next to the mirror sides, or on two opposing walls (offset from the mirror area).

Lumens: For the bathroom, limit ambient lighting to 4,000 – 8,000 lumens (depending on the size), and install task lighting with at least 1,700 lumens.

Outdoor areas

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Outdoor lighting is often neglected by homeowners, despite of its central role in every whole-home illumination project.

To start with, outdoor lights guarantee safety in the yard and the pathways, ensure secure movement around the house, but also make it look more beautiful and accentuate its beautiful flowers and trees.

The priority with outdoor lighting should always be durability, as damage-resistant fixtures cost significantly more than usual ones, and you don’t want to replace them every year.

The most common mistake with outdoor lights is installing too many of them. Homeowners tend to follow ‘the brighter the better’ approach, but end up creating a harsh and blinding area with a number of super dark corners. Believe it or not, lower lighting levels are usually a much safer solution.

The area which deserves more brightness is the entrance, where can either go for a special overhead fixture or follow the traditional approach of mounting two wall sconces flanking the door.

Lumens: The recommended number for entrances is 1,000 – 2,000 lumens, while the minimal and recommended number for pathways is 300 lumens.

Dining rooms

Image source: Arnold Schulman Design Group

The centerpiece of every dining room is the table, which is why you should consider an ambient fixture placed right above it. Keep in mind that this should be a flexible fixture that allows you to dim the lights after dinner and create a more relaxing atmosphere.

In case the room also has French doors in place, make sure you install a fixture on the outer side to decrease the effect of peoples’ reflections in them. The problem is quite easy to solve – light a single fixture outdoors, and you will also get beautiful scenery for your visitor during dinner time.

With relatively few pieces of furniture to worry about, much of your dining room’s lighting scheme will be left to the walls, where you also have to think of accentuating decorative wallpapers, paint, and similar treatment.

Keep in mind that darker walls are not very reflective and that you will need more lumens to soften their effect.

How does traditional dining room lighting work? First, you need an elegant chandelier hung above the table, as well as additional wall sconces and coves to cast light on sideboards and breakfronts. The entire scheme should be controlled with a dimmer, and with a number of lumens appropriate for the color of the walls.

Lumens: In total, you should bring in 3,000 to 6,000 lumens for ambient and task lighting.


Image source: IMI Design, LLC

Now, let’s give a look to your bedroom lighting plan. The two main concerns here should be bedside and closet lighting, next to the central ambiance feature most bedrooms already have.

According to experts, the best solution for bedside reading are wall-mounted fixtures, ideally such that have adjustable arms and allow you to direct light towards the book.

There should be a separate switch on both sides of the bed, placed directly on the fixture or somewhere within your reach.

For ambient lighting, you should consider either central fixtures or floor lamps and architectural lights, and install additional sconces close to your wall mirror. Having in mind that bedrooms need a sympathetic and relaxing atmosphere, we’d still opt for floor lights instead of centrally-mounted fixtures, so that the light is never too harsh observed from the bed. A factor you shouldn’t forget here is the color of the walls, keeping in mind that dark paints require more lumens to reflect light appropriately.

Despite centrally-mounted fixtures being quite common in bedrooms, we’d advise you to get floor and table lamps instead, and to install supporting light close to the nightstands and the dresser. With large bedrooms that require more light, consider also wall-mounted sconces placed in several different areas.

Lumens: You will need 2,000 – 4,000 lumens of ambient lighting, and a minimum of 500 lumens for bedside lighting/400 for the closet.


Image source: Fun House Furnishings & Design

In order to install the right lighting fixtures in your home office, define the common tasks first. In most cases, these will entail reading and arranging papers, working on the computer, or answering the phone, so follow these as your key guidelines for your illumination makeover. What you should do first is to ensure the light won’t reflect from the screen of your computer, so follow the internet cables and outlets to choose the most appropriate location for it. In order to minimize all possible reflections and shadows, place it on your right/left-hand side instead of sitting in front of it.

According to designer Patricia Rizzo, the best choice for a home office is indirect lighting, as it is not distributed in a single direction, and it reflects off the ceiling and the walls. She recommends cove lighting and wall sconces that cast light upwards, as well as floor lamps in rooms where you can only use a plug-in fixture. With a flexible layer, nevertheless, you shouldn’t worry too much, as you can always position your desk in the window direction and use natural light to complete your tasks.

Lumens: The ambient lighting in home offices ought to be between 3,000 and 6,000 lumens, while desk lights and similar task lighting should have a minimum of 1, 200 lumens.

Entrances, stairs, and hallways

Image source: Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.

Entrance and pathway lighting is not that complicated to solve, as you need nothing but ambient lights to move unobstructed. In case there is an additional focal point to accentuate (a beautiful architectural element, plant, or artwork), you should also consider accent lighting fixtures.

How does ambiance lighting in these areas work? With a small entryway, you can use a recessed or ceiling-mounted fixture, or even get a single wall sconce to direct movement. If you have a double-height entrance with stairs, however, you may be required to hang a chandelier and install special lighting controls to illuminate both the top and the bottom of the staircase.

Creative homeowners who’ve used their hallway to display art and family memorabilia should get some accent fixtures as well, and position them precisely in the direction of those items. A similar effect can be achieved with small bulbs that emit narrow light beams, including MR (multi-facet reflectors) and PAR (parabolic aluminized reflectors). With expensive art collections that deserve attention, you may even contact an experienced professional to locate the fixtures, and ensure that your valuable pieces are not damaged from the glare.

Lumens: For entries and staircases you will need between 1,200 and 4,000 lumens, while for the hallway you should consider 1,200 – 2, 500.

Ending thoughts

Image source: Bagnato Architects

The tips and guidelines discussed in this article will help you improve your whole-house lighting scheme or plan a complete room makeover like a pro.

The only ornament you will find on any ceiling is the lamp which provides you the necessary quantity of light so vital to the indoors. The technology improved over time and the classic bulb was replaced with the tiny led light more powerful and economic comparing to his old brother.

The usual switch became optional from the moment you start controlling your ceiling lamp with the help of remote control, by clapping, or with the help of motion sensors. That is how the simple lamp became a modern one with wireless technology so you can turn it off/on from miles away with your cell phone. Even the ceiling lamp shade can try nonconformist shapes.

A ceiling fan with light, another type of lamp, can easily replace the air conditioning and offer you at the same time that fresh breeze you need. In this collection, you will find a mix of modern ceiling lamps with vintage ones.

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