Designers are always thinking about lighting when they tackle a remodeling project. We understand how important proper lighting is to the look and feel of the finished project. We also know that lighting can serve as a showpiece in itself. A beautiful chandelier can be the focal point of a room or the foundation of a cohesive room design.
During a remodeling project, think about lighting early and often. One of the greatest mistakes we see homeowners make is treating lighting like an afterthought, leaving little in the budget. If you’re not sure where to start, follow our advice for choosing the best lighting for each room.
How to choose a lighting fixture or chandelier
If you have any sort of penchant for design, chances are you can walk into a lighting store and choose a beautiful piece. That’s the easy part. But there are many more factors to consider when selecting a piece. Ask yourself:
Do you want the lighting to point up for a softer bounced light feel or down for direct light that may be great for tasks but comes with harder shadows? Lighting the ceiling can make a space look larger, while lighting the floor can make it look smaller, cozier or more intimate.
- Do you need task lighting? Whether this is a kitchen workspace, sewing nook or reading area, some spaces require special lighting considerations. When the space is designed for a certain task, you want to choose overhead lighting that points directly toward where the activity will take place, not diffused lighting or lighting that points upward.
- Do you want a statement piece? If the room could use a pop, consider a statement piece such as a bold chandelier or oversized pendant. However, if the room has a bold design or another statement piece, you probably want to go with something simpler and classic. Too many statement pieces can make a room look cluttered, overwhelmed and incohesive.
- What kind of mood do you want to set? Lighting sets a tone for the room. Generally, softer and more natural lights tend to flatter a room. In a bedroom or living room, consider opting for diffused lighting fixtures that flatter the space and the people inside it. In a kitchen or bathroom, of course, you’ll want brighter and more direct lighting.
Keep in mind, too, that the best lighting comes in layers. You don’t want to rely solely on overhead lighting or chandeliers to light a room. The best-lit rooms have a mixture of task, decorative and accent lighting. They incorporate overhead lightings with lamps, picture lights and more.
One final tip: Always pay attention to height when hanging light fixtures and chandeliers. If the lighting is too low, it will be in the way. If it is too high, it will not feel like a part of the room design, and it may be overlooked. If in doubt, reach out to a professional interior designer for the advice of an expert. They will be able to show you how to integrate the right lighting fixture with the style, color and size of your room.
How to choose kitchen lighting
We touched on kitchen lighting above, but, again, the key is to layer. Kitchens need a mixture of overhead, task, and accent lighting. You might have recessed lighting on the ceiling above the countertops, softer pendant-style lighting or a chandelier above the island, and under-cabinet lights. Other beautiful and functional lighting options include mounted wall sconces, lighted glass-front cabinets, under countertop lighting to illuminate drawers, and toekick lights for ambiance and visual interest.
The kitchen is one of the most complex rooms to light because you need to strike the right balance between functional and decorative lighting. If you’re not sure how to go about layering, we recommend consulting an interior designer or lighting professional for advice.
How to choose bedroom lighting
Bedrooms are primarily for sleeping, of course, but a balance of lighting is important here, too. Soft light and ambiance are important in the bedroom to create a relaxing environment, but if the light is too soft or subtle, it will not be adequate for tasks like reading and dressing. Balance overhead lights with bedside lamps or sconces. Consider using a dimmer for overhead lights to control the ambiance. In general, opt for softer lighting but in many layers.
When you’re shopping for bedroom lighting, pay attention to the size of the room and the ceiling height. You want the light to be scaled properly for the room, and it shouldn’t hang too low. Avoid putting overhead lighting directly over the bed. It can be uncomfortable on the eyes when lying down. And remember to think about the closet. Closets need to have good lighting so you can see the true color of your clothes.
Jessica Dauray Interiors is a full-service, residential and commercial interior design firm with offices in Greensboro and Wilmington, North Carolina. Founder, Jessica Dauray and her design team specialize in custom interior design, as well as renovation and new home construction project consulting and management. JDI' unique interiors can best be described as livable and sophisticated. The designs incorporate classic, clean lines that function to fit your family's lifestyle and design aesthetic. JDI's projects include residences and corporate interiors throughout the New York Metropolitan area.