The Best Type of Lighting for All Rooms
Lighting isn’t a one-type-fits-all design element. Since each room serves a different purpose, the lighting choices should demonstrate that. Use these tips and learn how to best light each space in your home.
When focusing on lighting, you’re going to find that some areas of your home will require task lighting, while indirect lighting better suits others. This ultimately means different types of fixtures, light intensity and placement are necessary for each room. Here’s what you need to know:
When optimizing lighting in a kitchen, several types of lighting are needed — especially for larger kitchens. Ceiling fixtures or recessed can lights work well for ambient lighting (overall lighting) since they distribute light evenly around the room. For task lighting, simply install sources of light directly above work areas. Pendants (typically hung 35-40 inches above a surface) make a good choice over an island, while undercabinet lights are well suited for food prep spaces.
For added function, consider including accent lights like tape-lights in the toe-kick area located between the floor and cabinet, or strip lights or downlights to highlight dishes in glass-front cabinets or open shelves.
Keep in mind, the task spaces of the kitchen where food prep happens will need more intense lighting. A good rule of thumb is about 70-80 lumens per square foot. For general kitchen areas, about 30-40 lumens per square foot will do.
Dining Room Lighting
Since socializing and conversation are typical dining room activities, good ambient lighting is a must. Consider incorporating ceiling fixtures like flush-mount and recessed can lights.
If you’d like to make a bigger statement, a chandelier is both decorative and functional. Just remember that a chandelier should hang about 33 inches above the dining room table in a room with 8-foot ceilings. Add 3 inches above the table for every foot over 8 feet. When it comes to lightbulbs, aim for 30-40 lumens per square foot.
Living Room Lighting
As multi-purpose rooms, living rooms will need lighting that can be easily adjusted to accommodate a range of activities like reading, casual entertaining, and movie nights. The perfect solution? Flexible track lighting. Not only can track lighting provide ambient, task and accent lighting, the individual lights can be easily manipulated to adapt to your lighting needs at any moment. In addition, adjustable beams enable you to find the desired wash of light without changing bulbs.
If your living room has a television, consider making a movie-theater atmosphere with lighting that doesn’t cause glare or shadows. While pendants are a perfect lighting choice for when the TV is off, turn to dimmable sconces, track lights and molding with uplights when it’s on. In this atmosphere, about 10-20 lumens per square foot is suitable.
Having the wrong lighting in other rooms is a downer, but in the bathroom? It can also be unflattering and unsafe. Stay away from lights that aim down at the mirror, as they will produce undesired shadows. Instead, opt for fixtures like pendants or sconces that can be installed on each side of the mirror for more balanced lighting. Try adjustable sconces in a shared bathroom. Generally, bright light is best for bathrooms, so 70-80 lumens per square foot is recommended.
There aren’t really many specific lighting concerns for hallways. Flush-mount ceiling fixtures work well for a more modest light, or try a few sconces mounted along the wall for indirect lighting. Since hallways tend to be a transition space, you don’t really need particularly bright light — just 5-10 lumens per square foot.