Lighting 101: Basics to Enhance Your Home

Posted by Daniel Edelman on

One of the best ways to make your house feel more like a home is proper illumination. When done correctly, lighting will help you perform tasks easier and allow you to enjoy your home to its full potential.

When planning for lighting, there are three essential types to keep in mind:

  • Ambient – Larger fixtures that welcome you to a room and are often looked at as a first impression piece.
  • Task – Fixtures that are focused on the tasks you will be doing in a room. Includes pendants, wall-mounts, portable lamps, etc.
  • Accent – Highlighting or accent lighting. Includes picture lamps, recessed, and track lighting.

Lighting Tips, Tricks and Guidelines

  • If placing a fixture above a table, the diameter of the fixture should be about 12" less than that of the table.
  • Sconce lighting should be placed approximately 60" from the floor and 6' apart.
  • Pendants in a foyer should not hang any lower than 7' from the floor.
  • Floor lamps should be similar in height to their surrounding furniture.
  • Easily calculate the minimum number of incandescent watts needed for any given room. For ambient lighting, multiply the room's square footage by 1.5. For task lighting, multiply the square footage by 2.5.
  • When hanging a chandelier above a dining table, the base of the fixture should be no lower than 32" from the surface and no larger than 3/4 of the width of the table.

When putting together a lighting plan, think about how you want to utilize each room and where each type of lighting is needed. It's recommended to select ambient lighting first and then layer as needed. Get creative with coordinating all three types of lighting to offer more dimension, comfort and flexibility to your home. Be sure to place lighting accurately to make the most of your space, fixtures, and design.

Need some inspiration to get started? Here are 20 of our favorite fixtures for 2014 from Hudson Valley Lighting and Corbett Lighting:

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What are your best lighting tips and tricks? Share with us in the comments!

Photos: 1 Freshome, 2 Hudson Valley Lighting, Slideshow Hudson Valley Lighting/Corbett Lighting


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