How to Choose Home Lighting
Once you’ve designed a gorgeous home, one of the final steps in bringing it to life is sourcing and implementing functional lighting. But, it’s not as simple as flicking a switch. You’ll want to light up your space in a way that suits your needs, budget, and style, ultimately establishing the final layer of your beautiful sanctuary.
While selecting home lighting might seem pretty easy, there are a few things to consider before you dive in. There’s no uniform solution to lighting a home, and you’ll want to consider different room shapes and sizes, window placements, and even large furniture pieces when picking out your lighting.
Instead of opting for a one-size-fits-all solution, we’ve put together our top tips for designing a home lighting system that blends the pretty and the practical.
Our top home lighting design tips
Throughout the process of choosing home lighting solutions, you’ll encounter so many decisions, it’ll feel like your head is spinning a bit. What follows are crucial pieces of advice that’ll guide you throughout this journey, but ultimately, like all design projects, it’s up to you. Pay attention to what suits you and your home best to create a lighting system that, above all else, serves its purpose and showcases your beautiful interior design in the right light.
Before we jump in, here are a few terms and concepts you might encounter as you source, purchase and install your home lighting.
There are three key types of lighting that each have their place in the home, but serve different purposes, and as a result create their own individual effects.
- Ambient lighting: Ambient lighting is designed to light up an entire space, and to assist us with navigation and finding our way around. It’s highly likely everyone has ambient lighting in their homes, in the form of ceiling lights, downlights, recessed fixtures and even chandeliers.
- Task lighting: Task lighting is exactly what the name suggests – lights that help us complete tasks, whether that’s cooking in the kitchen, reading a book in our favourite comfy spot, seeing inside a cupboard or working at our desks. On occasion these lights are fixed to the wall or ceiling, e.g. pendant lights or strategically-placed sconces, but more often this refers to table and floor lamps.
- Accent lighting: Finally, accent lighting is more for aesthetics or to highlight a specific feature within the home. This can include wall fixtures and inbuilt lighting for cabinets or furniture pieces.
Generally, most homes mix all three lighting types, starting with ambient as the base and then building to illuminate certain features or create pockets of light with accent and task lighting.
Another thing to understand ahead of your home lighting journey is the types of bulbs you’ll have available to you. Incandescent light bulbs are a thing of the past, with most people phasing these out in favour of LED or energy-efficient bulbs.
LED is almost always the go-to, and you’ll have more control with a removable and adjustable bulb, although some light fixtures do have built-in lighting. However, this is a little tricky to troubleshoot – if your light dims or burns out entirely, you’ll have to replace the fixture, so a bulb is always preferable. Other options include compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) which are similarly energy-efficient to LEDs, or halogens – however the latter is nowhere near as great of an energy saver as an LED or CFL.
Now that you’re a lighting expert, let’s jump right into a few unmissable tips for choosing your home lighting…
1. Illuminate your needs
Your home lighting is an important beast to tackle, because it’s central to the way you’re able to use each room and configure your daily life. It can be used to make tasks easier, to set a mood, and to make your home a safer place to be for the whole family. As a result, the best way to create an action plan for your home lighting is by assessing your needs, and doing your best to address them.
Try blending a mix of ambient, task and accent lighting throughout the home to emphasise your everyday tasks and needs. Most rooms will need, at the very least, the opportunity to be completely lit up, which is where ambient lighting comes in. Then, you can use task lighting to illuminate smaller aspects of the room, giving you some additional light or a way to hone in on an area without turning on the overheads.
To work out where you should place your task lighting, think about the spaces in the home you use regularly and require a little more light, whether that’s a concentrated glow when the rest of the lights are off (e.g. bedside table lamps, floor lamps by a reading nook) or some additional light to help focus on a task (e.g. overhead pendant lights in the kitchen for cooking meals). The type of task lighting you decide to use in each space is up to you, but will generally be guided by practicality – for instance, you wouldn’t put a floor or table lamp in a kitchen in fear of impeding valuable space, whereas a low pendant light could get in the way in a busy living room that’s used by the whole family.
Don’t forget to use accent lighting to brighten up unexpected places. Under-the-counter lights in kitchens and bathrooms are fantastic, as they allow you to comfortably navigate your home at night without turning all the lights on, and they also add a practical element for completing daily tasks.
2. Create layered lightscapes
Simply throwing in downlights everywhere when first establishing a room might seem like an easy way out, but ultimately, it’ll leave the space feeling like a cave or a convention hall. To create harmony in any room, you’ll want to use a layering technique – this is central to a warm and balanced feel.
So, what is layered lighting, and how do you put it into action? Adding overhead lighting is a good start, so don’t call the electrician just yet. This provides a base for additional lighting in considered and concentrated areas in the form of task lighting. Think about the floorplan of the room and identify the core areas – in the living room, perhaps that’s the fireplace, the sofa setting and above the television, just as an example.
Add task lighting to these places with a variety of fixtures. Above the TV might demand a pendant or a wall sconce for functionality, but you could introduce a table lamp on a side table next to the sofa to create a cosy feel, or add a floor lamp next to the fireplace to emphasise its glow. Whatever you do, think about your home lighting in each room as a ‘lightscape’ of sorts – a series of complementary lights that feel almost discordant when only one is turned on, but strike the perfect balance all together.
3. Tease out shadows
While shadows are beautiful, when trying to establish a base functionality in the home, they aren’t your friend – in fact, they can thwart some of the most crucial of daily tasks, including getting ready in the bathroom and cooking safely. So, to combat this, it’s important that you think about the placement of overhead lighting very carefully.
This problem can occur in almost any room, including the bedroom, home office or living room – ultimately, it’s dependent on the tasks you’re trying to perform day to day, and how much light they require. If you know that you’ll be doing a specific thing in a specific spot with regularity, you might like to strategically place your overhead lighting to avoid shadows. To do this, avoid placing your overhead fixtures over any edges that could refract the light. Instead, limit their ability to bounce around by positioning them in the centre of a surface like a countertop or desk – this will prevent lots of uncontrollable shadows from forming.
Of course, lighting is a crucial element in the home, and means that you won’t be able to comfortably navigate your space and work out those go-to spots before it’s in place. So, instead of putting in the guesswork, another way to avoid shadows is by using movable light sources like floor and table lamps. These are particularly useful in busier rooms that require less free space, as they can be moved around and adjusted based on whether they serve their purpose.
4. Add balance with light fixtures
One of the most common mistakes made when designing a home lighting plan is choosing fixtures that don’t ‘fit right’. Although they might appear fine up close, in the context of the room, they’re disjointed and disproportionate with the other elements in the space. Functionality is key above all, but once you’ve got that sorted, aesthetics are your next battle – which is why the balance of your light fixtures is worth considering.
An oversized lamp next to a small armchair or loveseat is inevitably going to feel out of place, just like a huge pendant lamp in a studio apartment will. So, what kind of principles should you follow to strike the right balance? Well, it comes down to two things – the way the piece feels in the space and relates to your other items, and the light it casts. There’s no uniform way to work out whether a light fixture is suitable for the space, so it ultimately comes down to your better judgement, and whether it feels balanced to you – after all, you have to live in the space! Ensure that wherever your place your lighting, it does its primary job of adding light and visibility before you even think about aesthetics.
One important and often overlooked consideration to make is height. If you’re hanging a pendant, mounting a wall sconce or positioning a floor lamp, you’ll want to keep a keen eye on height. With floor lamps, you’ll want to ensure they don’t dwarf surrounding items, and vice versa. They’ll illuminate the area from this height, so ensure that suits your needs, whatever they may be. Sconces and pendants will be more in line with the whole space rather than just immediate items, but ensure they’re hanging at a level that casts an appropriate glow in line with your needs whilst balancing out other objects on the walls or ceiling, such as hanging plants and artwork.
5. Take style into account
In our final, and ultimately, most exciting tip, let’s assess style. We often think about our home lighting choices as a practical and functionality-first decision, and while this is true, that doesn’t mean you have to let style fall to the wayside. As the range of lighting on offer both at Brosa and elsewhere continues to grow, blending a chic look with ultimate functionality is simpler than ever.
While downlights and basic ceiling fixtures don’t exactly scream ‘stunning’, when it comes to the more decorative pieces – pendants, floor lamps, scones and table lamps – there’s so much room to show off your personality and have fun. Consider colour, texture and material as hugely central elements to your design decisions. We’re conditioned to think that black, silver and gold are the only options, where in reality, the possibilities are limitless.
Evoke an ultra-modern style with metals and monochrome, add some mid-century flair through geometric shapes and jewel tones, or bring it to the beach with rattan shades and white fixtures. Whatever your style, there’s a way to give it life with home lighting – it just takes a little thought, and perhaps some time spent looking for the perfect fit. Be sure to discover our range of home lighting to find the right piece that suits both the form and function of your space.
Home lighting is a necessity, but it’s not always executed correctly – which is why a careful and considerate approach to choosing your home lighting is key to a space you’ll love for years to come. One last tip to keep in your back pocket is to go simple with built-in fixtures like ceiling and downlights, and infuse your style with ‘removable’ pieces such as table, floor and wall lighting. Throughout this process, ensure your needs are always at the forefront of the decisions you make, and you’re sure to succeed – illuminating the space in a way that’s uniquely you.