Layers of Light: Interior Lighting Tips for the Home

Bed with Matching Table Side Lamps

Lighting often takes a supporting role when it comes to home decorating, but in truth, well considered lighting can be the quiet star of the show. Lights serve many purposes: illuminating a task, directing the eye, emphasizing an accent, or just creating visual interest. In my experience, the best lighting design accomplishes all of these goals by creating layers of light throughout each room in a home.

Sounds great, but what does that really mean? The goal is VARIETY! Each room should have a mix of light sources spread thorughout at different levels. To make this easy for you to try, I have laid out specific lighting design tips for each room in your house.  

Living Room Lighting

In larger, social-driven spaces, like a living room, the goal is to open up the space with light. Strive to illuminate three of the four corners of the room. At least one light should focus attention on an object of particular importance to you, such as a work of art, a well-tended plant, or a piece of custom furniture. Big spaces can benefit from a combination of table and floor lamps, that alternatively shine light upwards and downwards. 

Bedroom Lighting

The goal here is to create a welcoming, intimate space. Try to avoid harsh lighting aimed directly at the bed. Instead, opt for soft bedside table lamps or sconces on either side of the bed for nighttime reading (or remote control hunting if you are my husband!). Extra points for using accent lighting to illuminate meaningful photos, art or accessories in this most personal of spaces.

Kitchen Lighting

Nowhere is lighting more crucial than in the kitchen. Take it from a self-proclaimed klutz...good lighting can mean the difference between a beautifully sliced cucumber and a few fingertip stitches! In the kitchen, bright overhead lighting is the priority. Supplemental lower sources, like pendants or under-cabinet lights can also help illuminate work surfaces. 

Dining Room Lighting

Dining rooms give you the chance to make a statement! Think about creating an inviting space with a central table and exciting chandelier focal point. Wall sconces or matching sideboard lamps create a complementary effect by spreading a subtle glow around the room.

Bathroom Lighting

Don't forget to consider your bathroom lights. A combination of strong overhead lighting and strategic sidelights ensure a bright space with plenty of illumination for applying makeup or trimming a beard. For best results, take a symmetrical approach to over-sink lighting. Try matching side sconces and/or horizontal lighting above the mirror.

Hopefully now you are on your way to lighting up your home! A few last secrets to make it great:

  • Natural light is always best! Be sure to use what Mother Nature gave you with retractable shades or curtains.  
  • Don't underestimate the power if dimmers. Replacing the switches on your existing lights with dimmers can be the quickest, cheapest fix you make!
  • Lighting can be a STAR OF THE SHOW. Have lamps that move beyond illuminating your room, to ones that showcase your personality. Consider custom lighting options that incorporate a favorite photo, fabric or color. Just one more way to tell your story at home!

Narrative Photo Lamps Next to Chair and Art


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