Categories: Home Buying, Homeowner tips | Posted: December 5, 2018
Your decor reflects style, but it’s the light that creates ambience. From the style to the bulbs, your fixtures set the atmosphere. McGuinn Hybrid Homes can shed some light on the subject by offering tips for choosing the right lighting throughout your home.
The correct lighting will vary from one space to the next, so let’s take a walk through your home.
Entry and foyer
The first impression is made here. What should it be? Classically elegant, a warm welcome, or sleek contemporary? A chandelier is a good choice if you have the space, but be careful to balance the size of the fixture with the area it’s illuminating: too large and you dwarf the entry, too small and it gets lost.
Complementary wall sconces are a good addition to a foyer, lighting the way to the main living area and the staircase. Sconces should be mounted at eye level so that you see the light and not the bulb inside.
Main living area
Lighting an open floor plan might feel like a challenge, but if you break it into zones like you did with the decorating, you can see your way clear to do it right. Overhead recessed lights are great to brighten up the whole room, but be sure to add dimmers so you can control the intensity.
Then, focus on the zones for task lighting. Wall sconces brighten up dark corners. Table and floor lamps bring in style. Again, keep everything in proportion so that your lamps blend with your decor without overpowering it. Remember, a lamp shade is a quick makeover that can do wonders to brighten up the lamp or coordinate floor and table lamps that have different bases.
The dining area in your open floor plan will do well with pendant lights, particularly for rectangular tables. The number of pendants will depend on the size of your table.
The correct size for the fixture is half to two-thirds the width of the table or one foot smaller than the diameter for a round dining table.
For an 8-foot ceiling, hang the lights with 30 to 36 inches between the table top and the bottom of the fixture. If you have a higher ceiling, add 3 inches for every additional foot of ceiling height. The total wattage of your dining room fixture’s bulbs should be 200 to 400 watts.
The kitchen is the most task-oriented space in your home, so plan to utilize a variety of light fixtures here. Recessed lighting is a great choice to brighten up this vital workspace, but you’ll need focused lights on specific spaces.
The center island or peninsula benefits from pendant lights with dimmers, so you can go from bright light when you’re doing prep to a softer one when using it as a buffet. Like the light fixture over your dining room table, the pendants should clear the countertop surface by 30 to 36 inches. This distance is close enough to light up the area without blocking the view. Feel free to move them up a bit if you have taller people in the household.
Mount a fixture over the kitchen sink (unless it’s part of the island) so you have a clear view here. If you prefer, install recessed lighting directly over this space.
Under-cabinet lighting is the unsung hero of the kitchen. How many times have you found yourself trying to measure or chop something without good light?
In all the kitchen fixtures, use a bright CFL bulb so you don’t strain your eyes. It’s always better to have a dimmer switch than a dim bulb.
Here’s another task lighting project. The light you use over the sink is probably brighter than the one you want over your soaking tub.
Today’s bathrooms are trending toward more decor, treating this space like a room, rather than a function. Chandeliers present a popular choice to spark your bathroom’s style. Suspend the chandelier in the middle of a large bathroom, using the right proportions, or directly over your tub if you want to highlight that space. Since this bathroom chandelier provides mood rather than task lighting, use a dimmer switch to get the right glow.
The vanity usually has a fixture above it, but you’ll likely be the victim of overhead shadows that highlight the wrong features when you look in the mirror. Try placing wall sconces on each side of the mirror and recessed lighting that isn’t directly above it. The sconces should be mounted approximately 75 to 80 inches above the floor so the light is casting on you from the side and slightly above. Remember that while soft lights are easy on the eyes (particularly important when you get up in the middle of the night), they don’t reflect accurate skin tones. If that’s important to you, choose a crisp white LED bulb.
Overhead lighting should also be used in the shower and above the toilet.
Overhead lights are good to provide just that, but since your bedroom is your escape from the rest of the household, you should do more.
Bedside lighting shines the light you need while also accentuating the decor. Choose table lamps, wall lamps, or even pendants to fill this void. Any mounted fixture opens up the area on your nightstand—eliminating the issue of bumping the shade or knocking over the lamp. However, once you commit to installing a wall lamp or pendants, you also commit to the placement of your bed.
If you decide to use table lamps on your nightstand, choose a style where you can easily switch it on and off while reclining.
Don’t forget about closet lighting! Place overhead or recessed lights so you can see your wardrobe choices. In a large, walk-in, make sure the dark corners have sufficient light, too.
2019 lighting trends for the home
In the coming year, we’ll see some style changes in lighting for the home.
Pendants will make a bigger statement than ever in 2019. Decorators are taking a shine to mixing a blend of sizes of pendants, which can replace a chandelier and add definite visual appeal.
Edison bulbs are available in so many shapes and styles right now that they will be showing up in just about any clear fixture—pendants and globes to sconces and string lights.
While certainly not new, the industrial look will manufacture even more popularity. Expect the distinctive look to take on more gold tones—matte, not polished—giving homeowners more choices.
The Farmhouse style isn’t going anywhere either. You’ll see more choices for overhead fixtures, pendants, and lamps—with maybe an influence of industrial style.
Also look for Mid-Century Modern to maintain its strength as a decorating style. The simplicity and clean lines appeal to people who like minimalist decor, as well as those who welcome the retro look and feel.
Maybe you don’t just need a change in your current home, but a new one altogether! For 33 years, McGuinn Hybrid Homes has been pioneering the design and construction of energy-efficient, affordable, single-family homes in the Columbia, SC, region. Wander virtually through our communities of new construction homes and. We also build on your lot, so if you’re not finding the ideal location, let us know! Then contact us to brighten up your home life!