Posted by Nicole Marcangelo in Home Design

The lighting in a room is not to be underestimated.

It carries utilization of the room throughout the daytime into the evening hours. It sets the mood and vibes of a room. It makes or breaks choosing an outfit and applying makeup (we’ve all been there!).

Choose the right lighting throughout your entire home with our easy-to-follow tips.

Bathroom Vanity Lights

How to Choose Lighting for Your Home

To start selecting the right lighting for your new home, you’ll need to consider 4 things for each and every room:

  1. What natural light is already contributing to this room?
  2. What is this room going to be used for?
  3. What part(s) of this room will be used more than others?
  4. What time of day is this room typically used?

Here’s an example, using a family room:

  1. What natural light is already contributing to this room? 3 windows at back of room, dining room window, back patio doors
  2. What is this room going to be used for? Hosting a weekly book club (and reading for it), kids crashing after school while waiting on dinner, watching TV in evenings
  3. What part(s) of this room will be used more than others? Area in front of TV
  4. What time of day is this room typically used? Weekend mornings, weekday evenings

This family room sounds like it needs a couple lighting fixtures that transition from different day parts and provide enough light to read—resulting in a mix of both ambient lighting and task lighting.

Family Room Furniture and Lighting Arrangement

  • A lamp by the reading area allows for catching up on a book even if Saturday morning brings rainstorms.
  • A large lamp for the two couches to share provides enough light during evening hours.
  • Can lights—also known as recessed or pot lights—in the ceiling serve as the brightest light during day or night.

“Good design is about matching light levels to the tasks being performed in specific locations,” says Kristina Lynne of The Every Girl blog.

From relaxing to working to creating, each room deserves its own special lighting choices.

How to Choose Lighting for a Bedroom

In addition to the obvious use of sleeping, each bedroom style serves its inhabitants in different ways: homework, reading, video games, or drawing.

Lighting by the bed is crucial for when the rest of the lights are out. Make sure the bedside lamps don’t take away from other focal points or a chandelier, but rather accentuate them.

Bedroom With Elegant Chandelier and Bedside Table Lamps

For the main lighting fixture in a bedroom, carry through your interior decorating style and pair colors, textures, or themes together.

Bedroom With Industrial Chandelier

Extra lighting beyond the basics can add decorative drama to a room. This color-light wall décor adds a fun and feminine finishing touch to this bedroom:

Bedroom With Metal Ceiling Light and Colored Wall Lights

Let your lighting solutions have a day or two to perform in a room so you can test them out in daytime and nighttime.

Was it easy enough to see everything? Did the lights compete with each other or each illuminate a different part of the space? Make sure the lights are actually functional and not just pretty.

How to Choose Lighting for a Bathroom

Lighting in the bathroom is SO important. From being able to see in the shower to providing the right environment as you’re getting ready for your day, you’ll definitely want to invest in proper bathroom lighting.

Dual Vanity With Matching Lights

If you have a double vanity, make sure each sink has its own lighting fixture. While multiple people get ready, double lighting helps you utilize both spaces how they were intended.

For an L-shaped bathroom, opt for symmetrical lighting that makes each end as bright as the other.

L-Shaped Bathroom With Two Vanities and Matching Lighting

If your bathroom is one long, narrow space, don’t neglect the furthermost corner. We cannot emphasize how important lighting is above the shower in a bathroom of this shape! Trust us: your overnight guests will thank you.

Bathroom With Vanity Lights and Recessed Lighting Above Shower

Don’t forget the powder bathroom! These can easily feel like dark, cramped spaces if not properly lit. Make sure your lighting fills every corner of these small bathrooms, too.

Powder Bathroom Lighting

How to Choose Lighting for a Kitchen

From under-cabinet LED lighting to pendant lights above your island to recessed lighting to complete the trifecta, you’ll need it all.

You can either mix a few metals or stick to one metal between lighting and kitchen appliances, but don't go overboard—otherwise your space will be distracting rather than harmonious and complete.

Choose brighter lighting over meal prep areas and muted lighting where guests might be sitting.

Muted Kitchen Island Pendant Lights

Shared lighting is often one underutilized aspect of an open-concept kitchen and living room. In this unified space, decorations and colors should flow together seamlessly so the rooms don’t clash or equally vie for the eye’s attention.

Open-Concept Kitchen and Living Room Lighting

The dining space should be considered an extension of the kitchen, even if it’s a formal dining room. Especially since your guests will at some point probably see both your kitchen and this eating area, tie the two spaces together with similarly colored or shaped lighting fixtures.

Bright Lighting in Kitchen and Dining Area

How to Choose Lighting for a Living Room

Living or family rooms are often where groups gather to chat, play games, have movie night, and make memories, so make this space as inviting as possible!

Living Room With Bright Circle Ceiling Light and Wall Sconces

Whether you go for light and bright or cozy and intimate, think about being able to clearly see your hand of cards during game night as well as guests clear across the room as you’re conversing.

Place wall sconces, floor lamps, table lamps, hanging light fixtures, and recessed lighting equally throughout the room, centered around the seating area.

Living Room With Warm, Ambient Lighting

How to Choose Lighting for a Closet

This one’s for the fashionista—we want you to see your wardrobe properly!

Think of your walk-in closet not only as a space you can store all your wearables, but also as an area you can easily incorporate into your daily getting-ready routine.

Here’s what we mean: if you can’t see your hung clothes, folded clothes, shoes, and accessories all equally well, chances are you’re grabbing what you think is the clothing item you want and hauling it out to your bedroom to get changed.

Why not bring your lighting up a notch to be able to put on your whole outfit ensemble for the day near everything before fit-checking in the mirror! Opt for an oversized, bright lighting fixture that can really bring new life to a closet.

Walk-In Closet With Large Ceiling Light

How to Choose Lighting for a Hallway

For a small hallway, choose small ceiling lights that cast enough light throughout the space without making it offensively bright.

If you have a statement hallway that showcases artwork for guests to enjoy before passing through to the other side, pair display lights with elegant, luxurious ceiling fixtures for the best way to showcase your stunning wall décor.

Hallway With Wall Art and Gold Display Lighting

How to Choose Lighting Fixtures

Some parting advice for selecting lighting throughout your home: match your design with the right fixtures, and the right fixtures with the right bulbs.

“When deciding what light fixture to get, you need to first consider size,” instructs design enthusiast Amanda Katherine. “You want a fixture that is big enough for your space that doesn’t look [disproportionately] small.”

Discover all the lighting fixtures and what you need to know about each one in order to make the best decision about physical light structures to add to your home. Then, make sure you either hire a professional or research how the fixture needs to be installed.

Open-Concept Space With Statement Lighting

Finally, consider what types of bulbs make the most sense for your lighting fixtures.

If your interior design colors are darker, opt for brighter bulbs. Edison bulbs are nice and cozy, but they really don’t shine very far on their own. LED lighting is really energy efficient but can be a harsher option to get used to in a small space.

Learn all the different types of bulbs and which one is right for which room.

Home Theater With Elegant Ceiling Light Fixture

Tying in your personal design style, furniture arrangement, and decorations with the right lighting really completes a room’s look.

Play with lighting elements in one room until you feel like you’ve nailed it, then move on to the next room. You’ll get the hang of it in no time!

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Nicole Marcangelo
Nicole Marcangelo


As Internet Sales Manager in Tampa, Nicole’s passion for real estate drives her enthusiasm and dedication to help you find your dream home at one of our many communities as well as decorate your beautiful new space and find the best things to do in the Tampa Bay Area. In her free time, Nicole enjoys taking fitness classes (#Peloton), cheering on Tampa’s sports teams (#GoBucs), and enjoying the beautiful local beaches with friends (#SunshineState).

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