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Lighting For Your Home

General, task and accent lighting are used in this space.

As the days grow shorter and the natural daylight diminishes lighting becomes a more important focus in our interiors and home decor needs.  Anyone planning a new home or a home remodeling project will be very happy if they work out their lighting needs before they get in their new space.

Testing the lights in new hallway prior to adding artwork.

How to fail proof your lighting plan, in order:

  1. Think about how you will use each space.
  2. Have a furniture layout/floor plan for every room.
  3. Visit lighting showrooms and research available lighting options.
  4. Consult a lighting or interior designer or if it is a large home hire a lighting designer to do a complete lighting plan.

Lighting is not generic.  In this builder supplied plan below, all the lighting and outlets in the great room are around the perimeter of the room.  The furniture floorplan calls for much of the furniture to float in the room so unless tripping on cords is acceptable, this lighting plan isn’t.

Generic lighting plan supplied by builder.

This type of generic lighting plans is why us designers are constantly helping homeowners who struggle with the contractor’s placement of a ceiling fixture smack dab in the center of a dining room – doesn’t work.  This has been a hugely popular topic on my website Ask A Designer Now.   Central dining fixtures are to be centered over the table which is rarely in the center of the room.

In every room it is important to consider how your family will utilize a space and the exact placement of furniture.   As much as I love and work with architects unless they see a floorplan from an interior designer, they won’t get it 100% either.

Lighting must suit your specific needs.  I have seen more money wasted after the drywall is up and the walls are painted when the homeowner walks in and needs an outlet or fixtures where there isn’t one.

Lighting is not one size fits all. Bathrooms can be especially tricky.  The difference is whether someone puts their make-up on in the mirror over the sink (once you hit 40 that option is out) or if a guy shaves at the sink or in the shower. Someone who’s dining room doubles as a home office or work space will require  task oriented lighting and general dining lighting.

Understand the different types of lighting (task, ambient or accent).  Many rooms have all three.  Determine your light requirements for a space and any problems light can solve or architectural details and artwork you wish to highlight.  Lighting is so much more than looking pretty.  Now the shopping begins.

Yes, I know it seems tedious.  Great lighting does not come in a box.  It comes with careful thought and understanding of a particular interior space, the furniture, the finishes and colors.  The homeowner is key to fabulous lighting in a home interior.

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