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Element #3: Lighting in Interior Design

decorative lighting

One easy way to update the look and feel of a room is through using the interior design element of lighting. Seems simple, right? Put some bulbs in an overhead fixture and grab a cute lamp or two. The truth is, creating dynamic, beautiful lighting takes some work, but it doesn’t have to be difficult once you understand the rules. Here are some tips to help you use the element of lighting like a pro to brighten up your home.

Choose the Right Temperature for Lighting

The warmth or coolness of lighting is measured in Kelvin degrees. The lower range is warmer light than the higher range. Use warmer light (from about 2700 to 4000 K) in your home for a friendly, cozier feel. Cooler light (above 5000 K) is used in office or hospital settings, and isn’t appropriate for home use, except possibly in the garage.

Be consistent with the type of lighting in each space in your home. Having an overhead light with a different warmth than the table lamp in the same room will make the space look disjointed. It can also make the colors in the room look strange.

Layer Your Lighting

While you want to use a consistent temperature in your lighting in your interior design, mixing the types of lighting you use will help create a friendly, dynamic space. There are three basic types of lighting that you’ll want to incorporate into a room: task, accent, and ambient lighting.

Task lighting refers to the lighting you would use for a specific task, such as a reading lamp on a bedside table or a desk lamp to light surface workspace. Accent lighting is used to feature artwork or other display items. Its purpose is to highlight and draw the eye to a painting or sculpture. Ambient lighting is the overhead or other lighting you use to generally light the room.

Try using more than one or even all three types of lighting in each room to bring more depth and dimension to your home.

Light Outdoor Spaces

outdoor lighting
Lighting for outdoor spaces

An easy area to ignore when it comes to lighting in interior design is your outdoor space. Sconces or fairy lights on balconies or lights in planters help to create a sense of openness beyond the windows of the house. When the exterior is dark, especially at night, it makes a room feel smaller and more closed in. Exterior lighting allows our gaze to travel beyond the interior spaces and connects us to the larger world outside. Better Homes and Gardens has some great ideas for lighting your outdoor spaces in this article on landscape lighting ideas.

Control Lighting with Smart Bulbs

Smart dimmable light bulbs may be a little bit pricey, but the flexibility they offer for changing the temperature and brightness in a room is makes them worth the investment. Some lightbulbs pair with an app that can be downloaded onto your phone. Others come with a remote to change the light settings.

During the day or early evening, set dimmable bulbs to lower brightness. In the evening, adjusting the light to a comfortable level is just the push of a button away. Controlling the brightness settings also allows you to turn the lights a bit lower to create an inviting atmosphere when company comes to visit. WIRED posted some great options in their article on the best smart bulbs if you want to learn more.

Incorporate Lighting into Your Interior Design

kitchen lighting
Appropriate lighting for a kitchen

Another way to effectively use lighting in interior design is to make it part of your décor. What themes or elements already in the room can you mimic or match with your lighting choices? For example, in a bathroom with matte black faucets and drawer pulls, choose light fixtures that have a matte black base. This creates a sense of unity across the design of the space. There are also now numerous styles of chandeliers to create a focal point in a dining room.

For the best presentation in photos

The tips below are important if you are trying to take good pictures of your interior space. For professional pictures of your home, call us at Foxy Interiors, (407) 314-5076.

  • Make sure all lights have working light bulbs. 
  • Lamps should have 800 Lumen Warm White bulbs. Make sure all lights have working light bulbs. 
  • Recessed light bulbs need to match and they should all be about 3,000K and a minimum of 800 Lumen (equivalent to about 60 watts).

Updating your light fixtures is a great way to freshen the look of your home on a budget. Check out these ideas for bold, fun light fixture updates. Also be sure to check out this post on the element of color in interior design to learn more about choosing the right color scheme for your space. If you need a consultation to discuss lighting options in your home, please contact me for an appointment.