Post by Stacey Walker. Stacey mostly works behind the scenes for Greenbrook Design, managing day to day operations, marketing, sourcing product and keeping the showroom beautifully designed. Stacey also does interior design & home styling for a select number of clients. Find out more about Stacey here.
The right light can do much more than just illuminate a room, it can set a better atmosphere in the room and give the illusion of a larger space. When preparing to select lighting for your home there are multiple factors to keep in mind such as size, amount, and placement. Since it is an essential part of designing an area we thought it would be helpful to share five things you need to remember when selecting your lighting.
1. Understanding Room Functionality
Begin your selection process by understanding what your needs are for the space. Will you be in there often? Is there a lot of natural light? What tasks will you be doing in the area? The answers to these questions will determine the specific lights needed to accommodate the space. For example:
General areas such as entryways and mudrooms mainly require pendant lights, sconces, and chandelier lighting.
Specific areas include home office and kitchens which use targeted light or task lighting to brighten work areas like the desk and countertops.
Determine what your needs are before going to the store or meeting with your designer, this will help know what lighting to look for specifically and saves time.
2. Types of lighting
There are three main categories of lights:
Ambient lighting: this is considered the main source of light in a room and can come from a ceiling fan light, overhead light, or possibly recessed lighting.
Task lighting: this is a targeted lighting that helps with a specific activity like reading or your bathroom vanity. This can provide the extra light you need when putting on your makeup or doing some late night reading.
Accent lighting: this is more of a decorative lighting that adds a nice design touch to the space such as bookcase lighting which draws the eye into the room.
Each has a specific purpose but can work together to create a layering effect for your space such as table lamps that can be used if you are going to use one area of the room or want low light.
3. Lighting Placement
This can be a bit more tricky since there are several factors involved with this aspect including the size of the room and furniture placement. Keep in mind that center is usually a good rule of thumb for most rooms but if you choose to split your main light between several large fixtures space them equally apart for a unified design. It is obvious and distracting when a chandelier is not centered over the dining room table or kitchen island. Read here for some more in depth information on this point.
4. Lighting Size
One of the worst things to do when choosing a light fixture is to pick one that dwarfs the room or is so small that it is barely noticeable. The right size creates a complete design and makes the room feel inviting and functional. Measuring is key to this part in the process and there are different measurements for different areas such as:
Kitchen islands require you measure the island then decide on how many lights you would like. It is recommended that each light be around 30 inches apart. Be sure to factor the edge placement since the lights should stay within 6 inches of the end of the island.
Dining room tables should have fixtures that are no more than ⅔ the size of the table.
Be sure to talk with your designer about sizing or go to a specialized store that can give you advice on a particular area in your home.
5. Styles of Lighting
Many consider this the fun part of the selection process since this is where their personality can shine through. There are no hard and fast rules here, if you want multiple sizes and shapes that is an option, we do encourage that you only factor in the size available in the room since too many different options can create a space that hinders productivity and function. Don’t forget that lights are more than just glass fixtures, beautiful choices of wood and metal are available which go great with a farmhouse or contemporary style. Talk to your designer and take time to browse lighting showrooms to see what’s available.
Light up your home
At Greenbrook Design we have multiple options for styles and sizes of light fixtures through the many dealers we represent. Be sure to browse through our lighting resource page here or visit our showroom to see some examples of light fixtures. We look forward to assisting you in lighting up your home in style.