How To Design Interior Lighting

While it is usually thought of last, the lighting in your home is really one of its most important features. Without proper lighting, furniture looks dull, artwork just hangs and even your food looks dull and unappetizing. Yet, depending upon the task or use for each room, the type and even intensity of the types of fixtures will vary. There are generally three types of lighting: general, task and accent. General lighting refers to overhead fixtures that add light without a focus on one particular object or area. For example, ceiling fixtures are general lighting that is turned on when entering a room. Task lighting is used to illuminate a work area, such as a desk or craft table to make closeup work easier to see. Accent lighting does exactly that, accent. Artwork is normally displayed with fixtures that allow the piece to be seen properly.

Moderately Easy


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      Adding lighting doesn't have to be as tasking as it seems. Kitchens definitely require proper lighting. Recessed lighting is popular and widely used in kitchens and the rest of homes today. "Cans," as they are popularly called, supply lighting downward and not only act as task lighting when installed over food prep and cooking areas, but can be placed on dimmers that dial down the brightness so they turn into general or overall lighting of the space. Place fixtures over and slightly in front of the sink, stove, refrigeration and other food prep spaces, keeping them on center and 3 to 6 feet apart.
      When planning your kitchen lighting design, don't forget under-cabinet lighting. Under-cabinet lighting also is great for highlighting the backsplash of the kitchen, but can help in food preparation when working under overhead cabinets. If you have an island or eat-in area in your kitchen, use hanging fixtures, called pendants, that will add décor and visual interest to those areas.

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      Recessed lighting works well in any room, such as bedrooms. Use recessed fixtures for general lighting, but bedrooms also need task lighting usually by the bed and seating area. Lamps are the perfect solution for task lighting. They can be placed anywhere and coordinated to match your décor. Not only functional, lamps can be focal points or even the inspiration for the rest of the room. Use table lamps and floor lamps in bedrooms, dens and living rooms to create designated spots for reading or sewing or just to light the way. If you do a lot of close work, such as sewing or stamp collecting, use task lighting that is movable with arms and adjustable heads so that light can be directly over what you are working on.

    • 3

      In hallways, track lighting is perfect to draw the eye up and toward the other end. Track lighting is also perfect for showcasing artwork as the individual fixture head can be adjusted to shine on each piece. Track lighting also works well in rooms with extremely tall ceilings as the fixture hangs down a few inches to bring light closer to the floor.

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      Lighting in bathrooms is vital. General and task lighting are both needed. The vanity area needs task lighting, so use sconces on either side of a mirror for drama, or a single fixture placed over the mirror for a decorative element in addition to the function. If you have room, use a beautiful chandelier as general lighting or over the tub. A chandelier will create an elegant atmosphere and decorative element. In shower areas though, use recessed fixtures that are actually encased so that they are waterproof.

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      Speaking of chandeliers, or any hanging fixture, use them to create drama and to define spaces. For example, chandeliers in the dining area define the space and give focus to the table.


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