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Lighting Your Living Room

When you think about your own home, which room do you consider to be the most important? If you enjoy cooking, the kitchen will be your go-to room. If spa-like relaxation is your daily indulgence, then the master bath is likely your sanctuary. However, there is a room in your home that serves multiple purposes and has been the site of many family memories: the living room. How can you best light your living room to be a versatile space in your home?

Layered Light

Modern living room a chandelier and table lampWhen you’re designing a new home, most lighting experts will stress the importance of layering light. There are three basic types of lighting: ambient, accent and task. A balance of all three will provide sufficient illumination while eliminating shadows. How can you accomplish this in your living room?

General Illumination

The living room, also referred to as the family room, is used by many families for entertainment, relaxation and work. Whether you play board games with guests, curl up on the couch with a book or work on your laptop in the living room, you need light! Start with the main source of ambient light; this could be a chandelier, pendant or recessed cans.

  • Chandeliers: A chandelier is a sophisticated focal point; there are many traditional, modern and rustic styles to choose from! If you want to make a statement, choose a fixture that is proportional to the size of the living room, yet shows off your unique design sense.
  • Pendant Lights: Pendant lights come in various sizes, from teardrop to over-sized. It is your choice to have multiple small or one large pendant as your source of ambient light. Pendants often work well as decorative focal points in rooms with high ceilings.
  • Recessed Lights: Many homeowners consider recessed lighting to be outdated. However, when used correctly, recessed cans are a great source of general illumination. They tend to reflect the most light against white, glossy ceilings.
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How to Best Use Wall Sconces

Wall sconces were designed after wall-mounted candlesticks and tiki torches used for lighting prior to electricity. Today, wall sconces can be found in a variety of styles, colors and textures. They make a great addition to any home but sometimes, it can be difficult to decide where to place your wall sconces. How can you best use these decorative fixtures?

General Illumination

Kichler wall sconce

Kichler 1-light wall sconce from the Monroe Collection

Wall sconces come in a variety of sizes. When you want to use them as your main source of light, go bigger. In a room with high ceilings, you can place the sconces relatively high on the wall. The extra height will help the light disperse evenly throughout the room.

Create Ambiance

Unlike for general illumination, you’ll want to find wall sconces that are made with frosted glass. This type of design helps to create a soft glow of light that is not too harsh. When you’re unwinding at night after a long day, you can turn off your main source of light and keep these wall sconces on to create a relaxing or romantic atmosphere.

Reading Lights

If you like to read at night in your bedroom, living room or study, wall sconces make great reading lights. Placement will vary depending on if you’re in bed, on the sofa or in your desk chair when using the sconces, but the general rule of thumb is to place the lights above your head. That way, you are not being blinded by a bright light out of the corner of your eye.

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Lighting Your Dining Room

The dining room is often the place where families gather to enjoy meals, discuss their days and make holiday memories. However, this room is multifunctional; it can be used for entertaining guests, studying or a romantic dinner. As a result, each use requires a different type of lighting. How can you properly light your dining room to capture the necessary mood for each and every occasion?

Create a Focal Point

traditional dining room with large chandelier Your dining room is likely furnished with a table, chairs and possibly a China cabinet or bar. This space has much less furniture than the other rooms in your home, so the main lighting source should be eye-catching. Keep in mind that for the best distribution of light, the bottom of a fixture should be about 36 inches above the table. How do you decide if that fixture should be a chandelier or a pendant?

When to Choose a Chandelier

As a general rule of thumb, select a chandelier if your dining room table is round. The spherical shapes will complement each other and any traditional décor in the room.

When to Choose a Pendant

Linear suspension fixtures are a more modern take on dining room lighting. With a linear pendant, light will be spread across to each end of your dining room table.

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How to Light Your Home Office

In a house with children and pets, it can be difficult to find a quiet spot to work. Home offices and studies are the most common places to find some peace. Yet, with back to school upon us, your home office could be doubling as a homework spot. Is the room properly lit for everyone’s use? Follow these tips to avoid common issues.

Avoid Eye Strain

desk lamp pointing to a laptopWhether you work from home or your child needs to use the Internet for homework, computer eye strain is a serious concern. This type of eye strain occurs when the lighting in a room is too bright or too dim. Eye strain can be avoided with the proper balance of natural and artificial light in your home office. The main goal is to reduce squinting due to glare.

The Dangers of Glare

Glare is the result of too much contrast between light and dark areas. It often occurs when too much natural sunlight is competing with your lighting fixtures, or vice versa. Again, finding a balance between these two sources of light is critical to reduce glare. Lighting placement can also cause a glare in your home office. Fixtures should be placed in front or to the side of your desk and computer screen, rather than behind.

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Lighting Your Hallway

The hallways in our home help us get from one room to another. Although not the most glamorous spaces, they serve an important purpose. As a result, hallways should be properly lit to promote a safe transition between rooms. Hallways can be dark, especially late at night. Unless you rely on day and moonlight to provide illumination, it becomes necessary to create artificial light. The following tips help you light your hallways correctly.

Lighting the Hallway to See

bright hallway lighting It is crucial for you and your family to be able to see when moving around your home. Just as you wouldn’t want them to get hurt, you also wouldn’t want a guest to trip in your dark hallway. Yet, you don’t always want the lights to be on or too bright. What can you do?

Install Lighting Controls

People spend very little time in the hallways of their homes. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need to be lit. The solution? Lighting controls with motion sensor technology. When an occupant enters the hallway, the sensor will acknowledge it by activating the light.

Invest in Light Dimmers

When you’re getting the kids ready for school in the morning, turning the lights on can help get them moving. When you get up at night, a subtle amount of light is just enough to get from the bathroom and back. Dimmers allow you to control how bright the lights are at any time of day.

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