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Effective Tips to Achieve Great Lighting in Every Room

by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes

in Design & Trends, Interior Design, Variety

Lighting is one of the most important considerations of creating a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing home. It dictates the ambiance of the room—bright and cheery, comfortable and relaxing, or warm and intimate. Achieving great lighting is both an art and science. You need to use your design judgment to combine beauty and function, but there are also set rules to follow to create the perfect lighting conditions. And it usually begins with layering the three types of lighting fixtures.

Three Types of Lighting Fixtures

One common lighting mistake that many homeowners commit is installing overhead lighting and leaving it at that. Most overhead fixtures emit light downwards at a particular area, so they can’t reach certain areas, like nooks and crannies. And they cast shadows which can make it hard to do certain tasks or create unflattering angles. Great lighting is achieved through layering up these three types of lighting:

  • Ambient lightingprovide general lighting and sets the tone of the room. Ambient lighting is created using recessed or track lights, chandeliers, pendant lights, and wall-mounted lights.
  • Task lightingis more focused. Its purpose is to provide light to help you do certain tasks (e.g., reading, cooking, writing, sewing, and tasks the require high visibility). Table lamps, track lights, under cabinet lights, and vanity lights can all be used for task lighting.
  • Accent lightingadds dimension and drama to your home. It creates a focal point and draws the eye to a certain place. Accent lighting is used to showcase artworks, bookcase displays, and architectural features in your home. Track lighting is commonly used to highlight artworks while wall-mounted lights are utilized to accent bookcase displays, breakfronts, and washboards.

Now that you know the three types of lighting and what they’re used for, here are some ways you can apply them at home to achieve the perfect lighting conditions in every room.

The Living Room

Homeowners spend a lot of time in their livings rooms, doing a variety of things—watching TV, reading, playing family games, or just lounging. It’s also the place where the family usually gather. That being said, the living room should be bright but not too bright to create the perfect atmosphere for warm family gatherings, full of laughter and smiles.

Recessed lights are popular options for living rooms, but they tend to cast shadows, which darken certain areas in the living room. Instead of recessed downlights, use cove or valance lighting, which bounces light off the ceiling, to provide better illumination and avoid casting shadows. 

Top them off with soffit or recessed lighting along the sides to awash the walls with light, creating a brighter atmosphere without being overbearing. Place pharmacy-style or apothecary-style lamps by reading chairs or game tables to provide task lighting. 

Showcase the fireplace or huge artwork in the living room using track lighting. Install wall sconces on each side of your bookcase, and add a table lamp on accent the decorations on your hall table. 

The living room typically requires clever layering of the three types of lighting to show off the interior and provide sufficient comfortable lighting to do a variety of activities. Try these clever lighting ideas for a beautiful living room.


Another part of the house that requires the most consideration when creating lighting, the kitchen is where you do a lot of task that require high visibility. The room requires a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting to provide ample illumination

A central ceiling-mounted fixture provides general lighting to the entire room, augmented by task lighting to illuminate the counters. Natural light filtering through the windows will provide ample lighting on the sink during the day time, supplemented by recessed lighting along the the sides.

Cupboards tend to cast shadows on the counter, where the actual cooking is done. Installing under cabinet lights will make doing tasks easier on the counter. Pendant lights brightens the island and adds illumination to the entire kitchen.


The bathroom is a place for personal grooming, so there’s a lot of emphasis with lighting that emits enough light without being unflattering. Instead of a central ceiling light, use well-placed wall-mounted fixtures. Install sconces on each side of the mirror to provide a more flattering illumination especially checking your reflection.

In a small bathroom, ample illumination can instantly expand the space. An open window during the daytime can provide plenty of natural light to brighten up the room, which can be supplemented by recessed lights spread across the room for balanced illumination.

Dining Room

As the center of the dining room, the table should be the focus of the lighting. A chandelier above the table will provide the ambient lighting. For a modern approach, use pendant lights instead of a chandelier. The ambient lighting can be supplemented by accent and task lighting to highlight decorations and provide layers.

Add sconces on either side of a breakfront or sideboard to accentuate the display. Recessed lights distributed evenly across the ceiling or along the top sides can give further illumination for a bright dining area. You can add dimmers for flexibility and comfort.


The bedroom calls for a relaxing and comfortable ambience that’s conducive for rest and sleep, so it’s best to avoid harsh or overbright lighting. Overhead lights should be modulated. Use of frosted glass can soften lights to prevent taxing the eyes. Floor lamps, architectural lighting, or scones can replace ceiling-mounted lights as ambient lighting.

Table lamps by the nightstand or wall-mounted lights above the bed make bedside reading more comfortable. Consider using themed lamps, like coastal lighting fixtures, to add layer to your bedroom decor. Just be sure to have individual switches for each to adjust the illumination as needed. For dressers or vanities, wall-mounted lights, track lights, or vanity lights can provide ample and flattering illumination. Recessed lights can illuminate closets.

The Bottom Line

Great lighting is a vital to create the ideal home environment. It sides the mood and ambience of your home and helps you navigate the space and do tasks around the house with ease. Creating the perfect lighting conditions requires careful consideration. There should be a balance of layers to provide ample light without neglecting comfort and aesthetics. Follow the tips above to achieve great lighting in every room in your home.

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