Lighting Mistakes Everyone Makes and Clever Tricks To Fix It

Lindsey - November 12, 2023
Photo: EcoWatch

Overlooking Energy Efficiency

Neglecting energy-efficient lighting options is a significant oversight with both financial and environmental consequences. Traditional incandescent bulbs, known for their inefficiency, contribute to higher electricity bills and increased carbon emissions. Energy-efficient lighting not only reduces electricity costs but also lessens the demand on natural resources. By neglecting these eco-friendly options, individuals miss an opportunity to contribute to a greener future while enjoying the immediate benefits of lower energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint. As you’ll see mentioned in other portions of the list, solutions like LED or CFL bulbs, natural lighting, and dimmer switches are all great ways to pursue a more energy efficient home.

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Lighting Tip: Use of Mirrors

The strategic use of mirrors in a home is a brilliant technique for enhancing lighting in your home. Mirrors are adept at reflecting natural and artificial light, effectively multiplying whatever existing illumination you’ve chosen for a room. Placing mirrors opposite windows can bounce natural light throughout the space, making rooms feel bigger and brighter. Additionally, mirrors can amplify the impact of artificial lighting sources, helping to distribute light evenly and reduce the need for additional fixtures. Ultimately, consider mirrors as a layering technique for differing light sources in your room.

Photo: USA Today

Lighting Tip: Smart Lighting

Installing smart lighting systems can revolutionize the way you interact with and manage illumination at home. These intelligent systems, controllable via smartphones or voice commands, offer an unprecedented level of customization. Users can effortlessly adjust color temperatures, ranging from warm, cozy hues to cool, invigorating tones, adapting the lighting to suit various moods and activities. You’ll never have the wrong color tone if you go this route! Moreover, the ability to control brightness levels allows for fine-tuning the ambiance according to preference or specific needs. Plus, you can set up lighting schedules, ensuring lights are on when needed and off when not, promoting energy conservation and safety. Consider installing a smart lighting system to create dynamic, responsive, and energy-efficient lighting environments tailored to your lifestyle.

Photo: Elle Decor

Lighting Tip: Statement Fixtures

Choosing a few statement lighting fixtures is a strategic approach that injects character and visual interest into a living space. These standout fixtures not only illuminate but also serve as captivating focal points, commanding attention and defining the room’s aesthetic. At a minimum, switch out build-standard lighting to better suit your individual taste! Whether it’s an artistic pendant, an elaborate chandelier, or a uniquely designed floor lamp, these statement pieces contribute to the overall design narrative. By focusing on a select few fixtures, the room gains a sense of intention, allowing each piece to shine individually while contributing to the whole. This deliberate curation of standout lighting can transform your space into a visually dynamic environment where illumination becomes an important part of the overall design.

Photo: Iekel Road Home

Lighting Tip: Highlighting Architectural Features

Leveraging lighting to accentuate architectural details or interesting features within a home is a design strategy that can highlight the space itself as art. Well-placed fixtures can cast a spotlight on intricate moldings, unique textures, or interesting structural elements, turning them into visual focal points. Whether it’s track lighting grazing along a textured accent wall or uplights showcasing a stunning fireplace, the blend of light adds depth and drama to the architecture. Using lighting as a tool to highlight architectural nuances transforms a home, elevating its character and allowing the structural elements to become an integral part of the overall design narrative.

Photo: This Old House

Landscape Lighting

Extending your lighting design outdoors with landscape lighting is a great strategy to enhance curb appeal and create envy among your neighbors. Thoughtfully placed lights along pathways, highlighting garden features, or illuminating outdoor architectural elements can turn a nighttime exterior into a unique showcase. Beyond aesthetics, outdoor lighting – including motion lights – provides safety and security, guiding pathways and deterring potential intruders. Warm, strategically positioned lights can also extend the use of outdoor spaces, making them inviting for evening gatherings. By incorporating landscape lighting, homeowners can showcase the beauty of their property after sunset, fostering a welcoming ambiance that not only elevates the overall aesthetic but also enhances the functionality and enjoyment of outdoor spaces.

Photo: Depuley

Lighting Tip: Adjustable Lighting

Opting for adjustable lighting fixtures is a savvy choice that brings versatility to your home lighting design. The ability to alter the direction and intensity of light allows you to sculpt and define the atmosphere in each room. Think of your child reading in a well-lit reading nook. These fixtures, equipped with movable components or adjustable arms, allow you to customize the direction and intensity of light, catering to specific tasks, moods, or focal points. Whether it’s a directional spotlight for highlighting artwork or a desk lamp with a movable neck like in Pixar films, these fixtures provide control over the ambiance. This adaptability not only adds functionality but also ensures that your lighting design remains dynamic and responsive to different occasions.

Photo: Decoist

Lighting Tip: Layered Pendants

Hanging pendant lights at varying heights is a design strategy that can transform a space, infusing it with visual intrigue and dynamic energy. Note that this is different from accidental inconsistency in heights, which could throw off the look of a room. This purposeful arrangement not only breaks away from the conventional uniformity of lighting but also creates a sense of depth and movement. The interplay of lights at different levels adds a sculptural quality, turning the pendant arrangement into a captivating focal point. This approach is particularly effective over dining tables, kitchen islands, or in open living spaces, where it can define zones and establish a visually appealing hierarchy. The varying heights not only contribute to a more aesthetically interesting ambiance but also provide practical illumination, ensuring that light is distributed evenly across the room, making it a noteworthy and stylish element in the overall design scheme.

Photo: Lee Valley

Lighting Tip: LED Strips

Incorporating LED strips into your home design introduces a versatile solution for subtle ambient lighting. Placed strategically under cabinets, along staircases, or behind furniture, these strips emit a soft, diffused glow that not only enhances visibility but also adds a touch of sophistication to your living spaces. The flexibility of LED strips allows them to adapt to various contours and spaces, creating a seamless and integrated lighting effect. Their energy efficiency and diverse color options further contribute to the overall ambiance, allowing homeowners to personalize their environment with ease. Whether used for task lighting in the kitchen, safety lighting on staircases, or as an artistic element behind furniture, LED strips provide a stylish and functional way to illuminate your home with modern flair. Midnight hack: put a motion sensor LED strip underneath your cabinets so it illuminates the floor. When you need to do a nighttime bathroom trip, you won’t be assaulted with harsh bathroom lights.

Photo: Schoolhouse

Lighting Tip: Sconces for Vertical Interest

Installing wall sconces is a design strategy that adds additional layers of lighting. These fixtures, mounted on walls at various heights, add compelling vertical interest, drawing the eye upwards and contributing to the visual depth of a room. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, wall sconces serve a practical purpose by creating a well-distributed light source. Whether flanking a mirror in the bathroom, lining a hallway, illuminating a reading chair, or framing a focal point in the living room, the upward or downward illumination they provide complements overhead lighting, reducing shadows and creating a more balanced ambiance. Wall sconces are a versatile and effective means of infusing both style and functionality into a home’s lighting design.

Photo: Hudson Valley Lighting via American Lighting Association

Lighting Tip: Mixing Materials

Experimenting with different materials and textures in lighting fixtures is a design approach that can add interest to your space with some visual richness. Materials, such as metal, glass, wood, or fabric, bring unique textures and tones, creating an interplay of light and shadow. Mixing these elements in fixtures like chandeliers, pendants, or lamps introduces a layer of complexity and personality to the room. Whether it’s the industrial allure of exposed metal, the warmth of wooden accents, or the elegance of textured glass, varied materials contribute to a multi-dimensional aesthetic. This experimentation not only adds diversity to the lighting design but also becomes a distinctive element in the overall decor, but may sure you choose pieces that are based on the feel of the room.

Photo: CNN

Lighting Tip: Seasonal Lighting

Incorporating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lights into your living space can be a transformative solution, especially during darker months or for individuals affected by the seasonal shift in sunlight exposure. SAD lights, often designed to mimic natural sunlight, emit specific wavelengths that can positively impact mood and alleviate symptoms associated with seasonal affective disorder. Placing these lights strategically, such as near workstations or in common areas, allows users to benefit from increased exposure to bright, full-spectrum light. Beyond their therapeutic benefits, these lights have evolved over the years to seamlessly blend into home decor, providing a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution to combat the winter blues or low-light environments, fostering a more uplifting and energized atmosphere indoors.