Lighting Mistakes Everyone Makes and Clever Tricks To Fix It

Lindsey - November 12, 2023
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.