Standard home furnishings only give you a bare minimum of light. If the furniture is surrounded by deep shadows or the light never seems to reach the corners of the room, it's time to take a second look at your ceiling lights. With a bit of renovation and new lighting fixtures, you can illuminate every surface of your home. Layered ceiling lights also make your home more inviting, more organized, and easier to work in.
First, organize your new ceiling fixtures to give your home enough light. Then focus on adding task-oriented lights and ambient lighting.
1. Incorporate multiple sources of light rather than a single, strong fixture.
Look up at your ceiling. The lighting fixture in the middle of the room provides plenty of light, but it's not dispersing it properly. There's too much light concentrated around the bulbs themselves. That makes the light a source of glare and potential headaches if it stays in the periphery of your vision for too long. That same light fades out quickly. It doesn't reach the corners of wide rooms, and it gets blocked by all of the room's furnishings or appliances.
Lighting experts recommend on having multiple points of light instead. Save strong, attention-getting fixtures for above dining room tables and other areas where you want people to congregate. Add recessed or track lighting around the edges and corners of the room to illuminate the room in a consistent pattern of light. That stops any lights from being too overpowering or too limited.
2. Focus on getting rid of shadows.
Some areas in your home don't have any ceiling lights at all. Not only does it make the spaces dim and harder to navigate, it means people won't want to spend time in them. Add recessed lights to these five spaces:
- Closets: Except for the en-suite master bedroom closet, closets usually don't get their own light sources. But even if your other bedrooms have relatively small closets, they need dedicated illumination. Add a central light in square closets or two in wide, rectangular ones. If your home's closets have deep shelves, also add strip lighting under the shelve's lip to reduce shadows.
- Bathrooms: Most bathrooms just have a light over the vanity. Add ceiling lights that illuminate the whole space, and add another one above the shower.
- Hallways: Your hallway may have ceiling lights already, but it might not have enough. Open all the doors in the space and check for any areas that fall into shadow. That means the existing light sources are too far away.
- The breakfast nook: Kitchens can be tricky to illuminate. Ceiling lights can't reach everywhere because of the cabinets, and large appliances limit the light's range. So make sure your breakfast nook off the kitchen has its own dedicated lighting. You can keep the area understated with recessed lighting or add a decorative light fixture over the table.
- Your garage: Garages are usually the least finished room in a house. But they need a lot of illumination. Add track lighting near edges of the room to help keep your storage more organized and make searching through the boxes less intimidating. More ceiling lights will also make it easier to get in and out of your car in the early mornings and evenings.
3. Create layers of light that make rooms inviting and functional.
Once you have a plan that includes enough lighting to brighten up your house, start adding layers. The three additional layers you can incorporate into each of your rooms are task, decorative, and ambient lighting. Every room needs a mix of additional lighting to organize the space and make the room more functional.
Add hanging light over key task-oriented areas.
Whenever you're focused on a task, it's important that you have the right lighting to get it done. This includes everything from bright lights where you prepare dinner to shaded lighting near your desktop computer that helps you read but doesn't create glare. Bright lights are safer to work in than shadows, both for your physical safety and to reduce long-term eye strain. When the light is just right, it's also easier to stay focused for longer periods of time.
But sometimes ceiling lights aren't enough. You might be able to illuminate a kitchen island with hanging pendant lights, but the countertops under your cabinets are a bit more challenging. Consider adding under-cabinet light strips in your kitchen or lamps and wall sconces in your office.
Add ambient light where you want people to congregate.
Ambient lighting isn't as bright as task lighting, but it's just as purposeful. People unconsciously draw nearer to light, so keep spots for guests well-lit and inviting. For example, a dining room should have plenty of ceiling lighting that keeps the whole room bright and accessible. But if you add a decorative chandelier above the middle of the table with warmer lightbulbs, the space is more comfortable than with general lighting alone.
Add more ambient ceiling lighting:
- above an island with seats or stools. Ambient and task lighting isn't an either-or situation. If you have a large kitchen island that functions as a workstation and a place for people to sit, add pendant lights that achieve both goals. You can direct the light beams at the island surface but shade the bulbs with a warming cover to prevent undirected glare.
- around your living room. Your guests are going to spend time in your living room, not just your dining room and kitchen. Add extra light fixtures above your furniture to make the room cozier. People feel uncomfortable in dimly lit spaces, especially if they're first-time guests. Ambient lighting will make them feel more welcome.
Adding more ceiling lights is one change that will have the most transformative effect on your home. With just a few recessed lights and hanging light fixtures, you can make any of your rooms more inviting, comfortable, and easy to work in. Go to Concept Lighting Group to find lights that match your personal styles and your home's needs.