One of the most difficult aspects of DYI home décor projects for home owners is in figuring out the proper lighting for each room. Every room in the home will have its specific needs and aside from having multiple bedrooms, (where one could repeat a pattern for installing lighting), almost every room requires a little pre-thought before ‘fixture purchasing’.
There are multiple considerations that can overwhelm DYIers and often, those saddled with managing the room’s lighting task, if not a professional lighting expert; they tend to give up in frustration mid-way through a project. Consequently, a greatly furnished room may dim in comparison to its poor lighting plan. So how does one go about planning to adequately and properly light a room?
It might be helpful to first separate oneself from the trend that everyone follows and think more about if the room lighting will be task related or will be used more to create a certain ambience or mood. The popular trend these days leans toward installing dimmable, recessed down lights everywhere. It’s easy to see why there is a large scale movement to follow the trend. Recessed cans lighten up a room from above, while simultaneously removing the décor nightmare of having to figuring out just where to appropriately place the table and floor lamps.
When household rooms are very small, the real estate is precious and ceiling lights are the most efficient way to eliminate the limited-room-to-store-things issue. People naturally think that by laying out two general light lines in a ceiling will cover the rooms lighting needs. But most people are not experts in lighting, and therefore they often make poor choices when selecting canned lighting. Perhaps they chose an inexpensive series, which can mean less sufficient light output. Or they find that after installation, that while the center of the room is lit, strangely, the walls are all dark. Recessed lighting has its merits. But more often than not, they require a little help from their side pals – mainly, wall sconces. When it comes to some rooms, some just may require wall mount lighting.
In a bathroom, wall fixtures are almost necessary. Down lights alone will cast shadows onto the sides of the face, which makes putting on makeup a bit of a tricky task. Wall sconces will minimize shadows from overhead. They can even out the walls in a large, high ceiling living room where recessed cans have been installed. Placing recessed cans too high up can cause a dark space in the center of the room, especially when they are not strong enough to stream light down far enough into the room. In a kitchen, where food preparation also requires bright light, overhead cans become almost the accessory, whereas task and accent lights are the true necessities.
Adding to the confusion, are the shifts and changes in the actual bulb industry. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 required most screw-in light bulbs to use 27 percent less energy by 2014. LED’s, CFL’s and some halogens began replacing incandescents. But then suddenly everyone had to begin to understand Lumens, Kelvin’s and the CRI (Color rendering index). Things used to be so simple.
What’s a homeowner to do? It won’t hurt to first just go online and look up e-commerce lighting stores. Extract ideas from images you see on Houzz. Search the top brand manufacturers and view their webpages. Most of them have inspiration galleries. Look at the way designers promote their design skills on their websites. Just where do they tend to place the lighting in a room? If you notice, many of them incorporate several lighting sources per room. Try to find a room image online similar to the room you want to light. Use the extensive visual galleries to gather your ideas. Take a look at not only the layout of the ceiling lights, but where the accent and wall lighting is as well. Look to see how the light streams from each fixture. One can take a lot of great ideas just from pictures alone. Most importantly, consider the benefits of a wall sconce. They remain on the wall, up off the floor. They provide all the side lighting you’ll need. They come in thousands of styles and colors. They can be dimmable. And by adding in a few wall lights, you can have greater control over your room lighting, by having separate controls.