7 Interior Lighting Tips for a Brighter Interior

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With the end of daylight savings time your home might be ready for a lighting overhaul.

As you spend more time indoors, and the sun sets a lot sooner, you want overhead lighting that keeps your home safe, and rooms bright, and task lighting that makes each room more functional, any time of day.

Today, we’ll share some lighting styles and tips that will help you put together the right design.

Tip #1: You will need a variety of lighting in each room.

The general rule of thumb for all interior lighting is that you want a mixture of lighting at multiple levels throughout every room in your home. For example, picture a kitchen with lighting units above your island, and task lighting underneath your cabinetry; or ceiling units in your living room with table top lamps around the perimeter.

This combination of lighting will make the rooms more functional.

Tip #2: Incorporate dimmers whenever possible

When you install your lighting, consider dimming technology. This can be especially beneficial in your kitchen or living room where you want to adjust the overhead lighting more frequently.

By installing dimmers you will experience many benefits including being more productive, reducing energy consumption, saving money, and making rooms more customizable to the situation.  Just imagine being able to dim the lights for your favorite movie, or brighten up your kitchen when you are cooking dinner.

Tip #3: Be strategic with your lighting placement.

When you are selecting lighting for your rooms think about the function of the room and focal points.

Living Room

Install more indirect lighting so the space is more relaxed. Allow for table top lamps next to a sofa or armchair. If you have high ceilings combine lighting on the ceiling and walls to help give the room a more relaxing feel, so visitors don’t feel lost in a big open space.

Dining Room 

Install lighting so that your dining room table is the brightest spot in the room.  It will grab people’s attention and make them want to congregate for family meals.


Install lights along the walls of your entryway to make passage safe.   You can combine recessed lighting (which we’ll talk about later) architectural lighting, or a trendy ceiling light depending on the shape, size and design of your entryway.  Your mudroom lighting design may be more industrial in nature, where lighting is more of necessity.  But in your formal entryway you may use your lighting as a focal point of the design.

In the case of this Boulder, Colorado home you can use architectural lighting to show off artwork or photography.

Contemporary Entry by Boulder Interior Designers & Decorators Pocci Design Group featuring Carlisle Wide Plank Hickory Wood Flooring


Install plenty of lighting overhead, and plenty of lighting under the cabinets so you will be just as comfortable boiling water for tea, as you would be preparing a gourmet meal.

Notice how this Georgia home has plenty of lighting around the island and the cabinets.  It also helps brighten up the space with a naturall dark backdrop, from the hand distressed wood flooring throughout the home.


Install indirect lighting on nightstands or use wall sconces so create a soft more intimate atmosphere, just like this Washington, DC home.

Game Rooms

If your home features game rooms with foosball tables, pool tables and the like you can use your lighting to draw the attention to these features of the room. Just like your dining room table, hang large, well designed lighting units above your billiard table.  Notice the smaller lamps in the background, positioned on either side of the sofa.

Tip #4: Recessed Lighting or Exposed Lighting Elements

Recessed lighting, just as the name implies is a lighting unit who’s structure is hidden, so you only benefit from the light itself, there is no architectural detail.   This is very practical for clean, modern interiors for aesthetic reasons. It is also quite practical in homes that have low ceilings, and hanging lighting units could present an problem.

If you want recessed lighting in your home, you want to make that decision early on since it will affect your builder and electrician.

In constrast to the clean, crisp look of recessed lighting, you can use more distinctive lighting units.  This rustic kitchen has decorative lighting units all around the room that blend with the rustic wood flooring, Distressed beams and cabinetry, and old stone work.

Tip #5: Pick your Big Lighting First

Next to recessed lighting, begin your lighting design by choosing the largest lighting elements first.

You can want to select these lighting fixtures so they complement the overall design and color scheme of the room.  The lights over the island in this kitchen, match the white color palette, and help maintain a clean modern look.

Tip #6: Accessorize your rooms with lighting to enhance functionality

You can definitely make rooms more cozy and comfortable with the right lighting.

  • For living rooms, create a reading nook with a table top lamp, in the corner of the room (along with a cozy blanket and a bookshelf if you can).
  • For a bedroom, install recessed lighting above the headboard, if you like to read in bed
  • For the master walk in closet, install task lighting around your shoes and jewelry so its easier to accessorize
  • For a gallery hall install architectural lighting to show off artwork

Tip #7: Use your Lighting for More Than Just Function

When you think about your lighting plan think about some of the ways you can use lighting to show off small features of your home that may be more personal to you.

This Atlanta home has a beautiful wide hallway between rooms with architectural lighting above the custom cabinetry. This shows off the book collection, family photos and other treasured family heirlooms.

How can you upgrade your lighting in your home?

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