How to Light Your Home Properly

How to light your home properly is the key to creating a warm, inviting atmosphere that your whole family will enjoy spending time in. Are you tired of sitting in dull, gloomy rooms that feel more like caves than cozy living spaces? Chances are your home simply isn’t being lit in the right ways.

Proper lighting is one of the most important (yet often overlooked) elements of good interior design. The right lighting can make a space look bigger, brighter, and more welcoming. But getting it wrong can leave you with harsh shadows, unflattering glare, and just an all-around cavelike feel.


In this post, I’ll cover super easy tips for lighting your home properly on any budget. You’ll learn simple lighting tricks and affordable solutions that will transform your living areas into the bright, beautiful rooms you’ve been dreaming of. Say goodbye to dark spaces and hello to a warm, well-lit home!

1. Understanding Different Types of Lighting


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Before you can properly light your home, it’s important to understand the three main types of lighting. Having the right mix of these will allow you to light your home like a pro!

“Light has a profound impact on how we feel and experience spaces.”

Says designer, Kelly Wearstler

A. Ambient or General Lighting

This is the overall lighting that fills a room and allows you to see and walk around easily. Examples are chandeliers, ceiling fixtures, and lamps that provide overall illumination.

B. Task Lighting

As the name implies, this type of lighting is for specific tasks like reading, cooking, or working. Think of lamps on a desk, under-cabinet lights in the kitchen, or a pendant light over a kitchen island.

C. Accent Lighting

Accent lights are for highlighting certain areas or features you want to draw attention to. This could be track lighting aimed at a piece of art, a decorative table lamp, or even recessed lights in the ceiling to accent a fireplace or bookshelf.

“The key to properly light your home is using all three types of lighting together. Good lighting combines general, task, and accent illumination for versatility and ambience.”

Says Amanda Gates from Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles states

By understanding and incorporating a balanced mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting in each room, you’ll end up with perfectly lit spaces that are both functional and inviting.

“If you are looking for a way to style your space with wall art without breaking your piggy bank, then I recommend reading 10 Surprising Benefits of Printable Wall Art

2. Layer Lighting with 2-3 Multiple Sources


One of the keys to properly lighting any room is to incorporate multiple light sources and layer different types of lighting. Using just one light source often leaves areas too bright or too dark.

“Every room should have at least two to three light sources for optimal lighting. It allows you to properly layer and balance the lighting.”

Says, stylist Emily Henderson

For example, in a living room you may use:

  • An overhead light or ceiling fan for ambient lighting
  • Floor lamps in the corners for ambient lighting
  • Table lamps on end tables for task lighting

In a bedroom, you could layer:

  • A ceiling light for general/ambient lighting
  • Bedside lamps on dimmers for task lighting
  • An uplight floor lamp for accent lighting

By using 2-3 different lighting sources and types together, you create a balanced light level while adding visual interest. It prevents any single light source from being overpowering or leaving parts of the room dark.

“Layering your light is crucial for a relaxing ambience and functionality. It’s the secret to giving a room depth and dimension.”

Says designer, Vern Yip

So when lighting each room, plan to incorporate a few different light fixtures and lamps. The complementing yet different light sources will give you the flexibility to properly illuminate the entire room.

Also: The Rule Of Three For Decorating Your Home

3. Lighting Your Home’s Entryway or Foyer


The entryway is the first space you and guests experience when entering your home, so it’s important to have proper lighting here. Follow these tips:

A. Overhead Lighting

A ceiling-mounted light fixture or pendant light provides overall ambient lighting in the foyer. Choose one that makes a statement as it’s the first impression of your home’s style.

B. Wall Lighting

Sconces mounted on either side of entries or mirrors add both ambient and accent lighting. They also offer a warm, welcoming glow as you enter.

C. Table Lamps

If you have a console table or other surface in the foyer, add table lamps for task and accent lighting. This allows you to clearly see for activities like sorting mail.

In addition to making the space brighter and more welcoming, properly lit entryways also enhance safety by eliminating dark areas.

For a grand feeling, use a eye-catching overhead fixture like a chandelier or lantern. Then layer in wall sconces or lamps to fully illuminate the space.

With a well-lit entry, you’re able to make a memorable first impression as guests arrive. It’s the gateway to the rest of your beautifully lit home.

Also: How to Create the Perfect Women Cave: Your Haven at Home

4. Lighting Your Main Living Spaces

Now that you understand the different types of lighting, let’s talk about how to properly light the most important rooms – the living room, kitchen, and dining room. These are the main living spaces where your family spends the majority of their time at home.

A. How to Light a Living Room

Roger Davies

The living room should have a variety of lighting sources for different activities like watching TV, reading, or entertaining guests. An overhead light or torchiere floor lamp can provide ambient lighting. Table lamps on end tables offer task lighting for reading. And an accent light like a decorative lamp can highlight the room’s focal point like the fireplace or gallery wall.

B. How to Light a Kitchen


Since this is where you prep food and do other tasks, the kitchen requires lots of bright task lighting. Under-cabinet strip lights illuminate countertops for safe food prep. Pendant lights over the island or breakfast nook provide concentrated light for that work area. Recessed ceiling lights can also help evenly light your home’s kitchen.

C. How to Light a Dining Room


To create an inviting atmosphere for family meals and dinner parties, use a combination of ambient and accent lighting. A dimmer switch on the overhead light or chandelier allows you to adjust for different moods. Candles on the table provide a warm, flattering accent light source.

“Lighting is a crucial element of design and really helps anchor and define each space in your home.”

Says designer, Sarah Richardson

With the right mix of lighting, your main living areas will not only be brighter and more functional, but will feel like a cozy Place you actually want to spend time.

Also: Whimsical Living Room: A Decorating Step By Step Guide

5. Lighting Bedrooms & Bathrooms

Once you’ve properly lit the main living areas, it’s time to turn your attention to the bedrooms and bathrooms in your home. Getting the lighting right in these personal spaces is key for creating a relaxing retreat.

A. Bedroom Lighting

Mary Patton Design

The secret to a well-lit bedroom? Layers of different lighting. An overhead light or ceiling fan provides general ambient lighting. Bedside table lamps offer task lighting that’s perfect for reading in bed. A decorative floor lamp in the corner adds ambient lighting. And don’t forget to put your light sources on dimmers so you can easily set the mood for sleep, intimacy, or just lounging.

“Lighting is so important in a bedroom for creating a peaceful, restorative environment.”

Says designer, Jennifer Ott from Houzz

B. Bathroom Lighting


You’ll need a combination of bright task lighting and soft ambient lighting in the bathroom. Vanity lights mounted on either side of the mirror provide even, shadow-free lighting that is ideal for self-grooming like applying makeup or shaving. A decorative sconce or two can provide ambient lighting. And a skylight or window will allow in plenty of beautiful, natural light.

“Properly lighting a bathroom not only makes it more functional, but more spalike and relaxing,”

Notes designer, Sarah Richardson

By thoughtfully lighting your home’s bedrooms and bathrooms, you can create personal oases that are perfectly lit for their intended purposes – rest, rejuvenation and self-care.

Related: Wabi Sabi Bedroom: A Step-by-Step Guide

6. Lighting Your Home Office

Emily Henderson

More people are working remotely from home offices than ever before. Having proper lighting in this space is crucial for productivity, focus, and reducing eye strain from laptop and computer use. Follow these tips:

A. Desk Lamp for Task Lighting

Position an adjustable desk lamp to provide direct task lighting right on your work surface. This prevents having to strain your eyes while working.

B. Ambient Lighting

In addition to task lighting, you need ambient lighting for general illumination. Recessed ceiling lights or a torchiere floor lamp in the corner work well.

C. Accent Lighting

Layer in an accent light like a stylish table lamp to help define and highlight the office area. This adds visual interest.

Avoid relying solely on overhead lighting, which can create harsh shadows and glare on computer screens. Instead, use lamps at different levels around the room.

With layered lighting from multiple sources, you’ll be able to work comfortably for hours without eye strain or headaches from improper home office illumination. Proper home workspace lighting increases productivity!

Related: How to Create a Cozy Home Office

7. Lighting Your Home on a Budget


You don’t need to spend a fortune to properly light your home. With a little creativity and some smart shopping, you can get well-lit rooms for much less. Here are some tips for lighting on a dime:

A. Affordable Lighting Options

Look for inexpensive light fixtures and lamps at discount stores like HomeGoods, Marshalls, or even thrift stores. Places like IKEA and home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s also have very affordable lighting options. Don’t be afraid of mixing higher and lower priced pieces together.

B. DIY Lighting Ideas

Get crafty by repurposing common household items into trendy lights! Mason jars can be turned into rustic hanging pendants. String up some indoor Christmas lights along bookcases or cabinets for ambient lighting. An empty wine bottle with the bottom cut off makes a cool candle sconce.

“Good lighting doesn’t have to be expensive. With a little ingenuity, you can create fantastic ambience on a budget.”

Says designer, Taniya Nayak

Take this poll to share your biggest lighting challenge: What is your biggest lighting struggle? a) Not enough natural light b) Rooms feel too dark c) Bright but unflattering light d) High electricity bills

With some smart shopping and DIY skills, you can easily light your home beautifully without breaking the bank. Proper lighting is affordable with a little creativity!

Also: How To Make The Bed Like A Hotel

8. Choosing the Right Light Bulbs


The lightbulbs you choose can make or break your home’s lighting. Pay attention to bulb brightness, color temperature, and efficiency.

Shop on Amazon: Energy Saving Light Bulbs

A. Brightness (Lumens)

Instead of looking at watts, look for lumens to determine brightness. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. Around 800 lumens is perfect for ambient lighting in living rooms and bedrooms.

B. Color Temperature

Color temperature is measured in Kelvins (K). Lower K (2700-3000K) gives warm yellowish light while higher K (5000-6500K) is a cooler bluish tone. 2700K bulbs provide a cozy, inviting warmth.

C. LED Efficiency

LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient and long-lasting option. Look for the ENERGY STAR rating to ensure quality. “LED bulbs provide brilliant lighting while reducing energy costs,” notes designer Brian Patrick Flynn.

By choosing bulbs with the right brightness, color temperature, and efficiency ratings for each room, you’ll have well-lit spaces that are also environmentally friendly.

Also: How To Hang Curtains Without A Rod

9. Dimmers and Smart Lighting Technology


Take your home’s lighting to the next level with dimmer switches and smart home technology:

A. Dimmer Switches

Dimmers allow you to easily control light levels and set the perfect ambience and mood lighting in any room with just a simple switch.

B. Smart Light Bulbs

WiFi enabled smart bulbs can be controlled remotely from your smartphone and integrated with other smart home systems. Change colors, dim, put lights on schedules and more.

C. Smart Switches/Dimmers

Smart light switches and dimmers let you control and automate your home’s lighting from anywhere using your phone. You can also integrate with voice control assistants.

“Dimming capability and smart lighting provide versatility and convenience for adjusting the mood and ambience.”

Says designer, Karen Ellsworth of Better Homes & Gardens

Dimmer switches and smart bulbs allow you to customize lighting scenes throughout your home for everyday tasks, special occasions, parties, and more – all with the touch of a button or simple voice command.

Also: How To Hang Curtains Without A Rod

10. Outdoor and Patio Lighting


Don’t forget to add some brilliant lighting to your outdoor living spaces! Extending your home’s lighting to the exterior will allow you to enjoy those areas day and night.

A. Pathway Lighting

Line walkways and paths with solar pathway lights to provide ambient lighting and help prevent trips and falls after dark. Low-voltage pathway lighting is also an option.

B. Patio/Deck Lighting

String lights, lanterns, or outdoor floor lamps help create a warm, inviting glow on your patio or deck for outdoor entertaining and dining alfresco. An overhead fan with a light kit is also a great option.

C. Landscape Lighting

Highlight key landscaping elements like trees, plants or water features with in-ground landscape lighting or spotlights. This provides both light and architectural interest.

“Well-lit outdoor spaces make your home feel bigger by maximizing your family’s usable space after the sun goes down.”

Says designer, Chris Lambton from HGTV

With a few well-placed outdoor light sources, you can extend the lighting – and enjoyment – of your home’s living spaces to the great outdoors. Just be sure to use weatherproof fixtures designed for exterior use.

Related: 15 Tips To Get Your Patio Ready For Summer

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To properly light your home is essential for creating functional, inviting, and stylish living spaces. By understanding the different types of lighting and utilizing a layered combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting throughout, you can transform any room.

Focus on lighting the main living areas like the living room, kitchen, and dining room with overhead lights, lamps, and under-cabinet task lighting. Then bring warm, tailored lighting to personal spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms through bedside lamps, vanity lighting, and decorative accents.

Don’t forget outdoor areas like patios and landscaping – extending your home’s lighting to these spaces allows you to enjoy them at night. And be sure to explore affordable options from discount stores, DIY ideas, smart home technology, and layering multiple light sources in each room.

As we’ve seen from the expert designers quoted, thoughtful lighting is crucial for setting the right mood and ambience while maximizing functionality. With these tips, you can properly light every space in your home for a magazine-worthy yet comfortable, family-friendly feel.

So take a look around and start planning how you’ll layer in stylish, practical light sources from room to room. A few well-lit updates will leave you with a bright, welcoming home you never want to leave!

How to Light a Home-FAQs:

How much should I budget for new lighting?

Plan to spend at least $100-300 per room on new lamps, light fixtures, and bulbs for proper lighting. But you can definitely find affordable options at discount stores to lower that cost.

How do I choose the right light bulbs?

Look for LED bulbs with the right brightness (lumens), color temperature, and efficiency rating for each room and purpose. Warm 2700K bulbs are ideal for living spaces.

Can lighting really impact my mood?

Absolutely! Poor lighting can leave you feeling gloomy, stressed, and strained. But the right bright, layered lighting elevates mood and creates a relaxing, uplifting atmosphere.

How many lights do I need in each room?

Most rooms should have 2-3 different light sources and types (ambient, task, accent) to provide balanced, properly layered lighting. This prevents dark corners or areas that are too bright.

What about smart lighting – is it worth it?

Smart light bulbs, dimmer switches, and switches you can control from your phone provide amazing lighting flexibility. They allow you to easily set different lighting “scenes” with a tap for any mood or activity.

Subscribe now for an endless feed of inspirational women cave decor ideas, pampering rituals and more tips for curating your ultimate escape. Let’s get started on making your cozy refuge a reality – you so deserve this!

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