How to Use Lighting to Create the Perfect Room

Lighting is one of the most important features of your home, and it can help create a unique space. It can be overwhelming, though, but it doesn’t have to be. There are three basic types of lighting, and when used together they can create a cohesive and functional room.

When finding the right lighting for your Minneapolis-Saint Paul home, it’s important to consider each room. Kitchens and bathrooms should emphasize functional lighting, because of the detail tasks performed in each room. Living spaces offer a chance to create a welcoming room through different types of fixtures that also match your style.

Focusing on Functional Lighting for Your Kitchen and Bathroom

When lighting your kitchen or bathroom, you’ll need to balance function and form. These two rooms are where you’ll be working on detail tasks, like reading a recipe and chopping veggies in your kitchen or applying makeup in your bathroom.

Lighting Your Kitchen

There are three different types of kitchen lighting: general, task, and accent. By combining the three, you can create a warm and welcoming kitchen while also ensuring your space is lit well for each task. Having multiple sources of light throughout your kitchen creates multi-directional and even light.

General Kitchen Lighting

General lighting provides a wash of light throughout the room, and are supplemented by task and accent lighting. Picture your kitchen’s general lighting as the switch you’ll reach for when you enter the room.

These can be recessed can lights, pendant lights, or a mixture of both. This is where form and function come together, because you can have a light that works for the space, while also contributing to the style of your kitchen.


Task-Specific Kitchen Lighting

When considering where to place your task-specific lights, it’s important to know where you will be working. Picture your task lighting as the switch you reach for when you need to wash dishes or prepare food at the counter. This is especially important during the long Minnesota winters when the sun sets early!

Task lighting needs to be placed carefully so it can help you in your daily activities. During a home renovation, your countertops may move to a different position, which is why it’s important for you to work closely with your interior designer and contractor in determining where best to locate task lighting.

Accent Kitchen Lighting

Accent lighting for your kitchen provides a focal point in your kitchen. These are the lights that may not add very much light overall, but can direct guests’ attention to certain areas.

If you have glass door cabinets with a display of vintage plates and bowls, you can add accent lighting to bring focus to these items. By creating visual interest, you can add to your home’s unique appearance.


Lighting Your Bathroom

Choosing the right lighting for your bathroom is similar to your kitchen. Function is important, but adding some unique fixtures can help make your bathroom your own. There are two types of lighting in your bathroom: general and task-specific.

General Bathroom Lighting

Creating general lighting for your bathroom helps create the right ambiance. Your bathroom, like your bedroom, should be a relaxing space while getting ready for the day. This ambient lighting can be recessed can lights or a single overhead fixture.

This ambient lighting serves as a replacement for natural light. This is particularly important if your bathroom has no windows, though it can also supplement natural light during dawn and dusk. (And once the sun has set.)

Task-Specific Bathroom Lighting

There are two primary types of task-specific bathroom lighting: vanity and shower lighting. The placement of these vanity lights is important due to the detail tasks you perform in front of the mirror.

To reduce the shadows while shaving or applying makeup, lights to the side of the mirror are ideal. It can at times, though, be impractical because of mirror placement. If you do need to have overhead lighting, a long fixture (at least 24 inches) can help create a wash of light.

If your bathroom is small, you may not need a light over your shower or bathtub, but it can be helpful for large or oddly shaped bathrooms. These are typically recessed lighting fixtures with a glass cover, as plastic will yellow over time.


Using Creative Lighting in Your Living Spaces

The right lighting can turn a house into a home. Using the same principles as kitchen and bathroom lighting, use a variety of fixtures to create balanced light. This is also an opportunity to add creative lighting fixtures to your space.

Your home is a reflection of your style and personality, so finding unique and creative fixtures can help bring your room together.

Overhead Lighting

Overhead lighting can be either a ceiling fixture or recessed can lighting. Recessed lighting offers ambient light that task-specific lights can supplement. When choosing your overhead lights, remember that a few are often better than many.

When shopping for just the right overhead lighting, it’s important to remember scale. If you have a large living room, you’ll need a larger light. When the scale is done right, the light will perfectly complement your rooms décor.

Task-Specific Lighting

In living spaces, task-specific lighting is generally composed of floor and table lamps. By incorporating both of these, you can balance the room. Floor lamps can be a space-conscious way to add lighting, since the base can nestle between a recliner and a side table.

Adding a table lamp to your desk or side tables are also an ideal way to add task-specific lighting. The benefit of these lamps is that you can incorporate your style into the lighting plan.


Why Color Temperature Matters in Home Lighting

Color temperature, described as warm and cool, can guide you to the right lighting for your living spaces. If you want a calming environment, you’ll want a different color temperature than an invigorating, productive room.

This is largely based on personal preference, but there are some guidelines that can help you decide.

Your Home’s Style Can Determine the Light Bulbs You Purchase

Your home’s style can help determine the best color temperature. If your home is traditional or an Arts and Crafts style and you enjoy rich, warm colors in your décor, opt for lighting that mimics candlelight. If you have a modern or contemporary home, a cool color temperature can create a cohesive environment.

Incandescent lighting is a common choice for its warmth, though some homeowners aren’t thrilled with the modern halogen-based incandescent light bulbs.

After the “light bulb ban” beginning in 2012, these halogen-based light bulbs make it more difficult to create a warm environment.

LED light bulbs are more expensive, but they are much more energy efficient, and they can mimic incandescent light better than CFL light bulbs. Since CFLs generally run cooler, they mimic daytime light. These are ideal if you’re looking for cooler-temperature lighting in your living spaces.

While creating a lighting plan for your Minneapolis-Saint Paul home can sound like a tough task to complete, these tips can guide you through the process. Balancing form and function in each room will show your style while also serving your needs.