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How to Choose Light Fixtures

Lighting can make or break a room, but many people overlook it because of its utilitarian nature. Light fixtures have an important function, yes, but they are also like the mascara of your room. Everyone looks better with some pretty lashes.

1. Start early.

When developing a light plan for your home start as early as possible. Knowing what types of fixtures will be in each space and where they will go allows you to work with your electrician to make sure they can be installed easily. It’s also best to have a whole home (or room) fixture list so that you can make sure they all coordinate well as you are shopping.

2. Create plan layers.

There should be three layers on your lighting plan: general, task and accent lighting.

General lighting illuminates your entire space. In a large room this might include a chandelier, pot lights or flush mounts. In a small room you may not need general lights. Task lights illuminate specific areas. Consider your room’s function. Will you be reading in a comfy chair? Maybe writing at your desk? Each of those areas could benefit from a lamp or other form of task lighting. In the kitchen task lighting can be added under your upper cabinets to make it easier to prep food. Once the functional lights are planned, add some drama to your home with accent lights. Some of the most common examples of accent lighting are sconces next to the fireplace or art lights hung over your favorite art pieces.

3. Consider finishes.

Once you know what types of light fixtures your home needs it is time to consider the fixture’s finish. Most people probably think of metal when they’re considering purchasing light fixtures, but there are other options and so many things to consider. If you decide to go with this traditional route, consider your fixtures’ sheen and metal type. Yes, there are brass, bronze, chrome, nickel and more options when it comes to metal, but they can also be brushed, polished, lacquered or unlacquered. You may also find beautiful fixtures that aren’t metal at all. They can be made from natural materials like stone and wood or painted/enameled in nearly any color. No matter which finishes speak to you, make sure that you plan the whole space, or home, at once so that they all work together.

4. Select the right bulbs.

The last thing your lighting plan needs to take into consideration is the bulbs you will use. Typically, in residential spaces a warmer light is preferred over a cooler light. Everyone looks prettier in warm light! The temperature of your bulb is measured by its Kelvin rating. Typically, bulbs with a rating of 2700K to 3000K are warm and provide a great choice for your home. 3500K-4500K strikes a balance between warm and cool and 5000K+ provide a cooler light and should be used in commercial spaces.

Shopping for fixtures with a fully developed lighting plan is much easier than just winging it. If you need help selecting lights in your home please reach out.

I’ve included an example below of a cohesive plan that I recently put together and the links to purchase any of the fixtures. Shop some of my favorites here:

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