Lighting a room seems easy enough: Plug in a lamp, flip a switch, and voilà! What was once dark is now bright. But certain missteps can cause a comfy space to feel, well, off. Here some common mistakes to avoid:
1. You don’t think in layers.
It seems easy enough to install a row of recessed lights in a room and call it a day, but this strategy will ultimately disappoint.
“Homeowners tend to light rooms like they’re hosting a convention — too much overhead light,” says Robert Gross, an architect at Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design. “This doesn’t add any warmth or character to a room.”
Overhead lighting is a go-to option in many spaces, but it’s often not enough. If you omit task lighting, like floor lamps and table lamps, reading on your couch or writing at your desk could strain your eyes. And if you only install can lights in your bedroom, you won’t get the cozy quality that bedside lamps can provide.
Plus, a variety of light sources make your common areas more flexible. Ambient (overhead) lighting will come in handy when you’re hosting large holiday parties, but you’ll crave the intimacy of a table lamp when it’s just you curled up with a magazine.
Want to get super fancy? Accent lights that highlight art, cabinet interiors, or walls (think sconces) can add a luxe design element to a room.
2. You dismiss dimmer switches.
Many of the designers we spoke to named this mistake as a major pet peeve. “Dimmers are the best kept secret of lighting design,” says interior designer Jeff Fiorito. “They allow you to control your lighting from day to night, for various events, and depending on your mood.” A quaint dinner party simply isn’t so quaint if your dining room is lit up like a stadium.
3. You forget about where shadows might fall.
Place a light in the wrong spot, and you could create more of a problem than a solution.
“In bathroom, try sconces on either side of the mirror, instead of a single light above.” says Erin Davis, of Mosaik Design & Remodeling. “Overhead lighting can cast shadows on your face.” If you must go with an overhead light, choose a longer, horizontal fixture (instead of one with one single bulb) to help fully illuminate your face.
Shadows can plague your kitchen workspace, too. “If kitchen can lights are positioned above the edge of the counter, when you stand at the counter to work, you cast a shadow exactly where you need the light,” says Christine Beehler of Beehler Kitchens. Solve this problem by installing under-cabinet lighting.
Notice the same overhead shadow problem in your office? Make sure your desk has a task lamp.
4. You pick the wrong size fixture.
“This a common mistake I see homeowners make,” says Abbe Fenimore, the designer at Studio Ten 25. “A too-small chandelier over a large dining table or an oversized lamp on a table next to a sofa will make the area look disproportionate.”
Try these design tricks from Wayfair for picking the right-size chandelier: Add together the room’s height and width in feet. That number, in inches, should be the approximate diameter of your chandelier. In dining rooms, you should choose a chandelier that’s one foot smaller than the table’s narrowest width.
And don’t rely on eyeballing it when you get to the store. “Fixtures often look smaller in lighting showrooms, so bring measurements,” says Kerrie Kelly, home design expert at Zillow Digs.
5. You don’t position lamps at a helpful height.
“The bottom of a pendant light should be 30 to 36 inches above a kitchen island,” says interior designer Noelle Miceck. “The bottom of a chandelier should be 66 inches from the floor in a dining room, and when you’re sitting next to a table lamp, the bottom of the shade should be at shoulder height. If the lamp is too tall, you’ll be blinded by the bulb!”
6. You don’t consider your room’s paint color.
No matter how many lights you place in a room, it just won’t have that light airy feeling if the walls are too dark. This seems obvious, but even slightly different hues in the same color family can make a difference. “I painted my kitchen a grayish tan, and it caused the room to appear very dark,” says home rehabber Jaquetta Turner. “Repainting it with a ligther tan color will brighten it up.”
7. You forget that lights consume energy.
OK, so you’re probably not totally oblivious to this fact, but taking stock of what bulbs you use is important. Longer-lasting CFL and LED bubs can cost more up front, but can save you money over time. Of course, they won’t be perfect in every space; for instance, they often don’t work with dimmers.
Source : Good House Keeping,