5 Home Lighting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

On January 29, 2019 by Himanshu Shah

Living Room Lighting

Lighting plays a vital role in creating the atmosphere of a home or of any place, for that matter. Too dim, and the place will look like the set of a horror movie. Too bright, and you would think you were in a hospital rather than at home.

Plenty of homeowners don’t realize that good lighting is more than just installing a row of recessed lighting or, worse, using a single bright fluorescent lamp to illuminate an entire room. Bad lighting does nothing to highlight your interior or build a comfortable ambiance. You should avoid these common lighting mistakes if you want to create a cozy, picture-perfect home interior.

Missing Layers of Light

It’s already been established that it takes more than just overhead lighting to create the ideal atmosphere. Many homeowners forget that good lighting takes layers. Ambient (overhead) lighting illuminates the entire room, but it also casts shadows on corners.

Plus, overhead fixtures typically emit light downward in a particular direction, so the surroundings are not lit up entirely. With only this type of lighting to rely on, doing tasks that require intense eye focus, like reading and cooking, will strain the eyes.

That is why other types of lighting have been created. Floor and table lamps can illuminate corners and areas that overhead lighting can’t reach and specific areas where you need a lot of light.

Track lighting and under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen make it easier to see while cooking, helping prevent nicked fingers and accidents. Using lamps, such as stylish coastal lighting fixtures, fancy wall sconces, and modern pendant lights, you can add another layer to your interior decor.

Having different types of lighting is also very convenient when you need less light. Imagine nursing a migraine or eye strain and having to turn on the overhead lights to navigate around the house. That would be torturous. A floor or desk lamp would be able to give sufficient light without worsening the pain.

Forgetting to Consider Energy Use

Lighting fixtures consume energy, some more than others. Not paying attention to how much energy each light bulb uses is a costly mistake, especially when most households have an average of 45 light bulbs.

These days, energy-saving light bulbs are all over the market, yet many people still use incandescent lights. If you’re still using them, you could be wasting $180 or more every year on your electric bills. Incandescent light bulbs emit a lot of heat, wasting about 90 percent of the energy they use.

Use LED lamps instead. One LED bulb can emit the same brightness, using about 75 percent less energy, and lasts 25 times longer. CFL, or compact fluorescent lights, also use significantly less energy than incandescent bulbs do, but LED is still the undisputed champ of energy-saving lights.

Not Picking the Right Size

The size of your lighting fixture should be proportional to the size of the room where you’re using them. One small chandelier won’t be enough to illuminate a huge living room. Sure, task and accent lighting can help illuminate the place, but you still need sufficient overhead lighting to brighten up a place entirely.

When choosing the size of lighting fixtures, get the size of the room, its height, and width in feet. “The sum of the room’s length and width is the recommended measurement in inches,” says an article in Wayfair.

The height of the ceiling should also be taken into consideration. A high ceiling will require a tall chandelier to a balance the height and the reach of the illumination. The height of the chandelier should be the height of the ceiling multiplied by 2.5 to 3, according to the same article.

Remember to consider the lumens of the light bulbs you’re getting too: the smaller the lumens, the less bright the bulb.

Choosing the Wrong Paint Color

If you want to achieve a light, airy vibe in a room, it’s not only the lighting fixtures you have to consider but also the color of the walls. Some colors reflect light, making the room brighter, while others absorb the light. The color of your walls can also affect your perception of the room’s size.

Ideally, the walls should be painted a pale or light color to make it appear big, bright, and airy. Dark colors make a room look smaller, dimmer, and intimate.

The color of the flooring, furniture, and decor can also impact the room’s lighting. Glossy surfaces, like those porcelain tiles, glass tables, or marble countertops, are excellent at reflecting light. Matte, or flat, does the opposite. In short, the lighting and color palette of a room should work together to accomplish the vibe you want.

Obstructing Natural Light

Artificial lighting can’t compare to natural light when it comes to illumination and then some. Sunlight is more powerful, and it’s free! Take advantage of the natural illumination in the day, and leave your windows uncovered.

Your houseplants will thank you for letting the sunshine in, but it’s not just them. You can also get a lot of benefits from sunshine. Sunlight has natural sanitizing power. It can eliminate germs and bacteria in your home, keeping away common illnesses like the flu.

Soaking up some sunshine also helps your body produce vitamin D, which you need for calcium absorption and bone growth. Sunshine also combats the symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression that occurs due to the changing seasons.

The Bottom Line

Lighting is both an art and a science. You need to use your artistic judgment to find the ideal fixture to suit your interior, but you also need to follow steps and strategies to get the ambiance you want.

That said, creating the ideal lighting would be much easier if you knew which mistakes to avoid. Good lighting isn’t only great for Pinterest-worthy pictures, but it’s also vital for creating a secure and comfortable home environment.

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