How to buy lighting
A lighting buying guide
Lighting plays a practical role in any household, but it can also bring out a room's best features. You can use lighting to decorate and illuminate different areas of a room. With so many different types of lighting available, as you determine how to buy lighting, think about what the lighting will be used for, your home's style and the mood you want to set.
>> Determine what the lighting will be used for
The first step in determining how to buy lighting is to decide where you need the lighting to be placed. There are different types of lighting for different areas of your home, in addition to outdoor lighting. Do you need lighting in your living room, your bedroom or your kitchen? If you don't need lighting, do you want to add decoration to a room with lighting? Determine which room or area of your home needs to have modification before you shop for lighting.
>> Consider your home's style
Once you have determined where you need lighting, think about the style of your home, room or area you are lighting. Lighting comes in almost as many styles as homes do. Some lighting styles to think about when determining how to buy lighting include:
- Contemporary: A contemporary style includes strong lines, minimal accessories and subtle, solid patterns. There isn't much clutter in a contemporary house, and natural light is used to give an open feel to the rooms. Various types of lighting go well with a contemporary style. Look for geometric lighting styles, pendant lighting and chandeliers.
- Classic: If you like a classic look, you probably prefer traditional furniture blended with elegant accessories. Furniture with feminine lines, soft colors and rich woods make for a classic look. Lighting for a classic style includes chandeliers, lamp posts and crystal glass.
- Traditional: A traditional style usually entails green and peach colors and simple floral patterns with bronze or wood accents. The best lighting for a traditional style is a crystal chandelier.
- Transitional: A transitional style combines the contemporary style and the traditional style. With taupe, tan and vanilla colors, dark brown or bronze accents provide a contemporary and traditional feel. For a transitional style, you can use different types of lighting from both the contemporary style as well as the traditional style.
>> Choose the type of lighting
After you have determined the style you wish to portray, think about the types of lighting. From ceiling and wall lighting to portable lamps and chandeliers, there is a multitude of lighting designs to choose from when deciding how to buy lighting.
When you think about ceiling lighting, you may think of a ceiling fan with a simple light, but there are many more ceiling lighting uses to choose from.
- Chandeliers: For elegance, use chandeliers in the dining room, foyer, hallway or even the bedroom.
- Ceiling fixtures: For general lighting purposes, attach ceiling fixtures. These work well for kitchen, living room and bathroom lighting.
- Recessed lighting: Recessed lighting is for general lighting purposes as well, but it is placed directly into the ceiling. These lights can be used in all rooms, including the garage.
- Track lighting: Mounted to a metal track, track lighting offers multiple lighting options.
- Pendant lights: These lights are hung from the ceiling and hover over a table or counter. They hang low and usually have shades or globes to prevent glare from the bulb.
Wall lighting usually consists of several lights arranged on a wall. They decorate as well as provide a practical lighting source.
- Wall fixtures: Attach to the surface of the wall, adding texture and a contemporary look.
- Swing arm lamps: Usually installed on the side of a bed on the wall to give a geometric look. If you are a night time reader, these lamps are great.
Portable lamps allow you to arrange and rearrange a light wherever you want it. They're the most widely available lighting, so you have plenty of choices and styles when it comes to matching the decor of your home.
- Standing lamps: Also known as floor lamps, standing lamps can be wooden or brass. They are practical and typically are used to add unity and interest to a room.
- Table lamps: Table lamps can be used on coffee tables in a range of lighting styles to accommodate any decor, as well as on desk tops.
When thinking about how to buy lighting, don't forget to consider outdoor lighting. From outdoor solar lighting to outdoor security lighting, lighting designs can work effectively outdoors. Some outdoor lighting features to consider are:
- Outdoor light fixtures: Like indoor lighting, outdoor light fixtures hang from the wall. They are often placed next to the front door or on either side of the garage to give a symmetrical look.
- Pathway lighting: Pathway lighting is used in many contemporary styles along a path or walkway to the front door.
- Outdoor security lights: Spotlights and floodlights are often used for security reasons, especially when placed above a garage door. Many of these kinds of lights sense movement and turn on. However, they can also be used to highlight certain parts of your yard, such as flowers or trees.
Determining how to buy lighting is driven by the mood you want to set. Low lighting provides a romantic or serene vibe, whereas well-lit areas give energy and liveliness to a room.