About the Designer
Lighting is like the jewelry of a room. It can completely transform your space. Unfortunately, there are so many problems that you can run into when finding the perfect lighting for your space.
One of the biggest questions I get asked is, what if my light is too big? I think lights often end up looking too small rather than too big. Having too small of a fixture is almost worse than having no fixture at all. I tend to go bigger when it comes to lighting because this is the statement in the space. Light fixtures in your spaces are some of the only permanently placed features in your rooms and really show your style, so I say go big and go bold!
Another big mistake I see in spaces is only having one source of light. I love layering lights by having sconces, an overhead fixture, a few downlights that can be dimmed, and of course, a couple of lamps. Having multiple light sources allows you to really set the mood for your space. If you want it bright and cheery, you can turn all of the lights on, or in the evening, when you are ready to have a glass of wine, you can dim the lights and make your space a little more moody and intimate.
Wrong light bulbs can completely change the vibe of your space. Daylight bulbs are great in certain situations but can be blinding in the wrong situation. If you get too yellow of a bulb, it can cast a tone across the entire room and can really bring the space down. Finding that happy medium that fits your personality and style is the way to go.
One of my favorite spaces to play with lighting in is the kitchen. The kitchen is so fun because you have so many opportunities to add style and moments of drama. Can lighting is a must in kitchens because you need to see what you are cooking, but decorative lighting is just as important. Pendants over an island, a beautiful fixture over the table, and I love adding sconces over open shelving to show off beautiful dishware. Lighting that is often overlooked in kitchens is LED strip lighting both underneath cabinets and inside glass cabinets to illuminate what is in them.
Height to Hang
A giant mistake that can be made is hanging light fixtures at the wrong height. In my dining room, I thought my electrician knew better, so I was gone when he hung up the fixture, and he hung the light so close to the ceiling. His rationale was so you would be able to see across the table. My reasoning was, well, nobody is ever going to see the light! We brought it down to a reasonable height that illuminates the table and is a beautiful statement when you’re looking into the dining room, but doesn’t interfere with conversation. Another space where lights often get hung incorrectly is in the bedroom. If you are putting a chandelier in your bedroom, make sure your ceiling height is high enough that if someone is 6 feet tall, they won’t bonk their head on it. Also, think about the layout of your furniture when hanging lights. If your bed is underneath the fixture, you can hang it a little lower because you won’t have to walk underneath it.
Creating Cozy Spaces
I also like to think about spaces that generally disappear in homes like those little corners that nobody knows what to do with is the perfect opportunity to hang a cute pendant and put a bench seat and turn it into a nook. If there is not enough height for a pendant, a wall sconce makes a charming surprise in the space.
Ceiling Fan vs. Chandelier
I always suggest a chandelier first, but ceiling fans definitely have their space. Many people love to have fans on all night long, and there are so many stylish options now. I love using ceiling fans in oversized two-story rooms to create airflow and to create comfort in the room. I also like using wall-mounted fans to circulate the air, but then you still get that fabulous chandelier in the center of the room. Outdoor spaces definitely call for a ceiling fan, especially here in Kansas. It gets super hot in the summer and really chilly in the winter, so a ceiling fan is a great way to stay comfortable all around in those four-season rooms.
Lighting is so much fun and a great way to express your personality in your space, so have fun with it!
Want to hear more from Tamara? Check out her blog.
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