The Right Lights for Every Room

Choosing the right lights for every room can be a serious business. Lighting can make or break a room or living area.

The Right Lights for Every Room - Buying Guide

There is nothing worse than a poorly lit kitchen or an overly bright dining room. Luckily, by breaking down the options and considerations, you will be will on your way to buying the right lights for you and your home or office.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing Lights

Before you purchase even a single lightbulb or housing, take stock of your home or office.

What Type of Light Do You Want?

Do you want functional lights or decorative lights? Do you want chandeliers or desk lamps? There are many options.

How Many Rooms Do You Want to Light?

Are you undertaking a major renovation or building a home, or are you simply updating your lights room by room? Lights should at the very least complement each other from room to room, so bear that in mind if undertaking a lighting project one room at a time.

Which Rooms Are You Lighting?

Are you getting lights for the kitchen or the bathroom? Some lights are practical throughout the home, whereas a pendant light, for example, is suitable in the kitchen but not the bathroom.

What Size Room Are You Trying to Illuminate?

Different lights cast differently, upward, downward, even to the side. A huge room with high ceilings will need more lights than a small room with a lower ceiling. You can always switch a light off, but getting it right can be tricky if you are under-illuminated.

For Overhead Lights, What Type of Ceiling do You Have?

There are many types of ceilings, and the light needs to match the ceiling. Often, a combination of several different types of lights is best. Ceiling types include:

  • Conventional
  • Vaulted
  • Barrel
  • Cove
  • Sloped

What Are Your Style Preferences, and What Trends Are There?

You need to like your lights. What are your style preferences? And, what do you already have in the room? The lights need to match the drapes and the furniture. Aim for at least one striking piece in your home. When purchasing lights to match current trends, make sure that it is a piece you can live with. Don't buy a piece that is trendy if it matches nothing else in your home. Current trends include:

  • Using lights as a focal point in a room or using your lights to make a statement. There is a lot of Art Deco in the market.
  • The return of color. If your room is markedly plain, then a splash of color in a brightly patterned lampshade may be just the thing. Other options include any lights that aren't a plain metal color, although brushed gold is making a return.
  • Distinctive lamps with a sculptural feel.
  • A pendant or a striking chandelier is always a winner.

Who Will Be Using the Room?

Some people are partial to more light than others; bright overhead lights might work for you, but another member might like soft, pretty light. It is particularly true for bedrooms where the room is unique to a particular individual or a couple.

Light Placement

What areas of your home do you want to illuminate best? Where is the most needed light? A kitchen, a bathroom, and an office need a lot of light. Place functional lights at regular intervals to ensure maximum illumination.

Cost and Replacement Cost

Lights come in a wide variety of materials and price points. Be keenly aware of your budget when purchasing your lights, and most of all, make sure that you can easily replace your lightbulbs or fittings, even if it is a statement piece. Additionally, be aware that some bulbs consume more energy than others for the same amount of light.

Tip: Remember, lights come made up of a variety of different materials, from wood to metal and other options in-between.

Types of Lights

There are various types and styles when it comes to lights and options for everyone's taste. It is not only indoor versus outdoor lighting. There are different fixtures and fittings to consider, measure, and select.

Ceiling Lighting

Ceiling or overhead lighting is a broad category, and there are many options available. Ceiling lighting is installed throughout the home in various forms. The most significant factor to consider when installing ceiling or overhead lighting is the height of the ceiling in your home.


Chandeliers, when done right, add ambiance. Do not think that this type of light is only suitable for a ballroom. If carefully selected, a chandelier may have a home in the dining room, a bedroom, or even a bathroom. Consider a chandelier in the same way you would a centerpiece. It must draw the eye but not be out of place or blowsy. A chandelier is a complimentary light in most rooms supplemented by more subtle lights and practical light fittings such as recessed lights.


Pendants are lights that are usually mounted to the ceiling and hang from a single chain or rod. They cast a small pool of light when styled in the singular. They are most suitable hanging over a dining room table or kitchen island, especially if grouped in sets. They also work well at the entrance to your home, lighting up any guest that might be at your front door.

Flush and Semi-Flush Mounts

Flush mounted lights are lights that are mounted directly to your ceiling without a chain. It is flush against the ceiling, meaning there is no space visible between the ceiling and light. Semi-flush mounts allow for a small space between the ceiling and the light itself. Flush mounted lights tend to be more functional than decorative, whereas Semi-Flush mounted lights allow for some styling. Flush and semi-flush mounted lights are used throughout the home in living areas, including bedrooms and offices.

Track Lights

Track lights are lights that are placed individually on a track or rail. Each end of the track is mounted to either your ceiling or walls. Track or rail lights usually come in standard and specific sizes and are best suited to homes with lower or uneven ceilings. They also work for vaulted ceilings if used with other light types. Track lights are cousins to recessed lights but with more personality.

Recessed Lights

Recessed lights may be referred to as downlights. They are mounted directly into the ceiling at regular intervals and are an excellent option for lower ceilings. They have a modern aesthetic and are eminently practical for almost all areas of the home, including bathrooms and kitchens. Recessed lights can also be fitted under counters or in cupboards for extra light in hard-to-reach areas. Recessed lights work well with LED lamps.

Wall Lighting

Wall Lights are lights mounted to walls in either indoor or outdoor areas. They may be used to highlight a particular wall feature or artwork or to supplement overhead lighting. Wall lights usually consist of a backplate and an arm and may be highly decorative or plain and functional and may be made up of various materials.


The most common wall light type is a sconce. The term sconce is regularly used interchangeably with the term wall light. A defining characteristic of a sconce is that a shade usually covers its light.

Vanity Lights

These lights serve a functional purpose and are found most frequently in bathrooms, providing even illumination to assist with personal grooming, such as applying makeup. Install vanity lights near bathroom mirrors, either above the mirror or on either side. Vanity lights should be used in conjunction with overhead lighting.


Lamps are usually upright and mobile. They may be short enough to be placed on a side table or tall enough to be placed on the ground. These lights are generically referred to as floor lamps, table lamps, or desk lamps. They are for placement in a room where softer lighting or additional lights may be required. Lamps are best suited to lounge or living areas, and bedrooms are placed on pedestals near the bed. Desk lamps are specifically there to add extra light to your desk in your study or office.


There isn't much use to a light fixture without a lightbulb. Since the inception of the lightbulb, there have been several revisions. A bulb's brightness is measured in lumens, and the wattage is the amount of power used to keep the bulb alight.

Tip: Check the lumens and watts on the lightbulb's box.


The original lightbulb, with a tungsten filament. There is also the option of a halogen incandescent lightbulb, which is considered greener and better for the planet.


A fluorescent lamp is traditionally a long rectangle and can commonly be found in industrial areas. In the home, it is most usually found in the bathroom and kitchen areas. There is also a bulb called the compact fluorescent lamp, which is again greener than the traditional fluorescent lamp.

LED (Light Emitting Diodes) Lamps

The most recent addition to the lightbulb family is an LED lamp. This type of lightbulb is highly energy-efficient and long-lasting. If the cost is not prohibitive and an LED is an option, it is better to choose an LED.

Tip: For standard light fittings throughout the home, make sure the bulbs have the same fitting and are readily available to purchase, making replacement a breeze.

Bulbs come in various white light options, including warm white, which is more yellow, and cool white, which is bluer. If possible, test your preferences or find a showroom that allows you to view how the different white light options show their light.

How to Buy the Right Lights

  • Plan ahead, do some research.
  • Get professional advice or assistance. An electrician must install your lights after purchase.
  • Budget for what you need, and budget for what you want and find a happy middle ground if it is necessary.
  • Always buy enough lights. You can switch a light off, but adding it afterward is tricky.
  • Make sure the lights in your home make sense when you consider them together and not only individually.
  • Consider the furniture and colors of the room you wish to light before purchasing.
  • Don't be afraid to try something different.
  • Quality wins.

In conclusion, there is an option out there for everyone and every room and at every price point. Some lights are suitable for every room, and other lights are suitable in only one or two places inside your home. Be aware of how your choices will look in a room and how they will light a room. Good luck!