One of the last items we address as we are putting together a full set of construction documents is the topic of lighting. That’s not to say that lighting is not important, but for some reason we always leave it for last. Lighting, however, can make a HUGE impact on your home’s comfort. So if you are thinking of renovating or building a new home, here are a couple of tips I have learned over the years watching our clients try to stay energized for this last, but very important, part of their home’s design.
Tip 1: Drink something with caffeine or at least sugar. For some reason – and I apologize to all lighting professionals – talking about lighting puts people to sleep faster than watching a PBS documentary on the ocean.
Tip 2: Shop early – but not often – for what you want over that dining room table or kitchen island. It makes a big difference when we do our final lighting plan with you if you know you want two or three pendants over the island or a massive entry or dining room chandelier. You can certainly add or delete these during construction, but it helps to know as much as possible early in the planning stages so the contractor knows where to add extra blocking for a heavy fixture or if you need extra wires run for more pendants.
Tip 3: If you have an open kitchen/dining plan, consider limiting your pendants and fixtures. Many times I see people wanting to put drop pendants over a bar, over a kitchen island and over a kitchen table all in a 10-foot space. It tends to look more like a lighting display in a store than a home if you put too many too close together. Think less is more.
Tip 4: Don’t make all your fixtures the same and don’t be afraid to mix and match from different companies. At the same time, don’t mix different styles or finishes in the same room. Especially if the room is small.
Tip 5: Don’t be afraid of color. So often, I see clients select only white or black or bronze lights. These are beautiful. But bright primary colors and splashes of silver or gold are awesome too.
Tip 6: Use LEDs and can lights in most areas to get a good base of light in every room and put them on dimmers in your main rooms. Then, use table and floor lamps, pendants, chandaliers and under counter and above counter lights to add extra tones and direct views.