A Room by Room Guide to the Best Types of Lamps and Lighting

Many people overlook the importance of good lighting when it comes to home décor, things like furniture, fixtures, carpets rugs and even cushions are often given much more thought. Obviously these items are important too, but if your lighting is neglected then the overall effect that you are trying to create may well fall short of your initial desires. Most of us have, at some time, been in rooms that are either too dark or too bright and have found that either extreme can be at the least a distraction and at the most extremely annoying.

The addition of good lighting to any room can be the making or breaking of any interior design and as such the lighting plan for all your rooms should be considered carefully before the room can be thought of as finished. With the huge choice of lights and light fittings available today, not to mention the different types of light bulbs, then there is no excuse for not finishing your rooms completely by adding a lighting display that compliments all your other furnishings. No room in the home should have its lighting neglected and with that in mind let us take a room by room look at the options available to get the most from your lighting.

To obtain the very best from your lighting you need to first consider what your room is mainly used for, for example in the lounge, do you watch TV or read or simply sit and relax? Do you have small children or teenagers? All of these things need to be catered for with regards to lighting.

The first light that you need to have in any room is the base layer of light or the ambient light. This can be from natural sources like sunlight or from a manufactured light like lamps or pendant lights. The depth of this light will have a bearing on just how much additional light you might need in your room. For example, if you have a bright well lit and sunny room then during the day you will need very little extra light and will probably not need any extra daytime light source. However if your room is dim with little or no sunlight then you may well find that you will need several other layers of light for use during the day.

Living Rooms

Most living rooms will have at least one pendant light, this is a light fitting that hangs down from the ceiling, and can be as plain or as ornate as your tastes allow. Depending on the level of natural light in your room this is either your first and primary lighting or if you have a bright room it is your secondary light source. Dramatic effects can be achieved just by using pendant lights but preferably your lighting should have more than one layer.

As already mentioned if you have a particular chair where you read then the addition of a directional light to give a concentrated beam onto this area would be a good choice. This can be achieved by using a floor standing/standard lamp, a reading lamp or a table lamp placed on a small table close by.

Often in the living room you will have certain items that you might want to highlight and this can be done with a spotlight directed solely upon this item, perhaps a painting or an ornament. Using coloured light bulbs can add a designer feel to this type of directional lighting. Wall lights or recessed lights are also a good way to add a soft diffused type of lighting and using dimmer switches wherever possible is a must.

Dining Room

Dining rooms require both bright and subtle lighting, depending on the ambience you wish to create. Lighting should be sufficient for people to see what they are eating and yet not too bright as to blind you. A good solution is a dimmer switch to the central ceiling/pendant light or to use lights which can be lowered down over the table.

Soft lighting for setting a romantic mood can be achieved using candles in conjunction with a dimmed ceiling light or even a floor lamp.


The lighting in your kitchen in hugely important as here you need to have a light bright enough to work with, but if your kitchen is also your dining room then you will also need a softer light for dining. A bank of spotlights or pendant lights over your work surfaces will give you a good light source to work under, be sure though not to have them too low as they will be in your way, or too high as this will cause problems with shadows. Over the dining table try adding a rise and fall light fitting that can be raised during the day or when not in use and lowered when a more intimate dining experience is needed.


Bedrooms too need to have careful consideration given to the lighting, consider what you use your room for. If you read in bed you may well benefit from a good side lamp at the right height for optimal reading. If you watch TV in bed then you might prefer a lower light source from perhaps a lamp or pendant ceiling light, the use of a dimmer is always a good option. If your bedroom is a more romantic place then consider several light sources from strategically placed lamps, perhaps with coloured light bulbs for an extra cosy feel.


In the bathroom although there are regulations that dictate the type of lighting that you can use there is no reason why your room cannot be exactly how you want it to be. Remember to buy the correct light fittings for the area that you wish to have them installed in and preferably have them installed by an electrician just to be sure. A good pendant light or a flush ceiling light work well for brightness but consider adding a more directional light over the mirror for close work like shaving and applying make-up.


If you have a hallway or passageway then the lighting here too is very important. If your front door opens into your hallway then you will need a good bright light so that you can see who is at the door, and also so that your visitors can see well enough on entering your home. An outside light is a good addition if you have the option to add one.

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