What Kind of Lighting Does Each Room Need?

When it comes to answering the question: What kind of lighting does each room need? Well, there are two important rules of thumb: 1. You should have a mix of light sources at different levels to create a flattering ambience and 2. You need appropriate task lighting for whatever you do in that space (reading, cooking, getting dressed). Below are a few tips for five key furniture spots.

Living Room

Try to light three of the four corners, focusing one of those lights on an object (maybe an art piece, plant, or striking chair/piece of furniture). Use a combination of table lamps and floor lamps, some with a downward glow and some that shine upward. Allow for reading in as many seats as possible with down-glowing lamps on three-way switches. If you have an overhead fixture, put it on a dimmer.

Dining Room

A good way of drawing people into your dining space is to make the table the brightest spot in the room. Use a chandelier or a pendant above the table (try to limit the total wattage to 100). Elsewhere in the room, indirect lighting is best—it can be both relaxing and flattering. Give the space a subtle glow with a pair of small table lamps on a sideboard, matching your own taste and style of course đŸ˜‰


Focus on overhead lighting (maybe even a dimmer that you can crank up when cooking), and add lower sources to illuminate work surfaces. Use pendants under-cabinet lights, or a sturdy table lamp (kept away from the sink).


Try to aim for a cozy, insular atmosphere: Place reading lamps or sconces by the bed—but not pointed directly at it. On a low table, include a small, intimate lamp with a tinted low-wattage bulb to mimic candlelight.


The best choice for applying makeup is sidelights, such as a pair of sconces flanking the mirror. An overhead light helps fill in any shadows on your face and also fully illuminates the room (important when cleaning). In a large space, you might also want a light directly over the shower.
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