Keys to Illuminating and Transforming Your Home with Lighting


Lighting has the power to make an incredible impact on your space. There is a reason light fixtures are often deemed the “jewelry of your home” — strategically positioned, statement-making pieces from sconces to chandeliers can make all the difference in transforming the ambiance of your home while also providing practical benefits. Yet, achieving beautiful lighting is something many homeowners struggle with. 

This month, I’m sharing my advice on how to transform and illuminate your home with various types of lighting.

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Create a mix of adjustable high and low light. 

To make the most of your lighting, consider ways you can mix bright and subtle lighting to create a more layered and unique ambiance. Rather than controlling an entire room with one dimmer switch, set up each light on its own dimmer, so you can fine tune the mood of the room. Individualized control also gives you the option to see the room in so many ways, changing the lighting output as the natural light changes throughout the day. 


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Let bold lighting choices shine as the jewelry of the home.

Not only can the lighting output make a significant impact on the space, but the design of the fixture can truly elevate the aesthetic. I gravitate towards incorporating larger-than-expected statement pieces that really command the room and play with scale. I also love sculptural, eye-catching lighting that provides an unexpected mix when juxtaposed with furnishings, adding depth, creating interest and amplifying the warmth.

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Don’t be afraid of the unexpected.

We all can envision the traditional placement of a lighting fixture: a chandelier above the dining room table, a wall sconce in the bathroom above the vanity, downlights throughout the family room — but why not switch it up and transform your room with a touch of the unexpected? Instead of a center light above a kitchen table, consider wall-mounted sconces that immediately grab the eye and add dramatic repetition. Rather than bathroom sconces, try hanging pendants on either side of the mirror for a chic look. Or trade typical bathroom lighting for an art light over the mirror instead. Incorporating lighting in innovative ways can really make your space stand out while creating a more functional, comfortable home.

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Layer your lighting.

Every room needs layered illumination. Before making your lighting plan, first look at how the natural light impacts the space and consider how you want to build your lighting scheme around it. Always let natural light lead the way. 

Next, look at ways you can layer various types of lighting to create a richer look. Although overhead lighting is important, too many canned lights can diminish the ambiance of a space. Rather, utilize canned lights along the perimeter to help illuminate walls, art and window treatments.  

Then, center-ground your room with a fixture that gives off enough light for the space, but also adds a warm, luxe touch. This is especially important for areas where people gather, like living rooms and dining rooms. 

From there, add in additional lighting touches as they fit within the space. Task lighting, like table and floor lamps, are great for added light in areas where you might be reading or working, but their placement is very important to avoid glare and shadows. Distinctive table lamps can add a flattering glow and become statement accessories, and sconces are another wonderful way to add ambiance. I also particularly love an art or “picture” light over artwork or a bookcase. 

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Don’t treat every room as equal.

Lighting is the key to creating a mood, which naturally varies by room. For rooms where you are gathering, cooking, entertaining and eating, take a brighter approach. For rooms where you are winding down and relaxing, consider quiet illumination. And always remember, whether you want to go bright or subtle, achieve your lighting output by layering for a richer look and feel.


Follow my room lighting guide.

Each room is different depending on the home, but below are a few general tips for lighting within common rooms:

  • Living room: Add one to two canned lights in each corner, one center light, and at least one lamp. If you have a fireplace, I love to draw attention to it by adding sconces on each side for a grander touch.

  • Kitchen: Incorporate pendants over the island for additional light where you serve and eat. Islands tend to be the workhorse of the kitchen and additional lighting above it is both practical and aesthetically beautiful as it brings focus to the center of the kitchen. Overhead lights work great around the perimeter and over specific tasks areas such as the sink and the stove.  

  • Dining room: A center light over the dining table serves as a great statement piece within the room and provides a warm ambiance. Also consider sconces or art lights to draw attention to various pieces around the room.

  • Bedroom: I love to incorporate a center light that gives off enough glow to light up the whole room, staying away from canned lighting to avoid detracting from the soothing feel of the space. For added touches, consider bedside sconces or lamps that add a nice symmetrical touch and are great for before-bed reading.

Lighting can make all the difference in a home, and here at AKD, chandeliers, sconces, pendants and more make our hearts sing.  We’d love to connect with you further on how lighting can transform your individual space, especially as we all spend more and more time at home. Check out our newly launched e-design services here. We’re here to help.


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