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Lighting Design Guide

Creating a Comprehensive Lighting Design with Indoor and Outdoor Room Lights

Carly Reynolds
Carly Reynolds
kitchen lighting

Visiting with friends, relaxing after a long day, or settling in for a productive work session is easier when you have the proper lighting design in place. Kitchen pendant lighting, dining room chandeliers, bedroom wall sconces, and home office recessed lighting all offers intentional and fashionable solutions to lighting problems. 

Evaluating Your Lighting Needs

pendant lighting

Making your home appear bright and inviting requires a combination of natural light streaming through windows and thoughtfully placed lighting fixtures spread throughout the rooms of the home. Kitchen island lighting is going to have a very different look than bedroom lighting. Before you start shopping for any room lights, take a moment to evaluate the space. It’s a good idea to do this process in the morning, afternoon, and evening to see how your lighting needs change at different times of the day.  

  • Identify dark areas in the home 
  • Determine areas where task lighting is important 
  • Evaluate the style and functionality of existing lighting, looking for any lighting that needs to be changed out or refreshed 
  • Consider the overall design theme of every room in your home 
  • Take any measurements necessary to ensure new lighting fixtures will fit the area

3 Types of Lighting

types of lighting

The key to creating a space that’s perfectly lighted is understanding the three primary types of room lights and using them appropriately throughout the home.  

1. Ambient

ambient chandelier

Most of the lighting in your room will be ambient lighting category. This is the general lighting that produces light for the room. Normally, this light shines down from above in the form of recessed lighting, track lighting, chandeliersvanity lights, flush mount lights, and even ceiling lights incorporated into ceiling fan fixtures. 

2. Accent

accent sconce

When you want to highlight an architectural detail in the home, provide a bright spot on a bookcase, or shed light on a favorite plant, accent lighting is what you need. This lighting isn’t meant to be functional; it’s more meant to bring a touch of brightness to the dark corners of a home or draw the eye to an area you want to highlight. The most common forms of accent lighting include wall sconces, pendant lights, and both table and floor lamps. You can even purchase small spotlights you can use in the base of a plant or LED strips you can include on the top of cabinetry or within a shelving system. 

3. Task

task lighting

Functionality is the name of the game when it comes to task lighting. Often featured as kitchen pendant lighting, under cabinet lighting, a floor lamp, or desk lamp, these lighting fixtures create the necessary light you need to read, work, or prep meals. Think about the areas of your home that tend to be where working efficiently is key and make task lighting a part of the lighting story for that room. 

Mix & Match Styles of Lighting Fixtures

mix and match lighting

Introducing style to your home is all about mixing and matching different types of lighting fixtures to create a visually captivating and bright space. 



Chandeliers are designed to make a statement. Showcase them above a dining table, in a grand foyer, over a sitting area, or even in a master closet for a bit of a glam moment. These fixtures typically suspend from the ceiling, so make sure to see how low the chandelier hangs to make sure you have the clearance you need. Many are even adjustable in hanging length to accommodate for high ceilings or low ceilings.

Pendant Lighting

pendant lights

Often arranged in multiples, bathroom and kitchen pendant lighting makes a stylish addition to work areas where downward-facing lighting is essential. For the best results, try featuring kitchen island lighting or bathroom vanity pendants in pairs or odd numbers in a line.

Wall Sconces

pendant lights

Wall sconces come in a wide range of different styles, making it easy to find soft sconces that will help light a dark hallway or cantilever wall sconces that you can use to create task lighting by which to read a book. 

 Bathroom Lighting

bathroom lights

In the bathroom, lighting is absolutely essential. At the minimum, a bathroom should feature vanity lights over the sinks and recessed lighting or ceiling lights over the tub, shower, and toilet. Of course, you have the freedom of adding additional bathroom lighting, as well. Adding a vanity mirror with lights can make shaving and applying makeup easier. A small chandelier over a bathtub can make stylish statement when incorporated into your bathroom lighting. 

Track Lighting

track lighting

Direct light precisely where you need it the most with track lighting. This industrial-inspired lighting fixture features positionable lights along a track that you can angle to hit a sitting area, piece of artwork, or architectural detail. 

Recessed Lighting

recessed lights

Perhaps one of the most common forms of lighting in the home, recessed lighting provides a sleek look and casts illumination directly down on the area below. They are common in home offices, bedrooms, living areas, kitchens, hallways, and anywhere general ambient light is required.  


lamp lights

Introducing different layers of lighting requires using table lamps and floor lamps for added glow. These traditional lighting elements can be a fashionable and functional addition to your space, with stands and shades that can differ greatly in style and finish. 

Outdoor Lighting

outdoor lights

The same principles you applied to create an indoor lighting story can be applied to your outdoor rooms as well. More than ever, decks and patios are becoming a true extension of the living area. Make these outdoor kitchens, dining rooms, and living areas a beautifully lighted space to enjoy both day and night by adding thoughtful outdoor lighting solutions. 

During the day, you have the sun to provide your ambient lighting, but the sun alone doesn’t satisfy all three types of lighting. Make your outdoor spaces more functional and fashionable by introducing: 

Security Lights 

security light

When it gets dark outside, safety becomes important. Motion-sensor security lights turn on when you walk outdoors or when the motion of pets is detected. Their incredibly bright lights can provide ample illumination for an outdoor space. You can also get security lights connected to a light switch that you can turn on to illuminate your whole yard after dark. 

Landscape Lighting

landscape light

Highlight all the landscaping features you love during the day at night when you shop for landscape lighting. There’s no need for additional electricity running to your garden or flower bed when you rely on battery-operated landscape lighting or solar-powered landscape lighting

String Lights

string lights

Introduce a level of romantic lighting to your outdoor room when you run string lights along a pergola, under an awning, or along the perimeter of a screened porch. String lights come in a wide range of styles, some that even showcase vintage-inspired bulbs.

Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

outdoor light fixtures

When you’re looking for the ideal combination of style and function, check out the line of outdoor lighting fixtures designed to provide the look of indoor fixtures with the durability you need with exposure to the elements. Ceiling lighting, pendant lights, chandeliers, wall sconces and even ceiling fans are available to illuminate your outdoor rooms.

Fire Pits & Outdoor Fireplaces


Lighting your outdoor space can be fun, as well. Incorporating a fire pit, fire table, or outdoor fireplace into your exterior design is a great way to introduce a little light and ambiance to your outdoor room. These features can be built into the hardscaping or purchased separately so you can move them around the space seasonally or as necessary.

Bulb Types

bulb types

The room lights you choose will feature one of four different types of bulbs: 


Incandescent lighting is the least expensive of all the bulbs, but they provide the shortest lifespan, as well. These bulbs come with either an M base (medium-base) or a C base (candelabra base). The glow it provides is warm and steady.

Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL)

When you want to save energy, CFL bulbs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. You can trade them out for your existing medium-base bulbs, and they provide long-lasting brightness. When you turn on a CFL bulb, it can take a few minutes for them to provide maximum brightness. 

Light-Emitting Diode (LED)

Save on energy without sacrificing brightness when you choose LED light bulbs. LED lighting may cost more upfront, but they last an incredibly long time and achieve full brightness as soon as you turn them on. The low-wattage result helps to keep your electricity costs low. Consider using them in high, recessed lighting that you don’t want to change out all the time. 


They may cost more per bulb upfront, but halogen bulbs are incredibly bright and long-lasting. They can also run a bit on the hot side. You can use them in a wide range of different lighting fixtures, and they last a lot longer than standard incandescent bulbs. 

Going Smart with Lighting Fixtures

smart lights

Now that we’ve discussed how to illuminate your room learn how to make all those lighting solutions part of an integrated Smart Home system. We offer a wide range of smart home lighting designed to work with your phone or tablet. Set the room lights in your home to a schedule, turn them on and off remotely, or even change the colors in the room using color-changing smart bulbs.  


When you have the right lighting design in place, every room looks larger and more welcoming. No matter what type of space you’re decorating, begin with your ambient lighting and add in task and accent lighting from there. Make your new lighting work for you by connecting them to light switches and dimmers. Once you discover how easy it is to create a cohesive lighting story with fixtures from the same collections, it’s easy to make your home look like it belongs on the pages of your favorite catalogue. 

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