Lighting Choices

AMH Studios

Creating an atmosphere for your home, or any space, takes the correct amount of lighting. Everything from the consideration for the space purpose, amount of natural light already, bulb color and output, type of fixture, and if it is a decorative fixture, are all top of mind when putting together a decorative plan for a room. So how do you know which one is right for your space?

What matters when choosing lighting?

  • Type and color of bulbs
  • Type of lighting fixture (chandelier, recessed lighting, pendant lighting, etc.)

1. Take note of Architectural Design 

Not all lighting serves the same function, different lighting can host a multitude of purposes. Take note of any spaces that display works of art, wall decor, or even architectural designs. Specific lighting, such as integral lighting on the ceiling, gives an overall glow. It is best used to illuminate art and sculptures. Adding fixtures above artwork can spotlight these designs and bring attention to the beauty thereof. Table and floor lamps, for example, are best utilized to illuminate spaces for reading, intimate gathering areas, or corner spaces that lack illumination completely.

Alexandra Megan homes

Adding decor underneath a floor lamp, such as a blanket basket, reading chair, or even a plant can add aesthetically pleasing notes to your space. Make sure to remember that lighting should always be functional, having access to turn the piece on and off is a must. No one likes to have to move an entire dresser every time they need extra lighting from their table lamp.

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West Elm – Sculptural Overarching Fabric Lamp

2. Size matters

The size of a room matters for the amount of lighting needed. A rare tip not often shared by designers is measure the length and the width of the room prior to making your lighting purchases. The last thing you want to do is spend money on a beautiful ceiling fixture, having it installed, and the lighting is simply all wrong.

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By measuring the length & width of a room prior to installation can insure that your fixture is large enough for your room/space. According to The Spruce, a quick rule of thumb is to measure the length and the width of a room and then add them together. Then you will convert them to inches – this will give you a good idea and starting point for the right light fixture size. But that is not to say that the size is everything, the visual weight of the fixture plays a huge role as well. If you have a light fixture, sizing up might be ideal. If you have a massive fixture, sizing down might be better.

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ex: a 36” wide fixture would be ideal for an 20 by 15 foot room.

3. Play to a Room’s Aesthetic

Get creative in a creative room, however, sometimes less is more. Take into account the vibe & feel of a space. If you have a funky, offbeat room with bright wall art and retro couches, finding light fixtures/ floor lamps that compliment the already set mood of the room is optimal. For more mid century, modern and minimalistic designed spaces, simplistic choices for fixtures is best. Sometimes less is more when it comes to a room and decor. You need to take into account all aspects of an area, including natural lighting.

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Purchasing fixtures that add some contrast to an already simple room is always a fun choice! Using eclectic style choices can bring vibrance and joy into an area.

Watts a lumen, Kelvin?

Do not mess up all of your hard work by choosing the wrong light bulb. This is crucial. The temperature of a room can set all the feels for anyone entering it. Let’s start with the basics.

1- LED is the winner ALWAYS. Not only does this save you money in the long run, but they last longer and avoid tons of excess heat.

2 – LED bulbs last waaaay longer than typical incandescent bulbs,

3 – LED ALWAY! Period.

So watts the difference in all of the electrical terms?

Watts –  measure the amount of energy required to light products

Lumens –  measure the amount of light you are getting from a bulb

Lumens is what you want to focus on to decide how much light you will actually be getting, not watts. Common mistake since the majority of displays focus on wattage. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. See the chart below to see what lumen to use to replace incandescent bulbs.

Now for another key note in choosing the right bulb, kelvins.

Kevlin = the color temperature

This, to me, is THE MOST IMPORTANT in choosing a light bulb. Choosing a light bulb can change the way an entire room looks and feels, including the paint color, the energy, the mood. For kelvin, remember that the lower the number the warmer the color and the higher, the colder the color.

So 3000 kelvin will appear warmer than 7000 kelvin. Most hardware stores have displays for you to test the bulbs so you can see the light output before purchase. Choosing this can depend on the space that you are lighting up and what displays are taking place.

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For most of my homes, I tell my clients and stagers to use SOFT WHITE. This is around 4,000-5,000 kelvins and is generally a standard, safe color for all home stagings.

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