Lighting Needs by Room

Different rooms need different lighting


Although on the surface it seems like the kitchen is used strictly for preparing meals, that's not always the case. In many homes, the kitchen ends up being used as much for socializing as it is for food preparation. Lighting in the kitchen should always start with a ceiling fixture, for a general glow. If you want more, lights can also be installed underneath cabinets to light your countertops and range hoods often contain light fixtures for brightening your stove top.

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The sink can be a bit of a trouble spot, because of where you may be standing when washing dishes - it can cast a shadow over the entire sink. A recessed light or two directly over the sink can help brighten things up.


Since it's the first place visitors will see upon entering your home, the lighting in a foyer should be warm and welcoming. A ceiling light is the best choice for an entranceway, as space on the walls can be somewhat limited. In a long, narrow entrance hall, track lighting can be used to direct visitors through the home. A row of wall sconces can do the same. In a grand entranceway, chandeliers can make a bold and inviting statement, but if the room's too small or overly decorated, they can look pretentious.


Every 8 to 10 feet of hallway should have a light source to adequately illuminate the area. Two of the lights should sit at either end. The same goes for stairways. If you have artwork in your hallway, consider highlighting it with some accent lighting.


Ceiling lighting is common in nearly all bathrooms, but you may also want to consider installing vanity lights above or beside the mirror or a recessed light in the bathtub or shower. Make sure the materials you use are suited to an area that's sure to see a lot of moisture.

Dining Room

Your dining room should reflect your personality, so choose a light that's either laid-back or formal, depending on your own eating habits. If the room is large, you can go for something dramatic with a gorgeous chandelier as the centerpiece to the room (choose one that's at least one foot smaller in diameter than the dining room table top). Don't forget that dimmer switches are essential dining room lighting accessories. You'll want to be able to easily change the level of light for eating or conversing.

Living Room

Many homeowners favor using natural light or recessed lighting to illuminate their family rooms and dens. This provides the room with a good base of light and allows for supplementary fixtures. Try placing alternate light sources at various heights to add depth and interest to your room. Use directional floor lamps for task lighting, and translucent shades on table lamps to create ambient lighting.

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