Light has a huge impact on how welcoming, attractive, and “homey” a space feels, though many people do not consciously notice that it is the lighting that is playing such a huge part in their perception of a home. Most of these lighting suggestions are easily removable and can also apply to renters.

Here are some home lighting ideas to get you started in adding brightness and warmth to your home through lights.

Indoor home lighting guidelines and ideas

Chandelier in dining room [via flickr]

Of course, just like in the rest of interior design, there are no rules that cannot be broken, but it’s generally best to stick with the principles of good lighting design.

  • Many interior designers suggest having five lighting sources per room. This may sound like a lot, and something you don’t have room for in a small home, but lighting can be supplied through ceiling lights, track lighting, wall-mounted lighting, and cable lights. None of these will take up valuable floor or surface space.
  • Illuminate the beautiful areas of your home, whether these are pieces of art, interesting architectural details, windows, beautiful furniture or foliage. Try not to have spot-light or intense-focus lighting touch any unattractive areas of your home
  • Add lighting to dark corners to immediately create a bigger, more elegant look. Adding lights under the counters or inside the cabinets in the kitchen has a particularly dramatic effect, and there are many options for temporary, stick-on lighting for people who don’t want to use wires or install hardware.
  • Pay attention to the types of light bulbs you’re using, and their Kelvin rating – lights with <3100K are considered “warm” and are generally a more attractive “default” option for homes, but they will look better against warm colors. If you have rooms with cool palettes, purchasing light bulbs with >4000K may have good results. StyleChicago has more details on picking out types of interior lighting.

Types of lighting to add to your home

Ceiling and Swag Lights

Most ceiling lights are a time-consuming and sometimes expensive undertaking, so usually only swag lights, which have a visible electric cord and are not hard-wired through the wall itself, are practical for renters. Drop-down ceiling pendants and chandeliers have a dramatic impact on a space, and should be considered.

Chandelier-style ceiling lights especially can be very expensive, depending on the quality of their parts, but there is fortunately a huge supply of less expensive options. Many come with the option to hard-wire or hang as a swag light, though you may need to purchase hooks and a decorative chain yourself if you want to hang the light fixture like a swag light.

Good uses for overhead light fixtures:
  • Defining “rooms” and giving different areas of a floor plan a distinct feel (such as a hanging light over a table to create a “dining room”).
  • Adding elegance or formality to a room.

Table Lamps

Table lamp with wallpaper in the background. [source]

Table lamps for nightstands, accent tables and other open surfaces, as well as floor lamps, are must-haves for renters and homeowners alike. They range from simple sources of lighting to works of art in themselves, with a price range that varies just as widely.

When purchasing a table lamp, find out how much light the lampshade lets through – some lamps provide only a diffuse, “mood-style” type of lighting, while other types of table lamps can double as task lighting, and are bright enough to allow you to read or work with just that light source.

Good uses for table lamps:
  • Task-oriented locations, such as next to a reading chair or beside the bed, wherever it’s needed in day-to-day living.
  • Accessorizing – table lamps come in every color and style imaginable, and are a relatively inexpensive way to quickly coordinate a theme in a room.

Floor Lamps

Vintage arc lamp [via flickr]

Floor lamps can provide dramatic overhead lighting without having to mount anything from the ceiling or wall. Apart from the traditional “lampshade on a stick” designs, here are a few major alternative designs to consider.

Arc floor lamps: Overarching floor lamps that provide the experience of overhead lighting without the hassle. Some require 8+ feet ceilings for the full height of the arch to fit, so be careful when ordering.

AsianĀ  and “lantern” style: Lamps that use an all-around paper or cloth to wrap the frame of the lamp, instead of the traditional lampshade. The light is more diffuse and works better as a soft mood light than task lighting.

Multiple lights: Lamps that use multiple bulbs can be good for shining direct light on different areas of a project you are working on, such as arts and crafts or schoolwork.

Good uses for floor lamps:
  • Adding weight or presence to a room or an area in a room you want to add substance to.
  • Lighting up dim or neglected corners or nooks in your home.
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