The way in which a room is lighted can make the difference between a space that is functional and perhaps ho-hum to one that is has personality – from moody and mysterious to exciting and animated. These following paragraphs briefly describe various lighting ideas for the home.

living room lighting

Table Lamps

Table lamps are usually the most prevalent form of lighting in the home. They are used for general, task, or accent lighting. With so many beautiful lamps available today – how to decide on the right table lamp, buffet lamp, or bedside lamp?

best height for table lampLamp Height and Shape:  First, consider the size and character of the table on which the table lamp is to set. Generally, all table and floor lamps should be between 58″ and 64″ in height from the floor.  This helps give an overall continuity to the room. Just subtract the height of your table from this dimension – and you have the appropriate height range for the table lamp.

Next, consider the table top length and depth. Buffet tables, dressers, or bedside tables are usually narrow in dimension from front to back and will require a lampshade that is smaller than the narrow dimension of the table.

lighting ideas table lampsAnd then, consider the style and character of the table (and the room).  It is not always necessary, or even desirable, to match the style of the lamp to the table – but it is important to take into consideration the character of the table – is it massive and masculine or more small and petite?  Choose a lamp shape that is compatible.  A boxy, heavy table lamp on a delicate, curvaceous table would likely not look right.

Lamp Color: Color is an important consideration. One good way to choose a color is to hang a painting or art print that you love on the wall and then choose a color from your painting for your lamps. Pulling your colors out to the sides of the furniture using the table lamps gives you an amazing effect.

Usually, but not always, it is desirable that the lamp and the lampshade be a different color or shade than the wall. Also consider using a metallic lamp with as a brass, nickel, chrome, or bronze finish – that relates to the other metals in the room. It can be a good way to add some sparkle to a space.  Use a lamp with a clear glass base to create a soft and subtle effect. Decorative Crafts Lamps is a brand that offers a variety of high end lamps.

Lampshade:  Lamps with lampshades that are more transparent will give off more general (ambient) lighting than lampshades that are not, or are darker.  Black or opaque lampshades are usually featured when accent lighting is desired – and can create a dramatic effect.  Conical or bell shape lampshades are usually used for Traditional style lamps and drum shape lampshades are typically used for a more Contemporary or Modern look.  To give an Traditional style lamp a more updated look, change the lampshade to a drum shade.

table lamps lighting


Lighting ColorLighting Character: For an end table lamp or a bedside lamp that is to provide general illumination, choose a lamp that houses a 100 or a 150 watt bulb. For lamps with narrow lampshades, a 60 watt bulb may be the maximum allowed to avoid causing the lampshade to burn or get too hot.  Decide on what color lighting you like.

Incandescent bulbs provide a light that is warm and yellow (2700K) – Fluorescent bulbs can sometimes provide light that is too cold and unflattering.  LED bulbs are another good option and have become more affordable today.  If you like the natural sunlight color (white light), choose a bulb that has a color rating around 3000K to 3500K.

Floor Lamps

Floor lamps are a great way to add a vertical element to a room – and they provide lighting where a table is not desired.  Or, they can provide lighting when space on a table is limited. Depending on how the light is directed, they may provide general, task, or accent lighting.  Adjustable arm floor lamps are a favorite for reading and other tasks. Torchiere lamps are a lovely way to add accent lighting.

floor lamp ideas

Wall Sconces

Wall scones are generally used for accent lighting or task lighting. Sconces for accent lighting are sometimes used to provide lighting to a hallway or to frame wall pictures or a mirror.  When used along a wall, they are usually place about 5 feet high and spaced about every 8-10 feet. They are often placed along each side of a mirror or picture, in a dining or living room, for instance. Swing arm sconces are often used as beside reading lights. Mirrored sconces framing the bed are a very elegant look.

pendant lighting ideasPendants

Singly or in pairs, on either side of the bed, pendants can be Old World and elegant or Contemporary. Although they give a simple uncomplicated look alone, you can still have a bedside table if you need one.  Rather the expected chandelier consider a cluster of 4 or 5 small pendent lights at various heights. Bring these down over the coffee table just above head level.  Pendants are very popular as lighting over a kitchen bar – or in clusters over a dining table.


Today, chandeliers may be seen in almost any room in the house – the dining room, bedroom, or bathroom. They are great at adding a sense of drama.  The main concern is to make sure there is sufficient ceiling height – in instances where they are to be walked under.  When located over a table, this is not an issue.

chandelier ideas for the home

Recessed Lighting, Track Lighting, and Spot Lighting

Recessed lighting may be use for general lighting or as accent lighting. Track lighting and spot lighting are typically a form of accent lighting. They are very useful at providing lighting when the source is not a desired feature. If placed close to the wall – they can create a strong, dramatic, conical pattern.  If spaced away from the wall – they provide a more dispersed lighting pattern. Track or cable lighting works well when a specific lighting angle is desired – or when the ability to easily change the direction of lighting is desired.  Spot lights work well at highlighting a specific area or as a means to create a decorative lighting pattern.
recessed lighting ideas

Cove Lighting

Cove Lighting is typically a form of accent lighting that is used around the a perimeter of a ceiling – and typically works best with dimmers. It can create a soft, ethereal effect or function as a strong accent.  This type of lighting usually requires some pre-planning as it is more integrated with architectural features.

– – – offers a wide collection of table lamps, chandeliers, floor lamps by > Wildwood Lamps, Chelsea House, Frederick Cooper < and other quality brands.

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