How to light your home the right way

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

Light is a wondrous and glorious thing. It has so many definitions that we can scarcely take them all in. Light is life to all who embrace its warmth. We are children of the light… let us not live in the dark. It has both actual and metaphorical implications.

Today we are talking about lighting your home and how that light can bring your home to life.

You’ll find that I really like talking about lighting and all of its aspects. I don’t pretend to know all there is to know about light or lighting but I am fascinated by it.

We have a saying about lighting, “If you light everything, you really light nothing because nothing is illuminated”. Think about that. Our goal is to control what is illuminated, how it is illuminated and under what light it will be seen.  Here is a good example of illuminating only what is intended.’

Going over the basics

There are three levels of light you need to be aware of.


When it comes to lighting, one thing is obvious, it helps you see your surroundings. Think of it like this, “In general, it lights up the room”.  I am not being sarcastic when I say this, it’s how I started out remembering what its function was.

There are times when general lighting can be a bit boring, but in the hands of someone who knows how to play with light and shadow, who knows how to control the color of light and how to create a dramatic effect with it, well that’s when you can achieve simply stunning effects.


This is exactly what it sounds like, it is lighting designed to help you in your daily tasks. Commonly, in a home, we have a lot of task lighting in the kitchen and bathrooms. We also want to have it next to the bed or desk. These are obvious places for task lighting.

When thinking about a well-lit home we also want to think about places that may not be as obvious. You may need to have a lamp on your piano for your sheet music or you may need to light those two stairs in your hallway so the kids can get to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Safety is one of the biggest concerns when thinking about task lighting.

I am reminded about when my husband and I were landscaping a very steep bank on our property, we had carefully planned out every detail and every step just right. Then it hit me that we hadn’t yet accommodated for getting around at night if we needed to. There was no way anyone could safely negotiate those stairs in the dark. We had to have exterior lighting.


Most of the time accent lighting is used to add flair to a design. For instance, lights inside of a bookcase are always special. Using spotlights on the path can be dramatic as well. Sometimes your accent light can do double duty. In the lighting plan in my kitchen, I use rope lighting in the ceiling tray to add effect but I also keep it on throughout the night for safety. I also like to keep my under counter lights on all day because it adds light at mid-height level. Plus it just pretty, and who doesn't love that!

Why is creating a lighting plan is important?

This seems like such a no brainer to me. It doesn’t matter how well-designed your room is, if you can’t see it, it isn’t well designed. Fail!

Of course you will want to go through your usual list of questions:

Who – will be using the space