Lighting can make or break the way your home looks and functions. Poor lighting can be a safety hazard while also making the space feel dark and depressing. The wrong kind of lighting can make the space uncomfortable and even non-functional.
Ryan Bealmear, the President of Teague Electric, says "Lighting is a crucial element in your home's function and design. If your current lighting isn't doing the job, it's time to upgrade and take things to the next level."
Let's look at several ways you can improve your home's lighting.
#1 Assess each room's current lighting
The first step is to know what you have and see what you need. Many rooms, though not all, have a central hard-wired light fixture that provides general lighting. Some rooms might have ambient lighting from sconces or floor lamps. Task lighting is another type of lighting commonly found in homes. Examples include makeup lights over the bathroom sink, under cabinet lights in the kitchen, and reading lamps in the bedroom or living room.
What types of lighting are you missing? Do any of your fixtures need an upgrade?
#2 Add task lighting where it's needed
Many older homes don't have built-in task lighting. Homeowners often use plug-in lighting sources instead. However, in areas like the bathroom and kitchen, plug-in lighting can be potentially dangerous. The better option is to have an electrical contractor wire and install task lighting in those rooms.
For others areas, plug-in lighting is a great way to address task illumination. A reading lamp near your favorite chair is a perfect example.
#3 Make sure each room has multiple sources of light
The general rule of thumb is that each room should have general, ambient, and task lighting. General lighting is useful for when you are cleaning and need to see in all the dark corners. Ambient lighting is great for the evenings when you need enough light to navigate but don't want too much illumination. Task lighting offers bright light in a limited area for a specific task.
Take the kitchen for example. Good general lighting is necessary for when you are cooking or cleaning. Overhead fixtures like can lights or a chandelier are examples of this. Ambient light is fine for when someone wants a midnight snack. Sconces or an overhead fixture on a dimmer switch would work. Under cabinet lights are a good example of task lighting. They provide bright illumination to the countertops to make cooking safer and easier.
#4 Replace ugly and non-functional fixtures
If you have an older home, you may have inherited a collection of old, non-functional, or ugly light fixtures. It's time to throw out the misfits and give your home's lighting a definite upgrade.
Go walking through a lighting showroom and you will be absolutely blown away when you see the options available. You can select new fixtures for the entire house at once or do it room by room. Ask your electrician what he would recommend as far as brands. You might be surprised at the selection he has to offer.
The only thing to keep in mind is the design direction you want to take your home. If you prefer modern, don't select a giant Gothic chandelier for the foyer or a Tiffany lamp for the living room. If you prefer traditional, stay away from minimalist lines and modern shapes.
#5 Bring in the natural light
There is no easier or cheaper way to light your home than with sunlight. Open up your drapes and let the rays shine in. Clean the windows for even more illumination. If you want a bit more privacy, install sheers that let the light through while making it harder to see in.
If you really want to let the natural light in, have a professional roofer install skylights or solar tubes for you. They are perfect for rooms without windows for natural light.
Enhancing and upgrading the lighting in and around your home will actually add value to it. Plus, it makes living in your home more enjoyable and safe.