Lighting a room seems easy enough: Plug in a lamp, flip a switch, and voilà! What was once dark is now bright. But certain missteps can cause a comfy space to feel, well, off. Here some common mistakes to avoid:
1. You don’t think in layers.
It seems easy enough to install a row of recessed lights in a room and call it a day, but this strategy will ultimately disappoint.
“Homeowners tend to light rooms like they’re hosting a convention — too much overhead light,” says Robert Gross, an architect at Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design. “This doesn’t add any warmth or character to a room.”
Overhead lighting is a go-to option in many spaces, but it’s often not enough. If you omit task lighting, like floor lamps and table lamps, reading on your couch or writing at your desk could strain your eyes. And if you only install can lights in your bedroom, you won’t get the cozy quality that bedside lamps can provide.
Plus, a variety of light sources make your common areas more flexible. Ambient (overhead) lighting will come in handy when you’re hosting large holiday parties, but you’ll crave the intimacy of a table lamp when it’s just you curled up with a magazine.
Want to get super fancy? Accent lights that highlight art, cabinet interiors, or walls (think sconces) can add a luxe design element to a room.
2. You dismiss dimmer switches.
Many of the designers we spoke to named this mistake as a major pet peeve. Dimmers are the best kept secret of lighting design. They allow you to control your lighting from day to night, for various events, and depending on your mood. A quaint dinner party simply isn’t so quaint if your dining room is lit up like a stadium.
3. You forget about where shadows might fall.
Place a light in the wrong spot, and you could create more of a problem than a solution.
In bathroom, try sconces on either side of the mirror, instead of a single light above.” Overhead lighting can cast shadows on your face. If you must go with an overhead light, choose a longer, horizontal fixture (instead of one with one single bulb) to help fully illuminate your face.
Shadows can plague your kitchen workspace, too. If kitchen can lights are positioned above the edge of the counter, when you stand at the counter to work, you cast a shadow exactly where you need the light. Solve this problem by installing under-cabinet lighting.
Notice the same overhead shadow problem in your office? Make sure your desk has a task lamp.
4. You pick the wrong size fixture.
This a common mistake I see homeowners make- a too-small chandelier over a large dining table or an oversized lamp on a table next to a sofa will make the area look disproportionate.”
Try these design tricks from Wayfair for picking the right-size chandelier: Add together the room’s height and width in feet. That number, in inches, should be the approximate diameter of your chandelier. In dining rooms, you should choose a chandelier that’s one foot smaller than the table’s narrowest width.
And don’t rely on eyeballing it when you get to the store. Fixtures often look smaller in lighting showrooms, so bring measurements.
5. You don’t position lamps at a helpful height.
The bottom of a pendant light should be 30 to 36 inches above a kitchen island. The bottom of a chandelier should be 66 inches from the floor in a dining room, and when you’re sitting next to a table lamp, the bottom of the shade should be at shoulder height. If the lamp is too tall, you’ll be blinded by the bulb!
6. You don’t consider your room’s paint color.
No matter how many lights you place in a room, it just won’t have that light airy feeling if the walls are too dark. This seems obvious, but even slightly different hues in the same color family can make a difference.
Please note that this Scottsdale Real Estate Blog is for informational purposes and not intended to take the place of a licensed Scottsdale Real Estate Agent. The Szabo Group offers first class real estate services to clients in the Scottsdale Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area in the buying and selling of Luxury homes in Arizona. Award winning Realtors and Re/MAX top producers and best real estate agent for Luxury Homes in Scottsdale, The Szabo group delivers experience, knowledge, dedication and proven results. Contact Joe Szabo at 480.688.2020, info@ScottsdaleRealEstateTeam.com or visit www.scottsdalerealestateteam.com to find out more about Scottsdale Homes for Sale and Estates for Sale in Scottsdale and to search the Scottsdale MLS for Scottsdale Home Listings.