Lighting is one of the most essential components in your home. The right lighting fixtures add both style and mood to every room. When thrown together willy-nilly, lighting is nothing special. But with the right kind of lighting, placements, and fixtures, you can optimize your home’s functionality and decor. Let’s explore the different types of lighting fixtures and how to choose the right ones for each room in your home.

Tips for Choosing Your Home’s Lighting


The first rule of thumb is to choose fixtures proportionate to a room’s size and layout. A fixture that is too big will be overbearing and clash with a room’s decor. A fixture that is too small won’t be functional. Measure the width of the room’s most prominent focal point, for example, a dining room table, and choose a fixture between 1/2 and 2/3 of that diameter.

The standard height for hanging ceiling lights is 7 feet from the bottom of the fixture to the floor. You will need to adjust this depending on the heights of your ceilings. For high, vaulted ceilings, the fixture should hang closer to the room’s occupants than to the ceiling.

Focal Point

When choosing how to light a room, it helps to start with a focal point. Walk into the room with a fresh perspective and see what catches your attention first. It could be a dramatic piece of furniture or a classic piece of artwork such as a painting, vase, or statue.

Try to highlight the object or the space in the room while playing down the rest of the room’s lighting. The trick to accomplish this goal is to use layers of lighting.

Layers of Lighting

Learning how to layer the lighting in a room is important for the best effect. The three basic types of lighting are ambiance, task, and accent lighting. Varying these types provides an overall level of comfort without being too harsh or too soft.

The most basic type is ambiance lighting. Its purpose is to light up a space so that you can move around safely and see what you’re doing. It typically includes overhead lighting, such as ceiling fixtures. Sources can include:

  • Ceiling fans and fixtures
  • Recessed interior lighting
  • Chandeliers
  • Pendants
  • Wall sconces
  • Flush or semi-flush mount ceiling fixtures
  • Torchiere lamps
  • Wall sconces
  • Track lighting
  • Vanity lighting

Task lighting helps you perform certain jobs, such as cooking in the kitchen, getting ready for the day in the bathroom, or working at a desk in your home office. The light is direct and intense for tasks like reading, prep work, and applying makeup. Light sources to consider are:

  • Desk lamps
  • Under cabinet lighting
  • Work lamps
  • Vanity lighting
  • Track lighting
  • Island or mini pendants

Accent lighting serves two purposes. It allows you to highlight interesting objects in a room’s decor. It also serves as a secondary illumination source to enhance the ambient lighting in a room. It can also help to brighten spaces that ambient lighting can’t reach.

Sources to consider in your accent lighting plan include:

  • track lighting
  • recessed lighting
  • wall sconces

Begin with a favorite element in the room and select a source of light that compliments it. Try to include more than one layer of lighting in each room. In addition to the light sources above, free-standing sources such as floor and table lamps can help you accomplish this.

Don’t Overlook Light Bulbs

The kind of light bulbs you choose will play a factor in the quality of a room’s lighting. Consider things like color temperature, wattage, and lumens. LED and halogen bulbs are suitable for track lights. LED track lights are cool to the touch, less damaging to artwork, and save on energy costs.

Color temperature is an excellent way to make a room’s lighting more functional. In general, use bright white for kitchens and workspaces, daylight bulbs for reading corners and offices, and warm white for living rooms and bedrooms.

Lighting Up Your Home Room by Room


The foyer provides guests with a first impression of your home. Choose an ambient light source, such as overhead or recessed, and work in a couple of accent light sources. Flush and semi-flush mounts are excellent light fixtures for your foyer. You also can’t go wrong with a small track lighting fixture.

For homes with high or vaulted ceilings, it’s best to go dramatic with a pendant lantern or chandelier for ambient light. Add in a floor lamp with soft lighting to layer in accent lighting.

Living Room

A living room or family room should be cozy and well-lit. Daily activities in the living room vary from hanging out, to watching a movie or reading a book, so the lighting should also be versatile. This is the space where you will do the most layering of the three types of lighting.

You’ll need extra ambient and accent lighting if your living space isn’t well-lit with natural light. Good options for ambient lighting include flush or semi-flush mount lighting, ceiling fan lights, and chandeliers. In addition, a torchiere floor lamp will flood the ceiling with light.

Kitchen and Dining Rooms

A kitchen and dining area needs multiple layers of lighting to make the space easy to use yet warm and inviting. Recessed lighting is a perfect source of ambient lighting in kitchens of every size.

A variety of tasks are performed in the kitchen, from chopping veggies to doing homework at the table or kitchen island. Island pendants, mini pendants, track lighting, and under-cabinet lighting are excellent ways to add both task and accent lighting.

Chandeliers in dining areas are classic sources of ambient light. Lamps on side tables or wall sconces can provide sources of accent lighting.


Although bedroom lighting should be soft and calming, you still need ambient lighting. Ceiling fans, track lighting, and flush mount lights are good sources. Use wall sconces or nightstand lamps as task lighting for activities like reading in bed. For bedrooms with a sitting area or workspace, table lamps work best.


A bathroom light with a fan provides both ventilation and ambient light. A traditional bathroom lighting option also includes a fixture above the vanity mirror. Add sconces or pendant lights on either side of the vanity light as accent lights, and provide task lighting for grooming activities.


Choosing the right lighting for an office is essential for both task performance and eye health. You may need an adjustable desk lamp if you don’t need glasses but are squinting to see what you are working on.

LED track lighting or recessed lighting is best for ambient lighting in an office. If your desk sits against a wall, sconces on each side can provide task lighting.

Rely on the Lighting Experts

At Finch Home Solutions, we specialize in residential electrical systems in Shakopee, MN. We can upgrade your interior lighting to be more energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing. In addition, we install EV charging stations and whole-home surge protection, rewire houses with old electrical systems, and upgrade electric panels. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled electricians.

company icon