You can have the most beautifully designed space around, but without the proper lighting all that gorgeous décor can’t be seen to its best advantage.
A room should be lit in layers, rather than from a single source. If you have an overhead fixture, for example, supplement it with other types of lighting on different levels so the light in the room doesn’t come from a single direction. While considering your options, take into account the different types of lighting products that can be used to create various effects.
›› 1. Lamps Use floor and table styles throughout a room for accent, ambient or task lighting. The Berkeley Lamp II ($289, berkeleylamp.com ); the Double Rectangle Wood Table Lamp ($149.99, lampsplus.com) and the Tiffany-Style Luminaria Floor Lamp ($269.99, lampsplus.com ).
›› 2. Chandeliers When hung over a dining table, a chandelier should be a foot smaller in diameter than the table so diners won’t bump into it. Chandeliers can also be used in unexpected places for dramatic effect, such as master baths and even kitchens. The Plume 12-light crystal chandelier by Baccarat ($9,670, lumens.com ) is a thoroughly modern take on the traditional chandelier and features 25 crystal pendants, including a signature red Baccarat crystal suspended from a stainless steel frame.
›› 3. Pendants Depending on style, these provide upward or downward lighting. Small downward pendants, often used in multiples, work well over bars, countertop dining islands and work areas; larger upward pendants provide ambient lighting in foyers and living areas, and over tables. New England Piccolo Pendant Light by Quoizel ($89.99, csnlighting.com ). Kichler Fresnel Lens Glass Pendant in Olde Bronze ($220, csnlighting.com)
›› 4. Wall Sconces Decorative rather than utilitarian, sconces provide accent or wall-washing lighting. A chic and sleek example is the Holy Wall Sconce from George Kovacs by Minka ($140, csnlighting.com). It features an opaque glass shade that diffuses the light through an outer metal shade perforated with the holes that give the sconce its tongue-in-cheek name.
›› 5. Accent Lighting Fashionable rather than functional, accent lights add a pop of illumination to a room. Think of them as lighted sculptures used to brighten a space. IKEA’s Knubbig accent lights ($16.99 each at IKEA, adjacent to The Mall at Millenia) are made of hand-blown glass in white with cherry blossoms or black with a clover design.
OthersRecessed Lighting: Set into the ceiling, recessed lighting can be used to spotlight or accent certain room features, wash walls in light or provide general illumination.
Surface Lighting: Mounted on walls, ceilings or under cabinets, surface lighting provides broad illumination where ample ambient or task lighting is needed.
Track Lighting: From accent to general to task lighting, track lighting is versatile and can be adjusted to meet changing needs. Use museum-style spot track lighting to highlight important works of art and decorative items.