Lighting Design Ultimate Guide: Tips & Tricks for Every Room

Feb 24, 2023

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Ultimate Lighting Design Tips and Tricks for Every Room


Lighting isn’t always the first thing you think about when it comes to home design, but it can elevate your space.

We use light in many different ways throughout the day in every space in our homes. Lighting illuminates tasks we are completing, creates a mood, and highlights display areas.

Older lighting designs don’t always cut it when it comes to modern living.

So, if you are ready to update your home lighting, we have the ultimate guide to lighting design. Read on for some tips and tricks for every room.


Lighting Design Basics


When you begin thinking about lighting design, think about function. Lighting serves a purpose. Many lights help us to read or see inside a dark closet.

But, lights don’t have to be functional alone. Lights can create an ambiance or mood in a room.

Also, there are different light bulbs and fixtures you can use to create your lighting design.


Types of bulbs


Until recently, incandescent lightbulbs were the most popular type. You may have some in older light fixtures. These types of bulbs are not energy efficient. They build up heat and have a short life. So, they are being phased out.

LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient bulbs. They can last up to 20 years. These bulbs are good for outdoor lighting, lamps, nightlights, and fixtures. They come in a variety of colors and color temperatures.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) are good for reading lights. They come in a variety of colors, sizes, and types. They do not work with a dimmer, though.

Halogen Lights work like incandescent bulbs but without a lot of the downsides. They are more energy efficient than incandescent. They burn brighter than many other bulbs, making them perfect for accent lighting.

These are fragile bulbs and can explode, so handle them with care.


Color temperatures


Lightbulbs come in three color temperatures. You measure these color temperatures by Degrees Kelvin. The higher the Kelvin, the whiter the light.

The color temperatures are the following:

  • Soft White (2700K – 3000K)
  • Bright White/Cool White (3500K – 4100K)
  • Daylight (5000K – 6500K)

color temperatures for light bulbs

Soft White bulbs create a soft, yellowish light. These lights are smooth and relaxing. They are what we typically think of with incandescent lighting. They are great for bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms.

Bright White or Cool White bulbs are whiter than Soft White bulbs. This is a great light choice for kitchens, outdoors, and work areas.

Daylight bulbs have a bluish, white color. These are great for working on projects, accent lighting, and reading.


Lumens vs. Watts


Instead of looking at the watts of your bulbs, check for lumens. Watts measures energy usage. Lumens measure light brightness.

So, as we go through this guide, we will discuss how many lumens are ideal for each room.

Modern lighting designs feature LED bulbs. These use less energy (watts) but produce more brightness (lumens).


Light your high-traffic areas in the kitchen


Light your high-traffic areas in the kitchen


The first tip for a functional and beautiful kitchen lighting design is to task light. Task lighting refers to ensuring places where you complete daily tasks are well-lit.

Countertops and sinks need plenty of functional light. You can add a light fixture above the sink area. You can also get under the cabinet lighting to brighten up those countertops. Each task-lit area should be about 450 lumens.

These LED under-the-cabinet lights are perfect for a modern lighting design. They are motion detected.


Layer light in the living room


Layer light in the living room


Our second tip for the ultimate lighting design is to layer lighting in the living or family room. This is one of the most used rooms in the home. You watch TV, play games, read, entertain, and relax here.

So, it’s essential to layer your light in this room. You need to be able to turn on and off lights based on the needs of the room. This room should have between 1500 and 3000 lumens in total.

Floor lamps provide an easy way for you to turn on and off lights. Side table lamps are also a great way to add light to a living room. If you have bookshelves or fireplaces, you can add LED lights to these pieces for accent lighting.

Based on your home decor, you can improve your lighting design by uplighting plants. You can also use light to emphasize paintings or artwork.

Finally, don’t forget about overhead lighting. Some unique chandeliers would take your lighting design to the next level.


Create relaxed lighting in the bedroom


Create relaxed lighting in the bedroom


When you go into your bedroom, you want this room to be calm and relaxing. You don’t want bright, harsh lights in this lighting design.

To create the best bedroom ambiance, our tip is to use either side table lamps or wall sconces. Another trick you could try is to backlight your headboard. This creates a romantic mood and provides plenty of reading light. These should be at reading level, so about 500 lumens each.

This should be adequate light for a cozy bedroom. If you need more, you can add a nice floor lamp or overhead light.

You’ll also want to consider your closet in your lighting design. This is an area you will want well-lit.

Based on the size of your closet, you may be able to get by with an overhead light. Still, if you have shelving or a walk-in closet, you may consider more light.

You could put LED lights under the shelves and add wall sconces to create more light in the closet.


Increase wall lighting in your bathroom


The lighting design in your bathroom is pretty simple. The place you’ll need the most light is your mirror.

wall lighting in your bathroom

Our tip is to have around 1700 lumens around the mirror for the ultimate lighting. Try out wall sconces or these beautiful vanity lights to increase the illumination in your lighting design.


Ambient lighting in your hallway/entryway


In an entryway or hallway lighting design, the main lights you will need are an overhead light and some accent lighting for any artwork you may be displaying.

A hallway could get by with about 1200-2500 lumens, whereas a staircase will need to be brighter at about 1200-4200 lumens. This is based on the height of the stairs and ceiling.

Check out this gorgeous ceiling light for your hall or entryway. These would make a statement in your lighting design.


Install adjustable lighting in the dining room


Install adjustable lighting in the dining room


The main function of a dining room is the table, so typically, people place a chandelier above the table. Although this is a great first start, our tip is to add a little extra light with some additional wall sconces.

The wall sconces will emphasize any art or decorative wall pieces while also providing extra light around the room. You could achieve this same look with a narrow display table or shelf with a table lamp or candles. These LED remote-operated candles are a great way to add warmth to a room.

The entire room should be about 3000-6000 lumens. You will want all of the lights in your dining room lighting design to be dimmable. This will help create moods. Whether you are having a romantic dinner with a partner or a festive evening party, dimmable lights let you customize the mood.


Use indirect lighting in the home office


Use indirect lighting in the home office


Our final tip for the ultimate lighting design is in the home office. The home office needs to have natural light to keep the place cheerful and bright, while also keeping glares off of computer screens.

Your desk should have about 1200 lumens. You can use floor lamps and natural lights from windows but also try recessed lighting. If you have a large bookshelf, you can place LED lights under the shelves to give a more indirect light that won’t reflect on your screens.

You could also try floor lighting. Floor lights are a great addition to any lighting design. You can place them behind a plant or decorative object to absorb much of the light. Then, you get a warm glow instead of direct, bright light.




This ultimate guide to lighting design will help you enhance the effects your lighting has on each room. There are a lot of ways to create the right ambiance. Bulbs, color temperature, and types of lighting fixtures all play a role in lighting designs.

Try out some of these tips and tricks to make your lighting design more modern and functional.

Ready to take your home to the next level? Read about Smart Home Technology: The Future of Design and Automation.