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Simple Tips for Modernizing Your Home Lighting

This has got to be one of my favorite topics when it comes to how you can make minimal changes to your home design that have big impact. Light fixtures are an essential element of home design, as they not only provide illumination but also serve as decorative elements that can enhance the aesthetic of a space.  We’ve updated nearly every fixture in our home at this point and I’m often asked not only where I find the pieces I select, but also how I find them. I thought besides giving you some insight on searching for the right home lighting, that it might be helpful to know what to even search for. So, here are some simple tips for modernizing your home lighting.

Assess your current home lighting

It only makes sense to start with the bigger picture. The right fixture with the right lighting makes a room feel more inviting, comfortable, and can influence the mood and behavior while existing in the space. Whether it’s a statement chandelier, recessed lighting, or accent lighting, modernizing your home lighting can significantly impact the overall look and feel of a home.

Starting by taking note of the types of bulbs you’re using, the fixtures in each room, and any areas where you may be experiencing lighting problems, such as areas that are too dim or too bright. You may also want to consider factors like the age of the fixture, the size in comparison with the space, or the style (farmhouse, traditional, 60’s etc).

Then, ask yourself questions like:

What style is the rest of the space?

What style should this light fixture be?

Should I lighten or darken the mood?

Does this fixture fit the size of the room?

This evaluation will help you identify areas where you can make improvements and ensure that you’re making the most effective changes to your home lighting as well as begin to point you in the right direction.

Modernizing your home lighting dining room chandelier
Modernizing your home lighting office wall sconce

update the ambience

Modernizing your home lighting means making sure your light fixtures give off the right “vibe” for a space. When selecting the right brightness and color temperature for a room, there are three key things to keep in mind.

First, choose the overall coloring you want in the space. Think about the mood you want to create: warmer (lesser lumens) can create a cozy, inviting atmosphere, while cooler temperatures can feel more energizing and bright. The color range of light bulbs below 3000k create a warmer cast, while anything above that will be cooler.

Next would be the brightness. Do this by considering the function of the room. For example, a kitchen or bathroom requires brighter lighting than a bedroom or living room. Rooms that require a bit less light (bedrooms, hallways, dining rooms) will generally require around 10-20 lumens per square foot, while a bathroom or kitchen will need about 70-80 lumens per square foot. Sometimes there’s different preferences for rooms like offices and bathrooms so don’t be afraid to experiment with different bulb brightnesses and color temperatures to find the perfect balance for your space. Some people prefer a brighter, cooler light for reading or working, while others may prefer a softer, warmer light for relaxing or entertaining.

Modernizing your home lighting office wall sconce

Layer your home lighting

I promise I’m not trying to add more work for you, BUT, layering your lighting is a must when it comes to modernizing your home lighting. What I mean by “layering” is using multiple types of light sources in a room to add depth to your overall design.

There are three main types of lighting to consider when layering: ambient, task, and accent.

Ambient lighting provides overall illumination for a space. This is usually the “centered” lighting, such as the chandelier in your dining room or the recessed lighting in the kitchen.

Task lighting is used for specific activities like reading or cooking. This is where pendant lights in the kitchen, your vanity bathroom light, or a lamp by your favorite reading chair come into play.

Finally, accent lighting is used to highlight artwork or other features in a room. Picture lights, under-mount cabinet or bookshelf lights are a great way to layer in accent lighting.

By combining these types of lighting, you can create a more visually interesting space. For example, you might use a chandelier as overhead ambient lighting in your living room along with a floor lamp for task lighting and picture lights for accent lighting. 

layered lighting master bedroom decor
Modernizing your home lighting chandelier layered lighting

Update your current fixtures

Finally, getting to the part of how to actually find the right fixtures to replace your old ones.

Fixtures come in a wide range of styles, from sleek and minimalist to ornate and traditional, so now that you’ve narrowed down what it is you’re looking for it’s time to find the right one that fits your vision and budget. I always start by getting inspiration from pictures of rooms that have a similar style, shape and size to mine. Pinterest and Instagram are my go-tos. They’ll also give you keywords that may help in your search.

BUDGET FRIENDLY HACK! I find a lot of my light fixtures on Amazon by using the search your screen-shot feature. I’ll often find fixtures on some of the more expensive sites that I know I’ve also seen similar on Amazon. It’s worth it to always check and see if you can get the look for less!

Just remember a few key things when selecting new fixtures:

  • Consider the number of lightbulbs and total color output and lumens it will give you
  • The size and layout of the room– always MEASURE and even tape out if needed
  • Installation needs, will you be doing it or do you need an electrician (can add to the $$$)
  • The overall style of your home– if you are replacing fixtures throughout it’s good to try to make them feel cohesive
  • The functionality of the fixtures (ceiling fans, vanity lighting, office or studio etc.)
Modernizing your home lighting chandelier layered lighting

Modernizing your home lighting does not have to be stressful. I took my sweet time deciding on the fixtures for each space and I’m so glad I did. I even tried a couple before I knew the one was the one (thank goodness for easy returns). It may not seem like it, but your home lighting is the first thing that impacts a space and sets the tone from there on out. So just take it slow, experiment, reference inspiration photos and of course, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!