If you are unhappy with a room in your house, but can’t seem to pinpoint what’s not working, bad lighting could be your problem. There are two rules of thumb: You should have a mix of light sources at different levels to create a flattering ambiance, and you need appropriate task lighting for whatever you do in that space.
Here are a few key lighting tips. Let’s start with the bathroom.
The best choice for applying makeup is sidelights, such as a pair of sconces flanking the mirror. An overhead light helps fill in any shadows on your face and also fully illuminates the room (important when cleaning). In a large space, you might also want a light directly over the shower. Light three of the four corners, focusing one of those lights on an object. Use a combination of table lamps and floor lamps, some with a downward glow and some that shine upward.
Ok, now let’s talk kitchen lighting. To draw people in, make the table the brightest spot in the room. Use a chandelier or a pendant above the table, limiting the total wattage to 100. Elsewhere in the room, indirect lighting is best, it’s relaxing and flattering. Give the space a soft glow with a pair of small table lamps on a sideboard or matching sconces on the wall above. Battery-powered votives inside a glass-front china cabinet can be a nice touch. Kitchen lighting is very important. Focus on overhead lighting (on a dimmer that you can crank up when cooking), and add lower sources to illuminate work surfaces. Use pendants, under-cabinet lights, or a sturdy table lamp (kept away from the sink).
Bedroom lighting should be cozy. Place reading lamps or sconces by the bed—but not pointed directly at it. If you have recessed or track fixtures, angle them away from the bed, toward the dressing area.