How to Incorporate Light to Enhance Your Home’s Interior

The experts weigh in.

So you’ve got a beautiful space, and now you want to make sure you’re showcasing it as beautifully as possible.

This is where lighting can work wonders.

Lighting is an easy thing to overlook, but those who want to enhance their home’s interior need not fear—there are many ways to incorporate light that will help show off your home to the best advantage.

ESTATENVY spoke with three experts in the lighting field who shared some tips and best practices.

“Lighting can be used in many ways to enhance your home, from creating feature areas, enhancing your interior design, or by using lighting to direct focus and create an overall mood for a particular space,” Alyssa Barton, an ALA-Certified Lighting Consultant with the Chicago-based lighting store Lightology, said in an email. “Choosing the right color temperature for your lighting fixtures can even dictate your emotional and physical health with its effects on your natural circadian rhythm. There are so many different applications and product options to consider when creating your dream space.”

Experts agree on one thing: When it comes to lighting your home, that’s not exactly the time to scrimp on quality.

While inexpensive lighting is a tricky tightrope, there are a few ways to work within a tight budget. For one, there are many different products out there.

“Lighting is an investment that should not be overlooked, but with so many vendors and product offerings it is easy to create a lighting plan that will suit any budget,” Barton said in an email. “Lightology carries over 500 brands from around the globe, ranging in style and price point. Whether you’re a designer or homeowner, it’s so important to work with a lighting expert to explore the right solution for your particular needs and space.

Quality is especially important when it comes to LED products

“One of the first steps you would want to do is to make sure you’re using good quality light sources, and that would include being able to discern the good LED lamp from a poor LED lamp,” Fox & Fox Design LLC president John Fox said.

Mitchell B. Kohn of Mitchell B. Kohn Lighting Design, located in Highland Park, Illinois, said that homeowners who want LED lights but are on a budget need to be careful.

“If you have a budget and you have the interest in using LED fixtures, you have to be somewhat selective because there are more bad LED fixtures on the market than good,” Kohn said. He noted that LEDs are state-of-the-art, but in order to get the positive characteristics, they’re not going to be cheap.

“If you find inexpensive LED fixtures they’re probably not going to be as good as they should be,” Kohn said.

But he does have a solution: halogen.

“So if someone has a real budget, I would recommend that they stay with halogen,” Kohn said, adding that halogen fixtures are going to be cheaper and easier to control. Plus, consumers can get better quality fixtures at lower costs.

Fox is a fan of IKEA products.

“If you’re on a budget, I really like IKEA products, only because when we look at how they’ve operated with trying to make something easy to map, they actually create a solution where you can bring the wire along the wall, around the ceiling and down the wall,” Fox said. “You can plug it in, and it’s got an inline switch, so as you walk around you’ve got that opportunity to put something in the space that’s not from the floor and not from the wall.”

On the flip side, if you can splurge on lighting for your home, there are many neat options available.

“TruLine by PureEdge Lighting is a cutting-edge, plaster-in LED system used to create ambient light,” Barton said in an email. “It not only enhances your architecture but also lets your decorative pieces be the jewelry of the home. The soft, indirect light sets the mood, and is an amazing alternative to traditional track and can lighting.”

Fox and his team use a technique they call a dropped cornice, which is when a cornice borders the ceiling of the room, is dropped down two or three inches and then LED tape lights are placed inside of that cornice. The result is that it lights up the ceiling quite nicely.

“It is so good at lighting the space that you don’t need any other lights,” Fox said.

Using different types of light can also help enhance your home.

“Lighting is so particular to the homeowners’ needs and preferences, but one thing to always keep in mind is how important it is to layer your light,” Barton said in an email. “It is best to have three layers of light in every room: your general ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting.”

Fox, a former lighting design professor at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, and whose business is based in Seal Beach, California, taught his students what he calls the TADA method: task, ambiance, decorative and accent.

In terms of ambiance, consumers can think about how they plan to use a space. Fox gave watching the Super Bowl and having a candlelit anniversary dinner as two examples that can call for very different types of lighting.

“Ambient refers to how much light you are providing for the space so that you have an overall light level that supports the intent of the function at the time, and that would involve also having a control system,” Fox said.

Task, he said, refers to consumers putting light where they need it, say, in their kitchens or at their desks.

“What kind of things are you trying to do in the space, and are you solving that with a light source?” Fox said.

Whether you’re focused on lighting up one room or every room in your home, keeping the room’s use in mind, going for quality and using controls are all ways to use light to enhance your home’s interior.