For many, the kitchen is the busiest room in the house and the center of a number of different tasks. Kitchen lighting should be functional – bright and well diffused, and should serve to make tasks easier and safer.
Under cabinet fixtures also make great task lights over counters. Place under cabinet fixtures at the front of your cabinet – not against the wall – so the light will be distributed evenly over the area below. Consider putting your under cabinet lighting on a dimmer separate from other lighting in your kitchen, it’s an easy way to save energy costs.
Overall lighting for the kitchen
Evenly spaced ceiling fixtures are a dependable way to make sure all open spaces are free of shadows or glare, and they help illuminate the inside of the, cabinets, pantries, and drawers. Semi-flushmount or close to ceiling fixtures provide an opportunity to add style elements along with overall illumination for the kitchen.
For the most light for the least energy cost, choose a large surface-mounted fluorescent for the center of the kitchen. Look for fixtures with the ENERGY STAR label. These fixtures are the most energy-efficient and use fluorescent bulbs that are rated very high in color rendering, which means that people will look their best under them.
Lighting for over the kitchen table must often serve as a combination of general lighting and task lighting.
Pendant lighting fixtures are a great choice for task lighting over a kitchen table. They can provide the right light needed for close work while adding a major contribution to your room’s decor. Mount pendant fixtures 30″ above the tabletop.
A chandelier or ceiling fixture over the kitchen table also can provide the necessary illumination and a décor focus point. If your table is round, the fixture should ideally be 12″ narrower than the diameter of the table. For square and rectangular tables, choose a fixture that is 12″ narrower than the smallest side. Learn more about proper sizing and hanging height for chandeliers.
Consider installing a dimmer to over the table fixtures, so you can lower the light for extra ambiance during special dining occasions.
Islands, dining counters and breakfast bars also require a combination of task and general lighting. It is useful to add a group of pendants or a multi-light pendant over the surface to create an larger design impact. Mount each pendant so that the bottom of the shade is approximately 66″ above the floor allowing the eye to look across the room below the pendants. If the shades are not very deep and there is seating at the Kitchen Island or peninsula, then install the pendants a few inches lower (60″ above the floor).
A good rule of thumb is to install one individual pendant for every two feet of counter space. However, thin, narrow pendants may be more appealing with the addition of one or two additional fixtures. Try to use an odd number of pendants to create better balance.
Dining room lighting
A proper combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting can make your dining room both appealing and functional. Multiple fixtures allow you to create “layers of light” that can be used to vary the ambience and provide the light you need for a variety of activities including dining. The addition of dimming controls also will enable you to vary the light to suit your needs.
Chandeliers are the centerpieces of most dining room lighting, and many people choose to have the style of their chandelier selection set the theme for their dining rooms.
Consider installing a dimmer to vary the illumination to match your preferred dining experience. For family dinners, you may want a bright cheerful light. For formal or intimate dinners, a softer lighting effect may be more desirable.
Learn more about proper sizing and hanging height for chandeliers.
Visit your local Forecast Lighting retailer to evaluate different size chandeliers with your table measurements.
Recessed or track lighting is an additional option for dining room lighting designs to provide general lighting, as accent lighting for furnishings or artwork, or to provide a “wall-washing” effect.
Adding recessed lighting near the corners of the room will visually expand the room, making it appear larger.
Wall lighting can be very effective in a dining room lighting design. Individual wall fixtures can be used to flank a buffet or sideboard, accent a mirror, or to give the room added depth. Many Forecast Lighting chandeliers and wall lighting fixtures are available in coordinating styles.
Den, family room, and basement lighting
Dens, Family Rooms and Basements are often areas of high activity, and recessed lighting can provide general, task, and accent lighting. Close-to-ceiling fixtures are another alternative for these areas. If the basement is unfinished, simple utility lighting fixtures may suffice.
Use higher wattage fixtures in those rooms where tasks are performed, in rooms with ceilings higher than eight feet and in rooms with dark colored floors and walls.
Adding dimmer controls can allow you to change the ambience of these rooms. Dimmers also allow for clear TV viewing, while leaving enough light to move around safely.
Fireplaces can be made more dramatic by installing recessed downlights as accent lights over the mantle. Wall fixtures placed on either side of the fireplace will accentuate the area while contributing general lighting for the entire room.
Game tables, such as pool tables, require bright, well-distributed overhead lighting. Installing shaded pendant fixtures 36″ above the table are an excellent solution, or consider installing recessed fixtures directly over the table.
Bathrooms are another room that requires a mix of general and task lighting to make them as appealing and functional as possible. When installing bathroom lighting, look for fixtures rated for damp locations.
Ceiling fixtures or recessed lighting can provide general room lighting and lighting directly in the shower, commode, or bathtub area. If space allows, small chandeliers can add elegance and drama to your bath.
Wall fixtures provide the task lighting needed at the mirror. You can use a linear bath fixture of three to five lights directly over the mirror, or one or two light fixtures to flank the mirror for a softer lighting effect.
When using two individual wall fixtures, mount them at least 28″ apart and 60″ off the floor. Mount larger linear wall fixtures approximately 78″ off the floor.
In the bathroom, use bulbs that provide a warm or neutral white color. If choosing compact fluorescents (CFLs), use the color-adjusted versions to avoid an unflattering light.
Bedroom lighting must be able to go from a subdued ambience to bright task lighting for dressing, reading, and other activities. Use a combination of general and task lighting that matches your individual needs. Again, dimming controls give you the flexibility to vary the light to your immediate needs.
General lighting can be provided by ceiling fixtures, chandeliers, fanlights, recessed fixtures, wall fixtures, or a combination of these. Your bedroom’s general lighting should give you the illumination you need to dress and see into drawers and closets easily.
Lighting for closets is best done with recessed or close-to-the-ceiling fixtures that fit within a tight space.
Next-to-bed lighting is often provided with the use of table lamps, but recessed lights or pendants can provide the light needed while leaving end tables open. Dimmer controls next to bed lighting can change the ambience providing a relaxing environment.
Foyer, hallway, and stairway lighting
When entering a home, lighting sets the tone for your living space and provides a welcoming atmosphere. While the fixtures you choose can set the style for your home’s decor, they should also provide ample lighting for safety. Your lighting should also provide enough illumination to easily navigate in closets, stairways and hallways.
Chandeliers, pendants, or ceiling fixtures also serve to meet the lighting needs in your foyer, hallway, and stairway lighting. Chandeliers should be hung high enough to avoid other objects and to assist in lighting nearby stairways.
Choose a fixture appropriate for your space; smaller foyers allow for the use of small fixtures such as pendants and one-tier chandelier. For larger spaces such as two-story foyer a larger fixture is necessary. If you have a second story viewing, consider how the fixture will look from above.
Hallways and stairways should be illuminated every eight to 10 feet for safety. If hall or foyer fixtures do not illuminate the entire stairway, install a fixture near the top step of the stairs. Hall and staircase lighting can be done with ceiling fixtures, wall fixtures, or recessed fixtures; avoid using wall fixtures in narrow hallways.
Recessed lighting can be used to illuminate the hallway or stairs and provide accent light for art or photos on the walls.
Lighted switches should be placed at both ends of a hallway or stairway for safety.
Utility and laundry rooms
Utility and laundry rooms need strong general lighting and possibly additional task lighting. Large, energy-efficient fluorescent fixtures can provide plenty of general lighting at an affordable cost. Recessed fixtures can be installed for extra illumination over task areas such as laundry machines, ironing boards, and workbenches.
Outdoor lighting is the first thing that welcomes your guests as they approach your house. Outdoor fixtures add to the style and personality to your home and provide essential home security.
Outdoor lighting also allows you to take advantage of your outdoor spaces after dark and adds value to your home. Forecast Lighting outdoor fixtures are available in a wide range of styles to allow you to harmonize the lighting with the architecture of your home.
Police and security professionals agree that good outdoor lighting is one of the least expensive and most effective security measures a homeowner can take. Leaving lights on through the night can increase security, but can also raise your electricity bill. Forecast Lighting offers a range of outdoor lighting fixtures that use energy-saving compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) to help lower utility bills and your “carbon footprint,” while still providing ample lighting for safety.
The latest compact fluorescent bulbs will operate well down to 25ºF, and “cold start” CFLs are available that can operate down to 10Fº.
It’s important to note that some municipalities have implemented special building codes related to the type of lighting you are allowed to use outdoors. Some require special “Dark Sky” compliant fixtures. Check with your local municipality regarding lighting codes before installing outdoor lighting.
Front entrance lighting allows you to easily identify visitors and greet guests. Wall fixtures on each side of the door will give your home a warm, welcoming feel, while assuring the safety of those who enter.
Under a porch or other overhang, you can use recessed, ceiling fixtures, or even chain-hung fixtures, rated for outdoor use.
Garage lighting should be completed with wall fixtures on each side of garage door(s) or with a single fixture above the door. For energy savings, consider installing a motion sensor, timer switch, or a photocell that turns the lights on at dusk and off at dawn.
Lighting all sides of your home
Illuminating the sides and back of your house can also help increase security. You can install spotlights on your eaves or under soffits, or use ground spotlights to light up the sides of your home. If using ground spots, aim the fixtures so that the light is blocked by your eaves to reduce “light pollution.” To conserve energy, consider installing motion sensors that activate when movement is detected.
If lighting rear or side entrances with a single wall fixture, install it on the keyhole side of the door.
Steps, walkways, and driveways, as well as decks, porches and patios should have sufficient light for safety in the dark. To ensure your area is well lit a combination of path lights, post lanterns, and wall mounted lights should be installed.
Be certain your fixtures are rated and wired for outdoor use.
For areas with extremely corrosive environments, such as the seashore, plastic outdoor fixtures may be the best choice.Back to top