Best Lighting for Your Home
Ready to light the way? These home lighting ideas can help you optimize how your home is lit.
More the one light source may be better. People often assume that a single overhead fixture can illuminate an entire room. It may, say lighting experts -- but not very well. "My cardinal rule is that more than one light source is needed for all but the smallest rooms," says Grosslight. Multiple light sources help balance the light in a room, minimizing glare and shadows. One good strategy is to pair a ceiling fixture with a lamp that shines light upward onto the ceiling; a CFL-equipped torchiere for a bedroom or living room, for example, and inexpensive linear fluorescents atop kitchen cabinets.
Multiple light sources are especially important in the bathroom. "Ideally, you want light from three sides -- from above and from either side of the mirror," says Doreen Le May Madden, owner of Lux Lighting Design in Belmont, Mass. "Make sure you have enough light to subtly fill in the shadows on your face. And you want to make sure the fixture is a type that shields the bulb from your sight, to reduce glare."
Task lighting is essential. In addition to overhead and "up" lights, it's generally a good idea to have task lights to direct light precisely where it's needed, for reading, cooking, and hobbies. To reduce glare, get a fixture with a shielded bulb -- or position the light so the bulb is out of your line of sight.
If you like to read in bed but worry about keeping your partner awake, consider a dual light fixture placed above the center of the headboard. By allowing light to be directed only toward your side of the bed, such a fixture often works better than having one lamp on either side of the bed. Make sure the shade is opaque, so that light does not illuminate other parts of the bedroom.
Backup lights can help keep you safe. To cope with power outages, one flashlight is good, but more is better. "Ideally, you want several LED flashlights," says Rizzo. "They're longer-lived than flashlights with incandescent bulbs." It's also a good idea to have battery-powered emergency lights.