Lighting Guide












Bathroom lighting falls into two categories: task lighting, and ambient, or general lighting. For smaller bathrooms, ambient lighting can be supplied by a ceiling fixture. In a large bathroom, you may need a combination of recessed lighting and ceiling fixtures.

Decorative Bath Lighting

Add style to your bathroom with decorative ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, or even a chandelier. Be sure to check your local building codes – hanging light fixtures should never be installed over a tub.


Recessed ceiling fixtures provide good general lighting, but they’re not effective task lighting

Bathrooms need even, shadow-free lighting around mirrors for grooming and makeup. Light fixtures mounted above the mirror save space, and provide plenty of illumination. Choose a fixture that’s a few inches shorter than the with of the mirror, and hang it so the light bulbs are just above the mirror frame.

For more stylish task lighting, a pair of wall fixtures installed on either side of a mirror creates even lighting. For a powder room, wall fixtures or sconces can have decorative shades; but for a main bathroom, you’ll need brighter lighting. Place wall lighting about 6” away from each side of the mirror.

Tub and Shower Lighting

The best lighting for tub and shower enclosures is an enclosed, recessed downlight in the ceiling. Be sure to use a light that’s rated for damp locations, and check your local building codes to make sure you follow all regulations.


Ceiling fixtures are typically smaller than chandeliers, and install close to the ceiling. They provide general lighting for living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, storage areas, and even bathrooms. The ideal ceiling fixtures for most spaces have a closed shade, frosted glass, or a diffuser panel to hide the light bulbs and reduce glare. Clear glass designs provide brighter lighting for hallways, foyers, and closets. Most close-mounted ceiling lights can be installed in bathrooms, as long they’re well-ventilated.

Measure your ceiling height and make sure that light fixtures clear any nearby doors. The bottom of a ceiling fixture should be seven feet off the floor so it clears people’s heads.Ceiling fixtures come in two styles: flush mounts and semi-flush mounts.

Flush Mount ceiling Fixture

Flush-mounted fixtures sit directly on the surface of the ceiling, without any visible chain or stem. They’re an excellent choice for low ceilings, providing an unobtrusive source of light.

Semi Flush Mount ceiling Fixture

Hanging a few inches from the ceiling, semi-flush mount lighting leaves a small space between the ceiling and the fixture, allowing more light to bounce off the ceiling. Many designs have a 4” to 8” frame or rod. Semi-flush lighting has a wider selection of styles; be sure to measure your ceiling height carefully.


To choose the right chandelier for your space, you’ll want to keep several things in mind: the chandelier’s location, the height of your ceiling, and whether it will hang in a dining room, great room, or foyer.

Chandelier Sizes for Dinning Rooms

Be sure to measure the height of your ceiling when determining the best chandelier size. For dining room lighting, the standard is to have the bottom edge of the fixture 32-36″ above the table. At this height, it lights the table while staying above the line of sight when you’re seated. Be sure to note the “overall height” measurement in each fixture’s specifications.

Here we’ve calculated the maximum height fixture you can use, and still clear 32″ above the table:


8 Feet 32 inches tall
9 Feet 44 inches tall
10 Feet 56 inches tall
12 Feet 80 inches tall


Just make sure the light fixture has enough illumination for the size of the room, and hang it no more than 36” above the table.  In a very large dining room, consider adding wall sconces or buffet lamps for additional lighting.

High-ceilinged dining rooms have a lot of area to illuminate, so consider a two or three-tier design.  A tiered chandelier may have from 16 to 36 lights, or even more.

Over Dinning Table

Choose a chandelier that’s at least 6” narrower than your dining table. Rectangular tables typically measure anywhere from 32” to 48” wide. If your table is 42”, the maximum width of a light fixture should be 36”.



Round or Square Dinning Table

Keeping the size of the room in mind, choose a chandelier measuring ⅔  o ¾  of the distance across the table. For a 48” table, the ideal size light fixture is 32” to 36” in diameter.



Linear Fixtures For Dining Tables

For long and narrow tables, linear-design light fixtures are a stylish solution. Make sure your chosen fixture is long enough to illuminate the entire table. Two-thirds of the table’s length is the perfect proportion for linear lighting. If you have an extra-long table, consider using a pair of linear fixtures or a series of pendants.

Living Rooms and Great Rooms

Chandeliers installed in living rooms should be at least seven feet high, tall enough for people to walk underneath them. Depending on the furniture layout, one large chandelier can provide general lighting; or, use smaller chandeliers above seating and dining areas. Measure the space to determine exactly how much light you’ll need. Consider two-tiered chandeliers for ceilings ten feet or taller.

Foyers and Entries

Chandeliers for entries and foyers need to be seven feet off the floor for people to walk below them.  If you only have eight-foot ceilings, look for a 12” tall light fixture. For nine-foot ceilings or taller, a chandelier is a great option. If you have a stairwell, or ceilings over ten feet, consider a tiered chandelier to light up your entire space.


A floor lamp can be a space-saving solution for tight spaces, or a statement piece in a large room.  Used for both ambient and task lighting, floor lamps come in almost every imaginable design. They can replace a table and lamp in small rooms or light up a whole sectional sofa. Before shopping for a floor lamp, think about what type of lighting you need, how much space you have, and what style would suit your room.

Floor Lamps For General Lighting

The best floor lamps for general or ambient lighting diffuse the light up and down so it permeates the space. Torchiere lamps direct light upwards, and usually have a bowl or cone-shaped decorative shade. Traditional floor lamps with classic fabric shades can diffuse light both upwards and downwards – add a diffuser on top to avoid looking directly into the glare of the light bulbs.  For large seating areas, arc lamps have long, gently curved arms that arch over the sofa from behind, giving you the flexibility to light one bulb or several.

Look for floor lamps with the following features to customize your lighting plan:

  • Space-saving floor lamp and table combinations
  • USB ports for charging your devices
  • Dimmer switches
  • Two light bulbs, with separate on-off switches
  • Floor switches for hands-free operation


Floor Lamps For Task Lighting

The best floor lamps for task lighting have shades that direct the light downwards onto your work. Task lamps come in a wide variety of designs, from traditional to ultra-modern.  Metal pharmacy lamps are popular classics – people love their height-adjustable bases, and shades that tilt and swerve. Swing- arm lamps usually have traditional fabric lampshades, and an adjustable extension arm to swing the light towards you.

When shopping for a good task lamp, consider these features:

  • Adjustable height settings
  • An arm or flexible neck that can swivel and rotate
  • A shade that directs light instead of diffusing it
  • A two-way or dimmable bulb
  • A weighted base to keep the lamp upright
  • An LED bulb for crisp, quality light


A kitchen lighting plan should include both general and task lighting, so that work areas are well-lit and there are no dark corners. The right combination of kitchen lighting can make a dramatic difference in the way your kitchen looks and functions. In a small kitchen, a central ceiling fixture and task lighting for countertops may be enough. For a larger, complex kitchen layout, make sure to plan for general, task and accent lighting for the entire space.


General Lighting For The Kitchen:

Your choice of general or ambient lighting fixtures can set the tone for your kitchen design. Flush-mount ceiling fixtures, a row of pendant lights over an island, or a dramatic chandelier provide both general lighting and a decorative touch.

Kitchen Task Lighting

Task lighting illuminates prep and cooking areas, eliminating dark corners and shadows. Types of task lighting include:

  • Recessed downlights for over the stove and sink areas.
  • Decorative pendant lights over prep areas like islands or peninsulas. Add a dimmer to use them for ambient lighting too.
  • Under-cabinet lighting that directly illuminates countertops; look for slim, energy-efficient designs.
  • Decorative fixtures that include downlighting.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting adds ambience to your kitchen when you’re not cooking. Add soft lighting above cabinets to accentuate crown molding, or LED lighting along the base of an ultra-modern kitchen. Dimmer switches let you adjust ceiling fixtures and chandeliers for soft illumination.




LED lighting is the new standard for both residential and commercial lighting. Safer, greener, and more cost-efficient than compact fluorescent lighting, LED bulbs are available for almost every type of light fixture – even Edison bulbs. Dimmable bulbs and a variety of color temperatures make LED’s the perfect solution for every room.

How To Choose LED Bulbs

Old-style light bulbs were measured in watts, a term that indicated the amount of power they used. LED’s use a more practical standard that measures a light bulb by the amount and type of illumination it provides.

Brightness is now measured in lumens – a 450-lumen LED is comparable to a 40-watt incandescent bulb, except it uses 90% less electricity.



Color temperature is another LED variable – known as the K- Value, it contributes to the ambiance of your space. The higher the K-Value, the cooler and whiter the quality of the light. For residential interiors, look for lower K-Values to get the traditional warm look of incandescent bulbs.



Kitchen 5,000-10,000 Cool,5000K
Bathroom 4,000 Cool,5000K
Dining Room 3,000-6,000 Medium,4000K
Home Office 5,000 Medium,4000K
Living Room 1,500-3,000 Warm,3000K
Bedroom 2,000-4,000 Warm,3000K


The best way to shop for LED’s is to determine the number of lumens your room needs, and divide it by the number of light sources (lamps, ceiling fixtures, etc.) in the room.



Are LED's Dimmable?

Some LED fixtures and bulbs are dimmable – check the packaging to be sure.
Install LED compatible dimmers to prevent flickering and wear on the bulb.


What's An integrated LED Array?

Instead of using bulbs, some lamps and light fixtures have the LED light source built into the design. These integrated LED designs allow for imaginative and innovative designs.


The right outdoor lighting design will improve the curb appeal, safety, and security of your home. A combination of attractive exterior fixtures and landscape lighting helps to highlight the architectural features of your home. When planning your outdoor lighting, consider using some or all of these outdoor lighting products:

Wall Light for Porches, Patios, Entryways, Garages

Wall-mounted outdoor light fixtures are the perfect solution for front and back porches, but they can be used on any vertical surface. They add a decorative touch to patios and courtyards too.

To install exterior wall lights on both sides of a door, hang them around 60″- 65″ from the floor. For doors with just one light, install it on the same side as the doorknob so you’re lighting visitor’s faces. Leave 4”-6” from the edge of your light fixture to the door frame.


  • For the right scale, buy wall lights that measure more than 1/4 the height of the door.
  • Consider your home’s size and distance from the street, to make sure your wall fixtures are large enough.
  • Make sure exterior wall lights are designed for outdoor use – they must be rated for damp locations.

Ceiling Lights For Porches and Patios

Ceiling fixtures are a great way to add impact to a front porch, covered patio or verandah. Measure your ceiling height, and choose a fixture that will clear seven feet off the ground, so people can stand beneath it.

  • For a tall entryway, a lantern or hanging light is a bright and stylish feature.
  • For low ceilings, look for either a flush-mounted or semi-flush-mounted light fixture.
  • Make sure all ceiling lights are designed for outdoor use – they must be rated for damp locations.

Post Lights

Post lights are designed to mount on top of fence posts or poles. Install a lantern-style post light for general lighting in a front yard, or use a pair at the entrance to a driveway.

Post lights are often installed on fence posts to illuminate pathways and patios.

  • When shopping for post lights, make sure the fixture will fit diameter of your post or pole.
  • Check the manufacturer’s specifications for dimensions.

Ceiling Lights For Porches and Patios

Pier mount lights are similar to post lights, but are installed on top of columns or walls instead. They can be an integral part of an exterior lighting design.

  • Some manufacturers have adaptors that allow post light fixtures to be used as pier lighting on columns or walls.
  • Post lights and pier lights must be rated for wet locations, since they’re directly exposed to rain and moisture.

Security Lights For Walkways, Alleys, Garages

Keep your family and property safe by installing security lighting. Brighter and more powerful than decorative lighting, security lights flood the area with light to ward off intruders. Solar-powered fixtures will save energy and continue to work during a power outage. Use security floodlights on garages, seldom-used entrances, and dark walkways.

  • Look for lights that have motion sensors, which only turn on when triggered by movement.
  • Dusk-to-dawn sensors automatically keep the lights on at night, when you need them.
  • Check the specifications when shopping for security lights, and choose a design that flood-lights the entire area.

Landscape Lights For Pathways and Garden Features

Landscape lighting is a low voltage lighting system, used in addition to other exterior lighting. Small, integrated fixtures are used to add soft lighting to walkways, steps, and planting beds, or to wash walls and garden features with light. Landscape lighting is often combined with decorative exterior lighting to give homes a rich, layered look.

  • Types of landscape lighting include uplights, downlights, flood lights, bullet lights, well lighting, bollards, and pathway lighting.
  • Installing hard-wired landscape lighting will probably require professional help.
  • Solar-powered landscape fixtures are easy to install yourself.


Pendant lighting is usually hard-wired into the ceiling, and hangs down from a cord, rod, or chain. Since they direct the light straight down, pendants are a popular solution for kitchen islands, bar tops, and anywhere task lighting is needed.

In kitchens, we recommend installing pendant lighting 30″-36″ above the surface of your kitchen island, or 24” to 28” above a bar. Adjust the height to make sure the light fixtures don’t block your line of sight, to about 65”-70” off the floor.



A row of pendants can be a stylish focal point for a bar, kitchen island, or even over a dining table. When hanging several pendants, space them out across three-quarters of the tabletop or island.  Ideal spacing is 12” – 18” apart – leave more space between larger pendant lights for optimal airflow and light spread.

Inverted pendants shine light up towards the ceiling for ambient effect, and some styles illuminate both upwards and downwards. Used over bedside tables, pendant lighting gives an uncluttered look to modern, minimalist interiors.

Tips For Hanging Ceiling Pendant Lights

  • Make the most of your pendant lights by adding a dimmer switch for ambiance. For LED pendants, use an LED compatible dimmer.
  • Most pendants come with more than one downrod. You can join downrods to create more length.
  • For high ceilings, you may need to order additional downrods.
  • A pendant light will hang easily on a sloped ceiling if the style has a cord, wire, or chain.
  • Some pendants with downrods can be adapted to a sloped ceiling with the right canopy; check the product specifications to be sure.


Table lamps may be the most common source of lighting in the home – most rooms have at least one or two. They’re used for ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Choose the right sizes and types of table lamps for an attractively lit room that functions well too.

Table Lamps for Living Rooms and Bedrooms

Table lamps that provide general lighting in living areas and bedrooms should be in proportion to the room and the size of the table they’re placed on.  A good way to measure for table lamps is to sit on the sofa, chair, or bed where you’ll be using the lamp. Your eye level should be a couple of inches above the bottom of the lampshade, so you don’t see the light socket or bulb. For lamps on a console or buffet, the center of the shade should be eye-level to someone who’s standing. If your ceilings are tall, go for a taller lamp – just make sure the bulbs stay covered by the shade.

  • Table lamps for general lighting should diffuse light.
  • Three-way settings and dimmers allow for varying light levels.
  • The tops of all lamps in the same room should be as close in height as possible.
  • Light bulbs, sockets and hardware should always be hidden by the lampshade.

Table Lamps for Task Lighting

Task lighting is bright lighting that’s directed downward onto a desk or table top. The best table lamps for task lighting have height and angle adjustments to control the direction of light, and solid shades to keep the light focused. Measure the height or your eye-level from the desktop to help select the right size task lamp. Adjust the lamp’s angle and height to cover the bulb and keep glare to a minimum.