Angie's List: How can I improve the lighting in my home?
Lighting is an important, yet often overlooked, design element that can impact the look and feel of your home. Fortunately, it’s also one of the easiest to update! Whether you’re looking to add ambiance and task lighting — or simply to swap out a few outdated fixtures — these ideas will help to inspire lighting upgrades in every room.
Living room: Apart from the kitchen, there’s perhaps nowhere else in your home more highly trafficked than the living room, and none more versatile. It’s a place to entertain loved ones, relax with popcorn and a movie or take a well-deserved nap. Each of these activities calls to mind a different type of lighting: Table lamps near seating areas can layer nicely with a hanging fixture or two, like a chandelier or pendant lighting. To highlight the natural architecture of a room, consider cove lighting or strategically placed recessed lighting.
Dining room: A stunning chandelier or sophisticated pendant can make for an engaging focal point in your dining room. And additional lighting, such as recessed lighting and sconces, can add layering to fill out the room. Installing dimmers will allow you to set the mood for any type of meal, from holiday gatherings to a romantic evening for two.
Kitchen: Kitchens need bold, bright light that isn’t appropriate for other parts of the house. In addition to general overhead lighting, there are options for different types of lighting that can make cooking more fun and highlight certain features. Properly placed task lighting, such as under-cabinet lighting, for example, can help with meal prep and cleaning. And purposeful accent lighting will focus attention to unique architecture, cabinets and artwork.
Bathroom: Lighting in your bathroom isn’t just a matter of style — it’s also a matter of safety, to keep you and your guests from stumbling or slipping. Ambient, general lighting is important for illuminating the room, and task lighting near the sink, where grooming takes place, can help you look your best every day. Dimmable lights can be helpful for nighttime illumination. Or, consider low-wattage lighting that’s automated to turn on with a motion sensor. Avoid harsh, hot lighting right above or next to the bathroom mirror — it can glare and create shadows.
Bedroom: The bedroom is a place for winding down and relaxing; it’s also the room where there’s ample space to be creative with lighting. You’ll want to layer lights in ways that light up the entire room. Wall sconces are perfect for lifelong bookworms, while tape lights, which are similar to rope lights, can set a laid-back mood.
When it comes to lighting, a simple fixture swap can be a DIY job or one for a handyman. But if you’re installing or upgrading electrical components, it’s a good idea to call a licensed electrician for help. You can typically expect to pay between $150 and $810 to have lighting fixtures professionally installed, via the Angie’s List Pricing Guide.
Diana Crandall is a reporter for Angie’s List, a provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit AngiesList.com.