Although lighting your home may seem straightforward, there’s actually plenty of room for error. Simply purchasing a lamp that looks nice and turning it on isn’t enough. Instead, you should put plenty of thought into your decision. Make sure to decide the right types of light fixtures, colors, styles, sizes, and quantities ahead of time. You can properly put together your lighting plan – and illuminate your home to make it feel inviting and comfortable – by avoiding the below mistakes.
Here are 10 most common lighting mistakes
Learn and avoid these pitfalls to get your lighting right on the first try:
1. You don't arrange your lighting in layers
- Why it’s an issue: Without layers, your lighting will feel flat and dull. Having just overhead ambient lighting can poorly light your room. With this lack of illumination can come eye strain as you work, read, or perform other tasks.
- How to avoid it: A properly layered lighting approach includes ambient, accent, and task lights – when combined, these light sources make your room more versatile and enjoyable. To balance design and functionality, add multiple lighting types to your home.
2. You forget about where shadows might fall
- Why it’s an issue: With shadows extending from your lights, it can be tough to read, cook, paint your nails, or even get a good look at yourself in the mirror. Placing lights in the wrong spots can both contribute to shadows and detract from your room’s aesthetic.
- How to avoid it: Inconvenient shadows typically come from overhead lighting, as hanging a single light directly above people and objects will inevitably cause shadows. To eliminate these pesky shadows, use desk lamps, wall sconces, or other forms of task lighting. If you’re using wall sconces, place your task lights at eye level for shadow elimination.
3. You poorly light your small spaces
- Why it’s an issue: Closets, pantries, laundry rooms, and other small places often go insufficiently lit. That’s because, although installing one overhead light may seem like the right choice, doing so can create more problems than anticipated. A single overhead light with no additional lighting layers can cast shadows and leave some spots dark. As such, it can be tough to adequately see in these small spaces and easily accomplish your tasks.
- How to avoid it: To avoid this mistake, use ceiling lights alongside task and accent lights such as cove lights, LED strip lights, directional spotlights, and under-the-cabinet lights. These fixtures won’t occupy much space, and some can be concealed without blocking their lighting. They shine just the right amount of light without casting shadows and turn your room into a stylish, fully functional area.
4. You don't position lamps at a helpful height
- Why it’s an issue: Whether you’re using a pendant light, floor lamp, or chandelier, the position of your light fixtures matters for helpfully illuminating your room. Placing a floor lamp too close or too far from your reading chair can cast shadows or create glare on the book pages, while a desk lamp too high up will shine directly into your eyes.
- How to avoid it: When positioning your lamps, consider where they fall in relation to your head. This way, your light fixtures won’t be placed too high or too low. Generally, you want your lamps to shine down on your work, not directly at you.
5. You pick incorrectly-sized fixtures
- Why it’s an issue: It’s easy to choose a lighting fixture that’s either too big or too small, and a fixture that’s too small or too large can throw off the vibe of the entire room. Picture a small chandelier or pendant light hanging above your dining room table – it looks off and provides insufficient lighting. The same goes for placing a giant lamp on a small desk, but in the opposite direction – in this case, you will have far too much light for such a small space.
- How to avoid it: Luckily, you can easily avoid this mistake by measuring your room before purchasing and installing any lights. You won’t have to guess or eyeball it at the lighting store and just hope that the fixture looks good at home. By measuring, you’ll have a firm idea of which lighting fixtures you should use.
6. You choose lights based solely on decoration
- Why it’s an issue: When searching for light fixtures, you may be tempted to pick out pieces with colorful patterns or unique designs. Although this choice sometimes works out, it can also hamper your lighting, as choosing fixtures based solely on looks means your lamp might not have the appropriate functionality. In other words, just because a fixture looks nice doesn’t mean it can adequately light your room.
- How to avoid it: You should always consider a fixture’s lighting output before prioritizing your aesthetic taste. Know whether you need task lighting, ambient lighting, or accent lighting, then go to the store prepared to find the correct fixtures. Once you’re set on the type of lighting you need, then you can begin the hunt for that perfect size and style.
7. You forget that lights consume energy
- Why it’s an issue: This may sound obvious, but the type of lighting and bulbs you use can change your energy consumption levels. Energy-draining lights such as incandescent bulbs need to be replaced often and use 75% more energy than LEDs. The higher the light’s energy usage, the higher your electricity bill.
- How to avoid it: As such, you should steer clear of incandescent bulbs in favor of LEDs, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), or laser lights. These options are very energy efficient, so although these bulbs may be a bit more expensive, they will save you time and money in the long run. You also won’t have to replace them as often – and, of course, you’ll see a difference in your energy bill.
8. You ignore the use of dimmers
Why it’s an issue: Lighting that stays at one brightness level uses more energy and won’t allow you to control your room’s mood. Additionally, fully bright lighting can be harsh and unwelcoming when you’re getting ready for bed or hosting a get-together.
- How to avoid it: With dimmers, you can modify your lights’ brightness, and without this capacity, you may experience quicker bulb burnout. Plus, installing a dimmer is easy and makes a huge difference in your home, so you have no reason to at least not consider implementing one.
9. You pick the wrong color
- Why it’s an issue: Believe it or not, the color of your lighting can deeply impact your room’s atmosphere, not to mention your behavior and mood. The wrong color choice can increase your stress levels and make you less energetic, thus making it harder to start your day on a high note. If you’re studying or working from home, you may even struggle to concentrate in improperly colored lighting.
- How to avoid it: Prior to making any lighting decisions, you should first think about the room’s main purpose. For example, a bathroom requires a different color temperature than a living room – living rooms should have a warm, homey feel to them while a bathroom warrants bright overhead and task lighting. Warm lighting may work best in your bedroom due to its relaxing properties, while cool lighting is great for a home office. Your personal preferences also matter for your color choices, but they shouldn’t come at the cost of functionality
For an extra splash of fun, and temporary, color, try using laser lights to transform your room into a thrilling light show or a calm atmosphere with a galaxy projector.
10. You don't consider your room's paint color
- Why it’s an issue: The colors of your walls and lights go hand in hand. If the walls in your room are black or navy blue, a bright light won’t help your space feel more open. Depending on the light temperature you choose, you may even wind up making certain colored paints appear darker. The wrong lighting can both improperly illuminate your space and clash with the atmosphere you’re trying to create.
- How to avoid it: To avoid making this mistake, learn how lighting temperatures affect different colors. Lighting can either intensify or dull your walls’ paint colors, so you should always know which colors are going to alter or complement your walls’ hues. If you want to spruce up simple colored walls without the hassle of painting and changing all your lights, consider shining the BlissLights Aurora Light for a peaceful nebula cloud experience.
How to avoid lighting mistakes
To avoid making the above mistakes, do the following:
- Do your research: Lighting can be complicated, but its challenges don’t excuse just going with the first lighting fixture you find. Instead, spend some time researching the various types of indoor lighting and their uses. This knowledge will make a world of difference as you choose the proper light fixtures, types, and colors for your home.
- Plan ahead: Making spur-of-the-moment decisions can leave you with a lighting catastrophe, so it’s best to plan everything from start to finish. Measure each room so you know how much space is available, consider the color of your walls, and firmly determine the type of atmosphere you want to create. Don’t rush your planning, either – good lighting has no deadline
- Look at ideas online: Familiarize yourself with how other homeowners have gone about lighting their spaces. Pick up an interior design magazine or do a quick search online or on a social media site like Pinterest. You never know what might spark some interest – you might even discover that more unique lighting types such as laser bulbs and projectors fit your needs.
Elevate your home lighting with BlissLights
Whether you're moving into a whole new home or remodeling existing rooms, lights ranging from typical LEDs to laser bulbs and projectors are crucial for avoiding lighting mistakes. Here at BlissLights, our laser lights and projectors can enhance your home’s ambiance and functionality while providing an entertaining and relaxing light display. Browse the Blisslights collection to find lighting options that eliminate common lighting challenges – and, most importantly, delight you and your family.
BlissLights has been a leader in the laser lighting industry since the company was founded in 2006. Our team of experienced engineers and technicians helped create award-winning special effect lighting for major theme parks before minaturizing our patented technology for home use. BlissLights is dedicated to laser safety and education, and is registered with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).