As we moved into our house, the first big thing I selected was the overhead lights. I went with ceiling fans in most of my rooms (you can see more about that here). But it was fun to branch out on a few key spaces! Selecting lights can seem a little overwhelming, but they don’t have to be! I’ll give you my best tips for choosing lights you love that’ll work in your home. Because, let me tell you, good lighting makes all of the difference!
how to choose the perfect light fixtures
Since lights are a more permanent item, you want to be sure you’re getting the right one. After all, this is something you’ll be looking at everyday! Answer the questions below to choose the perfect light fixture.
What room will the fixture be going in? The room where your light will be installed will help you decide on which fixture to select. For example, you’ll want a chandelier in your dining room- something that will add to the beauty of the room. Pendants over your kitchen island- hopefully something that is easy to clean. Vanity Lights in your bathroom that gives enough light for putting on makeup.
What will the light be used for? Is it in a room that needs air flow, thus a fan? Will the light bethe only lighting in the room so it needs to be nice and bright? Is it for ambiance so the light should be dim? Does your ceiling have a slope so you need to find fixtures that’ll work with slopes?
How big is the room? Its really important to take into account the size of the room and the ceiling height when choosing a light. For example, a room with 8′ ceilings needs a flush mount (so no one hits their head of it). In a large room, you’ll want bigger lights to fill the space. A tiny light in a big room might look off and will get lost.
What finish do you want? I really like to choose the same finish for all of the fixtures in my house. This provides a continuity to your home that will make the rooms flow. I LOVE a pretty brass finish and I think it works really nicely in my 1905 home. Whatever you choose, try to have it repeat from room to room.
What style are you going for in your home? I go for a blend of modern and traditional. Personally, I like my lights to be more modern. As you look at lights, you’ll start gravitating towards one style. Once you can pinpoint your style, sorting through light fixtures will become much easier!
ceiling fixture types
1. semi-flush mount / 2. vanity lights / 3. pendant / 4. ceiling fan / 5. chandelier / 6. sconce / 7. flush mount / 8. track light / 9. mini pendant
Knowing the different types of lights is key in picking out what you need.
This is a light attached to the wall with the light usually directed upwards. Historically, sconces were made of brass and held a candle on the wall. These are commonly used in a hallway to provide lighting and beauty.
The Alton sconce is in my hallway leading to the bathroom. Its in a super tricky spot to photograph. I love seeing how lights look in houses, so hopefully its helpful!
Vanity lights are used specifically for the bathroom. It is installed over a mirror to provide lighting. It should be bright enough to illuminate the whole room.
I selected the above light to go in my husband’s bathroom. As soon as its up, I’ll add a photo!
These are installed into the ceiling and don’t hang down into the room at all. Recessed lights are cut into the drywall of your ceiling. They can be used on their own or with another statement fixture.
Next, flush mounts are installed at the ceiling height and hang down only a few inches. These are perfect for rooms with 8′ or lower ceilings. Flush mounts have come a long way style wise in the last 5 years! These don’t have to be ugly boob lights, but can be like a piece of jewelry in your room.
This is the light that is going in my laundry room. I also used it in my last entry. Its such a gorgeous flush mount with the seeded glass and the exposed Edison bulbs!
These are basically the same as a flush mount, but these hang down 5-6″ longer. These are a little more stylish and come in more shapes.
Chandeliers are designed specifically to go over a dining table (but can always be put over a bed or in a living room if you have the ceiling height). They hang from a chain or wires which makes them customizable for the height needed.
I used this chandelier in my last dining room. My current table doesn’t have a light over it (boo!) or I’d be using it again. I can’t tell you how many compliments I received over that chandelier!
Pendants are designed to go over a kitchen island. They are usually bell shaped with the light pointing down to direct light to the cooking surface. Like chandeliers, they come with chain or wires so you can hang them as high or low as you want.
Again, I don’t have space for pendants in this house. But in my Florida house, I had a few of these hanging over the island. They made such a gorgeous statement!
Mini pendants can be used in place of a pendant, or they can create ambient light in an area or provide task lighting in a living room or office. These can be used in multiples over an island or dining table.
This mini pendant is going in my bathroom to replace a chandelier. The second it is up, I’ll update this post with a photo of it!
These are installed on a track at ceiling height and the light fixtures are hooked onto them. You can direct the lights where you’d like them making them ideal for a home with art.
Once you’ve answered the above questions, you are well on the way to choosing the perfect light for your room! When going on a lighting website, just use the filters to choose the style, finish, type and size so you can narrow your options down quickly.
Another hint is if you like a light and it happens to be in a collection, it is then easier to find coordinating lights for the rest of your house.
To make it even easier to find something that you love, I created a thorough quiz that goes into more details from above.
You can get the password to my resource library that has ALL of my free downloads including the quiz on how to find the perfect light fixture by filling out this form. Note, this also subscribes you to my (free!) newsletter.
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All of the lights in my house and all of the lights featured in this post are from Kichler Lighting. They have a ton of options so if you like anything I showed or if you have a different style or prefer another finish, I’m sure they’ll have you covered! I’ve used their lights in all 3 of my homes and can’t speak highly enough of the style and quality. Thank you to Kichler for sponsoring this post! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
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