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Interior Design Ideas Blog

Golden rules for lighting high ceilings

Light, both natural and artificial, is one of the essential factors in shaping a space. Good lighting makes your home exude the feeling of spaciousness and warmth. Lighting has an aesthetic and functional role and contributes to your space’s better appearance. So how do you go about lighting high ceilings in the best way? Read on for some golden rules.

Lighting high ceilings

If you have high ceilings, know that many people envy you. However, many that do have this opportunity often don’t know what to do with it. High ceilings make the entire room look bigger, but they can also make it less cozy. That is why lighting and decorating a home’s interior with high ceilings can be a challenge that requires a high dose of creativity. You can enhance your lighting with recessed lights and lighting fixtures that will appropriately illuminate your home. These golden rules are here to assist you.

Consider natural light

When you start planning your home’s lighting, the first thing to do is consider the room’s natural light. You certainly wouldn’t want to overdo it. Many rooms with high ceilings offer good natural light, so you will likely need artificial lighting only when it gets dark outside. 

A bedroom with a big bed and a luxurious chandelier.
Natural light is an important factor, but you can combine several lighting elements to perfect your space.

If this is your new home and you are still not sure about natural light during different parts of the day, don’t start planning until you feel the situation. Moving can be hectic, so things like this often get disregarded. But if you hire experienced movers like Excalibur Moving and Storage, you can focus on the details that will make the space yours.  

Apply the rule of thirds

The Rule of Thirds is the one to follow when decorating a home. When it comes to lighting, you can utilize it to create focal points to take away from the vast space of high ceilings. So, try to imagine your room, from top to bottom, as if it has three different levels. When you divide your room horizontally into the top, bottom, and middle parts, you can use different lighting in each of these sections and make the most out of the space.

  • TOP: recessed cans, track lights, chandeliers, flush mount fixtures, pendants
  • MIDDLE: low-hanging pendants, taller floor lamps, wall sconces
  • BOTTOM: table lamps, step lights
A unique living room space with lamps.
An excellent example of different elements that make this high ceiling room well put together.

Recessed lighting for ambiance

You want your room to keep the feeling of openness and to have consistent lighting, with no dark spots. The layer of lighting you should begin with on this mission is recessed lighting.

Some things to have in mind when setting it up:

  • Place your recessed lights close enough to the walls – you want to illuminate the upper part. About 2-3 feet away from the wall is a general rule of thumb.
  • Choose a narrow beam angle. It gives more intense light that can more efficiently reach the floor from a high ceiling.
  • Trim is the visible part of your recessed cans. Reflector trim is the most suitable choice for high ceilings or anywhere you want to enhance and maximize light.
  • 6-inch cans work better in rooms with high ceilings because they cover more area than 4-inch recessed lights.
  • If you have vaulted or sloped ceilings, use recessed cans specifically made for these types.

Make a statement with bigger lighting pieces

Lighting can create a unique atmosphere and act as a statement piece in the living room with a high ceiling. Beautiful chandeliers are always a good choice because they add a touch of elegance. They also look luxurious if placed lower. To find out the right dimensions needed for your chandelier, combine the room’s length and width, then change the dimensions to inches. 

A-blue-and-white-open-concept-kitchen-with-pendant-lights.
You can use intriguing pendant lighting which draws the attention.

Lighting can also be used to subtly divide a room. For example, three chandeliers in a large room can visually separate the living room, kitchen, and dining space

Use lamps for task lighting
Lamps should be the star of the middle and the bottom portion of your high-ceiling room. You can get various posh lamps that exude style and offer aesthetic value to your home. 

The vital thing to keep in mind is to get lamps that are proportionate to your space. If you get a floor lamp under 58 inches, you will end up with a glare instead of a light.

A colorful living room with several lamps.
Table lamps are a unique and practical feature.

If you are moving, you should keep in mind lamps are fragile. It’s best to protect breakables to avoid damage during packing and transportation. Lamps, especially luxurious ones, are often expensive and need to be handled with care. 

Track lighting – a trend or a trick
Track lighting is a specialized lighting fixture mounted to a ceiling or wall. This used to be popular before, and now it has a bad rep for being dated and uninspiring. However, these days track lighting has evolved in design. Still, it should not be used as the main lighting point in a room. You can make the most of it by strategically placing it to draw the eye to an object that deserves more illumination.

Final thoughts

Decorating a room and adding lights (no matter your ceilings’ height) is an engaging task. Anyone that has ever lived in a house with bad lighting knows how important appropriate lights are. Put thought into lighting high ceilings, but don’t forget to have fun with it, too!

Author’s bio

Michelle Hurley is an interior designer, with over a decade of experience in the field. She is also a content writer on the topic of home decor. She specializes in making homes breathe in luxury. In her free time, she likes to swim, ski, and visit beautiful new cities.

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