Guide to making a lighting plan for your home

Even the most beautiful interior can become off-putting if it is poorly lit. Simply speaking, the right lighting, whether artificial or natural, can make or break the room. The right lighting will not only make a room more alluring but will also make it more productive and safe. That is why it is important to make a good lighting plan for your home in the early stages of building or remodeling. After those stages are complete, it will be hard to incorporate the lighting elements and fittings without disrupting the previous work and making extra expenses. So, call a contractor, or prepare yourself for some DIY lighting projects. But first, make sure to check out our guide to making a lighting plan and some tips for choosing the right lighting for your home

Know the Lighting Regulations and Laws

Before you start doing anything building or remodeling related, it is important to familiarize yourself with all the lighting regulations and laws. To begin with, you must know that the latest building regulations state that each home must use energy-efficient lighting. If you are not familiar with what that means, call a contractor, ask somebody working in the hardware store, or do your own research. Basically, energy-efficient lighting in your home must produce a total of at least 400 lumens. So, you can incorporate fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescent lamps, and discharge lamps, but you should stay away from low-energy bulbs with bayonet or screw-cap bases.


Be sure that you know what kind of lighting is actually needed and allowed in your new home.

Know the Types of Lighting You Can Use

After you have familiarized yourself with all the lighting laws and regulations as well as with the energy-efficient home design trends, it is time to do some research and find out what types of lighting are there. Basically, there are three most important pieces of lighting every room should include:

  1. Ambient, Background, or General Lighting – the one providing the entire room with overall illumination. The best way to achieve this type of lighting is to use ceiling-mounted fixtures, large pendants, and recessed downlighters.
  2. Task Lighting – the one providing targeted illumination, that is, illumination to a specific localized area. Usually, those areas are where people read, write, study, work, cook, etc. The best way to achieve this lighting is by using floor and desk lamps, or lighting fixtures incorporated into vanity mirrors or cooker hoods, for instance.
  3. Accent or Mood Lighting – the one used to set the mood or highlight features that you want to draw attention to. Typically, the features that need to be highlighted are artwork, sculptures, cabinets, etc. The best way to achieve this lighting is by using hidden LED strips, low chandeliers, and directional spots and tracks.
A kitchen

Be familiar with the types of lighting you can use in your home before making the plan.

Room-by-Room Lighting Plan

While trying to remodel and incorporate any of the previously mentioned lighting fixtures in your home, make sure you know what you are doing. That is, make sure you know which room requires what type of lighting. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Kitchen – This room is a combination of practical and leisure space. So, for the kitchen, you will need elements that will bring a broad spread of light. You will also need task lighting elements above the places in your kitchen you use specifically for cooking. And, if you want to create an atmosphere and set the mood, you can also use LED strip lights beneath base units.
  • Living Room – For this room, you will have no limits. Of course, you should start with elements that provide background lighting first. Then, depending on your room layout, add accent lighting over fireplaces, artwork, or any other feature you want to emphasize.
  • Bedroom – Making the lighting plan for this room is the easiest. You only have to keep in mind that this room should be luminous in the morning and serene at night. The best way to achieve this is by using a soft background light in combination with task lighting.
  • Bathroom – For this area, again, you will need a combination of lights. Background lighting on the ceiling and task lighting above mirrors are a must.

Have in mind that incorporating any of these lighting elements in your home may require remodeling. Thus, you may need to prepare yourself and your home for this project. Consider finding special transportation and moving requests that will help you relocate your furniture to a storage unit, for instance, and then bring it back once the remodeling is complete.

Use Natural Lighting

Never ignore natural lighting! If you are making your lighting plan while also creating the layout of your home, try to make room for as many windows and glass doors as possible. If that is not an option, use the sources of natural lighting in the right way. For example, replace those heavy shutters and curtains with window treatments that can either open wide or allow light to pass through.

Living room.
Living room.

Take maximum advantage of natural lighting in your home.

Incorporate Accessibility and Convenience in Your Lighting Plan

Last but certainly not the least thing to have in mind while making the lighting plan for your home is how to incorporate accessibility and convenience. Begin by adding 3-way switches. These are great as they allow you to control several lights from one place. Then, consider adding sensors. Sensors are great for yards, patios, entryways, and halls. Both 3-way switches and sensors are an inexpensive and installing them is rather easy, so making your home more luxurious on a budget is more than possible. But, if your budget allows it, and you want to incorporate accessibility and convenience in the best possible way, consider investing in an automated system that will allow you to control all the lights in your home remotely.

Author Bio: Angie Collins

Angie Collins is a home decorator and designer. She specializes in both interior and exterior home designs. In her free time, she writes blogs that focus on DIY remodeling projects. Her work can be found on, among other websites. Angie is also a wife, a mother of two, and a cat owner.

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