Lighting tips for your Colonial house

There are many Colonial houses in the USA. The style was rather popular from the beginning of the seventeenth to the middle of the nineteenth century. The older houses were smaller and they usually had one story while the more recent ones have 2 stories. From the outside, you will recognize them for having a symmetrical front with the door in the center and the same number of windows on both sides. Overall, these houses tend to look warm and welcoming. But, if they are not lighted properly inside and out, they can make a totally different impression. That’s why we have prepared some lighting tips for your Colonial house. As a matter of fact, we will talk about the various sources of light and where they fit best.

Symmetry is an important aspect of Colonial-style homes

Just like the front of a Colonial house, the inner layout of a home tends to be pretty symmetrical. The central area is reserved for the stairway and rooms are oriented to the left and right. Lighting sources in older homes tended to follow the same trend. For instance, the pendants above the kitchen countertop were usually lined to mirror each other. Other interior design elements were placed following the same pattern. If you visit a Colonial style home in, let’s say, Virginia where these houses are quite common, you will notice that despite the modern updates, many of these features can still be seen.

A modern kitchen with symmetrical lights
Symmetrical lights are often seen in Colonial houses

Even though symmetry can be pleasing to the eye, that very aspect can make your life difficult when it is time to renovate home. Remember, the only stairs you have in your home are located right in the middle of your house. That’s why we advise you to finish the renovations first, and then you will be able to relocate hassle-free to your Alexandria home or any other place where you find a Colonial home to your liking.

Central lighting sources in a Colonial house

Flush mounts

There are many things you should pay attention to when choosing the right lighting for your home. For instance, not all the colonial houses have the same hight of the ceiling.

A living room with a modern pendant
Pendants are a great choice for modern living rooms

Those with a lower ceiling could benefit from flush mounts. They are mounted in the middle of the room and are great as general sources of light. Being fixed high up on the ceiling, they provide the best light coverage for the ceiling itself. One of their advantages is that they do not make shade. This is extremely important for homes with lower ceilings. Pendants make shade and create the illusion of even smaller space. That doesn’t mean that they cannot be used at reasonably low ceilings but in such cases, some other sources are necessary for lighting the corners of the ceiling in the room.

Semi-flush mounts

Houses with an average height of the ceiling can have semi-flush mounts as the central sources of light. They can be used in living rooms and bedrooms, but somehow they prove to be the best choice for bathrooms and some kitchens. In the bathroom – you can pair them with spots or some task lights. When mounted in the kitchen or a dining room, they can create that rustic feel if the proper fixtures are chosen. Here you can combine them with pendants and recessed lights.

Ceiling fans are very popular in the interior design of bedrooms on the upper floor. Almost every Colonial house in Virginia has them in at least one bedroom.


Chandeliers are traditionally reserved for living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, and halls of colonial houses. Nowadays you can even find them in bathrooms and other not so typical places. Chandeliers are usually the focal points of the rooms they are in, so they should be picked with the utmost care. You can find a great variety of models and styles in the stores. Your choice will probably depend on your budget, but you should know that a good-quality chandelier is something that will never go out of style.

A very classy chandelier
A chandelier is a focal point of every room


Many colonial houses have rather high ceilings, especially at the first level. That’s where pendants are irreplaceable. You can find them to fit any style and any purpose. The only thing you should really be careful about is picking the fixture that is proportionate to the room it is lighting. It is easy to add other light sources to the room if the light your pendant is casting is simply not strong enough, but if you get a fixture that is visually too small or too massive for space – fixing that mistake can be a problem.

Additional lighting sources in Colonial-style homes

Recessed lights

Recessed lights are good for adding light to a room. Those with bulbs called eyeballs might be the most practical ones since they allow you to direct the light where you need it the most. The mere fixtures do not look so posh or luxurious, but they certainly do add to the style of the room they are lighting. Coffered ceilings are great for the installation of recessed lights. You will see them in many Alexandria homes. The beam-like moldings can hide the necessary cables, while the lights accentuate the beauty of such a ceiling.

Floor lamps

Floor lamps are perfect for adding a romantic note to the interior. They can make your home more luxurious in a second. Place them in darker corners or by your favorite reading chair. They can be very practical in houses that have high floors since those ask for layered light more than others. Colonial style floor lamps are usually made of wood, but any sort of material would do if the style fits.

A wooden floor lamp
Floor lamps are great for layering the light

Table lamps

Table lamps are great decorating items in Colonial houses. Even though these homes are nicely lit due to the size and position of their windows, artificial light sources are still necessary. Table lamps are also good for task lighting in the working areas such as home offices, reading and writing areas, etc. They can also be used to accentuate some object or a home feature.

Table lamps are easy to relocate when you are changing your home. That is great since you can have your favorite one with you wherever you decide to lay your hat. You just need reliable movers like those from zippyshelldmv.com to pack and transport them properly and safely.


Lanterns fit the style of Colonial homes. They look great either inside or outside the house. There is no better choice of the lighting fixture for your porch than a lantern. Similarly, many entryways of Colonial houses feature just the same types of lanterns.

Those were several lighting tips for your Colonial house we think you might like. Let us know if they helped you decide which light sources to choose for your property.

Bio: Angie Simpson is an interior design blogger who currently lives in Alexandria, VA. She is an avid movie watcher and coffee drinker. Her goal is to start her own interior design line.

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