Let there be light! Lighting is a fundamental element of every room, and you can do much more with it than just allow yourself to see (though that’s very important). Whether you’re looking to show off some new decor, create a warm or cool mood, or add a touch of drama, there’s a perfect light for every space. To make the selection a little easier, I created this handy guide so you can illuminate the right option for you.
Light Function and Fixtures
The first thing to consider with any light fixture is its purpose. What is the function of the light? What room are you shopping for? How much light do you want to add to the room? How will this light find its inner happiness?
I’m kidding about the last one, but a great light is no joke. To start to answer some of these questions, let’s think about the three forms of lighting in most lighting plans.
Think of general lighting as your replacement for natural daylight. It’s meant to help you see clearly and walk around safely throughout a given room, without much detail or focus on a particular area.
Task lighting is what it sounds like: lighting that’s useful for performing specific tasks, like reading or writing (or sewing, where the high contrast of task lighting can be helpful).
Accent lighting blends function with style, helping you highlight a point of focus in a room. A well-placed lamp could provide accent lighting to a nice piece of art mounted on the wall, for example.
With this in mind, consider four main types of light fixtures.
These are your big statement lights, the centerpiece of a room’s lighting plan and hardwired through your ceiling. They typically contain many branches for light bulbs in ornate arrangements. Pop stars sometimes swing from them, but don’t try this at home.
A general rule of thumb is that the bottom of a chandelier should hang around 30 to 36 inches above the top of your table in a room assuming an 8-foot ceiling.
Pendants are elegant pieces of jewelry worn around the neck. They’re also single light fixtures that hang from the ceiling with hardwiring. They’re less dramatic than chandeliers, and are often placed 2 to 3 in a row over a given area (with more depending on the size of the space you’re lighting and desired effect). Pendants are also pretty flexible. Depending on the particular size and shape, you can use them for general, task, or accent lighting.
Floor lamps help add ample light to a room (or serve a unique function, such as a reading light next to a comfy chair). They’re generally on the taller side — think 60 to 72 inches (5 to 6 feet) with the lampshade at roughly eye level for someone standing in the room. Floor lamps are great for task and accent lighting.
Table lamps are great for task lighting and can generally be 24 to 36 inches tall, though you can adjust based on the surrounding furniture to get the right look
How Many Lights Do I Need?
With these fundamentals in place, let’s think about how much light you actually need in a room. A simple formula goes like this. Measure the length and width of the room and multiply them. Then multiply that square footage by 1.5 — this is how many watts of light you’ll need to fill the room. You can then divide that number of watts by different size bulbs depending on your lighting plan.
For example, if you’re lighting a room that’s 8 feet by 10 feet then you’ll need 8 x 10 x 1.5 = 120 watts to light the space properly. A couple 60-watt fixtures or a few 40-watt bulbs will get the job done. Elementary, my dear Watt-son!
Style of Light
Now that you know how much lighting you need and what kind, it’s time for the fun part: picking a style of light fixture! Let’s start with contemporary.
Classic and understated, my Marco floor lamp is a delight! Its minimalist style, vertical glow, and wireless charging tray table make it sleek, chic, and a tech treat!
Sparkling faux crystal inlay and crisp white lampshades make a fine pairing if you’re looking for more glam in your lighting. My Glamour table lamp takes any room from dull to dazzling.
Meet my Luxe table lamps. This geometric pair is a little bit rustic, a little bit industrial, and a whole lotta beauty! Use the rotary switch to give your room a soft glow, charge your phone with the USB ports, and, oh yeah, the lightbulbs are included!
Rustic is a great option if you’re looking for extra charm and warmth in your light fixture. My set of 2 Reagan table lamps brings that rustic appeal while their USB ports keep you in the modern age.
You can’t go wrong with traditional! The classic look of my Ferris table lamps lies in their brushed finish and crisp white shades — subtle with a touch of pizazz!
With their beige lampshades and tripod base, my Bettie table lamps offer a lovely transitional look for task or accent lighting.
With your overall look decided, it’s time to pick your material. Do you want the polished look of glass or marble, or something a little edgier like metal?
A touch of ceramic can bring just enough drama to a room. Just look at the beautiful hue of my Rhodes table lamps!
The Bolle (bubbled) glass of these Anders table lamps adds a little intrigue to any room. The metal finish, minimalist body, and white shade keep your room design chic and fuss-free.
Marble & Stone
My Amara table lamp brings a dash of classical Italian decor with its magnificent marble base, which rests on a lovely brass pedestal.
Metal lamps meld bold with beautiful in light fixtures. With its swing arm style, my set of Hunter floor lamp makes cozying up with a book (or your phone) a delight!
Synthetic materials can help you add some unconventional looks when selecting a light fixture. My Atlanta Twist lamps feature resin bases in a transitional style that coordinates well with transitional living rooms and bedrooms.
We’re not finished yet! But it is time to talk about the finish. A beautiful finish can make a good light fixture great, and make a great one even better.
Simple yet chic, my Calvin table lamps give a cool, modern feel to any nightstand or end table.
The brass finish on this Alma floor lamp heightens the already elegant look of the slim profile and domed shade.
My Reagan floor lamp showcases a great way to merge modern style with a rustic twist. You’ll love the lantern-like light!
Copper finishes can bring delightful polish to the right light. My Chad table lamp transforms a room with the refined contrast of its blackened base and copper shade.
A gold finish can bring some bold style to your lighting, as my Rayna table lamps prove in simple and chic fashion.
A gray finish adds simple elegance to your new light fixture. My Canyon floor lamp puts on quite the show! You’ll get a traditional light up top, plus a pretty LED nightlight glow on the inside body.
Nickel can turn a simple statement stunning. Just look at my Bettie floor lamp! With its brushed nickel finish and neutral shade, it’s ready to match with any decor. Good luck finding these for a dime a dozen!
Love the bold look? My Aspen floor lamp could pass as a chic modern sculpture! With its unique overlapping LED design, it lets off a cool orbit-style glow.
White finishes give a classic look to the right room and my Reagan floor lamp will bring country charm to your living area, reading nook, or bedroom.
Share Your Lighting Style
I’d love to see how your lighting journey turned out! Feel free to share a pic and tag me @mybobs for a chance to be featured on my feed.