In interior lighting design, the right fixtures provide far more than illumination. They define a space’s focal points and character and make it memorable. But choosing the right lighting for your project can be daunting, so we’ll help to demystify the art of fixture selection with some easy-to-remember categories. That way, you’ll be confident navigating the vast array of options to find the ideal fit for your lighting needs.
Key Fixture Types:
Grand and attention-grabbing, chandeliers are often the first thing people think of when mentioning lighting; most consider them the epitome of elegance and style. Ideal for designating a primary point of interest, they cast a warm and inviting glow with multiple light sources, making them perfect for dining areas or entrance halls where high-impact design statements are needed. And they’re not just crystal – these larger-scale fixtures can also be metal, composite, and even wood.
Pendant lights are smaller in scale than chandeliers, and typically only have 1–3 bulbs or sources of light. Due to their smaller size and ability to direct light downward, they’re seen as a versatile option that blends task (useful for reading, working, or preparing food) and ambient lighting. Whether suspended over a kitchen island, or pool table, or as a modern take in a dining room, these fixtures add a visual interest while providing focused illumination.
Mounted to walls and known for their flexibility, sconces can be the perfect addition to various areas, including hallways, bedrooms, or bathrooms. In living areas, they illuminate spaces effectively by providing lighting at a mid-level height within the space, act as decorative elements, and, when dimmed, can provide a warm and flattering glow. In bathrooms, they’re often seen as ideal task lighting, casting light outwards and evenly from beside mirrors to provide even, shadow-free illumination for makeup application and shaving.
Any strongly directed light that falls on a surface is considered a task light, which means that it can include desk lighting, undercabinet lighting, focused recessed lighting, and in some cases, picture lighting. It’s most often seen in work environments like offices or spaces where high visibility aids with safety and precision, like kitchens. Task lighting doesn’t need to be fixed like recessed lighting, either. Track lighting, with its flexible heads and ability to focus light wherever it’s needed, is still a modern and practical choice. Its versatility makes it suitable for a variety of settings, allowing for a customizable and dynamic lighting design and LED technology has allowed for small yet powerful track heads that blend into any space.
Considerations When Choosing Fixtures:
The size of the room plays a crucial role in determining the type and size of lighting fixtures. Larger spaces may benefit from grand chandeliers, while smaller rooms might require more understated options to avoid overwhelming the space. Also, consider whether the space is a square or a rectangle; linear fixtures fit best in rectangular spaces, while squares might benefit most from round options.
The height of the ceiling influences the visual impact of the fixture. High ceilings allow statement pieces that cascade down multiple levels, whereas lower ceilings may necessitate more compact flush or semi-flush-mounted options.
Decor and Style:
Consider the existing decor and style of the space. Fixtures should complement the overall design theme, whether modern, traditional, or eclectic. But that doesn’t mean that you need to match. Thoughtfully blending fixture styles and finishes can not only add depth and character, but also better reflect your unique style as curated decor.
While choosing lighting fixtures can feel like art, it essentially involves a thoughtful consideration of the type of fixture, the characteristics of the space, and the desired ambiance. By understanding these elements, you can curate a lighting arrangement that not only meets your practical needs but enhances the experience in your home, while reflecting your own personal style.