10 of The Most Common Home Lighting Mistakes

Illuminating a house is not a simple task. Just installing some beautiful light fixture and turn it on is not enough. Ignoring certain rules and factors can lead to excessive consumption of electrical energy or leaving some unwanted dark spaces, or even both. Here are 10 most common lighting mistakes that homeowners make while planning the lighting scheme of a house, and the ways to avoid them:

1. Choosing the Wrong Size of a Light Fixture

oversized light fixture

WRONG: This oversized pendant looks oddly over a small coffee table

This is one of the most common mistake people make when they don't devote enough time to the planning. Hanging a very small pendant lamp or a chandelier over a large table or kitchen island will not give sufficient illumination for this area and also look disproportionately. The other example - a giant lamp next to reading place, a chair or a sofa. It will give an excessive light and also violate the proportions of the room.

How to avoid. The size of a chandelier can be easily assessed in this way: add together the width and height of the room in feet. The number you get will be the diameter of a good-fitting chandelier, but sized in inches. If you want to hang a chandelier over a dining table, make sure that the diameter of a chandelier is approx. one foot smaller than the width of a narrow side of the table.

2. Installing the Only One Source of Light

This is also a common mistake. Installing only one light source will leave some areas dark. It is also unable to properly light up all the working zones which is crucial in terms of kitchen lighting.

How to fix. The lighting in kitchen should be balanced, that's why it is a smart idea to use the three layers of lighting - ambient, accent and task lights. Combined together, these lights will provide the best possible illumination.

3. Superfluous Use of Recessed Lights

overuse of recessed lighting

WRONG: In spite of a large number of recessed fixtures, the lighting is insufficient and the walls are not lit enough

It often seems that installing several recessed lights all around the ceiling will solve all the lighting questions. This is a serious mistake, as these downlights don't illuminate walls. And the light should reflect from the walls to properly illuminate the room. If relying only on recessed lights, you'll waste about a half of electrical energy, and still leave some areas poorly lit.

How to fix. Use recessed lighting where it works best (read articles Styles, Innovations & Features Of Recessed Lights, Recessed Lighting Installation Tips to learn more). Try not to over-use recessed lights, and always add other types of lighting, e.g. a beautiful chandelier, stylish pendants, track lighting system, wall and floor lamps, etc.

4. Extra Use Of Task Lighting

Task lights are beautiful and functional when used properly. Under cabinet lights in kitchen or sconces at the sides of a mirror in bathroom are effective and look great. But install too many and you'll get a cluttered and unstylish room looking like an operating theatre.

How to avoid. A little bit of planning may help. Think about what you are going to do in a bathroom or kitchen and where exactly you will do it. Than install task lighting only where it's truly needed.

5. Poor Lighting in Small Spaces

good lighting of a small space

RIGHT: The good lighting of a small space

People usually don't give sufficient attention to illuminating places like pantries, larders or closets. We often install a single overhead light (which leaves shadows and dark areas), and then struggle every time trying to find something in there.

How to fix. In addition to the overhead lighting, use LED strip lights, lighting bars, or under cabinet lights. This will make the interior stylish and roomy and much more user-friendly.

6. Choosing the Wrong Light Fixtures for a Particular Place

The wrong light fixtures can easily destroy the whole look of the room, making you feel uncomfortable in your own house.

How to avoid. Simply choose the right light fixtures for the particular room. Think about the main theme of the room and choose the appropriate lighting. The fixtures should be the right size and color, made of the material that correlates with the overall theme, and of course give enough light.


7. Ignoring the Use of Dimmers

Homeowners often use incandescent lamps without dimming. In this way the lamps consume a lot of electricity and emit much heat.

How to fix. Try to always install dimmers for the home lighting. In addition to all the other things, this will increase the lifespan of your incandescent bulbs. A great alternative is the use of smart LED lights, which can be dimmed, change their color and many other fun and practical things being operated from your smart phone or tablet PC (read more in the article: Smart LED Lights: Buying Options for Your Home).

8. Using Light Fixtures in Decorative Purposes

Sometimes we see a beautiful lamp in some store, and we rush to buy it thinking that it will look great somewhere in the room. Such extemporaneous decisions may lead to waste of electricity and the worse illumination of the place.

How to avoid. Again, it's all about planning. Think about the lighting scheme of the room and buy only the fixtures that will be both good-looking and functional. Don't try to decorate the room with the light fixtures and never overwhelm the room with lights.

9. Forgetting About the Shadows

Installing a light fixture into the wrong place can lead to ugly shadows, ruining the room's design and causing problems for the dwellers.

How to avoid. Think about the light scheme of the room. Try to simulate different light sources, place them in different spots and see what happens. To be sure that everything will be perfect, hire a professional designer if you can afford this option.

10. Installing the Lights in the Wrong Color Temperature

wrong color temperature

WRONG: The too high color temperature of lighting makes this bathroom feel like an operating room

The meaning of the color temperature of lighting is often underestimated. But as a matter of fact it may have a huge impact on your daily life. If you make a mistake with this factor, the room may seem lifeless, uninspiring and colorless.

How to fix. There are many factors that can determine the color temperature for a particular place. It may depend on the type of the room, the color of the walls, and even on your preferences. It's impossible to give a brief advice, so try to learn more about this characteristic and choose wisely. A reminder: lights with high color temperature - over 5000K - emit the cool bluish white light, and lights with low color temperatures (2700-3000K) provide warm yellowish illumination.