When it comes to interior lighting, you need to treat each room differently. There are two guidelines that every interior designer should follow: mixing light sources at different levels, and providing the appropriate amount of light given the tasks that you’ll be preforming in that space. You need different levels of lighting for getting dressed in your bedroom than you do for cooking in the kitchen.
Overhead lighting is best for the kitchen. Since your primary task is cooking or preparing food, you want the lights overhead so that you are not casting shadows on the food while it’s being prepared. It’s a good idea to invest in a dimmer so that you can turn it up when you’re cooking, or keep it low when you’re just grabbing a late-night snack. You also, however, want to illuminate work surfaces by using a sturdy table lamp and under-cabinet lights.
You always want to make sure that the table is the brightest spot in the room. It draws people towards the food and makes them feel comfortable sitting around the table. This is why chandeliers are popular in dining rooms – it’s not just to make them look extravagant, but also to illuminate the table as best as possible. You want to use indirect lighting to address the rest of the room. Have light bouncing off of the walls, illuminating a china closet, etc.
When addressing the living room, it’s smart to illuminate three of the four corners. Don’t just throw light into a corner, however; focus at least one of those lights on an object. This could be a work of art, a plant or anything else you want to draw attention to. Within the room, using a combination of table and floor lamps will provide you with light that is suitable for reading on the couches. Have some lamps directing light upwards, others directing it downwards. Also, putting downward-glowing lamps on a three-way switch will allow you to increase the light for reading.
A bedroom should be thought of as the place where you feel most comfortable. Your bedroom should give off a warm, snug feeling. This is achieved by placing lamps around the bed that do not point directly at it. Also, make sure that you angle recessed fixtures towards the dressing area – you do not want these fixtures pointing at the bed. It’s ideal to also have a small lamp that mimics candlelight. Something about a candle just gives off a cozy feeling.
You always want sconces located around the mirror. Whether you’re shaving or applying makeup, you want to make sure that you have a combination of sidelights and overhead lights to fill in any shadows that are on your face. The rest of the room should be illuminated as well (some of us like to read while on the toilet). If you’re bathroom is larger, it’s smart to have a light directly over the shower.