Did you know that lighting is one of the easiest ways to add warmth and style to your home? Nothing says “home, sweet home” quite like turning on the lights and seeing your beautifully designed space come into focus. There are ways you can use lighting in a strategic, design-savvy manner that will have all your friends ogling. They’ll think it’s the design, but you’ll know better—you’ll know the right lighting can make any room look more upscale instantly.

Principles of Lighting

There are a few things to consider when lighting up your space:


Focusing all of the room’s light on just one spot isn’t the best way to create a multi-layered space with variation and warmth. Instead, opt for a mixture of pendants, table lamps and even wall sconces to create the right mood.


For spaces where you don’t need to focus on reading or watching TV, use lower wattage lights (around 60 watts) to set the mood. For reference, overhead lights should be brighter, with complementary lighting placed strategically around the room.

Bulb Tones

light bulb tones chart
Image courtesy of www.tvpartsfixit.co.uk

Just as you use paint on a wall, illuminating your space with different tones of light creates different impressions. Whether it’s a cool tone or warm tone light, different shades can have varying impacts on how your furniture flows in a room. (The same can be said about types of bulbs, from LEDs, fluorescent and otherwise.) The best thing to do is experiment and find what works best in a given area.

Types of Lighting

There are many different types of lighting, but understanding a few main ones will guide you through lighting up your decor with plenty of flair:

Ambient Light

Think of ambient light as the main lighting source of a room—like your ceiling fixtures. Its illumination is all-encompassing. Although prominent, this isn’t the lighting that someone will compliment, since its practical use is so intertwined with the house itself.

types of lights chart

Task or Directional Lighting

Exactly as it sounds, task lighting, such as a table lamp or desk light, focuses light in a specific area to help you accomplish a task. Whether it’s reading, cooking or taking notes, having a concentrated beam of light in a small area helps you get things done.

Spotlight or Accent Lighting

This is the lighting that accentuates your space. Adding accent lighting is a way of honing in on a beautiful archway, or on beloved photos or art that you want well-lit and easy to see. This type of lighting can be sconces, pendants or even candles depending on how the room is set up.

Ways Lighting Makes a Space

When it comes down to it, good lighting will illuminate a space based on the needs of that particular room. Combining different styles of light with natural light (when possible) is the perfect way of achieving that picture-perfect ambiance.


#1: Natural Light With a Fixture

This dining room is a shining example of combining natural light with a fixture for optimum beauty. Typically, you want to set the mood in a dining room with dim lighting. If it’s too bright, your guest won’t feel as though they’re in a relaxed or intimate setting. At night, when the curtains are drawn, having a dimmer switch for this fixture would be the perfect way to enjoy dinner with the family. No need to get blinded by harsh lighting here.

#2: Multiple Levels of Light

Behold @our_forever_farmhouse’s living room, which balances natural and artificial light beautifully. Not only does the combination of a ceiling light and floor lamp garner more visual interest, but the added warmth to the room makes lounging that much more inviting.

#3: Using Every Corner of a Room

Pro tip: setting a lamp in the corner, or against a mirror, reflects light to give the illusion of a bigger space. The more light in a room, the better—as suits your needs, of course. 

#4: Creating a Focal Point With Light

Indoors or out, having the proper lighting is essential. We love this transformed back porch with string lights and an eye-catching chandelier as the focal point. Whether it’s dusk or nighttime, thanks to this spectacular mood lighting, this is a premier spot for reading a book or chatting with friends over a glass of wine.

Let There be Light

Just like there are endless types of light bulbs, there are countless ways you can decorate with lighting and create the space you’ve always dreamed of having. The main takeaway is to understand the principles of lighting and apply them in ways that motivate you to be productive—while also admiring it, of course.

Do you have a space where lighting makes a stunning debut? We’d love to see it! Use the hashtag #MyAshleyHome for a chance to be featured in our gallery.