Choosing The Right Lighting Fixtures

Lighting is like a magic touch in interior design. It can enhance a home’s visual sense of space, or it can create cozy corners to curl up in. Lighting can make you feel more productive, energized or relaxed. It can conceal flaws or highlight notable features in a home. If you’ve ever gone light shopping, you’ll know that there are a lot of options on the market. So, how do you choose? Below are some important factors to shed light on, before you buy.


Type of Fixture
Pendants, sconces, table lamps, pot lights – each type of fixture has an ideal place and purpose. Lighting can be classified into three categories: ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. Always aim to integrate all three, in every room. Evaluate your space, making note of natural light sources and dark areas that could use a little pick-me-up. Ambient lighting, such as pot lights, will illuminate the space overall. Once you have your general lighting in place, consider your activities in the room, such as a reading corner, a sitting or dining area, a desk or a countertop. Each room will have a different function and oftentimes, more than just one. Each “zone” should have its own dedicated task lighting, often in the form of pendant lights, table or floor lamps. Last but not least, make note of any focal points, such as architectural features or artwork, and draw attention to these with accent lighting, such as recessed spotlights or wall-mounted art lights. Regardless of your lighting mix, balance is key.

Size & Height of the Fixture
It’s not enough to just have the right type of light fixture for a room. It also has to be the right fit for that room. Scale plays an important role in the visual impact and functionality of the fixture, so a little measuring goes a long way.

To determine the ideal size of the light fixture, measure the length and width of the room in feet, add the numbers, and the sum of the two is your ideal fixture width, expressed in inches. For instance, a 22-inch light would be ideal for a room measuring 10 by 12 feet.

The other measurement to consider is the height at which you suspend the light fixture. When hanging lights, many mistakenly measure down from the ceiling, when in actuality, one should be measuring up from the floor, since this is where you’ll be. Of course, ceiling height should factor into the equation and there are always exceptions to the rule. But generally speaking, with a standard eight-foot ceiling, the bottom of your fixture should hang six feet up from the floor, or three feet up from the tabletop. For every foot of ceiling height beyond eight feet, raise the fixture an additional three to six inches. This ensures your light source is in proximity to the action, but still relative to the ceiling.

Light Temperature
Lastly are the light bulbs themselves. More than “just a bulb,” your choice will have a huge impact on the look and feel of a space – despite being hidden behind a shade. Pay attention to the temperature of your bulbs, which range from cool to warm, and a neutral “daylight” option that mimics natural outdoor light by day. Tailor your bulbs to the ambiance that you’re aiming to achieve. If you’re going for cozy, romantic, choose warm bulbs, which have a yellow tinge. On the other hand, cool bulbs are bright and crisp. I usually recommend something in between, but buyer beware – commit to your choice. Avoid mixing warm and cool bulbs, which can really make a room appear imbalanced, and when viewed from a home look mismatched.

If you need help incorporating any of these lighting ideas into your home interiors, our design team is always available!



Charlene Threatful , Calgary Interior Designer

Charlene is an award-winning Calgary Interior Designer and owner of Lush Interiors. For over 20 years she has collaborated with clients to create their ideal living spaces. Charlene and her interior design team create spaces that blend classic elements with a modern sensibility, always incorporating her client’s unique personalities and esthetic. Join Charlene on this design journey as she explores the latest trends, uncovers timeless design principles, and discover innovative ideas to elevate your home or workspace.