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5 Cool Lighting Ideas for Your Home

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What is a home without light? Once the sun goes down your interior takes on whatever personality you have programmed into it with your lighting choices. It can be compelling, utilitarian, drab, boring or even unhealthy if there’s not enough of the right kind of light. We like to think that no one notices our lighting choices or that no one really cares. But if you put a bit of imagination into the lighting of your home you’ll find out in a hurry how much people appreciate it. And along the way you’ll imbue your space with some real personality and an enhanced sense of livability.

cool lighting ideas

Think Outside the Box When it Comes to Lighting Your Home

Whether Turkish mosaic lamps, LED lights, DIY lighting fixtures or repurposed classics you found at a garage sale we’re here to celebrate the cool lighting ideas that make a house a home.

  1. Custom Lamps - You can pay an industrial designer thousands of dollars to create a custom lamp or lamps for you, or you can grab some stuff from the garage or basement and get bizzay yourself. Recycled bottles, egg crates, bicycle gears even an old bird cage can be repurposed into the kind of custom lamp that will get tongues wagging and add personality to the kitchen, hallway or finished basement. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to custom lamps and with the incredible variety of light bulb options available today you can turn those old water pipes and wine bottles into a chandelier for the ages.
  2. The Real “Living” Room - You’ve seen the idea played out in futuristic movies and TV shows but why not bring it into your own home? We’re talking of course about using motion activated lights to turn any space into a true “living room”. After all, why should lighting always be so labor intensive? What if, as you walked from room to room the lights went with you? Enter the front hall and the mosaic lamp on the sideboard comes on automatically. Hang your coat and move into the kitchen and the downlighting along the wall comes on automatically while the mosaic lamp goes off behind you. Your home will not only become a responsive environment but one that’s incredibly energy efficient as well. And you can still have a number of other lights you control by way of traditional switches to create just the look you’re after at any given time.
  3. Embrace the LED Revolution - LED lighting represents nothing short of a revolution in the way we light our homes. These lights are clean and effective, they come in almost unlimited intensities and colors, they use almost no electricity and LED lights will last for decades. Use them on the stairs, under your chairs, under the overhang of the kitchen island or even embedded in the floor. LED mood lighting in the bathroom can transform it into a sanctuary, while lining the driveway with LED lights can provide your home with curb appeal to beat the band. (While you’re at it hook up those driveway lights to motion detectors so that the light follows you up the driveway to the garage. Your neighbors will be green with envy!)
  4. Mix and Match - While a single design ethos throughout the home - like minimalism for instance - can have a certain kind of intellectual appeal a lot of times that kind of homogeneous approach to interior design and decoration is, well, boring. If you’re interested in creating a truly livable interior it’s often better to take an eclectic approach and mix and match your motifs. The danger of course is that you run the risk of creating visual chaos, so you’ll need to be careful regarding the furniture and lighting choices you make. That is, things will need to complement each other in some fashion, even if they come from different eras and schools of interior design thought. In the kitchen for instance, if you combine overhead lights that have an industrial feel with handmade mosaic lamps on the island or in the center of the table you can create compelling stylistic counterpoints both in their shapes and in the color and quality of the light they give off.
  5. Repeated Shapes - Sometimes that best way to create unity in an eclectic interior design is by having shapes echo one another. If you have a round kitchen table you can echo that shape by hanging a round chandelier over it. Even if they express 2 different design ideas the eye will pick up on the repeated geometry and decide that there’s a type of harmony at work. Likewise selecting table lamps with shades that discreetly echo the shapes in the artwork on the walls is another way to create visual harmony without having to embrace a single, overriding ethos.

Basic Lighting Tips to Bring a Room to Life

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to lighting a particular room there are a few basic guidelines you can follow that will help you get the ball rolling. Essentially they entail approaching the lighting in a given room the way an artist approaches a painting:

  • Ambient lighting - Ambient lighting is like underpainting. When an artist paints a picture he or she paints in the basic shapes and volumes first using underpainting. That’s what ambient light is. Its job is to define the perimeter, establish volume and proportion and set the basic mood.
  • Task Lighting - The task lighting is comprised of things like Turkish lamps and floor lamps used to create cozy spaces or allow you to read while sitting in your favorite chair. Task lighting is like the color in a painting. Once you’ve established the basic shapes using ambient light you add “color” (in the metaphorical sense) using task lights.
  • Accent lights - Accent lights are like the highlights on a painting. After you’ve established the general outline using ambient light and added color using task lighting you introduce highlights with accent lighting.

Using this painterly approach to your lighting scheme will help you turn any room into a work of art.

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