Which Lighting Where? 9 Pro Tips for Improved Illumination

There's much more to lighting your home than just picking out a few attractive decorative fixtures. With these helpful tips from the experts at Bellacor.com, you can devise a lighting scheme that's both functional and stylish.

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Lighting Basics


When you’re planning a room’s lighting, you need to take into account how the space will be used and the types of tasks that will be performed there. Once you’ve established your lighting needs, think in layers, devising a mix of ambient, task, focal, and decorative fixtures that will meet your requirements. Here are some pro lighting tips from the experts at Bellacor.

This slide show is sponsored by Bellacor.com. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

Recessed Lighting


Recessed overhead lighting fixtures are an excellent way to provide ambient, or general, illumination in any space. While recessed lighting is most often found in kitchens, great rooms, and hallways, it is an effective solution throughout the house.

Wall Fixtures


Bathrooms, like kitchens, require both overall and task-specific lighting to function well. A wall-mounted fixture above a vanity mirror provides just the right light to accomplish the daily—and nightly—rituals.

Decorative Sconces


Wall sconces serve double-duty by providing both light and decoration. Fixtures that offer uplighting, like the sconces shown here, not only beautify the space, but also create overall ambiance by reflecting light off the ceiling.

Related:  Bob Vila Radio—Lighting in Layers

Pendant Lighting


Pendant lighting directs light downward, making these decorative fixtures effective task lights as well. In the kitchen, consider placing pendants above a countertop or island to bring light where you need it the most. 

Related: Pendant Lighting 101

Undercabinet Lighting


Because wall-hung cabinets can prevent overhead lighting from adequately illuminating countertops, consider installing undercabinet lighting. This will not only provide ample light for everyday tasks, but also highlight a beautiful backsplash and add overall drama to the kitchen lighting scheme.

Related: How to Add Undercabinet Lighting



A chandelier is often one of the most striking features in a space. While a chandelier, whether large or small, classic or funky, can enhance a room’s decor, don’t count on it for task lighting unless it’s directional. Think of chandeliers like jewelry for a room. 

Related: Bob Vila Radio—Chandeliers

Table Lamps


The bedroom is a refuge from other, more social, rooms in the home, so its lighting should reflect this subdued mood. Less lighting is required, especially if task-specific light sources—like table lamps at bedside or a floor lamp near a chaise or chair—are put into play.

Track Lighting


While track lighting contributes to overall illumination, it is most often used for directional and focal lighting (think museums and art galleries). A track supporting pendants, like the one shown here, will add sleek, purposeful lighting over a dining room table or kitchen island.

Related: Track Lighting 101

Desk Lamps


Nowhere is task lighting more important than in your workspace. Luckily, there are a variety of desk lamp styles and sizes to meet any home office requirement. In evaluating a desk lamp, make sure you consider light quality and directional flexibility as well, if your space demands it.

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