The placement of your lighting probably isn’t something you’ve considered much, but it can have a massive effect on how your home’s interior looks and feels. When positioned just right, lighting provides a subtle, flattering glow that’s warm and welcoming. But when positioned poorly, it casts all-consuming shadows that highlight every imperfection in your walls and furniture, making you feel unsettled.
Below, we list four benefits of perfectly placed decorative lighting, which highlight why placement matters.
Creates the Perfect Light Balance
For the sake of your eyes, you want balanced lighting in your home. Unbalanced lighting doesn’t just make your interior less visually pleasing; it can also physically strain your eyes and adversely affect your vision. For example, if your interior is too bright, it creates a blinding effect that makes your vision hazy. On the other hand, if it’s too dark, you’ll struggle to see and get around. Swapping your bulbs for ones with a higher or lower lumen count can help you manage the amount of light in each room, as can using dimmer switches.
However, if you position your lights too close together, you may have issues no matter which kinds of bulbs you use. You want all areas of your home to be evenly lit. If your kitchen is brightly illuminated but the adjacent living room is bathed in darkness, it will create an unusual and unflattering contrast.
In people with vertigo, myopia (nearsightedness), and hyperopia (farsightedness), it can also cause disorientation and dizziness when moving between two rooms. This is because their eyes have to adjust to starkly different brightness levels.
Meticulously placing your fixtures ensures your home’s lighting will exist in harmony. To guarantee a nice balance of light in your home, ensure the combined lumen count of your fixtures is adequate. For reference, a lumen is a measurement that describes the amount of visible light emitted by a source. You should have 10–20 lumens per square foot for living rooms, offices, and bedrooms. For kitchens and bathrooms, 70–80 lumens per square foot will work best.
For example, if your living room is 8 feet by 10 feet, or approximately 80 square feet, you would multiply that number by 10 to get your recommended lumen count. In this case, that would be 800. The average 7-to-10-watt LED bulb provides this much light, so you’d only need one of them to illuminate the room. Most bulbs have the lumen count on the packaging, so you can easily find what you need.
Once you know how many fixtures you need, try to space them out, so the light is dispersed evenly and not congregated in a single area. For hanging fixtures, a good rule of thumb is to divide the length of the room by two. The resulting number is the minimum number of feet you should put between each light. For example, if your room is 12 feet in length, you should place your lights at least 6 feet apart. For additional tips for placing your hanging lights, check out our in-depth guides. We can help you find the approximate number of lights you need for your island and how high to hang them.
For sconces, we recommend putting 6 feet of space between each fixture if your room is average in size. For larger rooms or long areas like hallways, increase that distance to 8–10 feet.
Minimizes Harsh Shadows
Another benefit of perfectly placed decorative lighting is that it minimizes or eliminates pesky shadows. The shadows your lights cast will vary based on placement. Even a minor variance in placement can have a dramatic effect. For example, vertical, indirect lighting close to a wall can result in wall wash, producing harsh shadows that accentuate any imperfections in the wall. Remember that tiny crack from the time you slammed a chair into it too roughly? That’s visible now, and so are the remnants of that soda spill stain from last week. In general, poor placement creates intense shadows that make your interior look dark, dreary, and washed out. It’s best to place hanging lights at least 12 inches out from the walls to prevent wall wash.
The good news is that the placement of your fixture isn’t the only thing that affects shadow intensity. The type of bulbs you use and the bulbs’ beam angles and lumen counts also have an impact. Therefore, if you install a light and don’t like the shadows it casts, tinker with the bulb before removing the fixture and placing it elsewhere.
Makes It Easier To Perform Tasks
Before you grab your installation tools and prepare to hang your fixture, you should ask yourself two questions. What room are you placing your lights in, and what activities do you do the most in that room? You want to place your lights in a way that makes performing everyday tasks easier.
For example, if you like to cook or bake in the kitchen, placing lights beneath your cabinets or over your island can help you see what you’re doing better. You’ll be able to make more precise measurements and safely handle tools like knives.
Or if you’re a makeup guru that likes to experiment in front of your bathroom mirror, mirror lights and overhead sconces can produce that perfect selfie lighting. Makeup looks dramatically different depending on the lighting, so placing your light fixtures carefully is essential if you want a seamless, accurate look.
But what if you’re a sports fan that spends hours glued to the TV? In this case, you’ll want to place your lights strategically to the sides of or far away from the TV. This is because lights positioned in front of it can create a distracting glare.
Perhaps you like to curl up in bed with a good book. You want a cozy atmosphere for this, so glaring overheads won’t do. But a dim sconce above the bed or a table lamp will provide just enough illumination for you to see the words on each page.
Overall, you want your lighting to make living easier, not harder. Aesthetics are important, but so is functionality. Consider where you need light the most and where you need it the least before placing a new fixture. If you do this, you’ll realize just how much perfectly placed fixtures make your favorite activities easier.
Makes Your Home Easier To Navigate
Poorly placed fixtures can make it unnecessarily difficult to navigate your home in the early morning, late at night, and on overcast days. When little to no natural light floods in from your windows, you rely on artificial lighting to get around.
Properly placing your decorative lights ensures your home will be adequately lit no matter the weather conditions or time of day. Ideally, you should have more lights—and brighter lights—near high-traffic areas—such as the kitchen and hallways—so you can get around without stumbling and bumping into things.
Now that you understand the benefits perfectly placed lighting can offer, you can get started improving the aesthetics and functionality of your home. But before you can place your lighting, you need lighting to place. At Bicycle Glass, we have fixtures to meet your every lighting need. Our beautiful hand-blown glass pendant lights resemble natural elements like the moon and colorful sea glass. We also have simple, contemporary sconces and vanity lights, along with attention-grabbing, multi-pendant chandeliers. All our fixtures are handmade from sustainably recycled glass, making them the ideal pieces for anyone who wants an aesthetic and eco-friendly home.