Lighting 101: The Basics of Home Lighting

The Importance of Proper Lighting in Your Home

Lighting does so much more than brighten up a room. It acts as embellishment, sets the ambience, brings attention to dull spaces, and can even serve as the focal point. Since there is no “one size fits all” type of lighting, the fixture you choose should be based on the space in which it will live, utility and aesthetic. Frontgate is here to guide you through the process of choosing the best lighting for your unique needs and space.

Choosing the Best Light Fixture for Your Space


Often the jewel of any room, a chandelier has a way of centralizing focus by offering bright illumination with multiple bulbs in a single fixture. These statement pieces can add sophistication to any room when hung above dining room tables and staircase landings, in entryways and even bathrooms for a real wow-factor. Most chandeliers come with an adjustable cord so you can achieve exactly the right height for your space. While you should hang your chandelier at whatever height feels right to you, it is recommended that the lowest point of any light fixture above a dining table hang 30–36 inches above the table’s surface. Similarly, if you are hanging the fixture in an entryway, the rule of thumb is to hang it at least seven feet above the floor. Whether you want classic, glamorous or coastal, finding a chandelier that matches your aesthetic is easier than ever.


Similar to chandeliers, pendants are also suspended from the ceiling but are generally on the smaller side. Commonly featuring a single bulb, they can be adjusted to the height of your choosing to make sure the fit is just right. Pendants are perfect for when you are looking for stunning overhead lighting that is slightly more understated than a chandelier. They can be hung individually or in groups to form a more dramatic focal point. Some popular areas to hang pendants are above kitchen islands, in reading nooks or above dining and game tables.

Table & Desk Lamps

These are excellent options for adding an accent to your design since table lamps boast both function and style. Table lamps are often placed on desks, bookshelves, side tables and nightstands and can double as decor. They help to soften the mood and create warm ambience, keeping the light concentrated to a single, focused space. Table lamps typically use shades that can help control whether the light is bright and luminous or a soft, warm glow. The shades are also an excellent way of changing up your lamp’s style whenever you want a simple refresh.

Floor Lamps

At home in virtually any space, floor lamps add height and character to any room. They perfectly illuminate corners, entryways and even large living rooms. This lamp type directs light in a variety of ways. Some cast light downward, others upward, and some move directionally to increase visibility where needed. Floor lamps pair well with other light sources to give a brighter effect. When choosing your floor lamp, be sure to consider the height and width of your space. If your ceiling is low, choose a floor lamp on the shorter side so it doesn’t feel out of place. Conversely, if you have high ceilings, opting for a taller floor lamp will help your lamp blend with the layout of the room.

Wall Lighting & Sconces

Projecting either up or down, sconces are a wall’s best friend. They are the perfect addition to spaces where overhead lighting isn’t ideal or available. Upward facing sconces are best for creating diffused light that will brighten up an elongated hallway or small entryway. Downward facing sconces add directional light, which can work well for tasks such as reading in bed or applying makeup at a bathroom vanity.

Rechargable Lighting

No outlet, no problem. Rechargeable lights are not only convenient, they’re also more energy efficient than traditional bulbs. These eco-friendly options are portable so you can move them wherever additional light is needed. Since they are powered by a rechargeable battery, you can simply charge them to capacity and enjoy for hours.

Outdoor Lighting

Stylish lighting isn’t limited to the indoors. Proper outdoor lighting is essential whether you’re hosting an outdoor dinner, throwing a pool party, or just enjoying fireside drinks. String lights and lanterns create a fun atmosphere, while pendants and chandeliers bring a touch of sophistication to a patio. To ensure you purchase the correct outdoor lighting for your space, check its UL rating. The UL rating indicates whether the light is suitable for dry, damp or wet locations.

How to Choose Your Lightbulb

Equally as important as choosing the right type of lighting for your space is choosing the right type of light bulb. The bulb you select has a direct impact on the ambience of the room. While there are many bulb options on the market, they are not universal. Be sure to examine the base of your fixture to determine your range of options. Here’s what to look for when pairing your light fixture with its bulb.


As the most common bulb variety, incandescent bulbs are ideal for just about any space as they are virtually universal. While they tend to have a shorter lifespan, their budget friendly price point makes up for it. Incandescent bulbs come in a variety of sizes as well as many degrees of light output.


As the longest-lasting and most energy-efficient option, LED bulbs are widely popular – for good reason. LEDs fit most fixtures and use less electricity while providing the same brightness as incandescent varieties. They can also be purchased in a range of color temperatures, ensuring you get just the right mood for your space.


These compact florescent lights utilize a screw design versus their long, tube counterparts. They are an ideal addition to table lamps when you’re searching for bright light with energy-efficient features.

Light bulbs come in a range of color temperatures to align with the task your fixture will be performing, as well as the mood you’re aiming for. All bulbs fall somewhere on a spectrum of warm, neutral and cool. While these tones are a matter of preference, it’s recommended that you stay consistent with your chosen tone throughout a single room.

Want to learn more about lighting? Make sure to check out How to Light Your Dining Room and The Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Lighting for more inspiration.

December 20, 2023