Improve a Home’s Lighting Without an Electrician

February 24, 2020

Lighting can set the right mood in a home and make it feel more welcoming, and achieving that doesn’t always require an electrician. Curbed.com asked three designers to provide their best tips for improving the lighting in a home. Here are a few of their suggestions.

Match the lightbulbs. Change the mismatched types of lightbulbs, particularly old compact fluorescent bulbs, Jenny Guggenheim, owner of Guggenheim Architecture and Design Studio in Portland, Ore., told Curbed. Replace them with one type of LED bulb. “In old homes, there are sometimes three or four different types of lightbulbs—each with its own color temperature,” says Guggenheim. “This easy fix can go a long way towards elevating your lighting.” Try using 2,500K to 2,700K warmth LED bulbs. “That range mimics daylight, but a little on the warmer side,” Guggenheim told Curbed.

Layer the light. By layering the light in your space, you can create a more welcoming atmosphere. Have at least two layers of light, designers say. The first layer will likely be an overhead, brighter light. For the second layer, use a light on a table or a floor lamp. Make sure to offset the brighter light with a layer of more diffused lighting. “You’ll immediately recognize how expansive the light is—it’s softer, warmer, and more flattering,” she says. Diffusion can take many forms, including the opaque glass of a bulb and the fabric, glass, or paper of the shade,” Alex Kalita, founder of Common Bond Design in Brooklyn, N.Y., told Curbed.

Watch the scale. Avoid using too small a light source for the space it’s in, Guggenheim suggests. For example, don’t use a tiny table lamp in a large entryway.

Place lamps throughout. “I love putting lamps on shelves mixed in with books or on the open shelving in the kitchen,” Megan Pflug, designer and owner of the Woodhouse Lodge in Greenville, N.Y., told Curbed. “You can even put one on top of the fridge.”