I feel blessed to have built a supportive and interested online community in my Interior Design Facebook Group, and love nothing more than helping homeowners with their quick-fire questions! On a recent thread, someone was talking about light fixtures in their home and how they are having a really hard time picking fixtures that work well together in an open plan space.
Lighting is my jam so I dived right in with some helpful pointers!
In this article, I take you through the key ways to coordinate light fixtures in a home, along with a real-life interior design project I just completed to explain this fully.
Here’s how to coordinate light fixtures in a home:
Lighting Coordination is Key
Not only is coordination the basis for creating a stylish lighting scheme in a home, but it’s also one of the key design rules that I follow in each and every project.
Coordination is different from matching. If everything is matching in a space it can look “too matchy-matchy” which can make the room feel amateurish and overwhelming. Coordination in interior design means using different shades of a color, rather than sticking strictly to matching the shade (like using the same navy blue for everything).
When talking about lighting fixtures, coordination could be using the same metal finish, or having two or more of the same bulb types used for fixtures in an open plan area.
A Lighting Starting Point
The best starting point for coordinating light fixtures in a home is to determine the overall style you’re after. Is your room industrial? Modern, or farmhouse? Or perhaps it’s transitional?
Knowing what your interior design style is, or the overall style of the room will help you to choose the right light fixtures for the space.
Start by choosing the accent lighting for the space, like table or floor lamps, in the style you want to achieve. You can then choose main ceiling light fixtures that work with these lamps.
Top Tip – take our Interior Design Style Quiz to find out your personal style!
Common Lighting Factors
Similar to coordinating the fixtures, what common factors do they have?
Are you going with caged light fixtures? Or do you prefer drum-shaped shades? Other elements like candelabra bulbs can be used as common factors. Even if two different light fixtures with the same bulb type aren’t directly next to each other, they could be used in opposite ends of the open plan space to tie everything together.
It is important to evaluate how you will be using each space as this will inform the right type of light to support this.
For example, do you regularly read books or magazines? You will need a task light to support this.
Some table lamps come with USB ports to support charging devices. While this is helpful for use on nightstands, it could also be beneficial for use in living rooms or family rooms too.
Aside from activities you need to light a space for, consider whether the main ceiling lights need to be dimmable. This will be particularly helpful for spaces where TV watching occurs so the main lighting levels can be dimmed. In the absence of dimmable lighting, ensure there is enough accent lighting to provide good ambiance levels instead.
Don’t Forget Your Lighting Layers
Never forget your lighting layers! Decorative lighting looks beautiful but shouldn’t be used alone.
As well as your main ceiling lights and accent lighting (table lamps etc), you need to think about what other light fixtures you need. Do you need a task light for reading? And are the ceiling lights enough for cleaning purposes?
Supplementing your main light fixtures with recessed lights throughout enables you to have more flexibility with lighting levels.
Real Life Example!
To explain the above points in more detail, I will walk you through my latest interior design project that has recently been completed. It’s a family home in the Chicagoland area, with a large open plan kitchen, dining space, and family room area. Each of these areas have different functions but needed to work together in terms of design – the lighting included – as it’s open plan.
Firstly, I selected the family room chandelier. My mission was to find a statement fixture that would provide great coverage to the space and that matched my client’s style.
Then I looked at the kitchen and dining area to select fixtures that were functional and also matched the style.
The common factors between the light fixtures I chose include the candelabra bulbs repeated between the living room chandelier and the island pendants. And in terms of finishes, the lights over the sink are gold and black. The large light over the dining table is gold and black too which beautifully bridges them all together.
For this project, I actually chose the lamps in the living room last (furniture and accessories were an addition to the project), but I selected fixtures that worked with the styles already chosen, and that rounded out the lighting needs.
I supplemented all the lighting in the open plan space with recessed lights throughout, which helped with ambient light levels.