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How to Choose the Right Light Fixture

October 20, 2023
Kitchen and dining room in Azure at Highland Sage at Alamar by Brookfield Residential in Avondale AZ

Choosing the right light fixture is crucial in any space, as the right piece should perfectly blend style with function. You want something that provides adequate visibility, creates the ideal atmosphere, and enhances the overall aesthetics of a room.

Since no single light fixture can stand alone, the key is to layer your lighting to accomplish different goals. One room may require several pieces to create the perfect lighting setup.

Choosing the right light fixture doesn’t need to be complicated. We’ve put together simple steps to help you ensure beautiful, functional lighting in every space.

Dining room in Columbia at Rockland Park by Brookfield Residential in Calgary AB

Columbia 24 Floor Plan, Front Garage Single Side Yard Collection, Rockland Park Community, Calgary, Alberta

Basic Types of Lighting

While style is often at the top of most homeowners’ list when choosing new light fixtures, it’s important to know the basic types of lighting and how they work together to ensure your fixtures will meet your needs.

1. Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting, or general lighting, provides overall illumination to a room. It ensures that a space is evenly and adequately lit, allowing people to move around safely and perform everyday tasks.

Common ambient light fixtures include recessed lights or ceiling fans. They’re not always the most glamorous, but they’re necessary to provide comfortable, balanced light and allow you to perform daily tasks.

2. Task Lighting

As the name suggests, task lighting is a designated light source that provides illumination for specific activities or tasks. It’s a must-have in areas where you work, cook, read, write, etc. When you think about task lighting, picture the lamp on your nightstand or the under-cabinet lighting in your kitchen.

Task lighting helps fill the gaps where ambient lighting doesn’t reach and allows you to complete more detailed work, like chopping vegetables or applying makeup. This is why a layered lighting strategy is important in every space.

3. Accent Lighting

This final layer in your lighting scheme is commonly called “highlighting,” as it draws attention to a particular area or item, such as artwork, sculpture, plants, or architectural details. It’s a great way to create depth and visual interest by highlighting a focal point.

4. Decorative Lighting

Depending on the room, you may want to incorporate decorative lighting fixtures, such as chandeliers, pendant lights, or unique statement pieces. They add a touch of style and personality while serving a functional purpose.

Living room in the Traditional Collection at Easton Park by Brookfield Residential in Austin TX

Allen Floor Plan, Urban Courtyard Homes Collection, Easton Park Community, Austin, Texas

Key Factors to Consider

When selecting light fixtures, the goal is to create the desired ambiance, promote functionality, and match your home’s aesthetic. Here are several considerations to make:

1. Size and scale

When the size of your light fixture doesn’t match the scale of the room, it’s noticeable. You want to ensure the fixture’s size is proportionate to the space. A small fixture in a large space may look out of sorts, while an oversized fixture can overwhelm a smaller area.

You’ll also want to consider the visual weight of the fixture. If it’s light and airy, you can size up, but a dark and massive fixture may be better scaled down.

2. Cost

Determine how much you’re comfortable spending on a light fixture, and stick to your budget. The price of light fixtures can vary considerably, and you don’t want to fall in love with one that blows your budget. Take the time to shop around to find a fixture that you love and is wallet-friendly.

3. Purpose & functionality

Determine the primary purpose the fixture will serve and find one that best suits that purpose. Are you looking for a light for evening reading? Focus on small nightstand lamps or something adjustable. Do you want a dramatic piece over your dining table? A statement-making chandelier may be the perfect solution.

4. Flexibility

Many spaces in our homes serve multiple functions, and your lighting should be adaptable. Having a light fixture that can support dimmable bulbs is an excellent solution for meeting your household's needs. The fixture over your dining table should be bright enough for the kids working on homework but can transition to a romantic dinner at home. One of the benefits of purchasing a new construction home is the ability to plan for different fixture types and your overall lighting layout.

5. Light bulb size & style

It might not be top of mind when choosing a light fixture, but you need to consider the bulbs that go with your fixture. A fixture that can only hold small candle bulbs may not be the best fit for lighting a large dining space. The pendant lights you’re eyeing may look better with globe bulbs than Edison bulbs. If you have your heart set on a particular style, ensure your light fixture can support complementary light bulbs for a cohesive look.

6. Overall aesthetic

Light fixtures can be a design element all on their own and enhance the overall aesthetics of a space. There’s a wide variety of styles, shapes, and materials, allowing you to find one that complements your décor or choose something with more contrast and flair. Your light fixture’s style ultimately comes down to personal taste and the room in which it’ll be placed.

7. Maintenance

Remember what you will need to do to clean your light fixture and change the bulbs. Do you need to disassemble the fixture to have access to the bulbs? Will the fixture be placed in a high or tricky-to-reach location? If the fixture will be hung up high, it’s wise to use long-lasting LED bulbs and find a fixture design that makes changing bulbs and cleaning easier from a ladder.

Primary bedroom in Villa Plan 2 at Los Coyotes by Brookfield Residential in Buena Park CAResidence 2, Villas Collection, Los Coyotes Country Club Community, Buena Park, California

When finding the perfect light fixture for your room, it’s important to consider more than just the lighting style. Planning, understanding fixture types, and considering design styles ensures beautiful, functional lighting in every space.

Check out the Brookfield Residential blog for design advice, homebuying insights, mortgage tips, and more, including Formal Living Room Décor Ideas and How to Make Your Home Pet Friendly.

You can also explore where we build and connect with our sales team when you’re ready to learn more. We’ll be expecting you!