Lighting needs in a home vary by each room’s function and the activities taking place within that space. Layered lighting designs that include a mix of general, task and accent lighting are typical in areas such as kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, family rooms, dining rooms and dens or home offices. Accent lighting helps set the tone for a room’s mood or ambiance, in addition to highlighting focal points, architectural features and decorative accents.
Double Duty Overheads
Overhead fixtures in living rooms and dining rooms typically provide general or ambient lighting. However, many of these fixtures also double as task or accent lighting. Evenly spaced recessed can lighting with specialized trim is used in a technique called wall washing, where the light is directed at artwork, a fireplace or a specialized finish such as stone paneling. Track light lamps can also be used for this purpose by aiming individual lamp heads at architectural features or focal points. Installing a dimmer switch on a chandelier or hanging pendant allows you to use these fixtures for instant mood lighting as well.
Living Room Ideas
On the fireplace, install a pair of battery operated, LED wall sconces for easy accent lighting without any wiring required. As an alternative, use candle wall sconces or place a pair of accent lamps on the mantle. Large candle lanterns placed on the hearth, coffee table or a console table also make good accent lights. Attach a low-voltage tungsten-halogen lamp to the frame of a large picture or painting. Install rope lights under crown molding for a warm glow against the ceiling.
Dining Room Ideas
Light up the china cabinet in your dining room with LED in cabinet lighting. You have a number of options to illuminate the inside of the cabinet including tape lights, rope lights strip lights, puck lights or cabinet mounted picture lights. Many of these lighting applications require the use of a nearby outlet. Wall sconces installed over a buffet or sideboard help illuminate the furniture and the decorative accents placed on top. Candle wall sconces add a romantic ambiance. LED candles flicker just like a real candle with no messy melted wax.
Other Lighting Ideas
Up lights or small spotlights aimed at plants or large sculptures in living rooms and dining rooms are another form of easy accent lighting. Decorative nightlights that plug directly in to wall outlets provide soft lighting for easy navigation through these spaces when not in use. Fiber-optic centerpieces make beautiful displays on dining room tables or living room coffee tables. LED rope lights or tape lights installed behind framed art or a mirror hung over a sideboard, buffet or console table make an impressive display. Hang string lights on silk trees or large indoor houseplants.