As daylight gets shorter and shorter, I notice that the first thing I do when I come home is go around turning on all the lights.

Good lighting not only helps brighten up a space, but also highlights the special features of each room.

Every room needs three types of lighting: overall, task and ambient. Here’s a room-by-room checklist of the lighting needed to keep things looking bright for the darker months ahead.

Living room: The right types of light can make a room either relax or come to life with energy. I like to fill dark corners in this room with recess lighting that is discretely hidden in the ceiling. You can also use upright-style floor lamp or small lights that shoot light upwards.

 

The task lighting in a living room is primarily for reading. A small-scale elbowed metal floor lamp is perfect for directing light where you need it.

Keep these sorts of floor lamps on each side of a sofa and beside your favourite reading chair.

Ambient lighting adds sparkle to a room and helps to balance other strong light sources in a room. Go for 15-watt candlestick-style lamps or use picture lights hung over your art work.

Kitchen: This room needs to have great light to work with. Overhead lighting is key and can come in the form of recessed (pot) lighting, or a flushmount light fixture. Under cupboard lighting is probably the most needed, yet most forgotten type of lighting for a kitchen. It keeps your counter and stovetop areas illuminated for chopping, washing dishes and other kitchen counter tasks. Simple to install, an electrician taps into an electrical source and wires small puck-shaped light fixtures under the upper cabinets.

Dining room: This room should evoke pure ambience. Bright overhead lighting is good to have on hand, but a dimmer switch will definitely be your best friend when planning lighting in this room.

The chandelier will be your main source of light. Make sure that the wattages of chandelier bulbs add up to at least 60 to 80 watts to help create a strong illumination. The bottom of a chandelier should hang 32 to 40 inches above the table.

Other ambient lighting could be wall sconces or picture lights that help wash a subtle light over the side walls in the room. Finally, the ultimate ambient light will be candles.

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