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Flip The Switch On Your Mood: A Guide On Lighting

Let’s shed some light on the magic of home illumination~

Picture this: you’ve painstakingly selected the perfect paint color, carefully designed and adorned your space with the perfect furnishings and decor. BUT there’s one shining secret that can take your home from meh to ✨ marvelous ✨.
And, believe it or not, it’s all about The Kelvin, The Lumens and The Watts! That's right! Those three words might sound like a foreign language- but that's okay! I am here to help translate.

Those are the three words attached to the confusing numbers that you'll find on the side of a light bulb package. When choosing lighting for your home, it's important to understand the differences between Kelvin, Lumens, and Watts. These three words play a significant role in determining the right lighting for your space.

So, let's get cozy with some "light" science (see what I did there), and I do mean "light" because I am not going to pretend that I am scientific (there is a good chance my hubby will be reading this and will call me out about suddenly becoming "scientific") ha. Needless to say, these are the BASICS of what you need to know if you are going to update or design the lighting in your home.

The color tone of your lighting can affect your mood and comfort in your room. It is not just about bright vs cozy- It is, essentially, the mood ring for your space. It's like painting with light to set the right mood and maximize comfort and efficiency. So, how do you decide between warm and cold light?

Here are some handy tips to guide you in making the perfect choice for your space.

KELVIN--A.K.A.-- The Color:

I know, Kelvin sounds like a name for your quirky cousin, but think of Kelvin as the "color" or temperature of the light. It tells you whether the light will be warm and cozy or cool and crisp. The lower the Kelvin rating, the warmer and more yellow the light will be, while the higher the Kelvin rating, results in cooler, bluer light. So, choosing the right Kelvin can set the mood and the comfort level of your room depending on what the overall desired function of that light might be.

LUMENS-- A.K.A.-- The Brightness:

"Shine bright like a diamond" is a very "non-scientific" way to explain lumens. In all seriousness, the Lumens number is the measure of brightness from a light source. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. When you need a well-lit room, go for bulbs with higher lumens. For a softer, ambient glow, opt for lower lumen bulbs. Lumens help you determine how well a space will be illuminated.

WATTS-- A.K.A.-- The Amount of Power Used:

Watts indicate the energy consumption of a light bulb. In the past, people used wattage as a measure of brightness, but this is not accurate with energy-efficient LED bulbs. To save on energy costs, focus on lower wattage bulbs, which still provide the desired lumens. Modern lighting recommendations often suggest the equivalent wattage to old incandescent bulbs.

contemporary living room with open concept view through to dining room kitchen and a marble fireplace with gas fire

Choosing the right combination of Kelvin, Lumens, and Watts ensures you get the lighting that matches your needs and preferences. So, whether you want a warm, cozy atmosphere or a bright, energizing environment, understanding these factors will help you make the right choice and avoid a mix-up of warm and cool light in your home.

You don't have to be an expert in all of this- but knowing the terminology will help you talk the talk if you need advice or an extra hand in selecting lighting for your space.

Ultimately, there's no 'one-size-fits-all' rule. It's all about personal preference and your specific lighting needs. You decide on the lighting based on how you want the space to feel and how you want to use the space.

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Lighting Principles

Comfortable workplace with computer near wooden wall in stylish room interior. Home office design

Now, that you got the basics, let’s look closer at some key lighting principles to fully understand how best to tackle your lighting needs.

  • Dimming Options: If I am being completely honest, I would place a dimmer on every light in the home! The ability to dim lights is essential, especially for accent lighting. Dimmers allow you to adjust the brightness according to the occasion or mood. For example, you might want to dim the lights in a dining room for a romantic dinner or brighten them for a family gathering of playing games. Either way, dimmers help set the mood, maybe even determine the attitude of the moment.

  • Task + Accent Lighting: Proper task lighting is important in spaces like kitchens, offices and reading areas. The right lighting in these areas ensures you can perform tasks effectively and comfortably. Accent lighting can also highlight specific areas, objects, or architectural features in a room, adding depth and visual interest. The direction and placement of accent lighting are key to achieving this effect.

  • Aesthetic + Fixture Selection: The design of the light fixture itself is essential. It can serve as both a functional and a decorative element in a room. Whether it's a chandelier, pendant light, sconce, or recessed fixture, the choice can greatly contribute to the overall style and feel of the space.

  • Layered Lighting: Layering different types of lighting, including ambient, task, and accent lighting allows for versatility in a space. This approach provides various lighting options to suit different needs and moods throughout the day.

Overall, these lighting principles are a testament to the impact good design can have on our everyday lives. They are essential to consider before selecting your next light fixture.

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Simple Reminder

Light selections and color temperatures have to be chosen based on the need and the location. Just remember to keep these three key factors in mind when making your light selections to ensure more informed choices:

  1. Light Placement

  2. Fixture Type

  3. Kelvin, Lumens and Wattage

This just scraped the surface in explaining how lighting can make or break the mood of the space, but I hope this helps shed some "light" on how lighting temperature, brightness and function can really make a big difference in your space. You don't have to be an expert (hashtag "light" science blogger) but it sure helps to know why something feels off and what simple changes you can make in order to make things feel right and set the desired mood in your space.

Now, let's get to the good part...


Because statement lighting happens to be a favorite of mine when it comes to designing a space, I am offering a FREE DOWNLOAD that provides some of my favorite (and BONUS ... affordable) ceiling light fixtures that I have sourced in my new and remodeled home projects. Not only do you get the lighting board itself, but it also comes with the links to shop the lights ALL on your own!

Download My Free Resource Below

Light Up Your Space: A Free Resource for Stylish Ceiling Fixtures

Choose the perfect light for your home and elevate your home's style

And, as always, if you need an extra helping hand, I’m here. I may not be solving scientific world issues, but I will say, lighting selection is near and dear to my heart! So is helping others with design dilemmas ---I got you.

Be sure to explore my most recent service additions: 'Designer By Your Side' and 'Design Therapy" by clicking the link below. I can help you make those important design decisions as you refresh your space.

Are you ready?

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