One of the most important elements in a home is good lighting. It’s also the element that is most misunderstood by both homeowners and builders. We can turn unused portions of your home into welcoming spaces by adding a layered lighting plan.

What is a layered lighting plan?

living room winchester

The Chandelier provides overall light and the pendants are special to a sloped ceiling for art lighting in a Winchester living room.  The sculptural corner floor lamp adds to the room’s ambiance.

A plan should provide overall illumination, task lighting, and mood lighting. A layered lighting plan combines:

Ceiling lighting:

  • recessed
  • pendants & chandeliers
  • flush mounted fixtures
  • track
  • accent

Wall Fixtures:

  • Sconces
  • Cove lighting


  • Table and floor

For accent lights, think spotlighting artwork with wall washers or brightening glass shelves. Adding a dimmer to all switches is one of the easiest ways to create ambiance and multiple moods.

Ceiling Lightings

Starting with ceiling lights – you have a choice of pendants, chandeliers or flush-mount fixtures. Flush-mount fixtures create height in a room and preserve views out of windows and in the space.

flush mount lighting fixture

A pendant fixture is like a piece of jewelry in the room that provides task lighting in a specific area – over a table or over an island. Here we added a pendant over a living room game table. There is also cove lighting in the shelf soffit, providing additional ambient, mood light.

pendant light

LED tulip pendant fixture illuminating game table. There are thousands of fixture styles from which to choose so matching your decor is never an issue. In this Shingle style dining room, we chose a Tiffany style drum pendant. Note the coordinating sconce on the wall.

Tiffany style drum pendant over a dining room in a Shingle style home

Balancing natural light with artificial light makes spaces larger and more welcoming. Windows, skylights, sliding and French doors are now common elements in new homes and renovations.

Alabaster Chandelier over dining room table

Table and Floor Lamps

To create ambiance in a room, use table and floor lamps. These are the fixtures to use while watching television, reading a book or gathering with friends for conversation. Here are some beautiful and functional examples. The handblown, stained-glass torchiere in the room below adds glowing light and color to the space.

Here are different styles of floor and table lamps. To save energy and our planet, I specify LED bulbs and a dimmer for every switch. In summary, expand the usable spaces in your home with good lighting.