Although picking a light fixture might seem like a pretty standard task, today’s many options make this once-easy decision more complicated. If you’re looking for the kitchen, you now have to decide: pendant or chandelier? Track light or wall sconce? Cabinet or recessed lighting?
No matter how mundane it might seem, picking the right illumination is important. Some fixtures cover very little ground and provide more of an ambient glow, while others shine from one corner of the room to another. Choosing the wrong fixture can lead to a poorly lit room or even an overly lit, washed-out room. A neutral or colorful table lamp or trendy pendant also helps reflect your personality and design style. So when you make your next lighting purchase, consider all the options before taking the plunge.
Pendant. A pendant light is a smaller fixture suspended from the ceiling by a cord, chain or metal rod. They traditionally include only one lightbulb, so they don’t cover as much ground; several are often used to cover more space. There are many different styles, including drum pendants and globe pendants, making it easy to find one that will fit your decor. They work well when you’re trying to showcase a smaller, specific area, such as a kitchen island or a dining room table.
Chandelier. Chandeliers combine multiple lightbulbs in one unit to create a larger, more dramatic statement piece. Unlike a pendant, they produce stronger glow and therefore can often stand alone. Chandeliers are traditionally more elegant and more expensive than other fixtures, and therefore are used less frequently — you may see one in an entryway or a formal dining room.
Ceiling fan. Primarily used for its practicality as opposed to its beauty, ceiling fans are a great way to cool a room down and brighten it up all at the same time. They are often used in bedrooms, though they come in handy where there’s a lot of activity, including playrooms and home gyms. They also make great outdoor fixtures for a covered patio or sunroom.
Wall sconce. Mostly used for adding ambience and decoration, a wall sconce is any kind of wall-mounted fixture. It provides dimmer, less vibrant illumination and is therefore likely to be used in multiples down a hallway or near a front door.
Recessed lighting. If space is an issue, recessed bulbs are a great option, because they take up no space at all; a fixture is inserted directly into the ceiling. Because they are often used as accents in a larger space, such as a kitchen or living room, recessed bulbs are almost always used in multiples. Although not as common, they can also be inserted into floors and walls to provide additional brightness in dark spaces.
Cabinet lighting. These fixtures are mounted underneath a cabinet or shelf and provide illumination for a particular task. They are most often placed in kitchen cabinets to provide pinpointed spotlights for cooking, but they can also provide accent brightness for home office or living room shelves.
Track lighting. Like a chandelier, this source includes several lightbulbs in one fixture, but instead of being grouped together, they are strung along a horizontal track. Tracks are a more casual way to get a lot of illumination in one space, and therefore they look good in less formal settings, such as a hallway, an office or a kitchen. Most of them can be positioned to highlight specific areas, which makes them great for showcasing artwork.
Floor or table lamp. If you’re looking for a more traditional fixture, you can always opt for floor lamps or table lamps. Because of their many different shapes, sizes and designs, they are often a great way to add some flavor to your living room or bedroom. Lampshades are easy to switch, so if you’re looking for a fresh, new look, you can change them out as often as you like.