Please share and brainstorm lighting ideas and fixtures

ontariomomFebruary 12, 2014

Hi everyone,

From what I have read an effective lighting plan includes lighting in layers and includes ambient lighting, accent lighting , task lighting and decorative lighting too. Ideally lights should be a combination of down lights and uplights.

Some on these boards have mentioned that choosing light fixtures was a difficult, time consuming process. I wondered if we could share some of our best lighting finds, and lighting ideas so others can benefit. A list of best places to search on-line for lights or places where decent priced fixtures can be found would be helpful. Maybe just a sharing of your favourite light fixture or favourite lighting idea.

Here are some of my ideas:

1) For good ambient light it is wise to bounce illumination off the ceilings and walls. The best sources to do this include: a) opaque indirect wall sconces, torcheres (floor lamps), indirect pendants (sort of bowl shaped uplights), up light chandeliers OR cove lighting and not just pot lights. My ceilings are only 8 feet so sconces are the best solution for most of my rooms due to ceiling height.

2)I am planning for ways to add accent lighting to a shelf or to highlight features such as pictures, fireplace, etc in all the main rooms. This requires actually thinking in advance about what size picture, etc I would want in each location before closing the walls. We might choose to accent under the overhang of the island too.

3)I am considering step lights for the stairs and low wall lights in the bathroom (acts like a night light). I will back light some of our bathroom mirrors.

4)My favourite lighting books are: a)Perfect Lighting by Sally Storey, b)The Home Lighting Effects Bible by Lucy Martin and Residential Lighting by Randall

Below is the foyer light we have chosen (thanks to help from a GW member on the decorating forum).

So I hope you will share your lighting finds and ideas too.
Lets share our inspirations and let there be light in our new homes.


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niteshadepromises was definitely my go to site to find what's available out there on a webpage. Then model numbers were taken to my local supplier, and sometimes even price matches were requested.

Be a little wary of a lot of these smaller custom fixture manufacturers if your looking to buy something custom or not mainstream. Many of them aren't UL listed due to the cost incurred, that can bite us new home builders in the butt when inspection time rolls around.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 10:07AM
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Thanks for posting about I will be searching their fixtures tonight. Good point, about checking that light fixtures are UL listed. I have heard some of Ikea lights and plumbing fixtures are not always to code.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 5:26PM
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Not an lighting expert and I did my slections onling using the lightingdirect/lampsplus/neeruslighting.
Once I see something I went local and they always matched or tried to do better.

Another suggestion is monitor Joss&main and other similar stores like that. They sometimes have good deals on lighting and accesories.

I have been monitoring for some time and did not find anything I wanted but I placed my order last saturday and saw couple of similar one today for about 100 dollars cheaper :(. I have already placed the order so too late but may you can keep you eye on these site sif you are not in a hurry.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 5:00PM
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Thanks akshars_mom for the ideas. Too bad about the near miss on the extra 100.00 off -- impossible to get the lowest price.

I have not heard of most of the sites you suggested, nor the store. I don't think we have any Joss and Main stores here in Canada, but have no problem ordering from the US. I will add your lighting sources to my search list.

Do you have a favourite fixture that you choose?


    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 5:11PM
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Sorry for the typo's but Joss & main is not a store but a website.

I have not personally ordered anything yet but a freind has and no problems according to her.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 5:38PM
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OntarioMom, I'm interested in reading those books you mentioned. I can't claim to have much knowledge on lighting, and that's something I should change. Thanks for the recommendations.

I do like that light fixture you posted.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 12:25PM
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Thanks for the clarification, akshars_mom. I will check them out.

MrsPete, glad you are looking for some more lighting info. The books listed are not old, but the lighting industry changes rapidly (advances in LED). Nevertheless they are the best I have seen. I have been surprised at the misinformation I have received on lighting from a few IDs. Many have told me to do almost all pot lights, but the info in those books contradicts that advice.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 6:55PM
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Any other ideas? I have really struggled with choosing my dining room chandy. Initially, I had hoped we could use our old chandelier that I do still like. However, with the open concept kitchen, dining room, great room it seems that the lighting in the kitchen should go with the chandy in the dining room. For those with open concept areas, have you used lighting from the same series, or in the same look, finish etc in all the adjoining open areas?


    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 8:11PM
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Any more lighting ideas folks? I'm in the throws of choosing lights and its killing me! Especially for vaulted great room/dining room. Also, do people have ideas for exterior lights? Did you do coach lights only? Coach lights plus spot lights? How about exterior lights that turn on automatically at night?

Bring me your great ideas, please!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:00AM
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MrsB1227 and might be good sites to check out as well.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 5:36AM
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Kathy Harrington

This is interesting as I am about to go over our electrical plan. In our current home we have all kinds of lights working together, can lights, overhead lighting, sconces and lamps, but I'm having difficulty in our new build. We have huge windows all over the house in order to take advantage of the views. We aren't thrilled with blocking the view with overhead lights or chandeliers in the dining room or vaulted living room. We were planning on doing only can lights except in bathrooms, but I hate to lose the layered lighting effect as well as the decorative design element of a great fixture. Anyone have a similar problem and if so what was your solution. The ceilings are 10 feet and the window goes up to 8 foot header.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:56AM
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I think your plan to light your space entirely with down light pot lights would be a mistake. Pot lights offer accent lighting when directed to walls to light say art work, and general lighting say when you want bright light to clean a room. However, one downside of pot lights is they cast shadows over people's faces which makes a person look older than they are. You really need to layer lighting by including ambient lighting (e.g. up lighting that reflects lighting off a ceiling), accent lighting (light in shelves or narrow beam pot lights directed to art), general lighting, task lighting (say a reading lamp or kitchen pendants) and decorative lighting. (pretty blingy light fixtures) Lighting can not all be down lighting, you need up lighting too.

Linked below is a set of videos recorded by Randall Whitehead, who is the author of a very helpful lighting book. His videos offer good insights and some humor as well.


Here is a link that might be useful: Randall Whitehead lighting videos

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I agree that can lights only can be a problem. Rather select lighting that will work with the entire interior. For example, we have a large arch top window in our dining room with a barrel-vaulted ceiling, so we picked a light fixture that was fairly tall to help fill the space, yet it doesn't distract from the view.

We added coordinating wall sconces on either side of the hutch, plus the hutch is lit as well.

We also added cove lighting under the trim on the ceiling (still have to paint clouds up there!!) and we added spots on the other wall as I knew I would be having something on the wall in 3s...turned out to be Wm Morris wallpaper panels.

I have to admit that at night when we are dining in there, all the ambient light (of course everything is on dimmers) makes the room feel wonderfully cozy, but not dark.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:47AM
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HarringK - I'm in the same boat with 11' ceilings and windows that are 8'. Between a couple of the windows I'm placing some wall sconces as another layer of light. I spent a lot of time online and then went to a lighting showroom with my plans. They met/beat the online prices and I got a boatload of good advice from knowledgable lighting designers who were aware of current trends vs. classic and timeless. One isn't necessarily better, but it was a great perspective to hear from them.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:16PM
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