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Lighting 101

Need to address some light fixtures in your home, but unsure where to start? In this post we’ve rounded up some of the ultimate need-to-know things when it comes to lighting. We also featured this topic at a Tuesday @ 2 session, which you can watch on YouTube!


semi-flush mount in an entryway

Semi-flush mount in an entry. Image via: Allisa Jacobs


A flush mount refers to a light fixture that fully attaches to the ceiling. In other words, there isn’t any sort of chain or rod between the ceiling and the top of the light fixture. Flush mounts work great in smaller spaces or in rooms with low ceilings because they won’t hang in air and block any sort of view.


Similar to a flush mount, but with a very short rod or chain between the top of the fixture and the ceiling. Great for spaces with a bit more room and/or higher ceilings.

living room design

Image via: Best Goodie


Chandeliers usually hang from a mounting plate in the ceiling, and usually have multiple bulbs. They come in several sizes and shapes and are a quick way to make a big impact in a room. Many people probably automatically think of chandeliers as being large, fancy and super sparkly, but there are also modern style chandeliers that utilize straight lines and more stick-like arms.

pendant lamp

Image via: West Elm


Pendants also hang down from the ceiling via rod, chain or cord but are singular with both bulb and shade. You can use a large pendant in place of a chandelier over a dining table for a more casual vibe, or utilize a few pendants over a table or kitchen island for a larger impact.

bed with pillows


Sconces are smaller light fixtures attached to side walls. They show up most in places like task lighting in bathrooms, general light in hallways or ambient lighting in a dining room. They’re also great in bedrooms instead of table lamps, especially for smaller spaces since they don’t take up any nightstand space. Sconces are generally used for specific mood lighting or highlighting artwork (i.e. a picture lamp) since they don’t give off a ton of light, but there are modern ways you can amp up the wow factor, by placing several sconces together as their own kind of light-up art!


Fairly self-explanatory, floor lamps stand up on the floor and can flood the space with light via a bulb and paper/fabric lampshade, or can serve as task lighting with an arm and metal shade style. Table lamps do exactly the same but rest on tables instead. These lighting styles are great for adding depth to a room with light layers and opportunities to tie in to ongoing color schemes and styles. Make sure floor lamps aren’t placed in direct pathways through the space, so they don’t get knocked over or tripped on!


Often used in newer construction, but easy to install in most spaces, recessed lighting is great for adding general light to a room without losing any ceiling height since the cans sit into the ceiling drywall. You can get standard bulbs that flood light within a room. Alternatively, directional can lights act as more spotlight/track lighting. While we love recessed lighting, we think adding other types of lighting to a set of recessed cans will help give a room some depth and warmth, while also allowing for lighting options for different times of the day or activities.


Smart lighting can save you tons of energy and there are several ways to install it in your home. You can buy smart bulbs that you can turn on or off via apps like Nest or Kasa, or you can install smart switches in your home and turn any light fixture into a smart one (smart bulb or not!). Motion activated lighting is a great option for closets and pantries, where we often forget to turn things off. We have a feeling eventually all lights will be smart!


If you’ve been confused while purchasing bulbs by words like Kelvin, Watts, and Lumens, we understand. There’s a lot of lighting lingo that can get confusing. The basic things you want to keep in mind are that LEDs are currently the most efficient light bulb style available and last the longest. They require very little wattage to work.

LED lumens chart

Image via:

WATTS refers to how much power a lightbulb needs to be on. The higher that number is, the more energy you’re using when you flip on your switch. LEDs usually will be labeled as “equivalent to 75 watts” or something similar. If your lamp normally took a 75 watt incandescent bulb, you can swap it with that LED that maybe only uses 7 watts!

LUMENS refers to how bright the bulb gets when fully on. Since LED bulbs are becoming more affordable, Lumens is what you’ll start paying attention to rather than watts. Think of it this way, a higher wattage bulb is using more electricity, meaning it’s probably brighter than a low wattage bulb, right? So, if you’re looking at LEDs, a higher number of lumens means that it’s also using more wattage (even though it’s still way less than incandescent) and the bulb will be brighter. Keep in mind that LEDs sometimes take a few minutes to fully brighten when they’re turned on. This is normal – it’s not your light switch. A bulb with something like 800 lumens will be brighter than

color temperature scale

Image via: Pinterest

KELVIN refers to color temperature. All light bulbs give off light with a color tone. Some lights are more yellow, and some are more blue. Kelvins just mean a number on a spectrum from most yellow to most blue. They range from about 2700 kelvin to 6500 kelvin. A lower kelvin number means the light will be warmer, or more yellow/orange like a warm white bulb. A high kelvin number means the light is bluer, like a daylight bulb. Usually the bulb box will give the number and describe the color like “soft white”. When you’re choosing bulbs for your spaces, it’s good to decide what color you’d like and make sure all of your bulbs match in Kelvins.

LIGHTING OPTIONS are getting more expansive, meaning there are so many creative ways to light any of your spaces. Explore and have fun selecting what works with your space! Show us what you pick!


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