Have you ever started a project and thought, “yeah, this isn’t going to take me long!” And then 5 months later… you are still not done? This master bedroom makeover has been one of those projects.
It all started 6 months ago when I decided it was time to tackle my highly neglected master bedroom. I created a moodboard and slowly started to check to-do’s off my list… Buy a new headboard, check! Install crown moulding, check! Hang a gallery wall, check! And then before I knew it… BAM, six months had passed! And while the new accessories really helped bring the room together it was still missing a little something; beautiful lighting.
Lighting is an excellent way to upgrade a room. Whether it be floor lights, table light or ceiling lights, it’s amazing how a room can be completely transformed at the flick of a switch! But it’s not as easy as you think to pull together a cohesive look for your room. As I journeyed through the process of finding beautiful lighting for my master bedroom I discovered something: understanding the four types of lighting and the role they play within a room is the first step in any makeover or reno project… after all, lighting plays a key role in your space.
If you are getting ready to tackle a decor project this winter, here’s a rundown of the four types of lighting that should be considered for every space in your home, what I’ve learned about them, and best practices for electrical safety you need to consider:
Ambient lighting is the main lighting for a room (also called general lighting). It illuminates a space evenly and provides enough light for you to get around the space without squinting or bumping into things! While ambient lighting can take many forms, in the average homes it’s ceiling-mounted lights, chandeliers, and potlights. Wall sconces, floor lights and soffit & valance lighting can also be considered both ambient, but in most cases, are more decorative. In the case of my master bedroom, I found myself in dire need of a new ceiling light… the builder grade “boob light” just wasn’t going to cut it for me! Luckily, I was able to find a stunning wooden bead semi-flush mount chandelier on WayFair.ca, and it fits the style of my room perfectly!
Considerations: If you are planning on doing any work on the current ambient lighting in your home, or looking to install some more options (like pot lights), make sure you hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor to do the work. For inspiration, check the Power Your Reno website.
Task lighting focuses on an area of a room that is used for an activity, such as pendant lighting over a kitchen island, reading lights mounted to a headboard, or task lamps on a desk or work area. Its main purpose is to illuminate the area enough to allow you to perform your task without eyestrain. Beautiful pendant lighting over a kitchen island gets me every time! My best friend Jen has a glorious kitchen island illuminated by three lovely pendant lights from Canadian Tire!
Considerations: If you are planning on upgrading the task lighting in your space, it’s best to consult with a Licensed Electrical Contractor as new fixtures (such as under cabinet lighting) may require additional wiring and switches. If you are purchasing free-standing task lighting be sure it is approved for use in Canada. Only light fixtures that carry a certification mark or sticker are permitted to be installed in Ontario homes; the most popular in Canada is CSA certification.
While accent lighting might not be super functional, it can add visual appeal and drama to a room. It’s often used to draw attention to a particular feature in a room, such as art, sculptures, bookcases, plants, or other prized possessions. As a general rule, accent lighting requires three times as much light on the feature point as the general lighting surrounding it. If you’ve ever visited the Walper Hotel here in Kitchener you’ve likely seen their lobby bookcase which is beautifully illuminated with accent lights!
Considerations: In some cases, installing new accent lighting may require hard-wiring, such as library lights installed on a new custom bookcase. Make sure you plan ahead by consulting with a Licensed Electrical Contractor and get their input before you start!
Decorative lighting is just that – decorative! It serves no real function other than the fact it looks fabulous… think of it as jewelry for your home! It can be anything from stunning wall sconces that flank a fireplace or a simple lava lamp.
Considerations: Electrical needs often become an after-thought when it comes to decorative lighting. Some fixtures might be as easy as plug-in-and-go, while others require a Licensed Electrical Contractor to run wiring or install a switch. Understanding what is needed before purchasing decorative lighting will save time and heartbreak later in your project… trust me, there is nothing worse than falling in love with a light and then realizing you have to return it!
Lighting Tips & Tricks
Choosing the right type of lighting for your space will help you show off your room in the best light possible! Whether you’re tackling a master bedroom makeover (like me!), installing a chandelier or doing a full kitchen reno, understanding how your lighting options work together will help streamline your process! Lastly, I’ll leave you with a few tips and tricks:
- When planning the layers of light in a room, consider ambient lighting first, then consider task, accent and decorative.
- Adding new lighting requires an electrical permit and only Licensed Electrical Contractors can be legally hired for electrical work in Ontario.
- If you don’t currently have a trusted Licensed Electrical Contractor you can use the Electrical Safety Authority’s (ESA’s) “Find a Contractor” tool to verify or find one near you.
- ESA recently partnered with design expert Kimberley Seldon to create PowerYourReno.ca, an online hub where you can get design tips with electrical considerations for beautiful and safe renos!
- If you are looking for more information on the Four Types of Lighting, Power Your Reno has a handy one-page handout you can easily download and print before you start your next makeover or reno!
Now that the lighting portion of my project has received a big “check” I can start to focus on the finishing touches that will turn this simple bedroom into a master suite! I feel a big reveal coming on…. 😉
Disclosure: I am partnering with the Electrical Safety Authority to educate my readers on the importance of electrical safety. All opinions and experiences are my own.