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BO: Lighting is a great way to affect mood. It can make a space feel warm, inviting, and festive. It is nice to have your accent lighting on a separate switch so you can adjust it for different occasions. If you are hosting a fun party for family and friends, a lot of lighting can make the space come alive. But for a relaxing night at home or a quiet dinner party, turning on a few accent lights will create a calm, more intimate atmosphere.
We’ve culled our archives for the best examples of lighting design, from kitchens with amazing pendants to living rooms with stylish sconces. You’ll also find innovative ways to mix floor lamps and chandeliers with your existing decor.
BO: It really depends on the size and layout of your kitchen in relationship to other spaces in your house. In a home where the kitchen, family room, and dining area all meet, I sometimes choose smaller pendants so they won’t distract from the view of the great room. In the kitchen above, smaller clear-glass pendants work well because they don’t distract from the view of the styled bookshelves. However, sometimes large statement lighting makes the room. For example, I love Thomas O’Brien’s Goodman cone pendants to make a beautiful statement in a kitchen and define the space.
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SHOP NOW: Hainsbrook 18.3-inch multilight cone pendant in Antique Pewter by Allen + Roth, $119, lowes.com
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Owens used clear glass pendants in this kitchen to preserve the view into the living room.
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If you’re not super-familiar with electricity work—there are permits and codes to understand, and fire and safety issues to be aware of—it’s best to hire out this project. Ask your electrician for “swagging pendants,” says Lowe’s lighting expert John Bachman, and watch the magic happen. (The installation shouldn’t take longer than a few hours or cost more than about $200.) One thing you will need to think about is the fixtures themselves. When it comes to style, look for multiple bare bulbs or mini shaded pendants with long cords—”I would recommend having at least eight inches of excess wire to work with for each,” says John—attached to a single base. “First and foremost, any product you’re working with needs to have a UL listing, meaning it has a stamp of approval that it’s fire-safe, durable, et cetera,” says John. “If the product is altered in any way for a look, it loses that UL listing along with its safety and requirements.” See some of our favorite options below.
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BO: Circa Lighting, Arteriors, Currey and Co., and Rejuvenation.
Designer Becki Owens shares all you need to know to find the perfect kitchen lighting
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BO: For coastal decor it works well to choose lighting with an organic feel, like wood beaded, woven, or rattan fixtures. In more modern spaces, I often pick lights with clean lines, geometric shapes, and metal materials. But really I believe there are no rules when it comes to matching lighting with a specific style. Some of my favorite designs are a cool eclectic mix of modern, bohemian, and coastal elements where the right lighting ties it all together.
SHOP NOW: Chrome-tip six-bulb cluster pendant lamp by Cost Plus World Market, $75, worldmarket.com
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The AD editors have tapped our favorite experts to give you the best advice on lighting your home. The guidelines below are all you need to properly outfit the rooms where lighting matters most—from the bathroom to the kitchen. We’ve also tackled the challenge of how to illuminate your works of art. And don’t miss our list of the most common lighting mistakes.
When remodeling a kitchen, selecting countertops, cabinets, hardware, and other high-impact items is often prioritized, while kitchen lighting is left for the end or tacked on as an afterthought. Any designer will tell you, though, that lighting is essential to every space, especially a functional one like the kitchen. Since the options—pendants, chandeliers, schoolhouse lights, sconces—are nearly endless, AD sought some expert advice to learn how to select just the right fixture. It only takes a quick glance at her Instagram account to see that California-based designer Becki Owens has an affinity for creating kitchens that are both cool and inviting, laid-back and elegant. We asked Owens all of our kitchen lighting questions to give you a leg up on your next renovation.
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Becki Owens: When I choose lighting for a kitchen, I look at the overall design and all the elements in the space. For example, in a kitchen with simple details and a minimal look, I like to choose lighting that will make a statement. If a kitchen has a busier design like a patterned backsplash or lots of shapes and textures, I might pick something more subtle and airy.
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When it comes to kitchen lighting, keep it simple with striking pendants
Once the base is hardwired to the ceiling, the electrician can then loop the loose pendant wires over hooks positioned wherever you’d like them on the ceiling (as long as the wires stretch long enough, that is). Arrange the bulbs to span the center of the room, spread them out in a line over your island—it’s up to you. Regardless, you’ll be left with at least double the light. Finally, no more chopping vegetables in the shadows!
Whether you’re shopping for lampshades or kitchen pendants, we’ve got you covered! Click through our collections of crystal chandeliers that will add sparkle to any room and stylish outdoor lighting solutions. Plus, the best sources for any type of lighting fixture.
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There’s a lot to love about older homes. Original wood floors, quirky architectural details, and gorgeous wavy window glass immediately come to mind, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is one thing that’s likely missing, though: enough overhead lighting. This is all well and good in the living room, where a bunch of table and floor lamps (or even some plug-in wall sconces) can save the day. But in the kitchen? You’d probably prefer not to have a task light perched on top of the fridge. Luckily, there’s another solution: choosing a multilight fixture for that single socket you do have, one with wires that can be “swagged” to create the illusion of multiple pendants. That’s right, where you’d normally have one light, you can have two (or more!).