Have you ever walked into your living room, kitchen, or bathroom and suddenly realized that your space is outdated? It can happen to even the best homes eventually, but once you begin to see your space as old, it’s impossible to see it as anything else.
When you remodel your home, you can do a complete overhaul, or you can do a few targeted projects to rejuvenate each room. If you’re seeking inspiration for ways to make your home feel like new without tearing your house to the studs, check out our tips.
Refresh Your Paint Colors
A fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to have a dramatic impact on your room. If you can wait until after you select and install new lighting to choose your paint color. Different bulbs affect the way colors appear, so you will get the most accurate idea of how your walls will look if you swatch the paint under your final lighting.
When you plan your lighting, it is helpful to think about it in layers:
- General lighting – this is usually the lights you reach for first when you walk into a room, typically overhead fixtures.
- Accent lighting – the lights that showcase specific objects or features in a room, often recessed, track, or pendant lights.
- Task lighting – the lights that you turn on for detailed tasks like cooking or reading, usually lamps, recessed, or undercabinet lights.
Light bulb color temperature has a noticeable impact on the wall and fabric colors. If your room has a deep, earthy wall color like red, brown, or orange, use bulbs in the warmer 2400 – 2900 Kelvin range. Bright, clean colors like whites, blues, and greens look best with cooler 3000 – 4900 Kelvin bulbs.
Your room will look different in the daytime than it does in the evening. An easy way to customize any space to suit the changing sunlight is to add dimmer switches. You will get a high level of control over the lights in your room, plus dimmers help blend the lighting between rooms that have different light bulb color temperatures.
Bring Out the Beauty in Your Kitchen Countertops
If you’ve installed new countertops, or if you just want to make your current countertops pop, you can update your kitchen lighting to bring out the depth of their colors. Many people underestimate the impact that light can have on their space. Changing your bulb color temperature or brightness can bring out totally different tones in your countertops, especially if they are natural stone. New fixtures and a brighter space make it feel cleaner and more modern.
Light-colored countertops and cabinets reflect light, so you will not need to add as many fixtures to keep your kitchen bright. If you have dark counters and cabinets, or you have high ceilings, you will need more lights because darker colors absorb light. To bring out the detail in your natural stone and to brighten workspaces, you will need a few additional fixtures.
An excellent place to install extra lights is underneath your cabinets. Small recessed lights provide the ideal task lighting while you cook, and they also showcase your countertops. Many countertops have a high shine, which is a challenge to light. A professional can install the lights at the perfect angle to highlight your stone without creating glare.
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Modernize Your Home with Automation
Bringing your home into the future is as easy as upgrading your thermostat or changing your light bulbs. Smart appliances are convenient for homeowners because they are programmable, plus they can help lower your energy bill.
If you’re ready to dive in and make a permanent change, smart light switches might be for you. It is best to have a professional complete the installation because smart switches connect with your existing wiring. What makes them attractive to many homeowners is that they work with your existing lights. You get the convenience of controlling your fixtures with a remote and setting them to an automated scheduled, while still keeping the parts of your décor that you love.
If you are not daring enough to install smart switches just yet, you could opt for smart light bulbs instead. They are simple to install – just screw them in – but also easy to remove if you decide that they are not for you. From your cell phone app, you can turn lights on and off and set them to any color or brightness that you like. You can control the atmosphere of any room at will without changing anything except the lights.
Replacing dated lights with clean, modern fixtures or recessed lights is an affordable way to update your space. If you have a textured accent wall, a strip of recessed LED lights above it will make interesting shadows. A lighting professional can help you choose the best smart upgrade and pair it with sleek, modern lights.
Ways to Make a Small Room Feel Spacious
It is really hard to resist the urge to buy trendy vases, picture frames, lamps, and pillows. Eventually, though, all of those have-to-have pieces clutter up a room. A simple way to make your space feel larger is to remove some of your decorative items, keeping only the pieces that you love the most. Instead of cozy, overstuffed furniture, select moderately-sized or low-profile pieces with visible legs. The more openness you create in your room, the larger it will feel.
Lighter, brighter rooms feel more spacious than dark rooms, so choose light, clean colors for your paint and furniture. If all of the light is coming from an overhead fixture, the edges of the room likely have shadows that creep in and make it feel smaller. Have a professional install recessed lights to brighten the perimeter of the room without adding overhead clutter.
A quick way to bring in extra light is to get rid of bulky, thick drapes. Sheer, airy window dressings, or none at all, will let in a lot more sunlight and bulge into the room much less.
Professional designers often use optical illusions to make rooms feel spacious. Tall bookshelves draw your eye upward and make your ceilings feel higher. When you style the bookshelves, leave some spaces empty so that you don’t reintroduce clutter. Another popular trick is to put a mirror at one end of a room to make it feel longer and reflect light, which grows your space.
Reconsider That Lamp
When you want to brighten your room, lamps are a beautiful, ambient solution, but they do not light your room effectively. Lampshades diffuse light above and below the bulb, which reduces their output and sends it in directions that you will never use. When you read beside a lamp, you have to tilt your book and contort your body to get under the light.
Better solutions that provide sufficient light are either a telescoping task light mounted on the wall or recessed cans in the ceiling above your favorite reading spot. Both of these options let you direct the light exactly where you need it, which will reduce your eye strain and allow you to sit comfortably.
Bonus: you will make your room feel spacious by making it brighter AND reducing clutter.
Many lamps use three-way bulbs, which gives you some control over the brightness. However, recessed lights on dimmer switches give you better control so that you can create the ambiance of your dreams.
Beautiful lamps can still be a great addition to your room, but they work better as décor than as task lighting. Schedule an in-home consultation with a lighting professional when you’re ready to improve your health and lights.
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Don’t Rely on Fan Lights
If you live in a region with a warm climate, you probably get frequent use out of an overhead fan. However, they are not right for every home because they take up a lot of space and visually shrink a room. If you think that you will only use them sporadically, opt for a free-standing fan that does not add permanent bulk to the room.
An overhead fan might be the perfect addition to your room, but you should avoid any with built-in lights. When you renovate a room, you have countless options to create the perfect lighting scheme. However, you severely restrict your selection if you shop for fans with integrated lights. The fixtures don’t give you control over the direction of the bulbs, and a common complaint is that they are too bright to use anyway.
Sleek, clean recessed cans are a better option because they provide excellent, adjustable light without adding visual clutter. Ceiling fans are bulky by nature, so recessed cans are the right partner for them.
Brighten Dim Spaces with Recessed Cans
Recessed cans are the workhorse of home lighting. They provide general, task, and accent light, and they go with virtually any design style. If you have a central fixture that you love, pair it with recessed cans around the perimeter of the room to brighten spaces that the fixture does not reach.
Bright lights are essential in heavily used workspaces like the kitchen. If you were to rely on several large overhead fixtures or pendant lights, they would quickly overwhelm your space. Recessed cans give you the powerful illumination that you need in the kitchen with zero obtrusion into your workspace. Plus, they are much easier to keep clean than intricate fixtures.
Recessed lights work well in small spaces because they do not hang down into the room. They are also great for preserving the openness of large, spacious rooms. While there are fewer design options than other types of lighting, recessed lights do come in a variety of trims to suit your space.
If you need help determining how many cans you need, where to place them, or which style of trim will work best in your room, schedule a professional consultation.
Highlight Special Features with Accent Lighting
After you have revamped your space, make great accent walls, art, or special nooks in the room pop by highlighting them with an accent light. Some pieces, like oil paintings and glass-framed photos, are difficult to light. Broad light sources will reduce glare, but oil paintings also need heat-free bulbs. A professional can help you pick the best option to preserve your art and bring out its best features.
Lighting does not have to be utilitarian; it should also be fun and stylish! Sometimes, a unique chandelier is an accent light itself. Think outside the box when you choose where to hang chandeliers. Bathrooms, closets, and laundry rooms are unexpected places to install dramatic lighting, so make these functional spaces feel luxurious with decorative accent lights.
You can have a lot of fun playing with your kitchen lights too. Adequate task lighting is essential, of course, but you can use accent lights to really elevate the style in your kitchen. If you have beautiful glassware that you would like to display, you could install glass-paned doors in just a couple of cabinets and light the interior with small puck lights. For a futuristic effect, install LED strip lights along the bottom of your island cabinets.
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Treat Central Fixtures as Just One Lighting Layer
Central overhead fixtures are not a cure-all for your lighting needs. If you’re considering installing a really bright central fixture to light an entire room, you will end up disappointed. When the sun goes down, the edges of your room will be too dark. Cranking up the brightness of your central fixture will only intensify the shadows around your room’s perimeter.
You do not have very much control over the direction of overhead lights, so they are not suitable for evening reading. Unless you plop a chair in the center of your room, the light will not reach the pages of your book. Trying to read with poor lighting can strain your eyes.
Bright lights in the evening also interrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle. Crisp, bright lights help you feel awake during the daytime, but at night they inhibit your body’s ability to produce melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Improper lighting can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep and can negatively affect your sleep quality.
Beautifully designed spaces have multiple layers of lighting to reduce shadows, provide adequate task lighting, and safeguard your health. If you need help choosing fixtures and planning your layers, speak with a professional who can help you craft the best lighting scheme for your space.
A Few Small Upgrades Can Go A Long Way
You do not have to gut your entire home to make it feel fresh, clean, and new. Two simple renovation strategies are to either upgrade one whole room at a time or to pick one type of upgrades, such as fresh paint or new lighting, to do throughout your home.
If the renovation bug has already bitten you, you can dive into a free, easy upgrade right this minute by removing a few decorations to declutter a small room. One weekend at a time, you can modernize your home with and fall in love with it all over again.
If you’re ready to start making changes, but you’re not sure where to start, schedule an in-home consultation today.