How to Choose the Right Light Fixture – Decorating & Style

The humble, often-overlooked light fixture is now a home-decor star in its own right. The current crop of fixtures delivers high drama, luxe looks and, of course, warm glow.

Even though there are more options than ever, that doesn’t mean finding the right fixture is easy. To help you find the best fixture for your room, I turned to Erica Lugbill, a Chicago interior designer and founder of Lugbill Designs. Here are her expert tips:

Know Your Light’s Purpose

Before you get your heart set on that gorgeous mid-century pendant, figure out what purpose you need the light fixture to serve. If you’re relying on it too as the sole source of light in your room, Lugbill recommends choosing one with a high wattage “in the 400-500 range.” Just be sure to install a dimmer switch so you always have just the right amount of light.

In some cases, you may want multiple sources of light. “When creating your lighting plan for the bedroom, don’t forget task lighting by the bedside,” she said. “Sconce lights or lamps that flank the bed can function as both task and decorative lighting.”

You’ll also need to decide between a down-light or an up-light fixture. An up-light gives off a soft, ambient glow, perfect for entertaining around the dining table, Lugbill explained, while a down-light zero in on a specific area, like your workspace in the kitchen.

Light-Fixture
Light Fixture (Image via 2xlme)

Size Matters

If you choose a fixture that’s too big, it will eclipse the rest of your decor. Pick one that’s too small and you will miss out on the visual impact. So how do you know whether the fixture you love is the right size?

Lugbill recommends measuring the fixture you are considering. Then, return to your space and see how big the fixture will look there. For flush-mounted light fixtures, try taping out the dimensions on the ceiling and assessing how it will look.

Still, Lugbill arriving at the so-called perfect size can be tricky business.

“There is no easy formula for determining the correct size; it is a very visual and personal decision,” she said. “Keep in mind that some fixtures may have a large diameter, but if they have an open and airy design, they’ll take up less visual space.”

The boudoir is where Lugbill likes to install statement pieces, but bigger isn’t always better. She suggests focusing on fixtures that are loaded with personality: crystals, an organza shade, a graphic shape whatever details catch your eye.

Take Your Time

It’s hard not to snap up the first great pendant or chandelier you lay your eyes on, but resist the temptation to plunk down your credit card.

“When shopping for a light fixture, don’t settle for the first fixture you come across,” Lugbill advised. “Light fixtures are a great opportunity to have fun and express your style within your home.

Bottom line: There’s no need to rush.

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