Our Essential Guide to Upgrading Your Home’s Lighting

living room lighting moody

Whether you are building a new home or looking to make some upgrades in your current home, we always remind homeowners to remember the importance of lighting.

If you are curious about what type of lights to use in each room, if you should switch to LED lights, or how to use lighting layers, we put together this guide to help you choose lighting that adds function, efficiency, and beauty to your home.

Our essential lighting upgrade guide will cover:

  • Popular types of light fixtures
  • Different types of light bulbs
  • Benefits of LED lighting
  • Bulb warmth and colour
  • The different lighting layers
  • How to use lighting layers in a home
  • How to select lights for different rooms in your home

Popular Types of Light Fixtures in Australia

  • Pendant Lights

    Pendant lights are a type of ceiling light, usually connected by a rod, chain, or cord. They provide a single source of light and are highly popular, especially in kitchens and dining rooms.

    With a broad range of designs, sizes, and styles available, they can complement any decor while adding functional lighting.

    Ideal for: Kitchens (especially above an island or the sink), dining rooms

  • Downlights and Recessed Lighting

    Downlights are another type of ceiling light fixture. Also known as recessed lighting, these light fixtures are mounted in the ceiling and cast light downward. The result is a light fixture that is flush with the ceiling, creating a clean, modern look.

    Recessed lighting casts light downward, making it best for task or ambient lighting. Because it is flush with the ceiling, recessed lighting works especially well in rooms with low ceilings.

  • Ideal for: Closets, kitchens, rooms with low ceilings 

    Track Lighting and Spotlights

    Track lights and spotlights are mounted to the ceiling or wall. Track lighting features adjustable heads that can be used to cast light in a particular direction.

    Ideal for: Task lighting, accent lighting, kitchens, bathrooms

  • Wall Lights

    Wall lights are directly attached to walls and can be used to direct light upwards rather than down.

    Wall-mounted lights are a great light source in areas with limited space. With thoughtful placement, wall-mounted lights can create the illusion of a larger room. Wall lights are also ideal for task lighting, such as in a reading nook or next to your bed.

    Avoid exposed bulbs, mount them at eye level, and stick to warm bulb colours for the best results with wall lights.

    Ideal for: Smaller rooms, next to a bed, in a reading nook, hallways 

  • Desk and Table Lamps

    Desk and table lamps are primarily about function and convenience but they can also add visual interest to a space.

    Table lamps offer direct task lighting, making them an ideal bedside addition for a before-bed reading session. Choose a darker shade for an elegant, mysterious mood or a light-coloured shade for diffused, ambient lighting.

    Their portability makes them versatile and convenient, offering a quick way to reposition lighting based on what you are doing or where you are in the room.

    Ideal for: Bedside tables, a study, the home office, next to the couch

  • Floor Lamps

    Floor lamps blend visual interest, style, and function into one, making them a tried-and-true lighting option.

    With the ability to reposition a floor lamp to different areas of the room, they are perfect for task lighting. Floor lamps also add a layer of ambient lighting, creating a truly versatile lighting fixture.

    Ideal for: Living areas, high ceilings, next to a couch or reading nook

  • LED Strip Lights

    LED strip lights consist of a flexible circuit board with surface lights mounted on it. With an adhesive backing, the flexible strip can be easily mounted just about anywhere in the home.

    With a heavy focus on function, they can be used to illuminate dark spaces or corners where traditional light fixtures won’t fit.

    Ideal for: Cramped or awkward spaces, in closets, under cabinets, under vanities above splashbacks, on stairs, surrounding mirrors, under beds, behind shelves

a selection of pendant lights

Different Types of Light Bulbs

  • Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

    LEDs boast the most energy-efficiency of any type of light bulb. They also offer an impressive lifespan of approximately 25,000 hours and up (some brands boast 50,000 hours or more!).

    LED lighting is our most recommended lighting type for its high energy efficiency, reliability, and long lifespan.

    LED lighting is also incredibly cost-effective. Although LED lighting upgrades cost more initially, the investment often pays for itself over time due to the minimal replacement costs and energy savings.

    Because of their versatility, LED lighting can be used in any room of the home. LED lighting upgrades are also ideal for tight or awkward spaces, such as cabinet interiors.

    Benefits of LED lighting include:

    • Softer lighting that is less harsh on the eyes
    • Versatile
    • High energy efficiency
    • Long lifespan
    • Free of UV rays
    • Give off less heat than other types of light bulbs
    • Long-term savings due to reduced replacement costs and potential for lower energy bills
  • Incandescent Lighting

    Incandescent lights have extremely low energy efficiency and short lifespans. Although incandescent lighting has been phased out, we’ve noticed many Australian homes still have at least a few incandescent lights.

    We’ve had plenty of homeowners contact us about switching from incandescent lighting to LED lighting. We’re always happy to help homeowners to transition to more eco-friendly lighting!

  • Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL)

    Compact fluorescent lighting is efficient and offers a respectable lifespan of around 10,000 hours. However, they require a lengthy warm-up before they reach their full lighting capacity.

    Typically, it takes up to 5 minutes (or more) for compact fluorescent lighting to reach its full brightness.

    When homeowners ask us if they should consider upgrading from CFLs to LED lighting, our answer is almost always “Yes!”. Along with emitting UV rays that distort colour, CFLs contain mercury, a toxin that can harm the environment, people, and pets if it isn’t handled or disposed of properly

  • Halogen Lights

    Halogen lights feature a small glob inside a larger glass bulb. Despite being fairly energy efficient and offering a decent lifespan (around 3000 hours), halogen lights are being phased out in Australia due to the heat and harmful UV rays they emit.

  • Smart Globes

    Smart globes are quickly gaining popularity as a modern, tech-friendly lighting option. Smart globes are a type of LED lighting that uses technology to create a convenient lighting solution.

    Using smart technology paired with a voice assistant, smart globes feature options such as: 

    • The ability to control the lights remotely
    • The option to schedule colour changes throughout the day
    • The ability to dim the lights with a simple voice command 

What Are Lighting Layers in a Home?

Lighting layers refer to a strategic use of lighting to enhance how a space looks and functions.

Getting the right balance of lighting layers can add to your home’s appeal, function, and aesthetics while ensuring you have the right lighting solution for every situation. 

  1. Accent Lighting – Accent lighting is targeted, directional lighting that can be used to highlight an item or draw attention to a favourite piece of art. Types of accent lighting includes wall lights, picture lights, spot lights, and track lights.  
  2. Ambient lighting – Ambient lighting involves illuminating an area with the intention of setting a certain mood or evoking a particular feeling. Ceiling lights, track lighting, and pendant lights are common light fixtures used to achieve ambient lighting.   
  3. Task Lighting –  Task lighting is primarily focused on function and is used to illuminate work areas, home offices, cooking areas, bathroom mirrors, bedside tables, and reading nooks. Common light fixtures for task lighting include table lamps, floor lamps, pendant lights, and LED strip lighting.  

Picking Your Light Bulb Warmth And Colour

Lighting is measured by the colour temperature of a bulb. The Kelvin (K) rating indicates a bulbs colour temperature. The higher the Kelvin rating, the brighter and whiter the light will be.

Bulb colour and warmth can be used for functional purposes, such as cool lighting for task-focused areas or warm lighting for creating a cosy, inviting vibe.

Here are the three main bulb colours and how they affect a space:

  • Cool white bulbs (3100K to 4500K)  — Neutral white light that is ideal for evoking a clean, modern, energetic atmosphere and task lighting for bathrooms, work areas, and kitchens
  • Warm white bulbs (2700K to 3000K) — Soft yellow tones that are great for making living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms feel cosy, relaxing, and inviting
  • Daylight bulbs (5000K to 6500K) — Similar to bright natural daylight, great for workspaces or study areas that require good lighting for tasks, reading, or homework

How to Select Lights for Different Rooms In Your Home

Selecting lighting for your home is simple, we’re going to give the run down on each room, tips for selecting the types of lighting including bulbs and placement. This all comes from our experience installing lights in Perth Homes.

Choosing Lighting for the Kitchen

Kitchen lighting should be a balance of ambient, accent, and task lighting. The varied light sources allow the lighting to be customised depending on how you are using the kitchen at that time.

Carefully chosen lighting layers will ensure you have the appropriate light source for all your cooking, cleaning, or entertaining.

Tips for choosing kitchen lighting: 

  • Start with downlights or pendant lights to create ambient lighting and proper illumination
  • Place task lights strategically over work areas (the island, the sink, and the stove)
  • LED strip lighting underneath cabinets adds a modern, luxurious look and function
  • Consider a skylight to add elegance and natural light
  • Nothing beats downlights or statement-making pendants over an island for the ideal mix of visual appeal and function
  • Choose a mix of cool white bulbs for tasks, such as food prep, and warm white bulbs for gatherings or meals

new lighting in a kitchen

Choosing Lighting for the Dining Room

As with the kitchen, lighting layers are important in a dining room. Opt for a mix of bright lighting for enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning while reading the paper and warm lighting for enjoying meals or entertaining.

While chandeliers are the long-standing classic for dining room lighting, don’t be afraid to experiment with different lighting fixtures. For instance, a statement-making pendant over your table can be a beautiful way to add ambient lighting to your dining room.

Tips for choosing dining room lighting:

  • Use your table as a guide — opt for a row of pendants for rectangular tables or a single lighting fixture as the focal point for round tables
  • Be careful not to hang chandeliers or pendants too low — it can interfere with guests as they try to interact with each other access the table
  • Pay attention to room size when choosing a light over your dining room table — the general rule is that a larger room can accommodate a larger pendant light, linear fixture, or chandelier

Choosing Lighting for Living Areas

Living rooms need a mix of stylish yet functional lighting, making them one of the most important rooms to use lighting layers wisely.

Consider what you use your living room most for. Do you have frequent movie nights? Do you do a lot of game nights or family gatherings? Or do you mostly spend time reading or just hanging out in your living room?

Once you determine how you use it most, you can narrow down the best lighting options. Often, we recommend a mix of task lighting, ambient lighting, and accent lighting to ensure you can adjust the lighting for any use.

Tips for choosing living room lighting:

  • Choose dimmable lights so you can lower the lights when relaxing, turn them off completely for a scary movie, or brighten them for reading or playing card games
  • Consider strip lighting behind the TV for an affordable, easy way to create a fun cinematic experience 
  • Ceiling lights, such as downlights or pendants, are ideal for creating ambient lighting in a living room
  • A floor lamp or table lamp by your couch is ideal for living room task lighting and can be positioned elsewhere in the room if needed
  • For the last lighting layer, add accent lighting to brighten dark corners or show off your favourite artwork 

Choosing Lighting for Bedrooms

Our biggest recommendation when choosing lighting for a bedroom is paying attention to bulb colour. A bedroom should promote restful, calming vibes that help you feel relaxed and at ease.

Tips for choosing bedroom lighting: 

  • Start with ceiling lights, such as downlights, for ambient lighting 
  • Add a bedside table lamp or floor lamp for task lighting
  • Choose warmer colour bulbs to create a calming vibe to help you unwind and relax
  • Avoid cool colour bulbs that feel too energetic and make it difficult for your brain to recognise it is time to sleep (we recommend SleepFoundation.org to learn more about how lighting affects sleep quality)
  • Opt for a bedside lamp with a dimmer switch so you don’t have to blind yourself if you need to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night or want to read with softer lighting at bedtime
  • When choosing a table lamp, opt for one where the lampshade is in line with the top of your shoulders and just about at eye level — this will give off the ideal amount of light for reading 

Choosing Lighting for the Bathroom

The most important factors for choosing bathroom lighting are safety and function. We recommend having at least one main light along with task lighting for grooming or applying makeup.

Opt for cool white lighting between 3100K to 4500K to provide adequate lighting without being too harsh.

Tips for choosing bathroom lighting:

  • If placing lights near taps, sink, wet areas, or the shower, check with a licensed electrician regarding safety considerations and the right IP rating (the Ingress Protection rating dictates how resistant electrical components are to dust and water)
  • For general bathroom lighting, consider a mix of ambient fixtures and task lighting
  • A dimmer on brighter light fixtures is ideal for early mornings when you want to get ready without overwhelming lighting or evenings when you are winding down for bed or soaking in the tub
  • Bright white task lighting installed at eye level on each side of a mirror is highly functional and convenient
  • LED strip lights create a clean, modern look while providing an indirect light source that is ideal for bathrooms, especially around mirrors or under vanities
  • Pay attention to placement — adding downlights to the middle of the bathroom or directly over a mirror can cast odd shadows  

Customised LED Lighting Upgrades and Lighting Solutions From Limelight Electrix

Choosing lighting for your home is important for function but also for the overall atmosphere and visual appeal. When choosing lights for your home, consider important factors such as bulb colour, how the room is used, types of lighting fixtures, and lighting layers. 

Since 2008, our family-owned has been helping customers find the ideal lighting solutions for their home and providing safe, quality installation. If you are interested in LED lighting upgrades for your home, we would be happy to help you choose the right light fixtures or schedule an installation. 

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