Create a Seamless Lighting Plan For Your Home

Lighting – it’s the unsung hero of home design. Trust me when I say, if there’s one thing you should splurge on, it’s lighting. Whether you’re aiming for dramatic flair or subtle sophistication, the right lighting can make all the difference. Believe it or not, lighting is one of our most asked-about topics – from fixture placement to bulb selection to mastering the art of layering, we’ve got you covered. And guess what? We’re in the midst of moving next weekend or two, with lighting just installed last week – talk about perfect timing!

Lighting isn’t just about functionality; it’s about setting the mood and enhancing the overall atmosphere of your space. Whether you’re cozying up in the living room or prepping dinner in the kitchen, the right lighting can transform the entire vibe. And speaking of vibes, our Tumalo renovation project is serving up some serious inspo! From sleek modern fixtures to vintage-inspired sconces, we’ve curated a collection that’s sure to spark your creativity. Join us as we share our journey, offering insights and inspiration for your next project.

Where and How High to Hang Fixtures

Dining Fixtures

When it comes to dining fixtures, balance is key. You want your light to be low enough to cast a beautiful glow over your dining table, but not so low that it feels heavy or intrusive for your guests. The height of your fixture can greatly depend on its design and the space it occupies. For example, an all-glass globe pendant can hang lower than a shade light because it’s transparent and feels airy. Generally, anywhere between 30-36 inches above your tabletop is a good range.

For our Tumalo project, I selected a stunning steel and brass pendant. The goal was to create an oversized effect in the dining room in order to give a dramatic feel and make dining more intimate and cozy. 

Bedroom Fixtures

For a touch of elegance and practicality in the bedroom, consider hanging fixtures above your nightstands. Ideally, these fixtures should hang about 18-22″ inches above the nightstand surface. This not only provides ample lighting for reading and nighttime tasks, but also frees up space on your nightstands, giving your bedroom a clean and uncluttered look.


Sconces are another fantastic way to add character and warmth to a room. As a general rule, the middle of the sconce should be 60 to 72 inches above the floor, or roughly at eye level. If you have vaulted ceilings, you can hang them a bit higher so they don’t look too low.

In the Tumalo renovation, I chose a variety of vintage-inspired and textural sconces. I adore the moody glow they cast, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Here’s a roundup of some of the sconces chosen for Tumalo. Each piece adds a touch of charm and character, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the space.

Overhead Lighting

Overhead lighting is often overlooked, but it plays a crucial role in setting the tone of a room. My personal recommendation? Get rid of those can lights. They can be such an eyesore with their harsh light and swiss cheese aesthetic (some rooms do require recessed lighting- so if you must choose anything 4″ diameter or smaller!). Instead, incorporate fixtures, sconces, lamps, and even candles to create the perfect ambiance in your home.

For the Tumalo project, we focused on layering different types of lighting to achieve a warm, inviting feel. By combining overhead fixtures with sconces and lamps, we were able to create a beautifully lit space that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It’s all about creating a layered lighting plan that enhances the mood and feel of each room.

How to Select the Right Bulbs for Your Lighting

Selecting the right bulbs can make all the difference in your home’s lighting. Personally, I avoid “daylight” bulbs because they tend to be too harsh, and a cooler white (aka blue) for creating a cozy, inviting atmosphere. Here’s how to choose bulbs that will enhance your space beautifully.

Opt for Warm Color Temperatures

First things first, you’ll want to opt for bulbs with a warm color temperature, typically between 2700K and 3000K. These warmer tones create a soft, welcoming glow that’s perfect for any room. The result? Spaces that feel inviting and comfortable, perfect for relaxing or entertaining.

Consider the Lumen Count

Another important factor is the lumen count. Aim for bulbs with a lower lumen count, somewhere between 400-800 lumens. This range provides enough light without being overpowering. At Tumalo, we found that using bulbs within this range gave us the perfect amount of light for both functionality and ambiance. It’s all about finding that sweet spot where your rooms are well-lit (but not too harh) and still have that warm, cozy vibe.

Use Dimmable Bulbs

Dimmable bulbs, or dimmer switches are a game-changer for home lighting. They allow you to adjust the brightness to suit your needs and the mood you want to create. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or winding down for the evening, dimmable bulbs give you the flexibility to set the perfect lighting. In Tumalo, we installed dimmable bulbs in key areas like the dining room and living spaces. This way, we can easily adjust the lighting to match the occasion, creating the ideal atmosphere every time.

Layering Tips

When it comes to creating the perfect ambiance in any room, layering your lighting is essential. I believe every room should have at least 2-3 different forms of lighting. This can include recessed lighting, but ideally, it’s 2-3 fixtures such as sconces, pendants, and table lamps working together. 

Mix and Match Fixtures

To achieve a beautifully lit room, you need to mix and match different types of fixtures. In our Tumalo project, we used a combination of steel,  bronze wall sconces, and cozy table lamps to ensure each room had multiple sources of light. This approach not only enhances the functionality of the space but also adds depth and character.

Ambient Lighting is Key

Ambient lighting (table lamps, floor lamps and even candlelight counts!) is crucial for setting the mood in a room. It’s the “glow” we aim for at night, providing a soft, inviting atmosphere without relying on harsh overhead recessed cans. I can’t stress this enough: if you have recessed lighting, it’s okay — that’s why dimmers will become your best friend.

Use these tips to master the art of lighting in your own home. Remember, it’s all about creating that perfect glow that makes your space feel both functional and inviting!

Life is Short. Make it Beautiful.

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Shoot days are some of our favorite days! 

Join us behind the scenes as we bring our projects to life, this time with the amazing @susie.wright, fashion blogger, So Susie. The energy was incredible, and we couldn’t resist wrapping up the day with some sips and snacks at @amaterrawines. 

So grateful to do what we love and to create stunning spaces for incredible people.

Life is short. Make it beautiful
Today marks our 27th year wedding anniversary. 11 homes, 3 kids, and countless adventures. No matter where we go, my home is always with you. Can’t wait to see what the next 27 holds.
Two years later. Two years of blood, sweat and tears. Two years of Derrick asking me to come to a decision and me changing my mind two more times thereafter. This project surprised us in so many ways. The biggest one being that it has turned into our home. 

Every time we design a space, we think about how our clients want to live in it. We strive to make each and every room a reflection of them and their lifestyle. 

That is our one intention. 

And for this small but mighty kitchen, we had to do the same for ourselves…the heart of every home. For us it’s a where we have dreamed of cooking together and unwinding after a long day. Preparing and enjoying our first meal is surreal…. seeing the fruits of our labor and extensive planning come together in a beautiful way. This is our ultimate desire for each room we design. 🤍

Life is Short. Make it Beautiful.