3 Lighting Design Tips That Apply to Any Space

Kim Lewis
by Kim Lewis

I’m sharing three interior lighting design tips that should take away the fear of lighting your home. These lighting design tips have never failed in any of my interior design projects. I love good lighting but I get hung up on it. I also don’t think builders put enough time and effort into the lighting they select for homes before they sell them.

Pendant light fixtures
Choosing different colors and shapes
Color Cord Company light pendant

1. Pops of color

I love lighting to pop a color into a more neutral space. Companies like the Color Cord Company offer ways to DIY a fixture. You pick a color and a pattern on the cord, like stripes or a chevron pattern. You can also pick a socket color, a canopy color, and a cord clip. This way you are creating a unique light fixture for your space.

Color Cord pendant
We used one of these Color Cord pendants over our kitchen sink. I highly suggest putting a light over a sink on a different switch. You don’t need all the lights on when you are at the sink.

G40 5-inch LED vintage Edison bulb in a globe shape

2. Bulbs

Bulbs are an easy way to bring character to your lighting. You don’t have to just pick a bland lightbulb off the shelf. Your light bulb can be the star of the show by using a simple socket fixture that looks great with a big, bulky light bulb.

Start with a 4¾- or 5-inch diameter bulb. I like the G40 5-inch LED vintage Edison bulb in a globe shape. Decide if you want frosted or a milky look or a filament bulb look.

Frosted light bulb

I love the frosted glow that a light bulb can offer, though.

Different styles and sizes of light bulbs
Companies are coming out with larger and larger bulbs. Some are 11 inches tall with different shapes.

Multiple pendant lights

I also like to add multiple pendants over an island or dining table and add fun and funky bulbs, like what I’ve done here in this restaurant.

Vintage Moroccan light fixture in a kitchen
Vintage Moroccan light fixture

I have a beautiful vintage Moroccan light fixture in my living room that I picked up in Bali. It didn’t work when I bought it. But I used a utility socket light fixture to hang through it. I didn’t have to get it rewired. Go to an antique store and find a phenomenal vintage fixture or drum shade and use it with a utility socket light. Drop the socket light through the vintage fixture and you have a whole new but old light.

3. Scale and dimension

There are a few key standard dimensions when it comes to lighting.

Pendant height


For pendants over a kitchen island or dining table, I will measure from the top of the surface to the bottom of that light fixture somewhere between 36 to 42 inches. That’s a comfortable range where you won’t hit heads on the light fixtures and you will be able to see well under the fixtures.

Wall sconces

Wall sconces

A good rule of thumb is to install the wall sconce somewhere between 7 feet and 7 feet and 6 inches up from the floor to the center of the fixture. The wall sconce won’t look too low or too high.

Lighting design tips

I could talk all day about lighting design tips. But these three tips are very useful. I hope you learned about some great ideas. Leave me a comment below if you like the idea of using those big bulbs in socket fixtures! We are using them in a lot of restaurant designs and they look just as cool in the home.

Join the conversation
3 of 12 comments
  • Ellen Beener Ellen Beener on Feb 07, 2024
    I love the idea of installing drop lamps for the ceiling or upper wall . The only issue I wonder about it is that they are permanent in place. What if you decide to re arrange your room ??? That nice hanging bulb will have to be moved also . ???? by an electrician...
  • Gisele Anderson Gisele Anderson on Feb 07, 2024
    I live in an apartment building . They will not permit drilling in the ceilings What else can I do ?