Lighting Tips & Ideas

Learn how to use lighting to brighten any space in your home.


Hi, I'm Jennifer, Associate Decorating Editor at Southern Living. The kitchen is the heart of the home and lighting is the key to setting that tone. A combination of decorative overhead lighting and strategic undermount lighting make a kitchen really cook. There are a few things to remember. Overhead lighting is of utmost importance in a kitchen. You need to be able to see what you're doing, so choose fixtures wisely. But don't overlook the opportunity to add some style to the space. [MUSIC] An iron chandelier hanging from exposed beams can give a rustic feel to the kitchen, and combined with scattered recess lights, will illuminate the room nicely. With a pair of drum pendants, you can create nice directional light over an island counter. In a wide open kitchen pendant lights, which might tend to be dim, won't be a problem if there's plenty of ambient light coming from connecting rooms. To soften the look of a space, try adding a pretty crystal chandelier. If necessary, you can compliment that with functional undermount lighting beneath the upper cabinets throughout. Adding functional undermount lighting can make your prep time more productive and pleasant. Hood lights and undermount cabinet lights are ideal to illuminate functional cooking spaces. If you need more light and want a pop of color, you can add a decorative lamp by the sink. Use undermount lighting in kitchen cabinets to show off dinnerware or a special collection. [MUSIC] For something new, try experimenting with LED discs. Super easy to install, these stick-on lights are perfect for lighting precise areas. Plus, they're energy efficient and use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent sources. [MUSIC] Make sure the fixtures and lighting style of your kitchen are harmonious with adjoining spaces like the dining room. Especially when a dining area flows into the kitchen, it's important to connect the lighting styles of the two spaces. If you place lamps in the dining area, make sure they compliment the fixtures in the kitchen workspace. Make lighting choices for dining rooms that emphasize atmosphere over functionality. Try an oversized candlelit lantern as a creative alternative to a tradition dining room fixture. The right lighting will go a long way to making your home beautiful, functional and comfortable for your family and guests. For more decorating ideas pick up a copy of Southern Living magazine and visit
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