A Lighting Guide For Your Home

Lighting can make or break a room. Its as simple as that. Actually bad lighting has such a strong impact that it can destroy the look and feel of a space as well.

I remember walking into a living room that I was working on (one of my first projects) for the first time at night instead of in the morning. We were pretty much finished with everything, but when I walked into the space at night, I immediately felt depressed, and then realized how much it mattered. It was so poorly lit that all of the pretty furnishings just disappeared into the darkness. Its a simple fix, but an important lesson to learn very early in my decorating career.

Huong's Living Room Makeover | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

For Huongs living room transformation, Huong was very particular about not wanting table or floor lamps and also wanted a spot to read on the couch. We added track lightingfor general brightness, a pendant light with a shade from IKEA for softness, and a swivel reading light that was turned into a pluggable wall sconce.

So when it comes to fixtures, there are lots of different options, but how do you go about picking the right one? And what else do you need to consider? Here are a few tips that Ive learned along the way that can help you achieve a well-lit and cozy home

Layer your lighting

I rarely rely on one source of lighting in a space. I usually end up using a few different combinations, including spotlights, table & floor lamps, sconces, task lighting, chandeliers and pendant lights, to set the mood and add some cozy vibes.

Overhead lighting (like spotlights) can help light up an entire room, but it becomes too harsh or bright if its your only source of lighting. This is when lamps (with shades) can come in handy, giving you a little bit more flexibility in controlling the ambiance. Floor lamps are also great to light up any awkward corners or walls as well.

While the floor lamp at the Pulitzer Amsterdam is totally a statement piece, it was also used to light up the trumpets on the wall. So smart!

Pick the Right Bulb

All bulbs were not created equal. Personally, I love soft white or warm white bulbs (Between 2700-3500 Kelvin this is listed on the side of the box), but never anything brighter or whiter than that. I actually never recommend white or fluorescent lighting in general as its way too harsh. Ive seen people use incredibly harsh white here to achieve full brightness, but you can easily do the same with a warmer bulb and not feel the stress from a white light (it seriously stresses me out!!).

Also try to make sure that you match all of your bulbs in terms of temperature. Make sure that theyre all soft white or warm white if thats what you went for. If you go for a light in the brighter spectrum, stick to that.

Yard Makeover After Yard Makeover After

Think about purpose and function

Have some artwork you want highlighted? You might need a picture light or a spotlight on it. Need enough light to be able to read in a room? Buy some task lighting like a desk lamp for some more focus. Different fixtures can serve totally different functions for your space, but should also work well with your existing furnishings.

However, that doesnt mean that you cant use a task light on your living room side table though. Sometimes you can do it just for the aesthetics!

Guest Bedroom

Think about how it fits in with the design

Its all about balance and cohesion. If youre adding a fixture, think about how it fits in with the current design of your room. Do you need it to blend in, do you want it to make a statement, or is it purely functional? I always think about the size and visual weight of my lamps before purchasing them.

If I want it to blend in, I go with understated and match the colors of the room. If I want bold, I go with substance or a unique design and use a contrasting color (or texture!). You can have lots of different styles, but they should work well together!

Our Guest Bedroom | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com Our Guest Bedroom | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

This pendant light fixture was originally gold and didnt work with the design in my guest bedroom, so I had it painted black so that it would work with the color scheme of the room and also be bold enough to be the perfect statement piece.

Add a dimmer when you can

Dimmers are critical for ambiance and can be a two-for-one kind of feature. If you want to be able to set a more romantic mood, a dimmer can help you dim the lights to do it. Yet it also allows you to brighten up spaces overall as well. I have a dimmer on my dining room chandelier and Im always adjusting it based on dinner needs, entertaining needs, or just cozy vibes needs.

Use A Lamp Shade

A lamp shade is probably the best way of achieving the softest light in a room. It doesnt really help if you want to read in that room (youll need task lighting), but itll definitely make you feel cozy. I usually go with white shades as it helps spread more light across the room. A darker shade usually makes for a moodier ambiance and will not spread as much light.

Kristina's Living Room Transformation | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com


  • I know that beam lighting with LED lights for overall lighting is quite popular here, but try to mix it up with some other light sources as well. You dont want that to be your only source of lighting in a room as it is often too bright for most family needs. Adding table lamps, floor lamps or even a chandelier can give you softer lighting options.
  • If you like a light and it doesnt have an existing plug, have an electrician make it into a pluggable light fixture for you. Ive used wall sconces from IKEA and converted them to pluggable fixtures to meet safety standards on our compound.
  • If youre living in a 110V home that has not been converted to 220V, you can use a 220V lamp from the local market, get an adapter to get it to fit into the 110V plugs, and thenuse a 110Vbulb in the lamp. Almost all of my lamps are 220V with 110V bulbs (as I still have a 110V house) in them and they work just fine! Even my chandelier was purchased from here and I just put in 110V bulbs they even dim!
  • West Elm and Pottery Barn are having major issues shipping lamps into the Kingdom. Until this is sorted, if you need their lamps, you will need to shop at their Bahrain stores. If the item is unavailable in Bahrain, you can check Pottery Barn or West Elms UAE stock and order it to the Bahrain stores. Unfortunately, the only inconvenience here is that you will have to physically pay and have it delivered to the Bahrain store if they dont have it in stock there.
Kristina's Living Room Transformation | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com Kristina's Living Room Transformation | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

If your existing light fixture is not in the spot you need it to be, buy a pendant light and use a hook to hang it over the spot where its needed!

Next week Ill have a post with some of my current favorite light fixtures in Kingdom! Hope this was helpful and have a beautiful weekend!

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