I like to layer my creations whether it’s a fashion ensemble or an interior design scheme, and I look at lighting as jewelry that accessorizes a room. You see, lighting has decorative as well as functional purposes. After assessing the general needs of a space, I focus on addressing secondary lighting for mood and atmosphere, adding specialty pieces. I love surprises, a bit of whimsy, and in some cases, bling. Lighting should be more than just adequate. It should add beauty to a room.

Since most rooms perform a variety of functions, they need a variety of fixtures. Choices may
be limited by the height of your ceiling, your design scheme, location of outlets, and the style of your home.

Just like putting together a fashionable outfit where jewelry and accessories are selected last, before selecting a room’s “jewelry”, it’s important to determine the space’s function by first considering the results you need to achieve room by room.

General Illumination is always addressed first. It is the foundation from which the layering of your lighting plan is built. The most common example is the ceiling fixture located in the middle of a room, or lighting recessed in the ceiling in a grid or specific pattern. Fixtures can be flush mounted, recessed, monorail (track), or hanging.

Task Lighting reinforces general illumination. Its purpose is to focus light in a specific direction to illuminate activities. They are used in kitchens for food preparation, in living rooms, bedrooms, and any room for reading, and bathrooms for shaving or putting on make-up. Although task lighting is deemed utilitarian, fixtures can be very decorative, and enhance a room’s overall decor. 

Specialty Lighting consists of accent pieces that are used to highlight, provide drama and effect. Wall mounted sconces fall into this category.

Decorative Lighting creates the mood and atmosphere of a room as well as adding beauty and comfort. The character of a fixture’s design, shape and size can make or break an entire decorative scheme. Table lamps offer the greatest flexibility.

General Installation Tips:
Chandeliers and pendants should hang 36” above dining tables or counter surfaces

Ceiling wall washers and spots are most flattering and functional 18” from the wall

Reading lamps 54” from the floor so the eyes don’t get any glare from the bulb

Ceiling fans are OUT! Substitute a stunning chandelier

I welcome your questions and comments. Email Robin Lechner Designs at  or visit my website for more decor and design ideas.

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