how i approached lighting for our new home
When we were building our home, there were so many decisions to make. From the lot, floor plans, trim, doors, and windows. While all of those are important, my favorite part was the finishing touches. Paint colors, bathroom fixtures, hardwood floors and carpet. Tile and counter tops. And lighting.
Lighting was the most difficult part for me. I wanted it to reflect my style, but it can also be very expensive. Before I started, I set a budget just for the lighting. This budget helped me stay on track financially, but I still found the process overwhelming at times. I started looking for lights online, but I also wandered through lighting stores. While going to the stores was helpful, I was almost dizzy from the experience (which may be in part because you’re mostly looking up?!). I sought out opinions from various people but held true to the styles I wanted in our home. I ended up buying from both lighting stores and online. By install day, I was really happy with my choices AND I actually came in under budget!
I do recommend going to a lighting store and looking around. Write down styles and brands you like. But don’t buy them on the spot. One way I saved money is to find out the store's final price, as it can be lower than the tags hanging on all the lights. (If you’re doing a whole home or buying several, find out if there are any additional discounts.) Then I went home and shopped online. There are so many online only stores and their prices are very competitive. Many run sales around different holidays as well, and going through a site like Ebates may also get the cost down. The sites may also have different customer rewards or memberships that can help. One site had a rewards program and it always gave me an additional 10% off their lowest price, even on sales events or clearance. Once you know your best price online, you may want to go back to the lighting store and see what they can do for you. There are a few advantages to buying from a local store - having someone to help out with damaged lighting, storing and arranging delivery (may charge for delivery so check), and can offer advice through the process like knowledge on brands and sizes.
I did splurge on the lights I really wanted especially if they were in an area that I would see all the time or a key area of the house. For instance, I wanted the light I have over our dining table before we even planned to build a home. We have an open kitchen, dining and family room area so I see it all the time. And I found a beautiful light and decided to put it in the laundry room. I spend a lot of time in and out of that room plus it’s the room that you see when you go upstairs and look down the hall. But I saved in other areas. For instance, most of the closet lights are just plain, basic LED lights that we purchased from Home Depot. We took our pool table light from our previous home and brought it with us. Our fans in the guest bedroom and in a downstairs room are plain yet functional.
If you’re doing an entire home or several areas, I always found the fixtures I liked online and did a screen shot. I would compare the different lights and make sure the lights looked good/worked together. (This was a recommendation of my builder, who was so helpful throughout the build process). It also helped to have the brand and style numbers on file with these pictures so I could compare prices. One thing I learned while looking online is that sometimes certain fixtures come in various sizes or had a complementary style which I ended up liking better. Finally, keep size in mind. Make sure the light is big enough for that statement you want to make, but not too big that it overpowers the space.
We put ceiling fans in the bedrooms because we like the air movement during sleep, but even with fans you can show your style. Our master bedroom fan has matte silver blades with crystals covering the drum shaped light. Our daughter wanted something fancy, so we put a chandelier light kit on a plain white fan. The chandelier blends with the crystal accents on her bathroom fixture and cabinet hardware. Our son's bedroom took on a nautical look. so his fan looks like a propeller. We carried the nautical theme into his bathroom with his fixtures and cabinet hardware. There are so many unique fans out there that you can still have style and function. We also used recess lighting in areas where we need more light at times (like kitchen and family rooms, as well as outside by the garage).
My style may be completely different than yours, but I thought it might be helpful to show you how my lighting images go together for certain areas of our home. Whether you are re-doing one room or an entire house, I hope this was helpful and makes you inspired to look for something more unique or fun, yet still matches your personal style.