Let There Be Light: How To Systematically Update The Lighting In Your Home

In this post:  Looking for a way to update your home on a budget?  Use this budget planner to systematically update the lighting in your home.

Do you ever see those amazing Pinterest dining rooms and just wish you had a dining room that looked that amazing?  I know I do!  Usually the big difference between an everyday nice looking dining room and one with real star power is the lighting.  Sort of like an all black outfit looks alright until you put on an amazing necklace that just pops against all that black and suddenly you are chic and stylish.  Light fixtures can make all the difference in a room.

If you are feeling like new lighting would be great but it seems like the whole house needs a lighting face-lift and you just don’t know where to start, you’re not alone sister.  Whether you are in a brand new home filled with builder grade lighting (like me) or have lived in your house for many years, updated lighting can make a world of difference and give you some real bang for your buck.

With new light:


Before new light



Quite a difference right?  Today, I put together a comprehensive lighting guide on updating the lighting in your home one step at a time.  I’ve included a budget at the end of this post you can print off and use to guide you through the process.  Using this comprehensive lighting guide, you’ll be able to update the lighting in your home in phases while sticking to the right budget for your home’s value.

The Importance of Current Lighting In Home Value

According to the web site Bankrate, improving the lighting in your home to more current styles and trends is one of the top 10 ways to add value to your home for cheap.  It’s relatively easy to switch out light fixtures and with all the options in both big box home improvement stores and online, the price and options are somewhat endless.  Here are a few of my favorite dining room chandeliers all under $200.

*Affiliate links used please see my full disclosure

Industrial Vintage Light

5 Lights Metal Hanging Fixture

Rustic Wooden Chandelier

Set A Lighting Budget and Stick To It

It is really easy to get carried away with lighting and before you know it, you’ve put an $800 Swarovski crystal chandelier in your cart when you really had set a $300 budget.  I get it.  I’m the first to confess I can search and click away until I’ve justified increasing my budget because it’s “the one”.  Truly, with my comprehensive lighting guide, you could move forward with the over-budget fixture but the budget will have to be modified somewhere else then.

Swarovski Crystal Trimmed Chandelier! Crystal Chandelier H38" W37"

Swarovski Crystal Chandelier

My recommendation is to stick to an overall budget of about 1% of your home’s value.  You can give or take a little bit here and there, but you really don’t want to update with much more than that.  That means a home valued at $300,000 would have an overall lighting budget of $3,000.  A $900,000 home would have an overall lighting budget of $9,000.

Updating lighting is an easy project.  However, if you are in doubt of your abilities, hire an electrician and figure that in to your budget.  Electricity is no joke and you don’t want to take any chances.  It is always better to be safe than it is to be sorry.  #shespeakstruth

Implement New Lighting In Phases

In my comprehensive lighting guide, I’ve divided home lighting up into four distinct phases.

  • Phase 1:  Update lighting for comfort.  This would include rooms where you need to have a ceiling fan or rooms where the lighting is lacking and it makes the room hard to use in the evening.  Always start with function before moving on to pretty.  I know that is hard though!  Living in Florida, a ceiling fan is a necessity even though I would love to have a pretty chandelier in our bedroom.


  • Phase 2:  Update lighting in common spaces.  This would include any room guests at your home for a dinner party would enter.  For example, dining room, living room, kitchen, powder room etc….  Overall, 60% of your lighting budget should be spent on rooms that fall in the public/common spaces in your home.


  • Phase 3:  Update lighting in private spaces.  If you didn’t put ceiling fans in bedrooms, now is the time to put in pretty lights in the master bedroom, guest bedrooms, master bath etc….


  • Phase 4:  Update utilitarian lighting.  This is an optional phase.  This would be lighting in rooms like the laundry room, pantry, and closets.

Consider Scale, Finish, and Style

Although there are less rules in terms of matching finishes than there used to be, try to keep a cohesive look in your home.  Try to keep each room in your house in the same style of fixture.  If you love traditional, go traditional in all the rooms.  If you love the newer transitional pieces, go transitional in all the rooms.

In my comprehensive lighting guide, I’ve provided you with all the “rules” in terms of where lights should hang and how far off the table they should go.  It can be hard to visualize a light in your space so having the right range of dimensions written down will help guide you to the correct scale for your room.  There is a trend happening right now that I think will continue for quite some time…over-sized lighting.  Look at what Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn have been showing.

Image result for restoration hardware dining room

Image result for pottery barn dining room

We are lucky to live in a time where there are rules but the rules can be broken.  We can think of the lighting in our home as our own personal expression of our style.  How cool is that?

I promise, making simple lighting updates to your home can have a big impact.  Updated lighting can make furniture that looks tired come back to life.  It can make a kitchen that looks ho-hum, sing a new song.  It can cast sparkles around a room that will make your dinner guests feel like they are dining at the Bellagio.

The best part?  You can do it in phases and before you know it your house will be up to date and ready to wow ’em.

Don’t forget to download your Comprehensive Lighting Guide below and have a fabulous day!

CLICK HERE:  Systematic Lighting Update Planning Sheet

Comprehensive Lighting Guide

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  1. Susie

    March 10, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Nancy — terrific post!! It is just chocked full of helpful info for me as I am getting the lighting replacement journey underway in my own home. Well, well done! Susie from The Chelsea Project

  2. distance education

    April 2, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    It’s difficult to find experienced people about this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!


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