The Best Home Lighting – for Less!

Hi Everyone,

Before we get into the best home lighting – for less, thank you so much for all of your suggestions for the staircase railing and adjacent French doors.

While many ideas are fantastic, they’re not possible due to the prohibitive expense of moving structure and the stringent space limitations.


Mostly, I do these posts not so much for advice (unless I ask for it), ;] But to share my process and plans.


This is with the hope that you’ll enjoy seeing it, and for some, there might be some helpful info you can use now or later. Or, maybe you’ll have a friend or a family member with a similar situation.

For example, you might not have considered doing a metal door that looks like it’s made of wood or one with mirrored glass.


Now, for a renovation update before we get to the best home lighting.


While it might look that way, I am not designing/changing things as I go along. The staircase hasn’t been approved yet. So, no final design can be created until that happens.

The doors are up to me. I can live without them, but overnight visitors will appreciate the doors. Plus, it’s a requirement to call this a legal two-bedroom.


As an aside, I met the woman who owns my mirror-image-sister apartment in the building next door.


We walked home together after an event several months ago, and she invited me inside. Well, get this. Her kitchen with white cabinets and a black and white checkerboard floor is in the corresponding space that occupies my den/second bedroom.

If it weren’t for giving up the valuable second bedroom, having the kitchen in that location would be fantastic! However, the property value would plummet considerably, in addition to the immense upfront expense.


What would the old kitchen be?


Well, it can’t be a legal bedroom because, of course, there are no windows. But, if closed off (which is also problematic), it could be a den/home office/spare sleeping area. The room measures 7′-10″ x 11′-7″.

One day, I will share my plans for the den/second bedroom.

The demo (except for the stairs and new door area) is complete.

If you missed the photos I took of the demo, you can see them here.


The construction has not started, but it will be happening soon.


340 square feet of premium white oak hardwood flooring will be delivered Monday or Tuesday.

It will acclimate itself in the apartment for a few days and then get installed. Then, the new walls will begin going up.


The kitchen cabinets made by Crown Point Cabinetry are arriving Friday morning!


No, they aren’t ready to install them. I know I’m going to be crying happy tears when that happens. I have to say, however, that working with Crown Point has been an absolute joy every step of the way.




Okay, the best home lighting is a topic I’ve written about several times.


Please check out this post from December 2021 about the number one lighting mistake.

This post from November 2016 is about the most common lighting misconception.

Frankly, I should write about the best home lighting at least once a season because I feel, along with the architecture, those two things are the most important aspects of interior design.


I do recommend that you take a look at those two posts. However, I know that most of you won’t. haha


So, for those who can’t be bothered don’t have the time, ;] I’ll summarize some of the biggest lighting mistakes.

  • The majority of homes I’ve been in, light their rooms from the ceiling down.
  • Or, they have insufficient light.
  • Sometimes, the lighting is overly bright in some places, and shadowy dark lighting is in other parts of the room.

This produces  a lot of glare.

I say “some” because I know some beautiful LED bulbs exist. However, I haven’t yet tried them.


So, how do we get the best home lighting? Should we look at what the pros do?


Normally, I would say “yes” for pretty much everything BUT lighting.

Here’s the reason why. Whoever edits the images often crops some of the lighting out, or else they remove it before taking the photo because it’s in the way or they’d rather stick a plant or a vase there.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen an image with a fairly broad view of the space, and all I can see is one lamp. No way!


So, let’s go over the basic rules for the best home lighting.


Since this is a blog post, please consider getting if you don’t already have it, my guide 333 Decorating Rules and Tips (You Need to Know). There is much more specific information in that guide.

For now, let’s focus on the main living spaces.

We will go over kitchen lighting in another post.


Let’s say you already have recessed downlights.


Yes, you can use them, but very dimly for ambient light. All switches should be dimmable, and all fixtures should be dimmable, as well.

Another thing you can do is change the trim in the recessed lights that directs the angle of light and other variations. That belongs on a post specific to recessed-down lighting, I need to write.

The funny thing about recessed down lighting is it would be better if the lights were recessed into the floor and were uplights. This is because the light will go up and bounce back down, especially if the ceiling is white or a pale color.


The most important thing to get the best home lighting is to light the room’s corners.


Yes, that means that only lighting the center in a room larger than a hall or small entry is going to create harsh shadows.

So, placing table or floor lamps near the four corners might be all you need for a room of about 200-250 square feet.

Of course, you can always do more.

You might need a task table or floor lamp if you need more focused lighting. However, a regular table lamp will also do the trick.


In addition, I also adore wall sconces and am going to be using a lot of them in my own home.


So far, I plan to add 18 wall sconces and replace the two super-cheap ones in the upstairs bathroom.

I also plan to add three new chandeliers and replace the three existing ones. However, the one in the den might have to wait.


Wait, Laurel. Did you say you’re going to have 20 wall sconces?  Where?


Okay, I can only talk about the living room sconces today. Five of the wall sconces are actually picture lights. However, you can also use them as wall sconces. I just got all five of them on sale at Visual Comfort!

Please click on this image for more information.


These are marked down from $499 to $269 and with FREE SHIPPING!

We’ve already talked about the Anglo-Indian sconces. There are four of those upstairs. So, nine of the sconces are in the living room.

double x stair railing blue-gray chairs mirrored doors Sara Chandelier - best home lighting
Three of the picture light sconces are going on the stair wall, way up high.

By the way, while the location is on the architectural drawings, I like to show up when the electrician is there to help him mark the exact spot for the light boxes to go. I do the same thing when hanging chandeliers.


my fireplace wood mantel 48 h x 56 w - mirror 50 rendering July 2023 - best home lighting
The other two picture light sconces will go over the artwork flanking the fireplace.


This magnificent sale so tickles me; I will share a widget of a few dozen of my favorites in a sec.


Some of these are “last call” items, meaning they are about to be retired from the line. But, the majority are what they call “open-box.” An open-box sale could mean the items were returned. However, sometimes, I think it might be an overrun of a product they need to unload to make room for new items.

A returned item usually means the purchaser changed their mind or ordered more than they needed.

Wayfair has some incredible open-box sales. I got my gorgeous bathroom console vanity at an open box price almost as low as a stocking dealer price. You can see a similar vanity to mine on the HOT SALES Bed and Bath page. 

This reminds me. Serena and Lily have their gorgeous custom upholstered furniture on sale, including their upholstered beds.

You can see some of my favorites on the main HOT SALES page and the beds on the Bed & Bath page.


***The S & L Upholstery Sale is ending at 11:59 pm (PT) on 8/21/23


In addition to the sconces, I have the two table lamps in the back.

And, I would love that chandelier. I just contacted the vendor on 1stdibs regarding a trade price.

We’ll see… I’ve learned we really can’t hope for too much. Plus, the “Don’t you know who I am?” is so not a good look. lol Very few people in the home furnishings industry read blogs. That is, except for Bunny Williams.


Anywho… below are some images with light fixtures in the upcoming widget.


Jean Stoffer - Benjamin Moore Cement Gray Ada Modern Classic - no-fail kitchen cabinet colors - fantastic Visual Comfort best home lighting pendant lights

Above and below from Jean Stoffer. She also has some fantastic lighting on sale which you can see here.

family room with low coffer 8-foot ceiling height - new addition - best home lighting

One of them is the beautiful Reed Hanging Shade which I did 15 years ago for one of my favorite clients in her kitchen/family room new addition eating area. You’ll find the pendant in the widget.

Stoffer Home - Visual Comfort best home lighting

Above, more cool Visual Comfort Lighting in Jean Stoffer’s elegant shop.

Mark D Sikes dark blue bathroom with cool Visual Comfort Sconces and Made Goods Norma mirror - best home lighting

And one of my favorite powder rooms ever by Mark D. Sikes. Those sconces are in the widget and on sale!

If you’re looking for that mirror, you can find it here. It’s the Norma Mirror by Made Goods. It comes in three or four different sizes.


Best neutral color scheme - white walls - Steve Cordony - Rosedale Farm Living room - blooming branches-gateleg table

You will also see the cool Kelly Wearstler lamp in Steve Cordony’s home, in the widget.

Please follow Steve’s incredible Instagram account.

More posts with helpful ideas for the best home lighting:


You might also enjoy this post about 22 living room lighting rules you need to know.

And Why is Kitchen Lighting So Hard to Get Right?


Please enjoy the widget below with beautiful light fixtures for the best home lighting.


Most are directly from Visual Comfort, but in addition to Jean Stoffer, there are a few from Serena and Lily.


To be continued…


Please check out the recently updated HOT SALES!

There is now an Amazon link on my home page and below. Thank you for the suggestion!

Please note that this website is a free service. However, it’s very expensive to run. To provide this content, I rely on you, the kind readers of my blog, to use my affiliate links whenever possible for items you need and want. There is no extra charge to you. The vendor you’re purchasing from pays me a small commission.

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13 Responses

  1. Hi Ramona, I am in N California too and have not heard of this happening. I wonder if it was a defective batch of flooring because that is such a weird thing. There is a test & treatment to do before gluing wood on a slab to be sure moisture doesn’t come through but it is such a basic treatment of the slab that I am sure your contractor did it. I wish you the best of luck, house maintenance and remodeling are so flipping hard and then to have something like this happen is just a horror story. I agree with the other poster who mentioned your home owners insurance and the contractor’s and flooring company’s insurance. This is why they have insurance – for things like this.
    Best of luck to you!!!

  2. I love Visual Comfort lighting. I just placed a huge order with them (thank god, my DIL is a designer and she got me her prices) for my new build. Their quality is great! I ordered 5 of the cabinet maker’s lights like you are getting, a dining room chandelier, the Chapman & Myers crackled glass sconces (4 of them – ouch!) for the master bath vanities, 2 of the Joan sconces – so cute to go over the guest room headboards for those who like to read in bed, and a bunch of outdoor lighting. Can’t wait to see it all installed!!

  3. Ramona, My friend had a similar problem happened to her. Turned out the foundation wasn’t ever sealed from the outside as it should have been. So moisture was seeping in to the foundation from the ground and up through the floor. You may need to check this out with yours as well.

  4. This is in response to Ramona’s post.

    I’m so sorry you’re having problems with your new flooring. A renovation is difficult enough without serious problems months later.

    Given the excess moisture identified by the inspector, the black spots could very well be mold. You should contact a mold remediation specialist for an evaluation. No one should have to live with a health hazard like mold.

    You should also contact the contractor’s insurance company and submit a claim. Ditto for the flooring manufacturer.

    You also may want to contact your homeowner’s insurance carrier for advice as to how to proceed.

    If you don’t get satisfactory results, look for a consumer fraud attorney. Many states have consumer fraud laws that award a successful plaintiff triple damages and attorney fees. Hope it doesn’t come to that and that your contractor steps up and replaces the floor.

  5. My hesitation with sconces is how much it might restrict furniture placement. Are there any rules of thumb for that?

  6. Hi Laurel, I have been an avid reader of your blog for close to five years and really enjoy it. I used to live in the Boston area and would go to Zimmans in Lynn MA for beautiful fabrics and furniture. Have you heard of it? I sure do miss it now that I moved to South Carolina (but not the snow). I think you would really enjoy browsing that store. Can’t wait for your next renovation post. Your choices and process are so inspiring. I too am renovating my kitchen and having a blast (mostly) picking out all the pretty stuff. Nicole

  7. Oh boy, I don’t really want to post off topic, but I need some hand holding and maybe some of you could advise me. In November, I had the wall to wall ripped out of my retirement home in Northern California. I am allergic and need a hard surface. I found a stunning light maple engineered floor. My contractor did a lot of other things in the house and the floor was the second to last thing to be installed.

    It is now turning black in spots all over the house. A flooring inspector was here on Friday. There is moisture everywhere, even under the floor that has not yet turned. I am stunned and stressed beyond belief. Both the flooring inspector and my contractor are really nice guys who basically told me to sit tight until the cause is determined.

    This floor was glued directly over a slab foundation. We used very high quality glue, but the inspector told me that even the way the glue was troweled on could be an issue.

    Basically, the brand new wood is already rotted. (I can’t even type that sentence without cringing).

    Any ideas would be welcomed. I triple checked whether it should have an underlayment. Basically, it should not have an underlayment.

    I was getting ready to send Laurel some pictures of what I had done. Now, I am back to a construction zone. We are not even going to talk about the cost and my disappearing retirement budget.

    Dear Laurel, you will be able to see your influence (I think) in my choices.

    I really want that picture light you purchased, but even that tiny amount is something I dare not spend at this moment. I want to use it over my most precious Sumi painting, a set of purple Iris which is, I believe, museum quality even though the artist, my friend, was not recognized as she should have been.

    If needed, further inspections of the problem will likely cost a bundle and lead to I know not what legal issues.

  8. Oh boy! I love lighting! Once I get my bedroom plan down, an electrician will be brought in for sconces. Currently I don’t even have a furniture placement nailed down. So it may be some time. But you got me excited.

  9. Laurel, The part about lighting that I think is the hardest part, for us DIY designers ;-), is SCALE! I have seen so many light fixtures that are too small for a space so I wanted to be sure my new kitchen pendents were large enough …and oops they are too large. And also expensive, so I am living with them for now. Any hints about how to get the scale right would be appreciated.

  10. I am thoroughly enjoying your posts and at the same time rather relieved that I’m not the one in the midst of another remodel. I still have nightmares about living (with 3 kids and a dog) while adding on a 1000 square foot 2 story addition to our home where the entire side of our house was open and draped in that wonderful blue roofing vinyl.
    So just a quick question here – is it possible to include a quick link to your floor plan on the right hand side of your post? I tried the search feature but couldn’t retrieve the plans and I was trying to remember where your den/second bedroom is located.

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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