Contemporary residential design tends to focus on the aesthetic of a product more than the intended performance. Whether it is a basin mixer, door handle, or light fitting, the form of the object seems to take priority over the function for most consumers. This is apparent by the saturation of products available in bathroom, lighting and hardware stores. The following are some functional aspects to consider for residential lighting when considering how to light various rooms in your house.

Dining Table 

Suspended light fittings on a dimmer allow you to create mood lighting similar to candles or increased light output when using the table for more utilitarian reasons, such as playing board games. You can’t beat a chandelier in my opinion, especially a classic version! It adds a point of focus, formality and interest over the dining area.

Living Areas 

I particularly like the way American coastal homes are lit by using table and floor lamps. This creates versatility through the day and seasons, and for specific uses such as watching TV or reading. It also provides flexibility to make changes as you move furniture.


A decorative suspended fitting over a kitchen island (similar to the dining table) creates focus and a feature. The kitchen in general, however, requires a uniform light level at worksurface height. Recessed or surface mounted ceiling fittings are best in these areas.

Bedroom Lights 

I still advocate for reading lights over a bed. Downlights in the ceiling can illuminate at reading height, without the clutter of fittings closer to the bed head if you prefer. A bedside light can also be suitable.

Bathroom Lighting 

The bathroom is the ultimate solace for atmospheric lighting! Dimmers, perforated,  lampshades, halo effects; they can create an instant effect similar to candles. Overall, I like the ability for lighting in a room to be changeable via the use of table/floor lamps, decorative suspended fittings on dimmers and surface/recessed utilitarian lighting.


Get in touch

Nick Leko is a Registered Architect with 20 years experience whose work includes residential design and build. If you have any questions on house renovations you would like him to address in Vibrant Hutt, get in touch.

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