What to Consider When Updating Your Outdated Light Fixtures in Your Home?

People are always asking us,

  • How do I prepare to update the lighting in my home?
  • Should I replace my existing light fixtures with similar lights?
  • Should the look of all the light fixtures in my home match?
  • How much light will a particular light fixture produce?

All are great questions when choosing lighting!

Here are our top recommendations for you to consider when replacing or adding light fixtures in your home.

Choosing the Lighting Fixtures For Your Home

1) How do I use this room?

How much functional lighting do I need to do the things I do in this space, and does the amount of light need to change depending on the activity? I may want to curl up with a book under the light of a lamp, while at other times I need lights that brighten my room for entertaining friends, and then later I'll watch movie with my family and the lights have to be warm while not causing any glare on the television. All these various uses need to be designed into the lighting of the same room.

Hinkley Hover fan and sconces

Different activities require different lighting fixtures.

Reading requires a white directed light bulb while entertaining should inspire a mood with layers of accent lighting and texture created using shadows. Your home should be designed to create a perfect scene in any room for any occasion.

Make a fixture multi-functional with dimmers and switches.

A major part of that design is created by controlling your type of light with dimmers and switches. All on, all off is not very effective unless you're at the movie theater. You may want to install a dimmer control so you can change the light effect by using the same light fixture. It is easy to install a dimmer where an existing switch has been, but you will need to make sure the dimmer you choose is is compatible with the light fixture.

2) What electrical do I already have to work with when swapping out our light fixtures?

  • Do I already have a junction box in the middle of the room where I am planning to put the new light fixture?
  • Do I want to install recessed lighting fixtures?
  • Do I have existing ceiling fans with lights?
  • How will we pull power to new light fixtures?
  • What are the considerations for an outdoor light fixture versus an indoor light?
  • What light switch will control which light?
  • Do I have wall space to add sconces?
  • Will the wires from my sconces interfere with my art or mirrors?
  • Do I have nearby outlets in a functional location for my table lamps and floor lamps, or will the wires run across the travel path in my house and cause a hazard?
  • If I don't have electrical in place for the plans for additional lighting, is there existing power available for the new lights?

Ask an electrician about your lighting design.

It's a good idea to have an electrician come by for a free estimate. Many unforeseen challenges caused by light fixture updates can be caught in advance, including the following:

  • Drywall patching due to running electrical from a breaker box or other fixture.
  • Addressing concrete or ceilings with shallow depth behind drywall that may limit the LED recessed fixtures to fit.
  • For large projects, need to update a breaker box to allow for more light fixtures and other new items other than lights, such as appliances.

3) Should I match my lighting fixture styles?

Style is always a personal matter. If you do want fixtures to match each other, most decorative lighting comes as a collection which allows the designer to coordinate pieces (i.e wall light, ceiling light and chandelier, floor and table lamps, plus accent lighting) for several rooms. Choosing multiple pieces form the same design collection allows lighting to be a consistent design style without being exactly the same model of light throughout the rooms.

Hinkley Poppy Wall Sconces

Add some fun with your lighting design choices.

As much as it's tempting to stick to one collection from one lighting brand, the same lighting throughout a space is something you're more likely to see in a hotel than a home. Have some fun and find individual fixtures from different brands and collections that compliment each other and your space. The result will be a more inspired design for your room which is a unique expression of your taste in decor. Play with design, glass, shape, color and shades. That way it looks more curated as if you acquired each piece thoughtfully over time. There is nothing worse than buying an elegant piece like a breathtaking modern chandelier, and then matching it somewhere else. It is really no longer special if you have many of the same type of light fixture elsewhere. Make sure your light fixtures are timeless, no matter your style. Plan to have them outlast any current lighting trends. Most people live with their installed lighting fixtures for ten years or more. Limit trendy items to accents you will change more frequently like home decor accessories or pillows.

Bathroom lighting should match finishes.

Your bathroom lighting should match the bathroom hardware and finishes. You want to make sure there are plenty of light bulbs to brighten up this space. Choose a frosted glass to diffuse light and glare from light bulbs, which softens harsh shadows to create an even, natural look so you look perfect in the mirror. They even make mirrors for the bathroom that have LED lights built in.

Try something fun in the powder room. This space allows for an unexpected look that is playful or daring in a small space.

Bedroom lighting needs to be functional for multiple uses.

Your bedroom lighting should have many layers of light for all the ways you use this room: such as table lamps for reading, overhead recessed lighting for cleaning and putting away laundry, and a dimmer to relax and get ready to sleep. You want this room to provide functional light but also set the mood.

Family rooms are the multipurpose rooms of houses and need many lighting options.

Your family room or living room should also have layers of light. Consider each layer a functional category that add use options to the room.

  • Accent lamps or a side floor lamp with a LED bulb for reading.
  • Ceiling fans with light for general TV watching.
  • Recessed lighting for tasks or general illumination.
  • Dimmers and LED save energy so use these sources in rooms you use a lot.
Laundry room flush mount Hinkley fixtures

LED light bulbs or integrated lighting for bright areas where you get stuff done

  • Your spaces should provide the best lighting for the many ways you use them, and if you use them to cook or for a home office, you need to shop for best lighting solutions to help you work better. Your office and kitchen lighting should be LED as it produces less heat from the pendant or chandelier, while producing bright white light needed for each.

4) Obviously, price is a thing. Shop smart!

I say start with your key light fixtures in your home that will have the most impact, both for decor and for functional use. When you begin shopping, search for the chandeliers and pendants first. You can save money by limiting your lighting budget in the closets or secondary bedrooms you hardly ever use, but make sure the light fixtures provide enough light for the intended use of the spaces.

You get what you pay for.

Some of our most exclusive designer lighting brands include Hubbardton Forge, Visual Comfort, Hudson Valley Lighting, Hinkley and many more. Make sure you pay attention to the quality and material that your fixtures are made of, especially when you purchase outdoor lighting and indoor bathroom lighting. Inexpensive lighting is great if it is functional, but often spending a little more will result in lighting that you truly love that'll last years longer.

Note the manufacturer lighting warranties.

Some of the designer lighting brands offer a lifetime warranty on their light fixtures, which can be a wonderful investment if your lighting and fans are exposed to harsh elements like salt and sand from the beach.

Hinkley Carter Kitchen Pendants

5) Size matters, however there are really no hard and fast rules.

Dining room chandeliers or kitchen hanging pendants need to be at least 30"-36" off the surface of the table or counter top. To look right, a chandelier hanging in a dining room generally needs to be at least 6"-12" in from the sides of the table. Otherwise, it may be too close and feel like you might hit their head on the edge of the chandelier.

Choose size based on the surface it is lighting, not the whole room.

Pick your fixture to work with the table or surface, not the size of the room. Ideally all lighting fixtures should be a least 7 ft. off the floor if people are walking under them. It is code for a ceiling fan blades to be at least 7 ft. off the floor. Most sconces will work best mounted at 68" off the floor. Obviously you need to consider if the mounting is in the center of the sconce, or if it unusually mounts towards the top or bottom of the fixture.

Bathroom lighting position.

Bathroom fixtures over the vanity should ideally fit over the mirror but not too close to the ceiling.

Measure and take photos before shopping for lighting.

Measure the distance between the mirror and ceiling before heading out to your local lighting showroom. In fact, measure your ceiling heights, table or island sizes and take lots of pictures of all of your rooms so your local lighting store can do more than just imagine your space. We can see the style and look of your home and provide you with the best lighting options.

Hinkley Pendant White Lisa McDennon

6) What is the style you are trying to achieve?

Many times your lighting fixture will create the architectural style for your room or space. A chandelier or pendant may be the primary design element, besides painted walls and flooring, which provides the inspiration for the design for everything else in the room.

Farmhouse lighting

Materials such as wood, glass and iron are important in the Farmhouse style.

Coastal lighting

Seedy glass, natural textures and polished metals are key to the Coastal beachy style.

Minimalist, modern lighting

Contemporary, Mid Century and modern are generally a minimalist style so less is more. Shape and finish set the tone.

Check out the latest styles trending on our home page of our website.

Classic lighting

Are you going for a more elegant, classic look in your home? It may call for the purchase of wall sconces for the living room, dining room and hallway lighting too?


7) Lastly, where should you buy the best and most beautiful lighting fixtures?

Shop wisely. This is a process, so avoid a spontaneous purchase.

  • Start online and check our website, and your local lighting store.
  • Look at styles, shapes and colors.
  • Explore categories such as larger ceiling lights along with pendants.
  • Create a wish list page of the things that catch your eye so your salesperson can see your inspiration.
  • Visit a lighting showroom where staff are trained to make sure you will have bright light, the correct light bulb, the light fixtures will complement your style and you will get the best value for your purchase.
Hinkley Outdoor Lighting by the pool

Trust reputable lighting experts to find your perfect lighting solution.

Working with a retail lighting showroom should give you the confidence to purchase almost any lighting and ceiling fans you need for your home and save you time and money.

Our Lighting Specialists have an average of 15 years or more experience in the lighting industry. They are experts in retail and designer residential lighting. We invest in the showroom lighting fixtures so you can touch and see fixtures from a particular collection and the finishes of the different lighting brands.

Great online shopping options for lighting.

If you prefer to buy your lighting online, know that most local showrooms have a website with an online shopping cart too. Our prices are competitive.  We make things as easy for you as possible and can usually drop ship or provide curbside pickup for your lighting purchase.