This might be boring to most people, but I get asked this all the time and it can make such a difference. It will also save you so much time shopping and save you the aggravation of sending or taking your light back.
Entry way lighting
At least 4 feet from walls (for more precise measurement Length + Width + Height of Room in Feet = Fixture size in Inches (L + W + H = Fixture in Inches))
At least 7 foot from floor to bottom of fixture
Raise light 2 to 3″ for each foot of ceiling height over 8′
For a 2 story ceiling, hang no lower than the point of the 2nd floor
If there is a window on the 2nd story light should hang in the center of that window
Hanging Pendants over an Island
At least 30″ apart
30 to 36″ above island counter top
at least 12 to 15 inches from edge of island
Dining Room Lighting
Should be no more than 2/3 of your dining room table
30 to 36″ over dining room table to bottom of light for an 8′ ceiling (raise light 3″ for every additional foot of ceiling height)
At least 12″ narrower than width of the table
If you have a smaller chandelier that takes up 1/4 or less the width of the table or if you have an extremely long table, consider two identical chandeliers spaced evenly from each other and the ends of the table.
3 different sources of lighting in a room is important so don’t forget the sconces and lamps!
Lighting in Center of Room
Length + Width / 12 = Size of Light (so if room is 10 by 14 light should be 2 feet in diameter)
Use two ceiling lights or more, if room is very long or big
A fixture every 8 to 10 feet
Hang 7 feet off the floor
Sconces 5 feet off the floor
Clearance between the bottom of the light and the tallest occupant should be 18 to 24 inches
Fixture should be mounted directly over the mirror
Leave anywhere from 3 to 8 inches of room on either side of mirror
Flanked sconces or flanked pendants should be 5 feet above floor or eye level, after all it is your bathroom (or 66″ above the floor to the center of the light)
Sconces or pendant lighting should be at least 28 inches apart, use your eye on this one.
Sconces or pendants SHOULD NOT be your only source of lighting
Standard height is 7′ from the floor
If you are hanging the light over the bed make sure you have at least 6″ of clearance when kneeling on the bed.
When choosing a table lamp for a nightstand, the bottom of the shade should be just below eye level when you are sitting next to it.
For swing arm sconces – get in your normal reading position, and measure from the floor to just above shoulder height – this measurement is a good mounting height for your sconces
Sconces can also be mounted over the headboard so that the light shines down over your shoulder much like overhead lighting.
Outdoor Pendant Lighting and Flush Mount Lighting
Bottom of pendant 6″ above the door
1/5 Height of door
Bottom of flush mount 6″ above the door
Flush mount .25 for single door and .33 for double door
Outdoor Wall Lighting
.20 to .25 the size of the door if using a light on each side
You can go up to .33 if using only one light on side of door
Center of fixture 66″ from the floor
Outdoor Post Lighting
Fixture size 1/4 of the pole size
Pole height 5.5 to 6.5′ exposed pole
Underground 1.5 to 2′ pole installation
Additional Outdoor Lighting
Lighting on small paths should be every 8 to 10 feet
Additional Lighting Tips
When choosing a lampshade for a lamp, the shade should be about 2/3 the height of your base and double the width of the base.
Use soft pink light bulbs in your living room and bedroom. It gives a beautiful, soft glow.
Remember, these are just guidelines. Go to these for help when you are not sure.
My motto is know your rules so you can break them!!!!
If you just go hanging things willy nilly because you have no idea how it should look, you are screwed. But if you practice these general guidelines to get an idea on how to put it all together, when the perfect time comes to do something different or out of boundaries you will know and pull the trigger. The unexpected is always fun, but it isn’t unexpected if you don’t have a cohesive, eye pleasing flow through your house.
Here are is an example of mistakes I made early on, because I didn’t know my lighting rules. First picture light is too small for the room. Second picture light is too low and we are always hitting our head on it.
I love this light, but it is too small for the room.
I also love this Ballard Designs light but we hit our head on it all the time. It is too low without a table under it.
As an equestrian with lots of equestrian friends I thought an emphasis on a gallery wall would be a good idea, as all of us riders have lots of horse jumping photos usually scattered around the house. Below are some good tips and guidelines for a cohesive look to follow. A big mistake I see all the time are random family photos (or horse photos) on a wall way too big for the photo or photos in display. Another mistake I see are a grouping of photos spaced too far apart.
I love personal photos and have many. To make them come together I made gallery walls in my house. I certainly did not want to splurge on new frames so I kept them to 3 colors (using lots of spray paint) black with different finishes, gold, and wood. See photos below;
I enjoy mixing art, mirrors, and other items with my family gallery wall as long as frames and sizing go together. Throwing in an oval or round frame also is a nice added touch. To begin my gallery wall, I started with my largest piece of art and worked outward from there. Most designers suggest to use exact spacing to make the look cohesive. Another good idea is laying your art on the floor first or drawing on a piece of paper. I myself was too gung-ho so I decided to just wing it. I started out measuring but after I mis-measured numerous times, I just guesstimated. It seemed to work out just find. Some pieces I needed exact and took more time with them.
Helpful tips to creat a gallery wall:
Space each photo approximately same amount apart
Make photos cohesive by narrowing frames down to a few colors
Add in art, mirrors, or anything else that is special to you.
Start with your largest or most important piece and work outward, as it will automatically become the focal point when done in this manner.
Use what you have!
More useful links for creating the perfect gallery wall: