Wise Design with Accent Lighting

Not to be sacrilegious or anything, but as a designer, I have to admit that one of my favorite quotes from the Bible has to be…”Let There Be Light” (there are other good quotes in there to be sure…but this is a design blog after all). Anyway, You-Know-Who knew what She was doing when uttering Those Words. Where there is no light…there can be no beauty. And where there is a perfect light fixture, my friends, there is also a great piece of eye candy in the room. Here’s a quick guide.


This time honored way to add elegance to the dining room is now wonderfully showing up as a fitting flourish in living rooms and bedrooms and really – any area of the home. Down lighting from a chandelier provides ideal task lighting for homework, projects and family time – not just ambiance for the glow of dining room candles. Speaking of dining room chandeliers, the 11th commandment (of interior design) is to hang the chandelier at about 30” above the table, and it should be about 6” narrower on the table on both sides. This is a tool…not a rule. Sometimes I wiggle this one around depending on the fixture and furnishings.

A gorgeous chandelier elegantly lights this family room.


These provide both accent lighting and task lighting for kitchen counters, game tables, work areas, powder rooms and home bars. Same rule of thumb for hanging height. These can be anything from quiet, strong and silent – or truly pieces of jewelry in a room – “the wow factor” as I think Yvonne DeCarlo said to somebody in a scene in “The Ten Commandments.”

Pendants add beauty and light to your kitchen workspace

Wall Mounted Fixtures:

Larger rooms and open floor plans have increased the popularity of these fixtures. They can add drama to a master bedroom, are wonderful in a center hall, in a long upstairs hall.  As a rule of thumb, you can mount them roughly 62”-72” above the floor.

Wall mounted fixtures make this a great reading spot.

Bath Fixtures:

The focus on the bath as a luxury spot provides great opportunity for lighting. Small mirrors can be illuminate with side fixtures (60” above floor height) for a soft wash of light across the face, or you can select one of today’s larger vanity fixtures and have it mounted directly into an oversized vanity mirror.

Vanity lights add sparkle to your bath.

One of the first things to date a room’s decor are the window treatments and the light fixtures. You’d be amazed at what a new fixture can do to refresh one of your favorite rooms. Let there be light!

All rooms above have been designed by Interiors by Donna Hoffman. For more lighting design inspiration, please visit our website: