What is the one thing I wish I could change in every home? More light! Walking into a listing And believe it or not I’m not the only one. There are university classes taught on just lighting and an entire industry built around it. I won’t go into too much detail (lumens, solid angles, and candelas oh my!) just be assured that the lighting in your home can have a huge effect on how people respond to your space. And if something is that important why ignore it? Let us show you why lighting should be easy as cake.


Without getting too nerdy, we need to go over the three main types of light sources in your home. Why do you need to know this stuff? Lighting is like a layer cake. To make a cake (or a room) as tasty and pretty as possible you need a little bit of everything. Would you really want to eat a cake with no frosting? Or bite into a piece with just decoration? Just like my favorite dessert you need balance in the ingredients to get the best result.


Cake – General/Ambient lighting – The defused light that allows you to see the whole space. Usually the overhead light fixture. This is the first building block of any layer cake or space. Without it the cake isn’t a cake and your living room feels like a cave. All good design starts here.

Icing – Accent lighting – The light used to create a focal point, add drama, or increase the overall light level in a space. These are your table lamps, sconces, floor lamps, etc. This is like icing, it fills in the holes in the cake or ambient lighting left. It also can be decorative and fun.

Decorative finishes – Task lighting – The bright direct light for a specific use. Usually used in kitchens for food prep or in a home office for reading. This is like the ‘happy birthday’ written on top of the cake, it tells you why the heck you’re eating cake. It’s the purpose of the cake, the food prep in the kitchen if you would.

So now that you have the pieces that can create a yummy, err, effective lighting design how do you put it together? It all depends on what room you’re trying to light. However, each room in addition to natural light needs an overhead (ambient) fixture, a sconce/table lamp or two (accent), and something to either help with a task or highlight art/mirrors/your grandmother’s china (task). Another good rule of thumb is the less natural sunlight you get the more man-made light you need. That’s also true for how much you use the space, you’ll need more overall light in the living room or kitchen then you will in the foyer or hallway. Want more detailed tips for each space? Better Homes & Gardens has a great guide! Also, check out this guide on hanging lights & their dimensions by Studio McGee


What does all this mean for your home staging? (See I didn’t forget!) What you need to do is walk through your space and assess what rooms could benefit more or adjusting the light. The best way to do this is going outside and let your eyes adjust to the sunlight, once you go inside you’ll easily spot places that need some lighting love. Your goal is to make your space (especially the first few rooms) look warm, bright, and inviting. Then (even if you have to borrow lamps from your friends) add the additional fixtures and adjust until you’re happy. The most important time during the sales process for light? When photographs are being taken.

Hopefully, you found this article helpful! This is step 2 of our 7 steps to staging your home. Click here to check them all out!