Modernize and Update the Lighting in Your Home

Modern living room with fireplace and wooden floor
Andreas K__rner / STOCK4B / Getty Images

Bring more light to your home with these tips. From bulbs and switches to fixtures and lamps, simple changes will help to brighten things up.

Difficulty: Average

Time required: Varies

Here's How

  • Install dimmer switches on as many lamps and light fixtures as you can. In the bathroom, you can create a soothing mood for bathing. A bedroom becomes more romantic. You'll have control over the intensity of light around your home and save energy at the same time.
  • For dark corners, use metal can up-lights. They can be purchased in a variety of styles and only need to be plugged in, with the light directed at the dark area. These are small and work great in a potted floor plant or on the top of a chest or armoire. Be sure to camouflage the fixture and just enjoy the light.
  • Install under-cabinet light strips in the kitchen, desk area, or workroom. The light will shine directly on the work area and make any task easier. Switch them off when you leave the job.
  • Add a decorative lamp to a bookshelf. It will not only break up the long line of books but make it easier to find what you're looking for.
  • Place a small decorative lamp in the kitchen or bathroom, tucked into a corner. (Be sure to keep it away from any water!) It can serve as a night light but also be decorative.
  • Be sure that every room in your home has a light connected to a dimming wall switch at the entrance. You'll be able to turn it on when you walk into the room, then adjust the lighting as you find your way.
  • If your table space is limited, install a reading light on the wall near the bed or lounge chair. Reading will be a pleasure!
  • Remove boring ceiling fixtures and install can lights around the room. While you might need to bring in professional help for this one, it will be well worth it! You can direct the light to artwork, reading nooks, or workspaces.
  • Light your artwork with small fixtures attached to the top. There are many styles designed just for lighting art. Find them at a local home center, attach it to the frame of the art, and plug into the wall.
  • Install a dimming wall switch to control the light and fan on a ceiling fan. For even more convenience, purchase and program a remote control to turn the light or fan on and off.
  • Install a motion sensor on outdoor light fixtures to control the light when people walk too close to the house. Or, at a dark hallway or staircase, or in the garage or attic so that you never have to enter the space in the dark.
  • Add a light sensor to an outdoor light. You'll have light whenever it's dark outside, but the light will go off at daybreak.


  • Use a lamp, up-light, and ceiling fixture all in one room. The layers of light will add interest and provide numerous lighting options.
  • Be sure to keep the light bulbs clean with frequent dusting. The light will be cleaner, too.