Lighting 101: Shopping for Light Fixtures

Lighting a space involves a number of factors from the light bulb to the light placement and of course, the style of the fixtures. It can be a daunting task trying to find the right fixtures for any given space, no matter what your style may be. Here are a few basic tips and tricks on how to shop for and find the perfect lamps, ceiling fixtures and any other light fixture for your home.

Light Quality

It is important to remember that higher quality light fixtures will produce the same light quality as a lower quality light fixture; because the light quality is contained entirely in the light bulb itself and not the fixture. Therefore, when you’re shopping, don’t be fooled by claims that state that their light fixture will produce better light than another, cheaper light fixture. As long as you’re using the same light bulb, the light will be the same.

Another factor of quality is how you actually use the fixture to light the space. If you opt for several down lights rather than using a combination of lamps and other fixtures, you may find that your space feels rather oppressive rather than warm and welcoming. While it’s okay to use recessed lights and other downlight fixtures, be sure to mix these fixtures with others, such as table lamps or wall sconces, to really create a warm, welcoming space.

Color Quality

When choosing light bulbs for your fixtures, be sure to choose the same color quality for each light fixture. This means having the same type of bulb for every fixture. Mixing different bulbs can result in uneven or strange looking lighting, which is a big no-no when lighting a space.

Fixture Quality

When you handle the light fixture, does it feel sturdy and well made or are you afraid you’re going to dent it or break it, or damage it in some other way? If you feel that the fixture is low quality, opt for a higher quality fixture instead. Low quality fixtures may be cheaper, but they’ll need to be replaced sooner and furthermore, are often relatively difficult to maintain.


Speaking of maintenance, take that into account when shopping for your light fixtures. If you’re not prepared to put the maintenance into the fixture, then you’ll want to opt for a piece that is less maintenance. For example, that crystal chandelier might look grand and will fit your space perfectly, but it may require routine cleaning of the crystals to ensure they stay bright and flashy. If you’re willing to clean each and every individual crystal, you may want to opt for a different fixture, such as one with fewer crystals, that will take up less of your time.

U.L. Listing, Dimmer Control and More

Take note of what the U.L. listing is for any given fixture you decide on. This is especially true when shopping for outdoor fixtures or for fixtures for your bathroom. You’ll want a fixture that is U.L. damp or wet listed for certain outdoor spaces, just as you’ll want these same listings on bathroom fixtures.

Finally, if you want to install a dimmer switch with the fixture, be sure that it is an option for the fixture. Some light fixtures will not work with a dimmer switch and it would be a waste of your time and money to install everything only to find out it doesn’t work right.

Shopping for a light can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Take note of issues such as light quality and U.L. listing to ensure you’ve got the right fixture to suit your space and your needs.