All Things Lighting

There are so many elements that can make or break a space, but if we had to pinpoint just one? It would probably come down to lighting. When we’re talking about ambiance or the feel of a home, lighting plays a bigger role than many people even realize. Believe it or not, lighting tops the list of our most frequently asked questions, so today we’re going to dive a little deeper. We’ll cover where to place your fixtures, selecting the right bulbs, and how to layer lighting like a pro. We’re ready to share all the trade secrets, so consider us an open book.

Project 45th Avenue | Photography: Amanda Marie Studio


Having a basic knowledge of kelvin color temperatures and lumens is foundational to understanding which lighting is best for your space. Need a quick refresher? Here are the bare bones:

Kelvin = the basic color scale of the lighting (warm vs. cool)

Lumens = the brightness of the lightbulb

We came across these handy graphics to give you a better idea of these two concepts:

Lumens Chart | Kelvin Chart | Warm to Cool Chart

Sourced via Google

In general, we opt for 3000k for our recessed lighting (these are some of our faves) and around 650 lumens. We like to keep things on the warmer side, ensuring it’s not too bright with multiple recessed lights in the same space.

PRO TIP: always, always have everything hardwired on a dimmer if possible!

Another JMI rule of thumb is that we only specify 4” cans. Rarely do you need anything larger and the goal is to make the recessed lighting as inconspicuous as possible. We also switch everything separately. If you have a limited number of switches, always prioritize putting your can lighting on their own switch first.

When it comes to floor and table lamps, we typically go for 2700k, and the lumens vary depending on the brightness required for the space.

Project River Road Remodel | Photography: Amanda Marie Studio


When we’re designing a kitchen, we like to have at least three sources of varying light:

  1. can or recessed lighting

  2. task lighting over an island or work surface

  3. an additional source of ambient lighting, such as decorative lighting over a window or open shelf

If you can only sneak in two sources like a can or task lighting, just make sure you are getting enough directional and diffused light out of your fixtures. This typically works best with fixtures like a glass globe since most people don’t like using can lighting all the time.

Photography: Amanda Marie Studio


Next up? Living room lighting design, which is fairly straightforward. In living rooms, we typically like to include these elements:

  1. a hardwired overhead fixture, if possible

  2. a table or floor lamp next to a sofa or chairs

  3. if there is a fireplace, we love to add lighting there with sconces

Project Drew Avenue | Photography: Spencer Albers


For bathrooms, we like to add can lighting in walkways (or a pretty ceiling fixture) and showers but rely heavily on softer lighting. We generally try to avoid lighting above mirrors in places where someone will be getting ready or applying make-up as it can add so many shadows! But, if it’s unavoidable, just make sure to use a nice diffused light rather than a targeted, directional light. When designing powder rooms or secondary bathrooms, you have a little more flexibility with lighting. There’s not quite as much involved, but we always love using a beautiful ceiling fixture and sconces for vanity lighting.


We hope this lighting guide will be a helpful resource for any upcoming projects! In case you’re on the lookout for specific pieces, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite lighting fixtures for all the spaces in your home.

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