10 Tricks to Improve Your Lighting

Whether your lighting is outdated or inefficient, use these expert tips to brighten rooms, save energy, and give your home a whole new look.

1. Get a Lighting Control App

Let's say you you're watching TV on the couch and left an upstairs light on, or you're going on vacation and don't want the house to look vacant. With the help of today's easy-to-use smartphone and tablet apps, you can control your home's lighting, window treatments, temperature, and more.

2. Swap Out the Lightbulb You Leave On the Longest

Consider changing out the bulbs you use most often, such as in a kitchen or an entryway. Energy Star-labeled bulbs can have a significant impact on your home's energy conservation:

-- Save $40-$135 in energy costs per bulb

-- Cut energy use by about 75 percent -- and generate 75 percent less heat

-- Carry a three-year waranty

3. Find a New Ceiling Fan

When was the last time you updated your ceiling fan? Newer ceiling fan motors use much less energy and operate cooler to the touch than older motors. Many are also much quieter than older fans, and modern designs are available in all decor styles.

4. Fix Your Media Room Lighting

TV-focused spaces need less overhead light and more ambient and task lighting, such as lamps, to help reduce glare on screens.

5. Change the Oldest Lighting Fixture in Your Home

Lighting manufacturers have made it easier than ever to replace energy-hogging fixtures and bulbs with those that last longer and trim utility bills. When you're at your lighting showroom, simply look for products with the Enery Star label.

6. Pick a New Shade

Lampshades have more practical design power than they get credit for. Lighter-color versions can help diffuse light in a wider circle. A dark shade concentrates the light, focusing it on a surface. A new shade is also a chance for you to try out a punch of color and pattern before you redo a whole room.

7. Replace a Light Switch

Newer bulbs respond better to newer switches. With wireless options (usually operated with wireless remotes) you can control light from around the room or elsewhere in the house.

8. Check the Height of Your Dining Room Chandelier

What's the secret to a beautiful dining room? An eye-catching chandelier, of course. To make your space really shine, keep this rule of thumb in mind: In general, the bottom of the chandelier should be about 30 inches from the top of the table.

9. Swap Your Holiday Lights for LED Versions

Americans gobble up 2.22 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year to power mini holiday lights. LED holiday bulbs can trim your energy budget and last about 30 holiday seasons, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

10. Add an Exterior Fixture

Beautiful light is great, but safety and convenience are also top concerns for exterior fixtures. If you've got an unlit entrance -- a side door, a garage door -- choose either one sconce or a matching set. You'll stop fumbling for keys and feel more secure, too.

More for You

Want more inspiration? Browse our favorite lighting ideas and see how to use them in your own home.

Share the gallery

Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.