Good Entry Lighting Creates a Warm Welcome

Let the entry to your house create a warm welcome for your guests!
Whether you have a grand entry or a narrow corridor, you can use lighting to make the entrance to your home inviting.
The right lighting can make a small space appear larger and a grand entry breathtaking.
With the open floor plans of today  the space is often not clearly defined in the entry.
This might at first glance make the lighting design tricky. But just keep in mind what you want to accomplish and things will fall into place.

Safety of course needs to be addressed. Changes in elevation need to be properly illuminated, and you want to be able to see who is entering.

Stairs should be lit from top to bottom and have switches in both locations.
Hallway light fixtures should be placed every 8 to 10 feet to ensure even illumination.  You can choose recessed lights, ceiling lights or wall sconces or a combination of these.

Note: Mount wall sconces above eye level, approximately 66″ from the center of the fixture to the floor. This ensures that you don’t see the exposed light bulb and don’t hit the wall sconce while walking down the hallway.

When the safety issues have been addressed it’s time to be creative!

You can highlight architectural features like a beautiful cathedral ceiling or artwork on the walls and let the light bouncing off the walls act as accent lighting.
Overhead lights, like recessed cans or foyer chandeliers  alone will have a hard time, especially in very large entries, of adding warmth and atmosphere or even illuminating the space properly.
Just like everywhere else the word is:  “Layers of Light”. The use of several light sources at different levels works like a charm, adding interest to the space.

In very large entries, overhead lights, like recessed cans or foyer chandeliers alone will have a hard time illuminating the space properly, not to mention adding warmth and atmosphere.

Place a small table lamp on a console next to a mirror, illuminate a niche with a favorite piece of artwork or place a torchiere floor lamp in a dark corner.Place a small table lamp on a console next to a mirror, illuminate a niche with a favorite piece of artwork or place a torchiere floor lamp in a dark corner. Use wall sconces to add  focal points at eye level.

Design: Rachel Reider Interiors. Photo: Michael Partenio

It doesn’t take much. We recently added a $12.95 can uplight behind a large carved wooden eagle in a dark corner and completely transformed the entrance of a log cabin home.

A contemporary, very small entry space benefited from a sheet of opaque plexiglass illuminated from behind with a simple fluorescent strip.

There are no rules, be creative!

Tech Lighting Crescendo

Kichler Lighting has put together some really useful tips and guidelines for lighting your foyer and hallways.


Q – How do I determine the proper chandelier width for a foyer?
A – This is pretty easy.  Just add together the length and width dimensions of the foyer area.  What you get is the proper diameter for most any chandelier you’ll need there.

Example:  The area is 12 feet by 16 feet.  Added together this equals 28 feet.  Therefore, the foyer chandelier’s diameter should be approximately 28” in width.

Q – What about the height of the chandelier?
A – This depends on the height of your foyer ceiling.  Always keep in mind that the bottom of the chandelier should be at least 7 feet from the floor.  That may mean you need a flushmount (mounts directly against the ceiling), a semi-flush (also known as close-to-ceiling fixture, which hangs a few inches below the ceiling) or, if you have a tall ceiling, you may need a 2-tier or 3-tier chandelier.

If there is a window above the front doors, center the chandelier so it can be seen from outside.  If the foyer is extra large, you may also want to include wall sconces in the foyer.  Install them against the wall approximately 60” from the floor, 6 – 8 feet apart.


Q – What’s the best way to light a hallway?
A – There should be a light every 8-10 feet.  Either flushmounts or semi-flush fixtures can be used depending on the ceiling height (once again, remember that the bottom of the light fixture should be at least 7 feet from the floor).

If you have a long hallway, you may want to install wall sconces for added light and beauty.  The rule again is that sconces are hung roughly 60 “ from the floor, spaced 6 -8 feet apart along the wall.

This informative article from the American Lighting Association offers tips on lighting your foyer, stairways, and hallways:

The foyer conveys the first impression of a home’s interior. Center a traditional chandelier, contemporary pendant, or transitional ceiling light in your hallway to provide a functional light source and create a welcoming atmosphere. When choosing lighting for your foyer, hall, or stairway, consider the following:

For general lighting, make sure to size the decorative fixture to the space. Not all foyers can accomodate a large chandelier, so make sure the size proportions are correct. Likewise, if you have a larger space, you’ll need a larger light fixture such as a ceiling fan light or fluorescent floor lamp in order to provide light for the entire space. If you have the luxury of high, open ceiling space, consider a foyer chandelier or decorative pendant lamp that looks attractive from second story viewing.

Remember that stairways and halls must have good lighting for safety. To prevent accidents, stairs should be lit from top to bottom with switches in both places so that it is convenient to turn off light that is no longer needed. For safety in hallways, place hallway light fixtures every 8 to 10 feet.  A few great options for lighting your hallway are flush mount lighting and recessed lighting. Tie in the fixtures you choose for each space by matching your chandelier or pendant with semi-flush ceiling lights for hallways and smaller chain hung lights for stairways.

For accent lighting needs, use matching wall sconces to complement the hanging foyer pendant or chandelier. Always mount wall fixtures above eye level (approximately 66″ from the center of the fixture to the floor) so that the lamp source is not visible. This creates a wonderful effect of illumination that reflects off the walls and into your space.

Additional Lighting Tips:

-Make your artwork come to life and illuminate it with halogen light from track or adjustable recessed down-lighting

-Add a dimmer and really set the tone of your room

-Mirrors add a special decorative touch to a foyer

A cluster of LBL Lily Pendants make a grand statement

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