Lighting Like a Pro


by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace

J. Britt Lighting and Interiors has been on Tupelo’s business scene for more than 15 years. We sat down and chatted with Connie Vandiver, a lighting specialist trained by the American Lighting Association, to learn the first steps in your home’s lighting – whether it’s an upgrade or starting from scratch with a new build.



What to know going into it

Surprisingly, good lighting involves a lot of math. It’s important to know the dimensions of the room before even considering light, as there is a formula to determine how large of a fixture is needed, along with how much light is needed.

Lamps, explained

“Everybody has a different style,” Vandiver said. “They’re wanting rustic to very dressy – some gold, some gold with concrete.”

While lamps are all about personal preferences, a lamp should serve as accent lighting – never a main light source. Lampshades come in all shapes, sizes, colors and textures. One thing to keep in mind about lamps: The “guts” should never be showing. The solution? Get a taller lampshade, or simply get a different harp (the piece that attaches the shade to the lamp).

Think about the long game

Sure, LED bulbs may tout that they won’t need changing for 20-some-odd years, but Vandiver said no one knows for sure, because LEDs are so new in the field. She suggests taking the following into consideration when choosing fixtures: Who will be changing it? Who will be dusting it? Does it require a ladder to reach it, and can a ladder be used in that space (think: stairwells)?

Trending looks

  • Forego a ceiling fan in the bedroom, and opt for a fixture and a wall-mounted fan instead.
  • “The big style right now is to just do something unexpected that really looks good, but unexpected,” Vandiver said.
  • Go big or go home when it comes to fans. “You used to only do the average 52-inch – I’ve done several lately where they’re doing 72 to 102 inch,” Vandiver said.
  • Opt for sconce lights on either side of a mirror instead of overhead (or over-mirror) lighting. This prevents accenting dark circles and shadows, and instead fills the face with better lighting.

Terms to know:

Lumens: The amount of light emitted.

Wattage: The amount of energy a bulb uses.

Kelvin: The light’s color warmth.

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