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How to Revamp Your Home’s Lighting for Fall and Winter

A man and woman hugging in a kitchen while cooking.
Friends Stock/Shutterstock

Lighting often seems like a static element in your home, but it’s actually something you can easily change! And the darker days of autumn and winter are precisely the time when your lighting matters the most.

From small changes, like a new table lamp, to larger ones, like installing dimmers, any type of new lighting can go a long way. Let’s look at why these seasonal changes are worth making, and some ideas to get you started.

The Value of New Lighting

Some research suggests the type and temperature of light might impact your mood, alertness, and much more. While you don’t have to take a scientific approach to lighting your home, it’s worth keeping these findings in mind as the seasons change.

Autumn typically brings shorter, cloudier days, which often means more time spent at home. The way you illuminate your space in these darker months can make a huge difference in how you feel while you’re inside.

If you’re making do with overheard lighting and maybe a lamp or two, this is the perfect time for an upgrade. In fall and winter, we rely more on artificial lighting. So, the more lighting options you have, the easier it is to match the lighting to the season, task, or mood.

Different options allow you to set the right amount of brightness for all your indoor tasks, whether you need it focused and vivid, or relaxing and dim. As autumn gets underway, it’s especially helpful to fill your home with warmer, cozier light sources. Lights with a warmer glow will evoke the cozy feelings that make this time of year so enjoyable.

The right lighting will make staying in feel even better and help you relax into fall’s rituals.

How to Illuminate Your Home for Autumn

A warmly lit living room.
Mikhail_Kayl/Shutterstock

As we head into fall and beyond, the options below will suit any space. You can start small, with a single lamp, or go big with a full smart-lighting system. No matter what you choose, you’ll be glad you made some changes!

Floor Lamps

When you turn on a floor lamp instead of overhead lighting, you’ll be amazed at how much it can change the mood of a room.

Light from floor lamps tends to be more romantic and flattering. It’s less harsh and creates fewer unattractive shadows than overhead lighting. Floor lamps also shed more light on one area of a room, so you can focus lighting where you need it most. Plus, the lamp also serves as decor.

Just one floor lamp in a living room or bedroom can create a totally different lighting experience by dialing up the romantic or relaxing vibes. Soon, you’ll probably find yourself completely ignoring the overhead lights.

Lampshades

You can easily upgrade any existing lamp with a new shade. A darker shade, or one in a warmer color, will promote relaxation. On the other hand, a lighter, more translucent shade will allow more light to filter through in areas you need it.

While you’re at it, gently adjust any crooked lampshades, so they sit straight. Also, turn them so the seams are in the back. These small changes will make a room look more put-together in no time.

If you don’t want to buy a new lampshade, try draping a sheer scarf across one you already have. For a neater look, you can tie it around the shade instead of draping it. This creates a fun, near-instant change in your lighting because the color of the scarf will change the color of the light.

Candles

Autumn is definitely the beginning of candle season. While they no longer serve as our primary source of home lighting, they definitely merit a mention.

For those without a fireplace, cozy candles allow you to bring that same warm, flickering glow to your home. This small upgrade promotes relaxation and can make your space prettier during those long fall and winter nights.

Accent Lighting

Fairy lights arranged in three different ways.
Twinkle Star/Amazon

Candles are a type of accent lighting, which is lighting for mood and decor, rather than for practical reasons. In fall, when it’s darker, accent lighting really makes a statement. You might want to go beyond candles.

Fairy lights, uplights, and decorative lanterns are all examples of accent lighting. While they won’t really help you see anything, they’ll add a cheerful glow to dim days and long nights. For example, you might want to use accent lighting as your dining table’s centerpiece to create a cozy ambiance during evening meals.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is the lighting you need to do something specific, like read or cook. When you’re spending more time indoors, you definitely want good lighting so you can see well and get things done.

For example, adding a desk lamp will eliminate shadows from overhead lights, making it easier to focus. A reading lamp by the couch or bed accomplishes the same goal.

Think about where you spend your time at home, and what you do in each location. Add a lamp or similar small light source wherever you complete more focused tasks.

Dimmers

It takes a little more effort, but installing a dimmer switch and dimmable LED bulbs in one or more rooms is especially useful in fall. You can turn the brightness up or down depending on the time of day, how cloudy it is, or what you’re doing.

Can’t do any rewiring because you’re renting? No worries! You can still use smart bulbs in your standard lighting fixtures to control the level of brightness. This Philips Hue Starter Kit includes everything you need—it even has a wireless wall switch if you don’t want to use your phone to adjust your lights.

Warmer Bulbs

Simply swapping your existing light bulbs for warmer ones can make an immense difference in the mood of a space.

The ideal lighting temperature generally changes from room to room. For example, cool-toned daylight bulbs are great for lighting a workspace or makeup table, where you need to be alert and able to see details. Soft white bulbs, with warmer or yellowish light, work better in relaxing spaces, like the bedroom or living room.

Warmer bulbs are especially valuable in fall, when more of your recreational time is likely spent at home. Consider using warmer bulbs in any rooms where you relax and unwind. However, cool-toned bulbs have their place, too—add these wherever you need brighter light.

Color-Changing Bulbs

We mentioned smart lighting above as a renter-friendly way to add dimming to your fixtures and overhead lights. However, it’s awesome for anyone, when you factor in the color-changing effects. Why settle for bright white task lighting in some rooms, and dimmer, warm lighting in others, when you can have both in every room?

These adjustable bulbs, allow you to change lighting from warm to cool (or any color you want), whenever you feel like it. Cooler light usually suits daytime, while warmer light helps you relax in the evening. You can even set these changes to occur automatically and mimic natural light.


Lighting has an amazing way of transforming a space. Try these changes and turn your home into the perfect autumnal retreat.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »

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