Everyone tells you paint is the easiest way to transform a room and set the mood for a space, but that's just not true — it's actually lighting.

Today I'm going to fill you in on the 3 types of lighting that can transform your space and some tips for DIY design strategies when it comes to approaching each.

And don't worry, we'll get into the reasoning behind lighting vs. paint in just a second

this post is sponsored by bulbrite solana

the one key to great lighting? 

it needs to be adjustable.

Lighting with optionality helps you set the mood for a space AND has a huge impact on how the space functions for your everyday life. Think of it this way, the sun moves all throughout the day, changing in position and intensity — whether it's that soft morning sunrise, the brightness of noon, or that magical golden hour before sunset.

Just like the sun, your spaces shouldn't have one stationary, unchanging type of lighting — otherwise the room will be too bright at times and too dim at others. So the easy fix? Lighting that's adjustable.

And no, not just light fixtures that can move around. We're talking lighting that can change in intensity and temp AND adapt to how you use your space throughout the day by combining both those things.

Smart lighting is the easiest way to make this happen and is a change you can make for way less than the cost of painting a room. I'm obsessed with the LED Smart Bulbs from Bulbrite SOLANA — they can be adjusted in brightness and also temperature AND have an app to let you set up custom scenes with presets you love and use throughout your day.

Plus they have gorgeous Edison smart bulbs so that you get all the power of smart lighting without having to give up that vintage aesthetic.

the 3 types of lighting you need in your space

01. ambient light

You need overall illumination so people can see where they’re going in the room. 

Ambient light is basically the overall light level in the room and it can strongly influence the mood. i.e. a brightly lit space is positive and upbeat and a darker space feels more intimate and romantic.

Check the ambient light in your space throughout the day to see how it works — is it bright enough in the morning and at night or does the room feel underlit? Is it too dim during the day in areas where natural light isn't coming in?


Smart light bulbs in your ambient ceiling lights like can lights or overhead chandeliers let you control the overall light level in the space. You can even setup scenes in the Bulbrite SOLANA app to have them gradually brighten around the time the sun rises and gradually dim around the time the sun sets to mimic natural light. Play with color temperature to fit your lifestyle — try going more cool blue during daylight and warmer yellow during the morning sunrise and evening golden hour.


02. task lighting 

You need lighting in certain areas to help people perform certain tasks.

Some examples of task lighting might include a reading lamp for reading in your fave chair, pendants over the island for food prep / serving, etc. These are lights that are added in addition to your overall ambient lighting and can really change how you use the space.

Customizing these lights lets you truly design a room that serves you and supports your favorite daily activities.


Brightness is a game changer for task lighting because it's not only important to have lighting where you need it, but also have the right light level. You might opt for a reading light that has medium brightness — enough to see well but not too bright. Choosing bulbs that dim via a smart assistant also means you don't have to leave your task to adjust the lighting — just ask Alexa or Google Home to do it for you.


03. mood lighting 

 You need accents of light in a space that don’t really have a purpose except to add a dramatic touch and set the vibe.

Mood lighting works as accent lighting in a space. It helps to highlight features of the room or works alongside other elements to create a certain design aesthetic.

Some examples of mood lighting would be lighting a plant to cast light & shadows or a spotlight shining on a piece of artwork.


Light temperature can strongly influence the mood of a space. Cooler lights can make the space feel more awake, alert, and vibrant while warmer lights can help a space feel more relaxed, cozy, and soothing.


is paint or lighting more powerful at transforming a space?

If you've ever painted a wall with a color you *thought* was going to be perfect only to find it looking weird in your house and pulling a different color altogether (hello beigey white).

That's the power of lighting. It can make that painted accent wall pop or look like the worst choice ever.

Lighting temperature can actually alter the perceived shade of your wall, so having lighting that can adjust in temperature and brightness can be the difference between that dark accent wall looking too dark and shadowy and having the sophisticated moody effect you were aiming for.



p.s. This post may contain affiliate linking for your convenience. These links don’t cost extra for you to use + I always share my honest opinion.

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I'm Cara, the designer & diy queen behind Never Skip Brunch. I'm a color & prints obsessed DIY queen who's here to help you create a beautifully lived-in life through home design advice and chic DIY tutorials

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