With so many people spending more time in their homes due to Covid-19, the way you live in your space has definitely changed.  From parents working at home to children being home schooled, rooms have become much more multi-purpose.  We thought it would be a good time to speak with Designer Prudence Bailey of Prudence Home and Design about How lighting can transform your space, so you are not in the dark. 

When you start on a home project, how do you begin to think about lighting?  Lighting is an integral part of the design.  It can really make or break a space.  We always look at each of the rooms we are doing as a whole and determine if the recessed is correctly placed and if a ceiling light is needed.

When do you use natural lighting? I would never use natural light in lieu of adding lighting since people turn their recessed and accent lighting on at night. 

Let’s walk thru key areas of the house….


For the entry way, what is important to know when you are determining what is needed?  When do you use chandeliers vs. recessed lighting? The height of the ceiling is key when determining what kind of lighting to add.  If the entry has low ceilings, we usually add a flush mount as I think some kind of accent entry light is best unless the space really doesn’t need it.

On a foyer console are you a fan of singles or pairs?  Why? I love pairs of lamps because I think it looks really beautiful. But many times, the chest or console isn’t big enough because the space can’t hold a larger one, so we will do a single lamp.


In the dining room, should the ceiling lighting be making a statement, or should it blend into the space?  We’ve heard that in dining rooms that you need to have appropriate night lighting.  Is that true?  I think you should always do a stunning light.  Formal dining rooms need drama and lighting is a great way to create it.  All lighting should be on dimmers so you can create the ambience you are trying to achieve at night.  No one wants to eat in a dining room with super bright lighting!


Living Rooms have more than one seating area. Do you combine, floor, recessed, and table lights?  On end tables, do you use lamps?  When are sconces important to use? We use all of the above! I personally rarely turn my recessed lighting on, and if I do, it’s dimmed. Accent lighting is what gives a home a warm glow and makes it feel cozy and safe.  I always leave a lamp on at night. Table lamps and floor lamps can’t achieve all the lighting needs of the space.  We will add them above a sofa flanking art or on a fireplace mantle.  


Do you ever use the new “shadow dancing” type of lighting that casts patterns and creates atmosphere in a space? I have not used that type of lighting yet, but I have a client right now who loves it, so we will probably add two pendants to her powder room to create the feeling of water on the walls.  It really can add ambience and mood to a space.


What is good task lighting?  We use a lot of task lighting. Actually, we just hung one on the wall above a banquette/window seat for reading and eating.  In addition, we use task floor lamps a lot behind sofas in spaces where the spaces are too tight for side tables and lamps.  Good task lighting will give ample lighting for the task at hand: reading, eating and any other task where you need focused light rather than illumination. 


Do you add reading lights to the beds?  Task lighting will never give a room illumination, so I always feel you need table lamps if you add task lighting.  We add reading lights if they like to read in bed. Often, overhead lighting as well.


Any advice on when to use lampshades vs. not? We love creating custom fabric lampshades.  I always feel it’s a really nice touch.  In fact, I don’t love chandeliers that don’t have lampshades.  The light looks unfinished to me.  However, there are definitely some chandeliers that would look funny with shades, so we don’t add them to those. Lampshades can really add a finishing touch to nightstand tables. 


“When it comes to lighting you need to really think how you live in your space and how you want to feel. Walk through your home at different times of the day and evening so you can really get a feel,” recommends Prudence Bailey. 

Photos by Julia Dags

Headshot and Entry: Stephane Kossmann 


Prudence Bailey launched Prudence Home + Design as a full-service interior design firm to provide clean and fresh interiors that blend modern and traditional styles for her clients.