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L&L Design Guide: Stairwell Lighting Ideas – From Lip Lighting to Motion Controlled Lights

There are a number of stairwell lighting ideas to choose from. Some are simple, like attaching battery operated motion sensor lights to the wall, or using pendant light adapters to modify your ceiling lights. Other ideas require some work – like installing lights into the side wall of the stairs, or fitting lights to the underside of the stair lip.

One idea and the most elegant solution for stairwell lighting is to do under lip lighting. This is when you install lights right under the lip of the stairs. This can be done with LED rope lights or with more innovative lights like LightTape.

under lip staircase lighting

A second option would be to install lights recessed into the side wall of the staircase. The best way to do this is to have them professionally fitted and wired up. A simpler and faster option would be to use battery operated motion sensor lights that can be cheaply picked up from Amazon for around $10-$30. Simply stick them to the side walls of the stairs (Conserving Energy with Wireless Motion Sensor Lights and Adapters).

side lighting stairs

wireless stair lighting

Another way to add stair lighting is to take a look at the overhead lighting. Recessed lights are a modern lighting solution, and this would be good idea if you have low hanging ceilings. For high ceilings, pendant lights would be a better choice as these lights bring the light closer to the ground. You can easily convert normal ceiling light outlets into pendant lights by using pendant light adapters.

Instant Pendant Lights

Having lights installed into the front facing, vertical part of the step is ideal for outdoor stairs, but is not visually appealing lighting design for indoor stairs. Also look to avoid the runway effect. This is when you place lights on both sides of the staircase, at the same levels. The way to avoid this is to alternate the steps where the lights will be. For staircases you only really a wall light for every 3 of so steps.

The best way to light a stairwell, or any part of the home, is to use a variety of light fixtures (ie. stairwell lip lighting and overhead pendant lights). This creates more lighting layers, and avoids a monotone look that you would get from using just one type of light.

If you are a looking for more advance lighting options or are planning a major remodeling of your home, take a look at these two stairwell lighting ideas. First we have the side lights: lights are fitted into a small gap between the wall and the stairs, which provides soft indirect lighting (and also makes the staircase look like it is floating).

Side wall lighting

For those DIYers out there with some electronics skills, there are tutorials online on how to build motion sensor stairwell lighting. The lights will turn on as you approach the top or bottom of the stairs. In the video below you can see how the lights of each stairs light up gradually one by one. You can find a tutorial for this here.

image credits: property snaps


L&L Design Guide: Home Mood Lighting Ideas

Light has a powerful effect on people – bright areas can energize the mind while dim lights can be cozy and romantic. Cool colored lights (blue and purple) are calm and relaxing, while warm lights (orange and yellow) invigorate. Instead of spending a lot of money on paint and furniture to transform a space, try the following home mood lighting ideas.

mood lighting ideas

Create a relaxing space by avoiding overhead lighting. Instead, use table or floor lamps to illuminate a room. You can use light to focus attention on relaxing spaces. For example, a backlit headboard emphasizes rest by highlighting the bed. In a similar fashion, placing two table lamps or sconces on either side of a bed frame accent the room’s purpose. For a dramatic and tranquil effect, back-light nightstands using recessed colored lighting. Blue or cool colored lights can create accent walls without painting or wallpaper. Lighting can promote a relaxing atmosphere in a bedroom. However, mood lighting ideas can be used in other areas of the home as well.

For pictures and romantic ideas head on over to this post: L&L Guide on Romantic Lighting Ideas: From the Bedroom to the Outdoors

    • Highlighting sculptural elements or indoor plants creates an intriguing play of light and shadows in a romantic space. Low light in combination with graphic shadows, evoke elements of mystery and intimacy.
    • Paper lanterns serve a dual purpose, functioning as both a light source and sculptural focal point.

For a similar effect in a living room, use lights to draw attention to bookshelves or paintings. Light fixtures designed to hang over a picture can be used to light a room and highlight artistic focal points. Combining low lights with dramatic focal points creates a tranquil and relaxing living area. The calm mood is perfect for reading, enjoying drinks, or soft conversation.

Bathroom Mood Lighting

The bathroom is a great place to use romantic mood lighting. Candles are one way to create a romantic atmosphere.  Candles can be used to line the lip of a bath tub or a bathroom vanity. Alternatively, led candles or free-standing lights create an intimate atmosphere as well as actual flame.

Going Outdoors

Mood lighting is not only for indoor spaces. Porches, decks and patios can also benefit from a few well place mood lighting ideas. For example, lighting bright tiki torches at each corner of a patio can add drama and excitement to an outdoor space. String-lights can create a magical atmosphere over an outdoor deck or eating area.

Remember, lighting has a powerful effect on the human mind. Mood lighting ideas can transform a space for little or no extra coast.  Demonstrate originality and style by using spotlights to highlight art, plants or other focal points. Backlighting specific elements in a room can emphasize the room’s purpose while adding interest and drama to an otherwise blank wall. A few well place light fixtures can add drama or tranquility to a space.

image credits: Mayce Hodges

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Using Wood As a Base For Lighting: DIY Snapshots

Here are a few photos for some DIY lighting inspiration using organic materials (and one fishing pole). The first set of photos comes from Idha Lindhag via Desire to Inspire. Here a long wooden branch has been set into a block of cement to create a nature inspired arc lamp. Three pendant lights have then been wrapped around the branch to create this Zen like living room setting – plugging into a normal wall socket.

branch arc lamp

Another floor lamp has been crafted, but this time using a fishing pole. Set into a stone base, the fishing pole aches over the living space with a bird ornament hanging off of the light bulb.

fishing pole arc

The last photo from Idha Linhag is this dining table light. Holes have been drilled into a thin and long log to make space for the number of candles which then hangs beautifully above the dining table.

candle dining table light

Anna-Malin via décor8, has created her own dining room lights using a wooden branch, and decided to uses electrical fixtures rather than candles as seen in the example above. Only using a long branch, 4 fabric covered cables, and electrical help from her husband, Anna-Malin was able to replicate a pendant light she saw in a design magazine, to hang over her own dining table. The step by step process can be seen here.

branch pendant light

branch pendant light

Anne-Claire’s home is a beautiful space that makes use of a lot of natural materials. There are raw wooden book shelves, dining chairs, sleek wooden side tables, a number of indoor plants, and even wooden branches are used as decorative pieces. In her bedroom we see one of the larger driftwood branches being creatively used as a base for lamp that hangs over her bed – via Design*Sponge.

wooden bedroom lamp


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L&L Design Guide: Indirect Lighting Ideas

Indirect lighting design helps make a room a comfortable and relaxing space, as it provides a soft glow and diffused light. There is a wide range of indirect lighting ideas catering to all areas of the home: from the bedroom, and living room to the outdoors. Here are a number of indirect lighting options to consider.

indirect lighting ideas

Cove Lighting Design

Cove lighting is the best form of indirect ceiling lighting. The most common type of cove lighting is a false ceiling that has light fixtures tucked away within it. The light is bounced off of the ceiling and walls into the room. You can even have multiple levels of cove lighting. This all requires quite a bit of remodeling work as the ceiling needs to be altered.

cove lights

Only a portion of the ceiling has been dropped down

A simpler option is to use crown molding for indirect lighting. This is when crown molding is installed usually a couple of inches down from the ceiling – creating a space above the crown molding where the lights can sit.

cove lighting

Cove lighting

For more, have a look at our cove lighting ideas post.

Using Downlights

Downlights are another indirect lighting idea. These are the same as recessed lights (lights that are fitted into the ceiling hiding all of the parts) except they tend to be smaller and are fitted closer to the wall to highlight a hanging art piece, textured wall, or a decorative piece on a side table.

indirect living room lighting

Downlights highlighting a wall in the living room

The Luxurious Touch of Floor Lighting

indirect lighting floor lamp

Indirect Lighting: A floor lamp and a house plant

Floor lighting is an elegant way of lighting a space. There are a number of ways to do this. A common idea is to install uplights close to the wall, which will wash the wall with light. Other ideas include installing lights at the bottom of cabinets.

Directional lamps can be placed on the floor and faced onto the wall. These can be placed next to a house plant – and the light will cast shadows across the wall, creating depth in the room.

For more, read our floor lighting ideas post.

Painting The Walls with Wall Washers

Wall washers direct light up onto the wall and onto the ceiling. Another way of doing this is to use uplights. Wall washers have a softer glow, while uplights are used more for accenting certain areas.

Accent Indirect Lighting Ideas

Another form of indirect lighting are lights that are used for another purpose like accenting areas, or showcasing items.

Here are some ideas:

    • Display Lighting: This is when a small space has been created within a wall to showcase décor pieces. These spaces will have a recessed light installed above them.
indirect display lighting

An example of display lighting

    • indirect recessed wall lighting

      indirect recessed wall lighting

      A recessed wall usually to house a bathroom mirror or a bed can house indirect light fixtures.

    • A decorative panel on the wall or an art piece can have lights fitted behind to create a glow around it.
wall panels lights

Wall panels being back lit

Other Indirect Lighting Ideas

    • In the bedroom lights can be fitted behind the headboard to create relaxing mood lighting.
romantic bedroom lighting

Lights behind the headboard

    • Lights can be installed behind Plexiglass or frosted glass to create a diffused and soft glow of light. This can be done in the bathroom, or under a desk.
bathroom lighting

A warm glow comes from behind the wall

    • In the living room LED lights can be installed behind the TV like in the picture below.
TV back lighting

Romantic living room lighting using lights behind a TV

    • Rope lights are great for creating indirect lighting. They can be stuck to the back of cabinets, bottom of the cabinets to create floor lighting, or underneath the lip of steps.
    • Don’t forget that mirrors are great in making a room appear bigger, and helps reflect light around.

Indirect Outdoor Lighting

There are a number of ways to create indirect lighting for outdoor spaces:

    • Wrap string lights around trees, railings or overhead beams
    • Uplights shining onto trees, bushes, plants, and the walls of the house
    • Swimming pool lights acts as indirect lighting for patios, and decks

For more outdoor ideas have a look at our post here: home outdoor lighting ideas


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L&L Guide on Romantic Lighting Ideas: From the Bedroom to the Outdoors


image credits: favaro JR., John, Christian, Viet Hoang



L&L Design Guide: Creative and Modern Desk Lighting Ideas [Pictures]

There are two types of desk lighting ideas: you have the functional white lights that help with productivity, and then there are more relaxing lights that helps with creativity. Below are ideas for both kinds.

Here are some creative and unique desk lighting ideas:

      • Have a lamp pointed to a wall which has a piece of art work, poster, or memorabilia
      • Place a lamp behind the computer monitor to create a soft glow of light around the desk

desk lighting ideas

  • If you have a plexiglass or a glass desk surface, having under desk lighting (either on the floor or attached to the desk) will create a soft glowing space.
      • An adjustable pendant or wall light is a versatile lighting option
      • The desk draws can have lights installed inside of them to come on whenever you open them.
      • Rope lights, LED lights which are encased within a flexible plastic tube, can be used around the desk. They can be fixed to the back of the desk, or under the desk to create floor lighting.
desk light

A lamp behind the monitor creates a relaxing glow around the desk

desk lights

Another example of lights behind the monitor(s)

under desk lighting

An example of a transparent desk using under lighting

desk lighting

Another transparent desk using under lighting

desk lights

A desk lit up by the fish tank, floor lighting, and a lamp behind the laptop

Desk draw light

Automatic desk draw lighting

Desk Light

An adjustable wall light

The Essential Desk Lamp

One thing to remember is that when you have a desk lamp you do not want the light bulb to be higher than your eye line, otherwise the light bulb will be visible and will create glare. A traditional and popular choice is the anglepoise lamp (the one also known as The Pixar Lamp). This can be angled in every direction.

The LEAF lamp - a luxurious desk light

The Leaf Lamp

There are more modern desk lamps, ones that make use of the latest LED technology and have touch pads controls. Like the Leaf Lamp designed by Yves Behar for Herman Miller, which allows you to change the LED lights from functional cold lighting, to more relaxing warm lighting. It was named by Time Magazine as “Best Invention of 2007”. It is priced at $429 and available here.

Space Saving

When it comes to desk lamps, there are a number of different bases to choose from which can help in saving valuable desk space. For example there are magnetic lamps which can be stuck onto a nearby metal surface, there are also lamps that can be clamped onto the desk. Another space saving computer desk lighting option is to use floor lamps.

magnetic work lamps

If you want a more decorative desk lamp, then head on over to Evil Robot Designs and get a custom superhero lamp made. These guys will use old toys to create the base of a lamp, as seen in the awesome pictures below.

golden super hero lamp

golden super hero lamp

Make Your Own Lamp Shades: There is also the Lamp In A Box website that allows you to upload your own images to have them printed onto a lamp shade.

How about trying out one of these DIY desk lamp ideas from our recent posts:

L&L Design Guide: 6 DIY Lamp Ideas and Projects

How To Make Paper Lamps: Simple and Elegant DIY Ideas [coming soon]

Using Picasa to Make Collages for DIY Photo Lamp Shades [coming soon]

DIY Dip Dye Lamps: Create Colorful Gradient Lamp Shades [coming soon]

Natural Lighting

The best lighting to use in the day is natural lighting. Look for good quality blinds, windows, or shades, that let you control the level of light/heat that comes in.

Mood Lights and Modern Desk Lighting

Mood lights help in creating a relaxing and comfortable work setting, allowing you to do more creative thinking. An example of a modern and sleek mood light is the Yantouch Jellyfish. It looks like a blend of a jellyfish and an iPad. It even has a gesture based, touch control pad. Since it uses LED lights the lamp can shine a range of hundreds of thousands of colors, and fade between them. Other mood desk lighting fixtures include the Lune by Cielux, or the Philips Mood Light Collection.

Simple Desk Lighting Ideas

Simple mood lights that could be used on a desk include flameless candles. These are LED lights that use a candle like base. You can find some that use real wax bases, some are even scented.

If you have a window by your desk, you can make use of Sun Jars. These are decorative Mason jars that have a solar panel on the top. At night when it is dark, the light will come on and will look like there is a mini sun floating in the jar.

Sun Jar

The Sun Jar


For more desk lighting ideas, for what to use as ceiling lights, cabinet lights, etc. have a look at our more elaborative post here: Design Guide: Home Office Lighting Ideas


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image credits



Creative Ways of Hanging Paper Lanterns Indoors: Plus DIY Lamp Ideas, and Where to Buy Everything

Below are some unique ways to hanging paper lanterns indoors, creative DIY projects that have used paper lanterns, and resources for where to buy the materials for all of this.

1. Creating a floor lamp

A long bent branch can be used as a stand to create an arc floor lamp. It can be planted into a pot of sand or soil, or cement can be used to create a solid base. The lightweight paper lantern then hangs off of the end of the branch, while the cord is wrapped around the branch and plugged into a wall. Another option is to use a fishing pole. Have a look at the photos below:

branch arc lamp

fishing pole arc

Idha Lindhag via Desire to Inspire 

2. The branch wall light

In Anne-Claire’s bedroom we see piece of driftwood has been attached to the wall above the bed. A pendant light has then been wrapped around the piece of wood and hangs down. The same can be done with a paper lantern.

wooden bedroom lamp


3. Creating a paper lantern chandelier

paper lantern chandelier

A paper lantern chandelier

This can be done in a number of ways. If you have track lights with hanging light fixtures, then paper lanterns can be simply fitted onto these lights. Another idea is to hanging a number of paper lanterns around a ceiling light fixture. That the light from that one fixture will make the lanterns softly glow. The best option, one that will require some electrical work, is to have a number of lights hanging down from the ceiling in one area which you can then fix one lantern to.

branch pendant light

You can also hang a branch and have paper lanterns hang off of it


DIY Projects

Because paper lanterns are so light weight and inexpensive there are a wide range of different and unique DIY projects based on them. Here are some creative DIY projects that have been done using hanging paper lanterns:

paper lanterns


Here is where to buy all the supplies to create your own paper lantern lighting indoors:

Where to buy:

You can find a range of paper lanterns here.

And you can find electric cords at the link on the left.


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