The Lighting Doctor

Recessed fixtures have become a standard part of home interiors. Since the 1990s, people have been stuck with what I call the "contractor’s special," which is a grid of 6-inch-diameter downlights per… more
How do you know when to use a clear bulb or frosted bulb? There are no hard and fast rules, but luckily you’ve asked somebody who has strong opinions. First off, just to be confusing, light bulbs… more
Light dining room in open floor plan
With open plan living, dining rooms need to learn how to join in. Photo by Dennis Anderson.
Rethinking How We Light Dining Rooms When I was growing up, the dining room was reserved strictly for company. As a family, we always ate in the kitchen. We rarely ventured into the dining room — it… more
LED shelf lighting undercabinet lighting
This collection of Fiestaware is best illuminated from the front because it is solid. Photo by Randall Whitehead.
  Q. What is the best way to light shelving? A. First off, you have to think about how translucent or opaque the objects are that you’re trying to illuminate. Solid items, like chinaware and books… more
Floatation-Ingo-Maurer-Living-room
The four pendant fixtures (Floatation by Ingo Maurer) provide both a decorative element and a source of ambient light for this living room. Recessed adjustable LED fixtures highlight the art, tabletops and sculpture. The two Tizio table lamps by Artemide create little pools of illumination, which draw people up to the seating area. (Photo: Dennis Anderson)
TIP 1: Start with basic biology People are drawn to light like moths are drawn to flame. So, the first rule of thumb is to make the living room the brightest space in the house. Many times, everyone… more
Christian-Wright
All four light fixtures have had all of their bulbs replaced with LED versions. Clear filament LEDs, used in the pendant fixture, help create the interesting pattern of light on the ceiling.
Tip 1: Know what to ask for Before you decide whether to replace bulbs or replace components, it’s important to know what to be looking for. These points I’ve mentioned before, but I think it’s very… more
Lighting-Doctor-Lighting-Design
Good lighting design moves your eye around the room, while offering flattering illumination for the people within the space. The best lighting is subtle — it makes you feel good but you don’t really know why.
TIP 1: Light makes right You can’t understand light without also knowing darkness. It’s like you can’t understand true happiness unless you also experience sadness. The best design comes when there’… more
Randall-Whitehead-Lighting-Doctor-Lighting-and-Decor
Wall colors, wood finishes and fabrics change in appearance under day and night lighting at very different color temperatures.
TIP 1: Day tripping Color temperature tells you the hue of illumination that a particular light source emits. The two color temperatures that we are most easily able to identify are incandescent (… more
Boyd-Lighting-Cascade-Chandelier
When working out the lighting design for a room, take a moment to look upward. There is a vast canvas available that could benefit from your inspiration.
TIP 1: Flaunt what ya got Ceilings are often the forgotten component when it comes to lighting. Architects create some wonderfully inspired elements below the roofline. There are vaulted ceilings,… more
Whether your entry is small and personal or one of a more grand scale, it sets the tone for the rest  of the house. The tall lamp with  the clear glass base gives a sculptural element to this more intimate entry, while a cascading chandelier can help to visually connect the first and second  floors of a spacious entry.
Whether your entry is small and personal or one of a more grand scale, it sets the tone for the rest of the house. The tall lamp with the clear glass base gives a sculptural element to this more intimate entry, while a cascading chandelier can help to visually connect the first and second floors of a spacious entry.
TIP 1: Create a sense of welcome When people walk in your front door you want to give them a good first impression. You want them to feel invited in. People are naturally drawn to light, so it’s… more
You can create additional ambient light for a bedroom if closet doors are translucent, such as these shoji panels.
You can create additional ambient light for a bedroom if closet doors are translucent, such as these shoji panels. (Photo: Dennis Anderson Photography)
TIP 1: Look at the time! When you’re getting dressed in the morning, often it’s still dark, so you’re depending on the illumination in your closet to make clothing selections. If the sun was out, we… more
A kitchen with a matte finish countertop with LED lighting above it
A matte finish countertop diffuses the linear task lighting that’s mounted below the upper cabinets. High-CRI LEDs enrich the colors of the food.
TIP 1: True blue light The mistake that architects, interior designers and homeowners often make is that they don’t consider how finishes will be altered under artificial light sources at night. It’… more
Outside of a home with landscape lights on. Photo: Jeff Zaruba
Landscape lighting should be subtle. The goal is to draw attention to what is being illuminated as opposed to the light source itself. Photo: Jeff Zaruba
TIP 1: Be street smart As you’ve heard many times before, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” From the street, the way a house looks at night says a lot about the people inside.… more
Room with recessed lighting and bright artwork on the walls
Existing recessed fixtures can be retrimmed to make them adjustable, then just replace the existing bulbs with LED versions.
TIP 1: The old switcheroo The quick and easy thing to do is to replace the existing incandescent or CFL bulbs with LEDs. Most bulbs these days have an LED equivalent. There are now shelves and… more
TIP 1: Go with the flow It used to be that kitchens were separated from the rest of the house by doors or a pass-through to the dining room. Because the kitchen was set apart, lighting didn’t… more
Q: What is the correct mounting height for a fixture over a dining room table? A: First off, I’ll provide a guideline: The bottom of the fixture should be 32 to 36 inches above the tabletop. Now… more
Q: I am currently working on a new construction residence and I have a difference of opinion with the electrical engineer regarding placement of junction boxes for wall sconces. At what height do we… more
Trace sputnik swing arm lamp with Chrome accents and a Matte Black finish from Quoizel
Quoizel's Trace chandelier has adjustable arms, so how do you determine how high to hang it? Lighting Doctor Randall Whitehead has the answer.
Getting the correct height for these bedside fixtures is crucial, says our expert. See what advice Lighting Doctor Randall Whitehead has to offer curious readers in this blog. Q.: Randall, what is… more