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a bedroom with bed and wall art
Discover how the right lighting can make all the difference to the look and feel of your home.

Glow factor

A great lighting scheme can be a game changer to your home. Improved ambience is one of the visible benefits, but functionality, safety and energy efficiency are other gains. In addition, a revamp to your décor – including overhead lights, pendants and lamps – gives you the opportunity to add layers of style and personality to your space, as well as boost the overall atmosphere. Here’s our guide to getting the right lights for your home, inside and out.

Warm layering for atmosphere

If your home’s lighting scheme consists of little more than a few downlights, chances are it’s inadequate, resulting in unevenly lit spaces that lack warmth. The remedy is to layer ambient, task and accent lighting, which you can control to suit the occasion or mood.

Jane Troiano of Arlec suggests using multiple light sources at different levels. “For a warm and relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom, consider a dimmable overhead light, wall lights either side of the bed for a soft glow and bedside table lamps for reading.”

In living areas, Jane recommends combining overhead recessed lighting with pendant lights for a bright, airy, and functional atmosphere, highlighting artworks with wall sconces and positioning floor or table lamps beside sofas.

Kitchen lighting to enhance and entice

The kitchen is a social hub where lighting needs to serve various purposes, so it’s a good idea to work around your existing design. Think task lights for food prep areas, something with an ambient glow for when the mood shifts to entertaining, and striking feature lights.

“Pendants above the island benchtop add style as well as directed task lighting and, if you install batten-fix versions, you can easily change them to update your look,” explains Sharon Breeze of Brilliant Lighting. “There are also easy D.I.Y. replacements for downlights to convert them to one- or three-light directional spotlights to brighten the bench space and direct light to where you really need it.”

To boost brightness, glass-fronted kitchen cabinets can look stunning when lit from within at night, while retrofit strip lighting under overhead cabinets is an effective way to illuminate benchtops, create a welcoming glow and wash light over the splashback.

Kitchen with green cupboards attached to an oven with stove light turned on

Bathroom bulbs for a better vibe

A common bathroom lighting blunder is reliance on a central overhead light. “These lights tend to cast shadows onto mirrors, so it’s better to combine them with vanity lights above or beside mirrors, which will evenly illuminate your face,” says Sharon.

Choose from sleek wall sconces, slimline bars and pretty pendants for a practical, flattering yet stylish design statement.

For natural-looking light, Sharon recommends light bulbs with a colour temperature of 3000K to 4000K. Another option is Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT) globes that allow you to adjust the colour temperature as required.

If your bathroom doesn’t have a window or needs extra ventilation, consider a fan/heat/light combination. “Gone are the days of heat globes that need replacing,” says Sharon. “Instead, opt for a streamlined panel style with radiant heat and LED CCT lighting.”

Bathroom with wooden cupboards, semicircular mirror with mirror light and white tiles

Light up your home’s exterior

Well-lit paths, driveways, entries and outdoor entertaining areas are essential for safety and security, while up-lit trees and twinkling fairy lights create magic after dark, says Jane.

“A pair of wall sconces or lanterns either side of the front door can provide a soft, ambient light, while ground lights, spotlights and string lights are great options to brighten pathways and garden areas and can be used to create dramatic lighting effects,” Jane says.

For added safety, Jane suggests installing motion-sensor security lights.

Garden with green shrubs surrounding two wooden outdoor chairs facing a lit fireplace

Consider smart lighting options

To cut power bills and potentially save money, switch to LED bulbs and consider having smart lighting systems installed. “Smart lighting technology and smart bulbs which connect to an app can be used throughout the home, allowing the ability to control colour temperature, dimmers and timers remotely from a smartphone or tablet,” explains Jane.

Other energy-savvy home lighting solutions include sensor solar LED wall lights, which turn on when motion is detected after dusk. Inside, battery-powered motion-sensor wall lights are ideal for illuminating hallways or in bathrooms at night.

Close up shot of plants next to a path, lit up by ground light

Keep in mind...

  • Some products are not available at all Bunnings stores, but may be ordered.
  • Any hardwired electrical fixtures must be installed by a licensed electrician.

To light up your garden sustainably...

Check out our range of solar lights.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.