It took me hours of online research to find the right interior and exterior lighting fixtures for our home. There was a lot to consider: budget, function, design, and availability in Canada. Lighting can be expensive so it’s worth it to put a lot of thought into your choices. I started our search by finding some online inspiration:
Hint: Look for photos that show home and furniture styles similar to your own. Observe the types of lighting the designer has used, decide if it appeals to you, and consider if it will work for your space.
Once you’re feeling inspired, here are some tips you may find helpful.
Top 10 things I learned about shopping for lighting in Canada:
- Make your lighting choices early on in the process. It can take time for ordering and for delivery. Also, prepare to have an alternative in case the light you want isn’t available for some reason. It’s not fun to go back through thousands of pages of lighting options to try to find something you spotted a week ago (see #3 below).
- Ask your builder about preferred retailers and discounts. Our builder works with a designer who was able to provide discounts. With lighting fixtures being so expensive, it’s a nice perk!
- As you browse lighting fixtures online, immediately save your favourites to your Pinterest boards as you go. It’s helpful that when you “Pin”, it typically saves the image with the source link so you can easily find it later on. If they don’t end up making the cut, you can always remove them.
- There are some helpful guidelines online to determine how to choose the proper scale of light fixture for the rooms in your home. From light location to shape and materials, this article at Homes and Gardens explains it beautifully.
- Consider if the fixture is easy to clean. That may seem like a “given” but you’d be surprised at the number of lights we found with non-removable glass shades.
- You should only choose CSA approved lighting for quality, sustainability and safety. All electrical products sold in Canada are required to have one of ETL, cULus or CSA safety certification. This is important information if you plan to expand your search beyond Canadian online retailers; for example, Wayfair. More on that below.
- Choose lighting fixtures appropriately rated for your application. For instance, you’ll need a damp-rated light fixture for use in protected outdoor environments such as roofed porches, decks and sheds, since they can withstand moist environments where condensation may build up around the fixture. You’ll need to choose wet rated lighting fixtures for use in places with direct exposure to water such as bathroom showers, uncovered porches, outdoor garden paths and ground wells because they have waterproof seals to protect internal components from moisture. When shopping online, look for labels that say “Suitable for Wet or Damp Locations”. If you’re working with a builder, the electrician will let you know if your lighting choice is inappropriate.
- Wayfair may have some beautiful lighting options, but not all products are CSA approved. Product descriptions often don’t confirm or deny this status, which means you have to constantly initiate chats with customer service to find out.
- Pottery Barn is one of my favourite places to shop from a design perspective. They have really unique lighting options (for us, the styles really suited the aesthetic we wanted); however, we discovered that even when the online store indicated “available for shipping”, the product often was NOT available! Even when we called to speak to a customer service representative, they wouldn’t know if and when the product would actually be available. Apparently, the inventory database from their warehouse doesn’t regularly sync with their online storefront. Talk about a frustrating shopping experience!
- Check your lighting as soon as it arrives to ensure the correct lights have ALL been delivered, and nothing is broken. That way your supplier has a chance to address the issue before the lights need to be installed.
- Bulbs may or may not be included with the lighting fixtures. Confirm with your lighting supplier(s) if you need to order additional bulbs separately.
Here’s my own bonus tip for you: Although, the light temperature of an incandescent bulb is sometimes preferable, I try to order LED light bulbs for high-up or hard-to-reach lighting fixtures. They last longer and don’t need to be changed as often.
Our Lighting Choices
Now, I’m ready to share a few of our own lighting choices for our little house by the sea. Here are some of the fixtures we’ve chosen:
Since we live in Canada, winters can get a bit dreary so we’re also adding pot lights in the ceiling throughout the home. It’s a great way to keep things lighter and brighter. Interior paint colours also make a difference to lighting during the winter.
I hope you find these tips helpful as we take you along on our house building journey. There’s more to come on plumbing fixtures, cabinets and hardware, bathroom tiles, and landscaping.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.