Let’s talk lighting

There is exciting news on the home building front, my friends. That is: our lighting choices have been officially recorded! Admittedly that news isn’t as exciting as, say, the house has been framed (it hasn’t) or the sheetrock is up (it’s not), but exciting nonetheless. Exciting because I kid you not when I tell you that it took me no less than two full weeks to nail down my choices. It’s not that I’m indecisive–okay, maybe that’s part of it–it’s that these are decisions we’re going to live with for a long time and I want to make sure that I make choices I won’t regret.

We had a ridiculous number of lights to choose from. That might sound like a complaint but I don’t mean for it to; options are always a good thing, right? I will say, though, that sifting through thousands of fixtures online makes for one blurry set of eyes. I had to be careful not to glaze over and settle for a fixture that was just good enough. I knew that I’d come to regret the good enough and wish I’d held out for fixtures that made my heart all pittery-pattery.

I think I did just that.

In all, I chose over 75 lights for our new home. Granted, several of those fixtures are not the least bit sexy–fluorescent garage lights, for example. The majority of them, though, are located front and center in prominent spaces throughout our home. Those are the ones I’m sharing with you today.

I absolutely cannot wait to show you photos of the front of the house. It’s worlds different than the Santa Fe style home we owned here in Arizona. I don’t have a photo of the new house yet but I do have an artist’s rendering for comparison.

How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home
Old house
How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home
New house

See? Worlds apart, right? Santa Fe style homes (with the flat roof) are very common here in the desert southwest. And stucco. Pretty much everything is stucco. When we were making design choices for the new house the real estate agent in Alabama told me to drive around our neighborhood here at home to get an idea of brick and stone combinations that we like. Ha! I had to explain that homes–and “yards” even–are so much different here in Arizona. Both Jeff and I are beyond excited to relocate to an area of the country were there is grass and tall trees and the houses look more traditional.

So…about our lights. Let’s start in foyer, shall we?

One of the features I love about the new house is the two-story foyer with tray ceiling. I wanted to choose a light that was worthy of such an entry and I think I found it. I opted for an open cage lantern style fixture that mimics the arch of our front doors and the window above them.

How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom homeDo you love it? I so do.

Next up is the dining room. Ours features a coffered ceiling. We opted to have our recessed panels painted dark gray while the beams will be a contrasting bright white. I was torn between two fixtures for the dining room–one being somewhat trendy and the other more classic. In the end, I opted to go with the classic choice just because I don’t want to have to switch the fixture out in a few years. I chose a six-light black chandelier with dainty, dangling wood beads. How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home

I mentioned in another post recently that the new house has a dedicated study–no need to convert a bedroom or den into an office for me! I also mentioned that I’d like for the office to have a feminine feel to it so that my handsome husband is less inclined to overstay his welcome in that space. Oh, I kid. Kind of. In any case, here is what I opted for. I’ve got my eye on a two-tone executive desk in antique white and natural. I think this fixture will go great with it. How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home

Let’s move on to the great room, shall we? Like the foyer, the great room is two-story. The focal point in that room will be a stacked stone fireplace. I have a mood board designed for exactly how I want the room decorated; I can’t wait for it to come together in reality. I’ve chosen English roll arm sofas and plush, tufted chairs for seating. I’m totally in love with the room as it is on screen; I hope that it is as pretty and comfy in reality. As far as lighting for that room, I really didn’t want to do a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans aren’t terribly efficient for me because I can’t sit under them for long without my eyes drying out. And since they really only serve to cool if you’re sitting directly under them, well, they’re fairly useless for me unless I’m sleeping. I did get one in the bedroom. For the great room, though, I chose this twelve-light drum shade chandelier. I love that it’s black and tan because it serves to tie together the cool neutral gray walls with the earthy accents that I’ll be decorating with in this space.



When we were house shopping we learned a few things about the homes in Alabama. One was that most of them have “safe rooms” for use as emergency shelters during tornadoes. Please don’t scare me with tornado stories. I’m accepting them as a trade-off for rattlesnakes on the porch and scorpions in the house. Another thing we learned about Alabama homes is that many of them feature what is referred to as a “keeping room” right off the kitchen. Apparently, the term dates back to Colonial times. When the rest of the house was too cold for sleeping, families would spend the night in the keeping room because warmth from the kitchen stove made it more comfortable. Our keeping room, like the great room, will feature a stone fireplace. It is only one story but it does have a tray ceiling. For this space, I opted for a beaded chandelier that features alternating stone and glass beads.

How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home

We also have a mudroom in the new house. I can not tell you the degree to which this excites me. Our home in Arizona had a very narrow laundry room that we had to pass through every time we came and went. Because ours is a shoe-free household, the kids would plop down right there in the center of the space to remove their shoes, completely blocking entry to anybody unfortunate enough to be behind them. It was a really poor design that made for frustrating circumstances quite frequently. I am so looking forward to having a proper entry in this house where the kids can deposit shoes, backpacks and coats without blocking the doorway. For the lighting in there, we went with a seeded-glass bowl pendant that will be hung semi-flush.

How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home

I don’t know about you, but I spend a whole lotta time in the kitchen. A whole, whole lot. You can imagine, then, that the size of the kitchen and several features within it were prioritized when we were house shopping. The kitchen in this house fit my requirements perfectly and I cannot wait to get in there and make it mine. I chose lights for it that leave my heart totally aflutter. They’re just gorgeous. This first one is the main light in the kitchen. It hangs directly above the island and prep sink.

How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home

This smaller one is a pendant. We’ll have three of these hanging over the breakfast bar.

How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home

Making our way to through the rest of the house, we come to the bedrooms and bathrooms. Each bedroom is getting a ceiling fan. The secondary bedrooms will have white ones with average light fixtures (yawn) while the master has a slightly fancier oil-rubbed bronze fan with a ho-hum light kit. I’m not showing them because if you’ve seen one ceiling fan you’ve seen them all. But we can talk bathroom lighting. With the exception of the master bath, all the bathrooms are getting these:

How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home

The master will have one lantern light hanging in the center of the space.

How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home

There will also be vanity lights over his and her sinks.

How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home

I even got to choose a doorbell.

How to choose coordinating light fixtures for a custom home

So…what do ya’ll think of my choices? I’m excited to see them in person. I haven’t actually laid eyes on a single one of these fixtures. I hope it all comes together. It can be tough with screen resolution to make absolutely positive you’re getting what you think you’re getting. I guess we shall see.

I hope to be able to share more on the house soon. We’ll be visiting the lot in the near future and I would love to be able to come back with some building progress photos to share.


  1. Nice! I am jealous of your new house, but all those choices/decisions would totally stress me out!

  2. We recently sold our house in the country (Oklahoma) to a couple from Nevada. They were so excited to have a yard with grass it made me really laugh when you said the same thing in your post. Love your choices. Beautiful house and not to scare you it’s worth putting a shelter, safe room etc in. You might never have the real need for it but the peace of mind of having it is really worth it.

    1. Rockscapes get old rather quickly, don’t they? ;) Thank you for the advice. Our new home does have a safe room with a FEMA door on it; I just hope we don’t have to use it!

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