5 Ways to Avoid the “Big Light” Problem

5 Ways to Avoid the "Big Light" Problem

The term “Big Light” comes from an online trend referring to overpowering overhead lighting in interior design. Follow along for 5 ways to avoid the “Big Light” problem according to an interior designer!

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon an online video that perfectly captured the changing trends in living room lighting. In about 15 seconds, it conveyed a simple yet very effective rule: “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever use the big light!” The term has since become a catchall for overpowering overhead lighting, which many interior designers (like myself!) tend to frown upon.

These online videos showcase a room with overhead lights turned on, often comparing the space to harsh, unflattering hospital or interrogation lighting. They then let us in on the cozy alternative, showing how the same space can be lit up with lights placed around the room to create a more laid-back atmosphere.

The “Big Light” problem is a common issue, but there are ways to overcome it and embrace a more ambient approach. Instead of using just one central light source, it’s important to add in multiple, layered lighting sources like floor lamps, table lamps, picture lighting, sconces, and other alternatives. This type of lighting a softer, more customizable form of illumination that complements your space and style, adding personality and charm to your home. So let’s reject the conventional “big light” and explore all types of alternative lighting options!

1. Floor Lamps

Perhaps the simplest solution to combating overhead lighting issues, floor lamps are indispensable when it comes to creating layered lighting in a space. By strategically placing floor lamps in corners or beside key furniture pieces, you can cast a cozy glow to complement the overall ambiance of a room.

When choosing a floor lamp, it’s important to think the function of your room. Do you need it to provide task lighting for reading or working? Or are you looking to create a more laid back, relaxing atmosphere? I’m partial to a lamp that can do both! By choosing a floor lamp with a dimmer, it’s easy to add versatile options for lighting within a space.

Floor Lamp Trends for 2024, Floor Lamp suggestions to avoid the "big light" problem

Click the images above to shop each item. This post contains affiliate links.

2. Table Lamps

Although table lamps may be an obvious solution, the ambience they add to a room cannot be overstated! A space should have at least 2-3 different lighting sources, and table lamps are one of the simplest ways to hit this easy quota. By placing smaller lights around a room at different levels, you can instantly curate a more comfortable atmosphere. The soft, warm lighting of a table lamp is easier on the eyes, and they also contribute to a sense of depth and dimensionality in a space. With so many styles and designs available, table lamps are a perfect way to infuse extra personality to a room that fits your unique style.

Table Lamps 2024 Trends, suggested table lamps to avoid the big light problem

Click the images above to shop each item. This post contains affiliate links.

3. Under Cabinet Lighting

Adding ambiance and functionality to your rooms shouldn’t mean breaking the bank or calling in an electrician. Thanks to modern solutions, like affordable and rechargeable lights available on platforms such as Amazon, lighting your living space couldn’t be any easier. These versatile lights quickly transform dark corners into well-lit, visually appealing areas, seamlessly blending style with practicality.

Think beyond the kitchen – under cabinet lights are a perfect go-to in brightening up shelving units, display cabinets, and more. They not only add an extra little glow to your home but also serve as practical sources of task lighting. Placing them strategically makes daily activities, like cooking, brighter and more manageable. From sleek LED strip lights to compact puck lights, customize your lighting to suit your home’s unique needs. With all these versatile options available at the touch of a “buy now” button, lighting your living space has never been easier.

Under Cabinet Lighting Trends 2024, suggestions to avoid the "big light problem"

Click the images above to shop each item. This post contains affiliate links.

4. Uplighting Plants

Transforming the ambiance of your living space can be as simple as giving your plants a little extra style – and the secret lies in uplighting. Beyond merely brightening a room, uplighting plants introduces texture and interesting shadows, instantly elevating the intention of your space. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different plants and their placements to find the perfect balance between light and shadow! To take this plant lighting concept up a notch, incorporate an outlet timer. This lets your space come to life with a soft glow at the same time every night, creating a consistent and cozy atmosphere.

suggested plant lights to avoid the big light problem, 2024. lighting trends

Click the images above to shop each item. This post contains affiliate links.

5. Sconces and Picture Lights

Don’t overlook the power of wall lighting in transforming the vibe of your room. By incorporating picture lighting and sconces, you can instantly bump up your space’s sophisticated feel. Picture lights are perfect for accentuating artwork or displaying family photos, adding a focal point to the room. Meanwhile, sconces come in various designs and provide both ambient and task lighting, which is perfect for spaces with varying lighting needs.

Additionally, wall lighting can be an ideal solution for small living areas where floor and table lamps may occupy too much space. By adding wall lights, you can free up valuable room while still providing plenty of light for reading or other activities. Battery-powered and rechargeable sconces are easily accessible and make for a simple upgrade for any home. Most wall lights now come with dimming features, allowing you to adjust the light to your desired level of coziness.

suggested sconces and picture lights to avoid the big light problem, 2024. lighting trends

Click the images above to shop each item. This post contains affiliate links.

Whether you love or hate “the big light,” there’s no denying the fun that comes from seeing a design moment bring the internet together against a common enemy! It’s hard not to enjoy this little moment bringing attention to the power of lighting in our homes and shared spaces.

5 Ways to Avoid the Big Light Problem: floor lamps, table lamps, under cabinet lighting, plant uplighting, and wall lighting such as sconces and picture lights

Online Interior Design

With my online interior design (e-design) services I’m able to help my clients create a professional level of design throughout their home. My team and I will work within your budget & preferences to create a cohesive design plan tailored to your style. I will stick with you for guidance and consultation as you bring your design to life. Check out our Get Started page to learn more about our process.

You will have direct access to lead designer, Nicole Mendez throughout the whole process. Multiple revisions are included with each package to ensure you are completely happy with the end result!

With online interior design I am able to serve clients all over California and the rest of the United States. In addition, my on-site interior design services allow me to meet with locals to help choose items like, flooring, tile, fixtures, and furniture in person.

My last few interior design projects have been in local southern California cities like Lake Arrowhead, Pasadena, Chino Hills, Foothill Ranch, Claremont, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Newport Beach, and Los Alamitos.

let's connect

Need a designer in your corner?

Book a free call today and start getting your design questions answered!

Design Feature (Part 1): Foothill Ranch, California Home Remodel