Keys to Picking Out Light Fixtures

The light fixtures for our new Showroom display came in and are installed!  They look wonderful and got me thinking about how challenging it can be to select the right light fixture – What color should it be?  How big should it be?  What style should it be? – are some of the questions posed, with many more to follow.  Yesterday I sat down with the award winning, Normandy Designer Chris Ebert, who helped in the redesign of the showroom displays, to get his take on expert light fixture selection.  The first thing Chris said to take into consideration when selecting a fixture is the other metals in the space, such as appliances, the hardware on cabinetry and sinks and so on; making sure that there’s a sense of continuity between all the metals is key for a cohesive look.

One decision that always makes me nervous, is selecting the size of the fixture; Chris was able to point out why that poses a problem for many homeowners.  “When you’re looking at a fixture in a store, it’s usually in a big warehouse type building, way bigger than your home,” says Chris, “So you really need to keep in mind the size of the space you’re working with, and the size and scale of light fixture that’s appropriate, without looking overwhelming or inadequate.  Additionally, you need to make sure the fixture is not going to be directly in your line of sight and become a nuisance.”  Another aspect to keep in mind is how much light you need and want the fixture to provide.  “I always try to convey how important lighting is to a space,” commented Chris, “It makes a space come alive, makes a space special and unique and great lighting makes working in a space easier and safer.”

Next option:  exposed vs. shaded bulbs.  Exposed bulbs can enhance a contemporary look in a room, but can also be overly bright.  Chris points out that it’s an issue of placement, you don’t want to be sitting at a dining table and look up right into bulbs; it’s best to have the bulbs exposed at the top in that case.  On the same note, it’s important to take into consideration that shades on light fixtures can dramatically affect the lighting in a room.  “Sometimes people think their copper colored crystal shades will flatter the warmth in a room, but forget that the fixture will throw that copper color light throughout, and possibly make that lighting alone inadequate for the room,” says Chris, “If you want good light, go with light color shades – white shades give off the most light.”

Finally, I had Chris go through Normandy projects and select his top five favorite light fixtures.  They’re all stunning, in part because they all follow the guidelines mentioned above.

vintage lighting1.  “Light fixtures don’t only have to provide task lighting; they can also be jewelry, which is the case with these vintage light fixtures.”



lamp shade light fixture

2. “This light fixture is not only decorative, but it has great scale and provides good light because the shade is a light, opaque color.



modern chandelier


3.  “I love the scale of the light, it’s large and decorative, but you’re also able to see through it.  Additionally, it’s centered well in the space.”


pendant chandelier and crystal chandeliers



4.  “This kitchen features two types of main light fixtures, providing two meanings to the island, task and decorative.  The genres mix well together, making it a more interesting space.”


clear pendant lighting for kitchen


5.  “I like the spacing and placement of these fixtures, they’re transparent so you can stand and look around/through them without feeling like the fixtures are in your face.



Light fixtures are one of the dozens of elements that can elevate your kitchen beyond the ordinary and into award winning territory. If you’d like Chris’ expert design skills applied to your upcoming project, schedule an appointment for a free in-home consultation with him today!




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