(StatePoint) While lighting is an essential piece of new home design; it’s often selected and installed at the end of the building process. What’s more, statement-making decorative lighting is often not part of the initial design at all. 

“Many builders today are opting for only recessed lighting in new home builds. Not only does this provide inadequate light, it creates a sterile look,” says Jennifer Kis, director of marketing communications for Progress Lighting. “It’s important to consider decorative lighting in the initial budget to highlight all the other accents and purposeful design in your home.”

The good news is that today, there are luxury lighting options that suit any budget and lifestyle trend. For example, Progress Lighting offers the Point Dume Collection created by influential interior designer, Jeffrey Alan Marks. Inspired by the California coastline, fixtures in this fashion-forward collection highlight artistic influence and rich finishes. Progress also offers the Design Series, which offers sophistication at accessible prices, along with hundreds of other decorative interior and exterior fixtures.

“For the style impact it gives the home, decorative lighting is definitely worth the investment,” says Piper Stromatt, interior designer for Curate Custom Homes in Chattanooga, TN. “We’ve tested recessed-only lighting schemes and our clients immediately sense something lacking in the home’s ambiance. We always recommend including decorative lighting, as it increases the perceived value of the home as well as offers a finishing touch.”

Be sure to discuss the lighting plan during your design phase. Once the build has started, it may be more expensive to make changes. When talking lighting with her clients, Stromatt emphasizes these key points: 

• Layer a combination of task lighting with decorative lighting. A properly layered lighting scheme creates comfort, functionality and beauty.  

• Decorative lighting should be installed closer to eye level than functional recessed lighting and reinforce the home’s unique design. As the single focal point for each living area, decorative fixtures define a space, which is especially crucial in open floor plans.

• Avoid installing recessed lighting in rooms where flattering and comfortable light is necessary, such as overhead in the master bathroom or in a nursery where high-wattage lights can be uncomfortable for baby’s eyes. 

When planning the lighting for your new home, Stromatt recommends asking these questions:

• Is the lighting package pre-determined? Often, builders offer a choice of one or more standard packages. Before confirming your selection, ask what upgrades are available, what the costs are, and if there any design limitations.

• What’s the wiring plan? Pre-installed junction boxes, or pancake boxes, offer less flexibility, as light fixtures must be installed wherever junction boxes are. If your plan doesn’t include decorative lighting, ask for the home to be snake-wired, which gives the flexibility to add lighting wherever and whenever you want.

• Are LED light bulbs an option? Often a builder has already selected bulbs, and they’re not always LED. Even if it adds to the cost, the investment to substitute LED bulbs is worth it, providing energy savings, brighter light and longer life.

For more tips and inspiration, visit Progress Lighting at progressltg.com/Shop

The bottom line: don’t settle for recessed lighting alone. By asking the right questions, you can easily combine form and function.