coordinated lighting for an open floor plan

How to Choose Light Fixtures for Open Floor Plans

Beau Wynja

coordinated lighting for an open floor plan

Coordinating Lighting for Open Floor Plans

Whether you’ve just moved into a space with an open floor plan or you’re planning a redesign to create more elbow room in your home, coordinating lighting for an open floor plan is key. This type of lighting is a little different from traditional home lighting, and you might be surprised at what it takes to make it work. You want a bright, cheery feeling, much-needed illumination, and something that matches your home’s existing aesthetic without compromising the vibe you’re trying to achieve in your space.

At Color Cord Company, we love sharing tips and advice to make it easy to update your open floor plan lighting. Learn how to choose light fixtures for an open floor plan and find inspiration with our blog today.

Start with a Plan

pendant lights for living room and kitchen with open floor plan

Part of designing an open floor plan requires matching your lighting to accommodate the natural activities that will occur in this space. Even though you feel like you can flow throughout the environment with ease, each area should still have obvious functionality depending on the room. You want lighting for the dining room, living areas, kitchen area, and more! Coordinating lighting for an open floor plan can help you define and dictate which area is ideal for which activity.

Consider the three types of interior lighting: ambient, task, and accent. How will these three types of fixtures fit in with the architectural features of your home? Do you have high ceilings, minimal interior walls, or tons of windows? Each of these features will help determine the right open floor plan lighting. Work with your CAD or paper blueprint to fill in where you think you’ll need extra lighting of each type. Make sure you pay attention to where you have electrical outlets and consider adding more for plug-in fixtures and floor lamps.

Ambient Lighting

Since ambient lighting provides the general lighting for a space, it needs to ensure instant illumination and be all-encompassing. Recessed lighting is one choice, but you can enhance the aesthetics of ceiling lighting with flush-mounted fixtures that have a little more personality. You may want to have several switches at the entrance of your home to control lighting for every area. Turn on all the lights in your open floor plan with one flick or control each room individually from one spot. Coordinating lighting for your open floor plan based on how you move in your space will help you decide where to place control for each “room.”

Task Lighting

How you choose task lighting for an open floor plan is very similar to the process for a traditional home. Because task lighting focuses on specific activities, you don’t have to guess at what you’ll need when coordinating lighting for your open floor plan. Fill in the blanks and find appropriate fixtures for your reading nook, food prep area, workspace, and bathroom. What other tasks can you think of that need a little extra light?

At Color Cord Company, we prefer precisely placed pendant lights and wall sconces to illuminate smaller spaces within your open floor plan. Direct the beams of light more accurately, diffuse the brightness, and add to your interior decor with tapered shades and glass globes.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting adds a little more illumination and draws the eye to specific objects or areas in your open floor plan. These are the fixtures that can help add dramatic appeal to your home. Consider a sconce to illuminate your wall art or under-cabinet lights to reflect off a unique backsplash in the kitchen. Task lighting can be minimalist or maximalist to suit your aesthetic.

Finalize Your Decisions

pendant lighting for an open floor kitchen

With a physical plan of your space, you can start coordinating lighting for your open floor plan. Make a list of all the fixtures you need and where you plan on putting them. A realistic rendering can help you visualize the final product of your open floor plan lighting design. Experiment and modify the fixtures you choose in your rendering before making final decisions. You can also check out our gallery to see how different fixtures will look in a similar space.

Open Floor Plan FAQ

If you still have questions about coordinating lighting for your open floor plan or about the benefits of this kind of layout, check out some common questions that other people have asked.

What are the pros and cons of open floor plan lighting?

Before you start thinking about how to choose light fixtures for an open floor plan, you might be wondering if it’s even the right layout for you. Here are some advantages and disadvantages that may guide your decision:


  • Makes small spaces feel bigger
  • Improves traffic flow between rooms
  • Provides an ideal entertainment space


  • Decreased privacy
  • Increased noise levels
  • More expensive to heat and cool
  • Needs more precise lighting

What are the characteristics of an open floor plan?

Open floor plans are characterized by a lack of walls separating all the major living areas. They saw a rise in popularity during the 1950s and are currently part of the lexicon for many mid-century modern homes

Any time two or more spaces are joined together to form a larger space with no hard barrier, you have an open floor plan. Coordinating lighting for your open floor plan and changing the type of flooring from space to space are a couple of ways to create a distinction between each room without adding walls or doors.

Are there any rules to open floor plans?

There aren’t any other traditional rules for open floor plans or lighting, but there are ways you can make a space feel more comfortable and natural. How you choose light fixtures for an open floor plan is especially important, as detailed above, but here are a few more tips to help with your design:

  • Include an entrance hall or lobby
  • Ensure your space has enough windows
  • Create unobtrusive storage against the walls
  • Balance space size and furniture size
  • Design a space for your lifestyle
  • Coordinate lighting for open floor plans by room
  • Stick to only three types of floors

With this guidance, you can develop a more cohesive floor plan that delivers what you need from a home.

What are some open floor plan mistakes?

Whether you’re remodeling an existing space or building a house with an open floor plan from the ground up, you’ll need to be careful with your design to avoid common mistakes, including:

  • Disobeying building codes in your area
  • Forgetting to consider material and labor costs
  • Not providing privacy in bathrooms or bedrooms
  • Coordinating too much lighting for open floor plans
  • Orienting your house to the wrong direction (it should be north for better lighting)
  • Giving rooms more or less space than they actually require
  • Not creating noise separation or considering acoustics

Finding Extra Lighting Design Guidance

At Color Cord Company, we’ve spent years developing our store to cater to every kind of lighting need. Whether you’re an enthusiastic DIYer or an interior design firm with large wholesale orders in mind, we can accommodate commercial and residential spaces alike. Find extra guidance from our team to bring your vision to life when you reach out to us about coordinating lighting for your open floor plan today!

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