Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lighten Up...

When thinking about lighting your home think function first, form second. What are you going to be doing in the room you are illuminating, relaxing, cooking, entertaining, working? This all plays in to the lighting you will need.

While many new homeowners love canned lights also known as pot lights, I am not a huge fan. However, if you do have them in your home, put them on a dimmer switch; very rarely will you need them at full illumination. I find they are a bit too harsh, however on a dimmer switch you can adjust the amount of light output; think how beautiful everyone looks in candle light, why not create that same feel with your lights in your home?

If you have a lot of canned lights and can not put all of them on a dimmer think about inserting light gels. They are inexpensive, easy to insert and filter the light from harsh to a soft glow.

Kitchen Work Areas & Eating Areas
Kitchen lighting options are endless. Have fun! Use pendant lights over an island or hang an over-sized chandelier over a kitchen table; just make sure it's at least 33"-36" over your eating/work area.  Ikea makes easy to install under cabinet lights, perfect for showing off glassware in a glass-front cabinet or for using them as task lighting while you're chopping vegetables (most do not have to be hard-wired).

Living / Sitting Areas
Rule of three when lighting living and sitting areas. Place lights where you will be sitting and reading. You want to illuminate in a triangle for optimal lighting affect. In a small living space skip the over head lights they will draw the ceiling down making the room seem smaller.However, in large room or a room that has a vaulted ceiling a hanging light/chandelier could be the perfect addition. DO use wall sconces, table lamps, torchiers, reading lamps w/ a swing arm. Have light come over your left side if you are right handed, you don't want to create a shadow when you are reading or writing.

You want to have enough of a light source so you can adjust the lighting, you can always dim or turn off if you have to; but if you don't have enough it's impossible to make more light. Three way bulbs are great, but you won't need more than 150 watts unless you plan to land a plane in your living room. Stay away from matching sets of lamps. Big box stores love to sell boxes of lamps, usually 2 tall and 2 table lamps. Practical yes, bringing "umph" to a room, never. While I like to balance table lamps on either side of a sofa think similar heights and size of lamp shades, not matchy-matchy. The only place I like matching table lamps is the bedroom.

Bedrooms & Guest Rooms

Each side of your bed should have a table lamp. I love to read in bed and a good light to read by is a necessity, I use a 3 way bulb, that way if my husband wants to sleep I can keep it on the lowest setting and not keep him awake. If you don't have matching lamps think about getting matching shades, it balances the look of the room. Big beds need big lamps to balance them. You can raise the height of your lamps by setting them on a stack of hardcover books (minus the dust jackets).

Also, all of my bedroom have lights are on a dimmer switch. Lets face it, when it's time to wind down softer lighting is better. Not to mention, our flaws are less noticeable in softer lighting; in my opinion, softer light decreases your age by at least 5 years! So forget the Botox, just buy a dimmer switch! Don't forget the closet. If you have a walk in closet why not have a pretty lamp on your dressing table? It will add to the mood while you get dressed.

Bedrooms should also be beautiful, think about hanging a crystal chandelier over your bed. I like bedrooms to have a combination of masculine and feminine qualities. You can have a leather club chair in your sitting area and a crystal chandelier with crystal teardrops... it gives it that nice touch of his and hers...

So lighten up and live beautifully!


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