Lighten Up

INSPIRATION! Chandelier @Radio City Music Hall, NY

 Hello  – I‘m working to improve the layout as the last blog was a hot mess so hopefully a more copesetic look will be in place soon.

This week is about lighting – which is often times the last element to be considered in a room if at all.  How often I’m in the home of a client and walk into a room with only the blinding (or hazy) overhead luminary lit or nothing at all but the blinds open.  Lighting, at its best, complements not only our furnishings and finishes but also our skin tone when we’re in the room – they call it ambient lighting for a reason. 

A single overhead light creates uneasy shadows and hot/cold spots of color.  So often you’ll hear someone say once they purchase paint (chosen from a tiny sample on paper – huh?) “That’s not the way I thought the color would look.”  Darling, one of the reasons is improper lighting both artificial and natural.   Layer your light sources: the overall illumination of a decorative ceiling fixture, combined with recessed lights, table-side or task illumination will work together to enhance a space. 

Elle Decor – Layers of Light

 And dimmers!  I can’t say enough about the importance of dimmers on overhead lighting; an inexpensive fix for a room with varied natural light. 

Oh, the controversial bulb.  Not to get deep into the ethical debates of CFL’s vs. incandescent lamps and the more expensive LED and halogen bulbs, but be aware those of you who have a love for Edison’s invention, incandescent bulbs are in the process of going away; 100 watt bulbs are first on the chopping block and on down to 40 watts by 2014.  It makes me wonder how those nifty industrial light fixtures that use vintage bulbs (tungsten I believe) will look with swirly guys in their spot?  Just sayin’.

Vintage-Inspired Incandescent Fixture

So before we get to the décor of the matter, keep in mind that there really is a correct amount of wattage (power rating) that’s necessary in a room.  The Lumen Method provides the proper beginnings of a lighting design plan (visit for more).  Other formulas for proper illumination can be found at   But if you are insistent about taking a short cut, and I mean short! you can follow this generic equation for overall illumination:  multiply square footage of a space by 1.5 but increase to 2.5 for task lighting such as reading or kitchen prep,  then divide by bulb wattage. 

Lighting Design - Macy's @ Herald Square, NY

Lighting options are limitless and I’ve included some of my favorites.  What to do if you can’t locate the perfecto piece to complete your space?  Consider creating your own and check out  Anything, from an architectural reminant, box (mind your fire codes), or a bird-cage can be inspiration for getting you out of the dark. 

Lamp from Architecture - Corbel, Lisa Thompson & Associates

So, layer your lighting sources, open the blinds, know your wattage, be creative with special fixtures – and lighten up! 

Paper Plate Chandelier - Top Design Season 2, Nathan Thomas


One response to “Lighten Up

  1. Awesome insights!

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