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Decorating With Light

When one thinks of home decorating and interior design, things like furniture, rugs, paint, and the like usually come to mind. What often doesn’t come to mind is— lighting.  Yet, the way you light your home has a great impact on the general feel and atmosphere of each room.  Here are a few suggestions for decorating with light.

The simplest and cheapest way to add an extra touch of coziness to your home is to install dimmers.  Available at any hardware or home improvement store for just a few bucks, these devices are simple to install.  Try having different lights on different brightness settings in the same room for more dramatic ambiance.  Or try a low brightness setting, enhanced by a few candles, for a soft, romantic look.  In addition to giving you more options with your décor, dimmers also can save you money.  Dimming the lights to 50 percent will save you on average 40 percent on your electricity bill, and will extend the lifetime of each light bulb up to 20 times.

Use lamps instead of central lighting. Having a bright light shining from the ceiling is appropriate for some areas of the home (kitchen, foyer), but in the living room, bedroom, or a home office, lamps offer a more relaxed feel.  Lamps these days come in many different shapes, colors, and materials to suit any taste.  Do you desire an informal, comfortable look?  Antique brass lamps with off-white shades, or porcelain lamps with taupe shades, are a great choice.  If you prefer a classic, more formal style, a polished brass base combined with a white silk shade is always a popular choice.  Or how about something modern Decorating With Light or funky?  A colored shade (red, gold, black), with an unusual shape (straight-sided cylinder, or even rectangular), on top of an iron base can certainly add some pizzazz to a modern décor.  The possibilities are endless!

In addition to using lights for their most obvious purpose, you also can use them to accentuate certain features in each room.  For example, illuminating the fireplace with recessed lights installed above the mantle will create a playful grazing effect on the fireplace’s brick or stone surface.  Place a wall sconce on each side of the fireplace to draw even more attention to it and make it the focal point of the room.  Another idea is to use recessed or track lighting to illuminate wall paintings, or shelves with your prized collections.  Do you have a china cabinet that you’d like to liven up?  Add small, low-wattage, white lights inside, and watch that china and crystal sparkle!

When choosing you lighting fixtures and accessories, remember that the best is not necessarily the most expensive. Visit a few garage sales and thrift stores, and you may discover some gems in the rough.  An old lamp bought cheaply is easily refurbished and given a new look with a new shade or fittings.  Visit your local hardware and home improvement stores, too.  They often have a good selection of lighting fixtures and accessories, and are generally cheaper than specialty lighting stores.  Have fun exploring!