Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Lighten Up! August 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 8:55 pm

Have you ever entered a room and thought, “wow, what a nice glow and what a comfortable feel?”  Chances are, the lighting in that room is what made you feel and think that.  As my daughter will tell you, I am a light fixture freak.  The lighting in a place is always the first thing I notice and the first thing I change in a new home of mine.  I lean toward traditional, but can also go whimsical or contemporary.  Designer Sabrina Soto of “Get It Sold” told “Better Homes & Gardens” magazine that if you can only afford to buy one thing to make a big difference when redoing a room, purchase a new light fixture.  I couldn’t agree more! 

Style is important in choosing the right light fixture, and so is size and placement.  Here, then, are some simple rules of thumb to keep in mind:

Chandeliers/Pendants – You never want your light fixture to overpower the table it’s above.  The fixture’s width or diameter should be at least 2 feet narrower than the table’s length.  If you’re set on a pendant that is too small, consider hanging two of them over a rectangle table or hanging the one over a smaller, round table.  There should be 30-36 inches from the top of the table to the bottom of the chandelier.  Generally, for a room with 8 foot ceilings, hang the chandelier 30 inches above the table.  For each additional foot your ceiling height increases, the light should be raised 3 inches.  Size is also important.  To figure out how large or small a light fixture you need, add the room’s length and width together.  For example, if your room is 12 x 14, you need a chandelier that’s 26 inches in diameter.  When all else fails, too big a light fixture always looks better than one that is too small.  

Table lamps – I am not a big fan of overhead lights in family rooms and bedrooms, and instead opt for table and floor lamps.  Choosing them is purely a matter of choice, but keep in mind that an end table should never rise above the arm of a chair or couch but can be as low as 4 inches below the arm.  Position table lamps on end tables so that the bottom edge of the lampshade is at or just below eye level when you are seated.   Here are some I like:


           Traditional Ginger Jar                Like the pewter with black shade


 Affordable take on classic                          Love the contrast                                Odd-shaped shades                                                Chanel crystal lamp                                        of white and tan                                are a great alternatives

Chandeliers, pendants and lamps are my favorite styles of indoor lighting.  I also adore lanterns, both inside and out, preferably black iron or ones with a rich patina.  I don’t really like sconces, but concede there are certain places where they are the right fit.  It’s all about making the room better and brighter.  Designer Suzanne Kasler told “House Beautiful” magazine that she compliments her signature white décor with light fixtures that make bold statements.  She considers hanging lights similar to creating centerpieces and says they should be a little more decorative than you might expect.    

Don’t every underestimate the power of shades; they can make a simple chandelier “pop” and can dress up an otherwise staid room.

                                                                                                                                                                               Shades come in all sizes,  styles and prices




There are so many fun and creative things you can do with lighting!


Lighting can transform an otherwise tiresome utility room!


Some favorite lighting themes:




 Lantern style!


Love drum shades!



How ’bout a chandelier instead of a bedside lamp?!




Some great shades could make this inexpensive chandelier really “light” up!           









   Bathroom lighting


In the end, buy what you like and have fun with it!


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