Bring the evening to life with this guide to decorating with light.
Photographers and painters know the importance of getting light right. It's what gave Garbo her mystery and makes a Monet painting glow. The right lighting also can turn an ordinary room into a work of art. To create subtle drama in your rooms, use a varied cast of light sources as we've done here.
A. Ceiling-recessed "wall washers" provide the overall, or ambient, light in this room. For best effects, fixtures should be placed 2 to 4 feet from the wall (the higher your ceiling, the greater the distance) and the same distance apart.
B. A small accent lamp spotlights art and can double as a reading light.
C. A floor lamp supplies bright, glare-free task lighting.
D. Tiny lights in the trees lead the eye outdoors, visually expanding the space.
Because they mount flush with the ceiling, recessed light fixtures blend well with almost any decor. Low voltage fixtures, such as the wall washer, offer more precise beam control than incandescent lights.
Trade a standard chandelier for pools of light to add low-key drama to a dining room. To set the mood:
A. An adjustable pendant lamp provides either ambient or accent lighting in this dining room, depending on its position over the table.
B. Additional acent lighting comes from low-profile strips installed along the side of the china cabinet. Alternatively, strip light could be placed under shelves.
C. Candles in varying sizes create a sense of moving light and energy in the room.
The low-profile strip lights tucked into the china cabinet fit easily into tight spaces and plug into existing outlets, making them a good choice for accent shelf lighting.
Just because the lights are mostly off when you're in your bedroom doesn't mean they can't be beautiful when they're on. Varying the light sources allows you to switch the mood from night to day.
A. Recessed ceiling lights on a dimmer switch allow the most flexibility for overall bedroom lighting. To determine how many fixtures you'll need, figure that a standard 100-watt bulb in a recessed fixture will cover approximately 30 to 40 square feet.
B. Bedside lamps with translucent shades add general lighting and provide task light for reading.
C. A low-voltage track light over the canopy enhances this architectural feature.
Low-voltage track lights, like those hidden above the bed canopy, can be spaced from 2 to 12 inches apart. At 1 inch tall, the fixture can be concealed in spaces too small for conventional track lights.