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Lighting up your life

1 Comment 03 September 2013

lamp on desk

My palm desklamp.

Did you know there’s an art to lighting your home? That’s right, a bulb hanging from the ceiling is only the beginning.

I know. At those words some of you are nodding enthusiastically, some of you are opening a new tab for Pinterest and some of you are slumping in your chairs at the pressure of it all. ‘What? Yet another crafty way to make an amazing home? *sigh*

I find it reassuring, as if by learning this special skill we could transform how our home looks from meh, to Oooo without changing anything else. Sounds far fetched? It’s not. There are people who are trained to do this (they come into your home and advise you on best placement of lights for most effective effects), but I think a little bit of lateral thinking is all it really takes.

Why bother? Well, because it’s nice to create a space that you really enjoy walking into. We bother about the right paint colour, or the right carpet, we bother to put things on the walls or to choose furniture we like, so why not finish it off with the lighting?

We have two ‘nice’ rooms that could be so much nicer if we had better lighting. Part of the reason we don’t is laziness. It’s a conversation that goes like this:

We really need more lights in here.

More softer ones over here for when we’re reading. Lower down. Table lamps maybe.

And I’d really like something other than those lights for the dining table.

Silence as we both think about all the other things on the to do list. And then,

When are you home tonight?

I have a meeting. Probably 7ish. 8ish latest.

Think I’ll make pizzas tonight, if that’s ok.

Sounds good. Another coffee? Then I better get to work.

And as you can see we have easily moved on from the lighting issue.

Because it’s hard to know where to begin, or what to think about. If you don’t want to hire a lighting consultant then Google, of course is a good place to start. (As an aside: what a tagline you could have as a lighting consultant! ‘We light up your life‘ or ‘We bring light into the darkest corners of your life‘ Ooo. Not sure I need light there, thanks.)

One of my favourite decorating magazines is Elle Decor, and when I searched through their site I found they have great lighting advice, check out this article: Secrets to a well lit room. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because as the evenings start to arrive earlier, we’re turning on lights sooner. I think it’s time to get our lights sorted.

Another thing people don’t think matters but does are the light switches. Aside from adding a dimmer to some lights, as suggested by sites like Elle, spend a tiny bit more and get a switch that looks good in your room, not just one of those white plastic ones (unless that’s what looks good in your room, of course). We have all white plastic ones and they don’t look good in our rooms. They’re on the list of home decoration changes along with lights and new wall paint. Oh, and a rug for the dining room.

Google ‘lighting your home’ or ‘lights for home’ and you’ll see you don’t have to spend a small fortune to completely revitalise the look of your home. You’ll find some great sites like Argos that sell a whole range of lights and fixtures for your home and garden (including fun lights).

Oh, and that’s another thing: DON’T forget the outside! Even a small outdoor space deserves more than a few tea lights and you could transform a nice little eating area into a really inviting outdoor entertaining area–even if it’s only you and a glass of wine being entertained. I remember once one of these Do-it-quick-while-friends-take-owner-on-a-barge-weekend decorating shows that came in the wake of that show with Carol Smiley (I loved her), Changing Rooms, always included a patio area in one of the features, because as the presenter said, ‘we need to embrace the idea of outdoor rooms so we will start to think differently about outdoor decorating and create spaces that we want to spend more time in.’ It’s good for us to be outside, after all.

So what about you? Do you have ho-hum lighting like me? Never thought about it before? Or have you got it all perfectly arranged, different levels of lighting, different types?



Your Comments

1 comment

  1. It once took us three months to find the right light for over the dining table.

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An American writer in the UK for over 20 years. Lives in Essex. A pretend extrovert.

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