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Publication Date: 2015-06-16

Design Insights

13 Lighting Tips for the Home

Continuing my series on design tips for a more beautiful home, I've gathered 13 lighting design tips, which have all been doled out in the press by the design trade at one point or another. These, as the others in prior posts, came from various sources including House Beautiful, Veranda, Traditional Home, Elle Décor and Architectural Digest and they serve as a guide—they’re not necessarily the last word on the subject.

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“Limit overhead can lighting to functional areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms – the light is too harsh and flat for your living areas” (Timothy Corrigan)

“The mirror in a bathroom needs overhead AND side lighting for a better and more evenly lit face” (Richard Rabel)

“Use recessed lighting sparingly. Two many fixtures turn your celling into Swiss cheese” (Anthony Baratta)

Above: David Scott Interiors, Ltd.

“Light switches should match the height of the door handles” (Veere Grenney)

“We put light switches about 1 1/2 – 2” off the side of the door casing to stay away from art on the walls” (Gil Schafer)

“Lighting is everything. Create drama by using dimmer switches. I always use dimmers, even in the powder room” (Martyn Lawrence Bullard)

Above: Anthony Baratta

“When you don’t have dimmers, use 15-watt bulbs to simulate candlelight. Works like magic” (Mary McDonald)

“To create flattering light, have your lampshades lined in soft pink or use GE soft pink 100-watt bulbs” (David Scott)

“In lamps with 2 sockets, I like to use one pink and one white bulb” (Marshall Watson)

Above: Jeffrey Bilhuber

“Invest in lampshades not in lamps. I can make a lamp from Crate and Barrel look as high end as one from Christie’s. Use old saris, box pleated silk, anything you find attractive can be made into a lampshade” (Jeffrey Bilhuber)

“If you can’t afford fabric shades, paper shades are great. I love white opaque, as they are clean and modern. Fussy shades date a room quickly” (David Easton)

“Chandelier (size) is tricky for people to figure out. A rule of thumb I use is take the width of the room in feet, double the number, convert to inches and that is the MINIMUM dimension for your chandeliers diameter” (Alexa Hampton)

“When choosing a chandelier or pendant for an entry hall or foyer, remember that the bottom of the light should be approximately 7 feet from the floor” (Richard Rabel)

Above: Martyn Lawrence Bullard

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