I have been feeling good about how our living room is
coming together. We started with the ebullient artwork
that became my jumping off point and then added the
blue and white trellis chairs, a neutral sofa, and the
black console table. Now I was ready for the lamps. My
first lighting purchase was a pair of buffet lamps for
the console table and then I brought in a simple, long-
neck table lamp. The room was evolving nicely. The
problem was, I still needed a lighting source on the
other side of the fireplace.
It wasn't so noticeable during the day but at night this
corner of the room was a dark abyss. Which brings me
to my first rule of lighting...
The lighting in a room needs to be balanced. Sometimes,
in a smaller room, you can get by with just three sources
of light but I prefer four and usually in each of the four
quadrants. This creates an even bath of light throughout
the room. In our space, I didn't like how the buffet lamps
on the console table felt a bit crowded or close together
for the size of the room.
So I eventually replaced them with wall sconces that
could be spaced further apart and beyond the width of
the console table. This allowed the light to easily per-
meate into the corners of the left side of the room.
LOL, yes, this painting has, over time moved from one
side of the room to over the fireplace. :D But I digress.
On the opposite wall, I had an end table and table lamp
to the left of the fireplace but I still had one dark corner
on the right and it stayed like that for over a year. Then,
last week, I found the perfect floor lamp.
Now my balance issue had been resolved and Rule #1 had
been met. So onto Rule #2.
We've all seen it, a room where someone has hung a
picture that is much too small on an expansive wall,
a sofa that overpowers the room, or an undersized rug
that shouts skimpy. This same concept applies to lamps
and lighting fixtures. Size matters. Consider scale. One
of the first mistakes I made when we moved into this
house was when I bought a pair of bedside lamps for
our master bedroom. I had never worked with the extra
tall ceilings that this house has and I forgot my scale
rule. As a result, the lamps looked ridiculously stunted.
Don't overlook the height of your ceilings. If it is a table
lamp, consider the size and height of the table top. A
lower table might need a taller lamp. A smaller table
will need a lamp with a narrower base. If you are using
two table lamps, they don't necessarily need to match.
It can be an interesting dynamic to mix it up a bit, but
I do like to have the lamps at fairly comparable heights
so one doesn't overpower the other. The same idea
can be applied if you are using a table lamp and a floor
lamp. Size matters and it all comes back to Rule #1.
Balance the light and balance the size of the lamps.
But it isn't just about how the lighting looks in the room,
they also have to provide a function, or as I refer to it,
There are different lights for different reasons. I like to
categorize them into ambient, accent, and task lighting.
The ambient lighting is the overall, general look that
the lighting provides a space. It is the cozy and
welcoming feeling that the light brings to a room. Table
lamps, floor lamps, sconces, and chandeliers provide
this ambient lighting. The accent lights bring real
interest into the equation. Use them to highlight art-
work, a niche, or architectural points of interest in the
Then there is task lighting. As the name implies,
this illumination provides enough lighting for reading,
cooking, and working. Ideally, I strive to have at least
one chair and a task light in most rooms. This gives me
the option to cozy up and wind down with my laptop
or a good read.
Rule #4 comes into play when you are well into the
design of a room. You have already brought in the major
elements and maybe other lamps. The final pieces you
bring in not only need to fit into the floor and lighting
plan but, as I stated earlier, they also have a utilitarian
purpose. There is a lot to think about. It might be
tempting to purchase a gorgeous statement lamp that
you just fell in love with at the furniture store but this
is where self-restraint comes in. Go back to the rules.
If you need a good reading light you want to think
about how much light that lamp provides. You might love
that black shade but it will cut down on the illumination.
Keep looking. If you are trying to fill a cavernous space,
you will want to look for a lamp with some heft. If
your room has extremely tall ceilings, you will want
to focus on lamps that are at least 34" tall and drop
your chandeliers down so you have approximately
seven feet between the bottom of the chandelier and
Then, and this is where it really gets tricky,
after all of those considerations, your final choices
need to play nice with the other elements and
other lights or lamps that are already in the room.
Mixing metals is fine but I don't like to mix more than
two. I am also a fan of the unexpected element but don't
forget your overall design concept. If you are trying to
pull together a Palm Beach ambiance, no matter how
charming it is, you obviously won't want to introduce
that primitive farm style table lamp. Look at what you
already have going on. Eclectic, done right, is fabulous
but if you find yourself second-guessing if this lamp
you just fell in love with really works well with your
previous purchases, maybe you need to keep looking.
Very simply, all the pieces need to play nicely with one
another. A statement lamp is great but if it overpowers
or clashes with the other elements in the room, then
it isn't the right lamp. Keep looking. It's out there.
Lighting is an often overlooked layer in design but it doesn't
need to be complicated. Just remember our simple rules:
and you will save yourself those frustrating and sometimes
expensive lighting missteps. Happy lighting!
I am sharing my lighting thoughts on these wonderfully inspiring blogs:
Shop the post:
Floor lamp: John Richards floor lamp from Naples Lamp Shop
Off-white elongated table lamp: Grace Modern Vase Lamp
Wall Sconces: Visual Comfort Grammercy
Entry chandelier: Currey and Co long leaf
Ginger Snap Crafts Wow Me Wednesday
It is amazing to me what a difference the right light fixture can make in a room or in our case how bad the wrong one looked.
We have been gradually updating the fifteen-year-old home we bought a year a half ago and the guest bathrooms were at the top of our list.
I forgot to take "after" pictures before we headed up north so I will feature the full reveal later. In the meantime, I wanted to share my lighting success story.
The bathroom fixture in this bathroom was the typical contractor-grade light which could be purchased at any big box store across America. Not only was it a yawn but it was undersized. This is a fairly good sized bath area and it needed more light than the existing three bulb number was providing.
I found my perfect fixture at a better than perfect price on Amazon. I only paid $150 for this light with my Prime account. It seemed like I was hemorrhaging money with all of the changes we were making to the house and even though I wanted a good looking fixture I was hoping I wouldn't have to pay a handsome price. It must have been a closeout because I tried to purchase a second, slightly shorter one for the other guest bath and it was almost five hundred dollars. In fact, I keep checking back and I see that the light I did purchase is now retailing for over seven hundred dollars! Yikes. Knowing I scored such a winning deal makes me love my purchase just that much more.
It is mounted on the mirror so the chrome base looks like an extension of the mirror. I couldn't have planned it that well.
Thank you, Amazon.
Have a great weekend everyone.
sharing my light here:
Spellbound Moment for the Week of June 20, 2016
This is the image that left me spellbound this week. It is the perfect mix of the open frame styles that are trending right now and that nod to the coastal style I am looking to achieve.
I found it here for $400 less than Wayfair.
At 20 inches wide, it would be amazing in our foyer or back hallway.
Color me spellbound.
It's true. One project just seems to lead to another. When we walked through this house the first time, we thought that we would only need to change up some of the paint colors and add the furniture. Instead, every time I check off one project, another one takes its place. Case in point, we fell in love with all the moldings in this house, but don't you agree that the can light in this junction, between the back and main hallways, looks a bit underdressed? It is calling out for a drop down light fixture.
Looking down the back hallway toward the garage.
Looking up. This is where we would like to add a new fixture.
Once we decided this is what we needed we were off to the lighting stores.
There was so MUCH to choose from. I quickly became confused. When we purchased this home I thought I wouldn't have to make many fixture changes because I liked the lighting here or at least I liked it well enough...until I saw what else is out there.
The existing fixtures in our home lean to the traditional. I like the foyer piece but the dining room chandelier looks a bit tired.
My dilemma is do I add a fixture in this back hallway that is similar in style to what is at the front of the house, or do I think about eventually replacing those fixtures also and go with what I love?
The next problem is that I love so many different styles. How will I ever decide on just one?
This rope wrapped design brings in a nautical flavor. I really like the clean lines and the fact that there aren't any shades to keep clean but has this look been over done?
The bleached look and wooden beads give this fixture a coastal vibe and the curved lines keep it from being too rustic for the space.
This piece is too casual for the front of the house but the bamboo element combined with a classic chandelier shape makes it a definite contender.
Anterior's Louis design is a nice cross between tropical and transitional.
This Wampum Shell Chandelier by Currey and Co. makes me swoon when I zoom in on the details. I would love it over the dining room table.
I've seen this coral inspired chandy, also by Currey and Co at two different stores. It is magnificent, but I wonder, is it classic or would I tire of it?
It is available in a couple of sizes. The small could be fun in that back hallway. The large is grand enough to go in the dining room.
When I saw this embellished Southhampton fixture from Anteriors, it reminded me of what is on our lanai. Very pretty.
We saw this open lantern style Bamburgh chandelier at the lighting store and it was amazing AND it was on sale. The scale of this piece, 29x48, is what makes it dramatic. Let's just say I'm still thinking about it.
This last piece from Chelsea House, made my heart skip a beat. I think the price might make M's heart stop. Definitely too much for a back hallway.
So for now, I will just write this post and give it some more thought.
I'll let you know when we make a decision.