Decorating With Lamps

In an expat world where you are primarily travelling, or if you're renting properties in general, hanging overhead lights becomes problematic in moving home/s. Lighting in the home is one of the KEY ingredients in creating the correct ambience for entertaining. It helps transition the home from day to night to help us relax and unwind.

I rely heavily on floor and table lamps as an easy way of controlling the ambience and light in the room and making it warm and comfortable.

Each area in the home should have a mix of light sources at different heights and of different materials - ceramic, glass, metal, painted. Don't forget you also need appropriate task lighting for cooking, getting dressed etc in that space too. You have to be practical without skimping on the look.

Accent lighting is also important to highlight special features or pieces in a room. You can easily update a room by lighting art or a collection. Another easy way to update is to look at your lampshades! Quite often they are dirty, shape os the shade has dated however the lamp bases are still relevant. It is easy to change the shape of the shade if it is dated or re-cover the shade using patterned or colour fabric or plain off white fabric with trim etc. I recently updated my shades from plain white to black with white trim and I love them!

In the living room, I recommend lighting 3 of the 4 corners with one of the lights focusing on a striking chair or on a plant or illuminating art on the wall. Use a combination of table lamps and floor lamps, some with a downward glow and some that shine upward. One also has to be sensible to allow for reading in as many seats as possible with down glowing lamps. In order to achieve the downward glow, I rely on the Crown Silver lamp shown below. They come in bayonet and screw caps as well and different shapes.It is low glare and reflects the light back down toward the lamp base rather than up towards the ceiling.

I try to hook up the lamps to a central extension cord connected to one wall switch. Therefore creating less work turning on and off by only having to deal with one switch.

Light bulbs should be 40W or less (much to my husband's horror as he complains he can't see) but ambience is the key!!

Dining room - If you can have a pendant light or chandelier over the table then this is perfect. Bright overhead lights , are inappropriate. If you are unable to define the light over the table, then use indirect lighting in the room. Lamps, picture lights, lights on bookcases (A great trick is to carve out a track in each shelf and insert a run of LED lights). Then you lift the table with candlelight in the evenings. You can rely on flameless candles on timers to do this so it is automatic. I mix scented candles with flameless to make sure the atmosphere is real but its wonderful to come home in the evening and everything is already twinkling including your dining table!

Bedroom - Low wattage essential again, but if you are able - wall sconces/lights are favoured. Put uplighters on top of wardrobes or tall chests to create a secondary source of light. An easy and cost effective fix.

Obscure an ugly view outside windows by planting in a window box - use faux plants or real and position a light outside in the planter box. At night this will increase the feeling of space inside as the eye is drawn to it and also your blocking out the negative view!

The underside of staircases tends to be dark. You can increase the feeling of space in your hall with clever lighting. Use table lamps on a console or put an uplighter in wall recesses to create a dramatic look.

Mirrors - A fantastic way to add light in to any room. The bigger the better! Open up dark rooms, make rooms look larger and lighter. My view is you can never have enough of them.

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