Pro Lighting Tips: How to Get a Shelter Mag Look on a Budget

Pro Lighting Tips: How to Get a Shelter Mag Look on a Budget

Oct 5, 2017
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(Image credit: Alyssa Rosenheck)

Le Corbusier famously said, "The history of architecture is the history of the struggle for light." The right lighting makes the difference between a good room and a great one, but it (usually) doesn't come cheap. There's always a workaround, though. When you don't have the budget to hire an architect, designer, or even an electrician, you can still get great light for less. The pros at Mitzi, a new "attainable high-design" brand from Hudson Valley Lighting, have a few tips for making it happen.

1. Vary size and scale.

When you vary the size, height, and location of your lighting, it creates that luxe look you see so often in shelter mags. Most rooms need a minimum of three lights. In a living room, for example, a pendant or chandelier, a couple of table lamps, and a pair of sconces will give you a solid mix of overhead and ambient lighting. You can save by buying portable lamps or installing a fixture yourself.

2. Hang a statement chandelier.

It might seem counterintuitive, but one statement chandelier (even if it's a bit of a splurge) can make a small budget go farther. Retail merchandisers use this concept a lot: A few feature products help make the rest of an assortment feel more valuable. The same idea applies to decorating: One great light can elevate an entire room.

(Image credit: Mitzi)

3. Mix and match finishes.

It can be expensive to source every fixture in one finish, plus sticking to one style can make a room feel dated as soon as that metal stops trending. To mix metals and make it work, choose one dominant finish (like copper, brass, or nickel) but don't stress about using it everywhere in the room. If you're nervous, keep things simple with 2–3 finishes or try all-warm or all-cool tones.

4. Light the walls and corners of a room.

Many people neglect areas like hallways, corners, entryways, and alcoves. When you light the dark walls and corners of your home, you bring a new level of function and beauty to underused nooks and crannies. It's a cheap way to gain more space. Sconces, portable lamps, flush mounts, and pendants are great options for tight spaces.

(Image credit: Mitzi)

5. Design unexpected installations.

A little ingenuity can go a long way towards creating a high-end look. Try a pair of pendants in place of bedside lamps. Use sconces over a sofa to create a romantic reading nook. Or cluster a couple of table lamps together to create an arrangement that's part lighting, part sculpture.

You deserve amazing lighting. Mitzi can help you get it.


Inspired by the founder of Hudson Valley Lighting's grandmother, a painter and master antique-finder, Mitzi mixes classic with contemporary, sacrificing no quality along the way. Designed with thoughtful simplicity, each fixture embodies form and function in perfect harmony. Less clutter, more creativity.

This post is sponsored by Mitzi and was created by the Apartment Therapy Creative Studio.
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