Tips for Lighting Your Home from a Pro Designer

Real Simple Magazine

Thanks to the difficulty (or impossibility, if you're a renter) of re-wiring a home, we rarely consider lighting (not just light fixtures) part of our decorating plan. But the truth is, bad light can make even an expensive and perfectly curated room feel cheap and uncomfortable. Take some time out right now and reconsider your rooms' lights with a few tips from a professional.The latest Issue of Real Simple magazine features an interview with Lighting Designer Melanie Freundlich. What does a Lighting Designer do, you ask? In a nutshell, Melanie's job is to create custom light schemes for clients with galleries or upscale residences. Sounds cushy, yeah?

For the rest of us who can't afford to hire a light designer and don't even know what a custom light scheme is, Melanie spilled some of her secrets for lighting your home to Real Simple. Here are a few of our favorite tips:

• The secret to a beautifully lit living room is variety. Consider using a range of lighting in varied heights and locations.

• Bring more light to certain spots, like a great vignette or favorite objects.

• Keep different parts of a room at different brightness levels to prevent "lighting fatigue," that feeling you get in a bright, shadow-less conference room.

• You don't need lights in the middle of the kitchen. Instead, make use of directed lights on countertops and kitchen islands.

• In the bathroom, a perfect light scheme includes lights above and on both sides of the mirror to help fill in shadows. (I guess lighting fatigue isn't as important as good hair in this room.)

• Don't forget to light vertical surfaces, like art or even the wall itself.

• The cheapest, quickest fix for great lighting at home? Changing all of your switches to dimmers.

For the rest of the interview, check out the September issue of Real Simple on a newsstand near you.

(Image: House Tour: Jay Crafts a Sanctuary Around Art)

12 Comments