Dress Up Your Space & Adjust the Lighting

Dress Up Your Space & Adjust the Lighting

Janel Laban
Nov 18, 2014
(Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

There is a concept in fashion that suggests that, when getting dressed, you accessorize and then remove one thing for a more streamlined, sophisticated look. Now, not everyone subscribes to the the "less is more" idea, in fashion or in rooms, but, honestly, it isn't bad advice for this point in the Cure...

Today's Assignments


As of today, you should have a pared down room. Clean, decluttered, possibly freshly painted, with just the furniture in place. Now is the time to dress it up a bit with accessories and lighting.

There is power in simplicity and selection - having a few items that fulfill that famous design brief by William Morris to "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" is a decent goal, at least for the moment. Over time, you will inevitably add more in and layer the design to reflect your changing tastes, current trends, travel memories and more, but starting with simplicity will best reflect your style right now and help focus your future efforts in the room.

Only add back in what you truly think will add value and support your current design vision. The rest can be boxed to change in seasonally, sent to the outbox, given to friends, or distributed to other rooms in your home. The point is, don't add in accessories just because you have them - be intentional and specific in your choices.

Adjust Your Lighting

For working on lighting your room, here are some thoughts and tips from Maxwell:

"When you enter a room, your eye is instinctively drawn to the light sources. Light fixtures also create warmth and visual movement all around them. A room that relies on a single fixture in the ceiling does not allow much movement and draws our gaze up and away from where we live. With good lighting you can create a flow of light...which invigorates the space. In a more sophisticated room, even the intensities of the lights vary, from strong light such as reading or task lights to small twinkling lights such as candles and indirect illuminatores such as floor or table lamps."

Maxwell's guideline: a well-lit room should have at least "three unique points of light that vary from bright, concentrated light to soft ambient light".

Ok, now with that in mind, take a look at your current lighting. Think about the three points concept, as well as the quality and intensity of the lighting.

Some recommendations/examples by room:

Living Room: For a basic configuration, Maxwell recommends a table lamp on either side of the sofa as well as a reading lamp beside an armchair facing the sofa. More light could come from an additional floor lamp and the addition of some uplights placed toward the corners and directed up the wall.

Bedrooms: Bedrooms should have a reading light on either side of the bed and at least one other light, often on a table or dresser opposite the bed. While table lamps are beautiful, wall lamps and sconces are stylish and modern and take up the least space, making them ideal for bedside lighting in smaller spaces.

Kitchens: Kitchens should have overhead lighting as well as under-cabinet lighting, which warms up the room considerably while allowing for a much better working light while cooking. Under-cabinet lights are readily available and are an easy DIY install.

Dining Rooms: Ideally, dining rooms are lit along the walls by sconces or table lamps while candles light the dinner table itself. Chandeliers or pendant lamps are another good way of getting light into the dining room in a way that doesn't take up table space.

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Questions? Comments? Pictures? Email us at: stylecure@apartmenttherapy.com

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