Let there be light
Lighting has gotten more sophisticated along with homeowners themselves.
If you want to create great lighting, study the lighting treatments in a boutique
hotel or a great upscale restaurant, says Lowell. They can be a great source of
ideas because they know how to do it right, he says. "Their livelihood depends
on it," Lowell says.
Today's homeowners are taking their
cues from what they see when they go out to restaurants, clubs, galleries and
hotels. "They want a template that doesn't look like where their parents
live," says Lowell.
Some lighting options, such
as recessed canned lights, blend into the
background, while others are hidden behind
sconces. Homeowners are using dimmer switches
to flood a limited area with plenty of light
for activities like cooking, reading or hobbies.
They later turn the same lights down to create
a softer mood for entertaining.
Pendant lights hang down on cords (hence
the name) to create task lighting over specific areas. These are especially good
Chandeliers are not only for
over the dining room table anymore. Stylish
versions are showing up everywhere from the
bathroom to the bedroom. From Southwestern
wrought-iron designs to romantic Victorian
models replete with faux crystal, chandeliers
are becoming a popular way to decorate and
add illumination. Combine them with a dimmer
switch to give a range of light levels.
Recessed canned lights are installed in the
ceiling -- although you can get great looks placing them around the floor in a
room -- and provide task lighting. Install several in one area and they can provide
a strong background of ambient light.
is popular in kitchens, both as task lighting and to highlight beautiful cabinets
Track lighting, popular in the 1970s, has
gotten its own makeover, and it's back in a big way, says Lowell. Today's tracks
are available with bulbs almost as small as holiday lights or as large as you
like. And track lighting can be bent or shaped to show off architectural details
and really fit into a room. Want to make them invisible? Paint to match your ceiling
and watch them disappear, says Lowell.
Sconce lighting is hot
everywhere -- bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens or dining rooms. Available in a variety
of styles, sconces attach to walls and double as a finishing detail, much like
crown molding or a chair railing, when the lights are off. Flip them on for a
subtle glow that adds to ambient light or throws illumination on specific areas.
have always been popular in galleries and restaurants. Now these are hot at home,
too, as homeowners try to create a more sophisticated, urban look. Use them to
show off points of interest, like art or cabinetry.
really simple, relatively cheap do-it-yourself way to illuminate and decorate
a room? Table lamps. "Table lamps are becoming the new art form," says
Lowell. "For $125, you can get an absolutely beautiful piece of sculpture
that puts task light where you need it."