Your Guide to Creating Beautiful Spaces, FAST!
August 9, 2004
THE MISSION...DecoDreams is the home-decorating-made-
easy.com e-zine that delivers interior decorating tips,
ideas, and solutions to enhance all rooms of your home.
Staying on top of what's hot in decorating has never been
so easy or fun!
DON'T FORGET Your Friends!...If you like DecoDreams, please
do a friend and me a huge favor and "pass it along"...
...or ask them to subscribe by visiting
Home Decorating Made Easy.com
Diversity of creative ideas has always been the
hallmark of home decorating. That's why I've asked
designer, artist, educator and writer, Marney
Makridakis, to share her own unique brand of
decorating advice in our "Ask the Decorator" column. I
think you'll enjoy her wit and original insights.
Submit your questions to Marney by clicking here.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
o Featured Article
1) Lighting Tips for Fantastic Decorating!
o Turning Ideas Into Action
o Today's Quote
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ FEATURED ARTICLE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lighting Tips for Fantastic Decorating!
Most people are not aware of how important lighting is
to a room. Changing the lighting is one of the
quickest ways that you can give a room a makeover, and
it is a lot easier than you might think.
While some lighting systems require an electrician,
most basic lighting upgrades are things that you can
This article will present some basic tips, tools, and
tricks for using lighting strategically for both
decorative and practical purposes. But first, let’s
review the four main types of lighting:
- Ambient lighting, which is also called general
lighting, is used to illuminate an entire room. This
is basic, practical lighting, often from a standard
- Task lighting is used to give the appropriate
lighting needed to perform tasks in certain areas of a
room. This usually takes the form of a bright light
directed onto a specific, limited area, such as a desk
light, recessed light over a kitchen counter, or a
bedside reading light.
- Accent lighting is used to give focus to a
particular object or to create a certain mood. For
example, a light directed to shine on a crystal vase,
a light hanging over a painting or collectible, or an
up-lighting sconce fixture that creates an interesting
pattern on a wall. One kind of accent lighting is
called wall-washing, which refers to an evenly
dispersed lighting focused on an entire wall, usually
to accent a special faux finish or art collection.
- Natural lighting refers to sunlight that comes
in from the outdoors through windows or skylights.
The flow of natural lighting can be controlled by
window treatments so that it works nicely together
with the artificial lighting in the room.
There are many ways that lighting can be used to solve
common decorating problems. For example, if you want
your room to feel larger, you should use ambient
and/or accent lighting that is pointed up toward the
top of your walls.
A general wash of light aimed high on the wall creates
the illusion that the line between the wall and
ceiling disappears, make a room appear taller and
ceilingless. Down light (i.e. table lamps and floor
lamps) should be aimed toward the outer edges of the
room to expand the sense of spaciousness.
On the other hand, if you want your room to feel lower
and more cozy, use down light with floor lamps, table
lamps, and low pendant fixtures that are aimed toward
the floor and the center of the room.
To illustrate more ways that lighting can be used to
solve common decorating problems, I’ll turn things
over to Marney to share her "bright ideas" to solve
real decorating dilemmas submitted by visitors to
HomeDecoratingMadeEasy.com!....and our new web site
Kids Rooms and Crafts.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ASK THE DECORATOR
DecoDiva, Marney Makridakis, Answers Your Questions
About Lighting the Rooms in Your Home
QUESTION: My living room is furnished with Colonial-
style antiques. I love the furniture, but the room
just seems so dark to me. If I bring more lighting
in the room, won’t that ruin the old-fashioned style?
I can’t imagine installing modern fixtures in the
room, but it’s depressing as it is now. Is there any
ANSWER: I think you’ll be amazed at what a difference
it can be to bring more light into your room. The
trick is to stay consistent with your style. One way
to do this is to actually purchase your light fixtures
at antique stores.
For example, you can find swing-arm wall mounts, wall
sconce "torches", or scones with hanging
crystal "tears" and fit them with brand new bulbs
(consulting an electrician if rewiring is necessary)
for a look that is not only beautiful but 100%
If you’d prefer to stay away from the antique stores,
you can still make effective lighting choices that
will blend with your style. Buy a very simple wall
mount system (just plain simple lines in a gold metal
finish) and use frosted candelabra bulbs to give a
warm light to your beautiful furniture. Or buy
inexpensive ginger-jar lamp bases and place fabric
shades on them made from linen, silk, or chinz. Place
several lamps on antique table lamps throughout the
room to raise the general sense of moving light.
QUESTION: I am never sure of how a room is supposed to
look at a night. Is it supposed to be dark, except
for corners where someone is reading? Is it supposed
to be as bright as during the day? I’m stumped! Can
you give some guidance?
ANSWER: The bottom line is that it is all up to you.
Never does lighting allow you more control than at
night. If you want a room to maintain the same feel
and coloring as it does during the day, then you
should choose down light in the form of ceiling
pendants, floor lamps, and table lamps. This may be
the best choice if the room is frequently used after
dark for family activities, or if you are very
particular about how your room’s colors are perceived.
If you are interested in using lighting in conjunction
the natural nighttime to create a dramatic mood or
effect, the sky is the limit for what you can create.
You can instigate wonderful effects by placing lamps
and fixtures in recessed places: behind beams, in
dropped ceilings, behind architectural trim, along a
baseboard or plate trail, inside a groove in a shelf.
When used in conjunction with some simple task
lighting that may be necessary for reading or other
tasks, basking in these kinds of dramatic lighting
choices can be a wonderful way to wind down your day.
Obviously, the ultimate in flexibility is to have the
choice for either option. A great way to keep your
options open is to use ambient lighting that is
controlled by a dimmer switch. That allows you to
have a room flooded with light, or several gradations
of dimming light to match your mood.
Task lighting can also be placed on a dimmer switch,
for even more variety. In the photograph shown here,
both the overhead track lighting and the pendant
fixture hanging over the table are on dimmers,
allowing for endless combinations of light flow and
QUESTION: I have a ceiling light fixture, several
lamps, and a window in my bedroom suite, but it
always seems dark and dingy during the day. I keep
experimenting with adding more lamps (both floor lamps
and table lamps) but nothing seems to help. What am I
ANSWER: If you have furniture or wall color that is
absorbing or blocking a lot of light, then its
unlikely that simply adding more fixtures will help.
You will probably get better results from simply doing
some rearranging of your room to get the light flowing
First of all, how much potential natural light are you
blocking from the window? Does your current window
treatment (blinds or opaque curtains) block the
light? Consider replacing curtains with sheers, that
will bring more light in but also allow your bedroom
to have privacy. If you are in the habit of leaving
curtains down, get some unique curtain tiebacks that
you really love to inspire you to pull your curtains
back to get as much daylight as possible. If privacy
is not an issue, perhaps switch your window treatment
to be just consist of an attractive topper, rather
than blinds or curtains.
Look around and study where the light from both the
window and other light fixtures falls. Can you remove
any object that absorbing the light? If dark
furniture, such as a large table, you can recover it
with as a lightly-colored fabric, or, even better, a
flat mirror to reflect more light.
If your walls are painted in a dark, matte color, you
can quickly change the way that light flows throughout
the room by painting one wall in a lighter color in a
reflective (satin or semi-gloss) finish. Then aim an
accent light toward the wall to allow more light to
spread throughout the room.
Get Organized Now!
Before you begin any decorating project,
do yourself a HUGE favor and get clutter
under control. Doing this alone will make
a room appear larger, and you'll feel more
relaxed. The crown jewel is that you'll get
more time back into your day. Click here to
"How to Make Roman Shades"
I reviewed this ebook recently and it's
the best you'll find on how to
easily create roman shades on
your own. Step-by-step diagrams
and easy, yet detailed, instructions
will have you making beautiful roman
shades in no time at all. Even sewing
beginners will find the process easy
to follow. Just think of the money
***************** TODAY'S QUOTE ***************************
"When I'm working on a problem, I never think
about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem.
But when I have finished, if the solution is not
beautiful, I know it is wrong."
- Richard Buckminster Fuller
Wishing you all the best,
Michael J. Holland - President
Home Decorating Made Easy
Copyright © 2004
P.S. Don't forget your fr*ee chapters of Awaken Your
Interior Designer. You'll get 72 pages, filled with
lots of ideas and photos to put you on the right
decorating path.Click here to download your copy right away
P.P.S. If you're thinking of starting a part-time or
full-time business for crafts or home decorating, be
sure to download our complimentary ebook called From Passion to Cash: How to Make Money With Your Passion of Crafts and Decorating. You'll find lots
of helpful ideas to get you going in the right