Debbie Travis: Lighting adds interest, but consider purpose

Dear Debbie: I have been searching for the best lighting for our living room and cannot decide between table lamps and floor lamps. Do you have any suggestions? Our style is bright and comfy.

Jane

You are not alone. Choosing lighting for your home can be quite the challenge. But lighting is a most powerful decorating tool. The right light can make a room look grander, cosier and more romantic. It can highlight favourite spots in your room and camouflage what isn’t so impressive. The variety of lighting available is endless, from high-tech solutions to traditional lamps and retro styles.

Begin by deciding what you want your lamps to do. Are you thinking about task lighting, such as a light to read by when you are curled up on the sofa, or is it ambient light you want that will help set the mood for relaxing? With that in mind, look for a style that complements your decor.

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A floor lamp stands on its own and naturally guides the eye upward. This special feature gives your room another level of interest.

Get inspired online, where you will find stick lamps, torchières, tripods, oversized arched lamps and tower lamps. Many are works of art.

The materials used to make the stand, the shape and colour of the stand create the style. You’ll find metal, metal and glass, wood and resin stands that fit all occasions.

I found the Burks turquoise floor lamp shown here at Kirkland.com. The weathered resin base has a candlestick silhouette, very soft and appealing in a pastel setting. Topped by a simple fabric shade, its stately presence sets the tone for a space that is warm and welcoming.

Dear Debbie: I’m thinking about lights for our new home. Can you mix styles and materials in a room or from one room to the next? Making so many decisions at once is making me crazy. Any DIY ideas?

Kathy

It’s a big job to decide on light placement throughout a new build. It’s important to get the wiring in place before the walls are finished. You might want to ask for help from a professional in order to position switches and plugs.

Don’t try to pick every lamp and fixture at one time. You’ll want kitchen lighting completed, but for the more decorative lighting, why not wait until you have moved in and set up your furniture?

Yes, you can mix lighting styles and materials. You can have modern overhead spotlights arranged across the living and family room ceiling, and then decorative lighting that builds on your own requirements and style.

If you enjoy DIY projects, here is a lighting idea that I designed to be a special feature. For the Spanish-style chandelier, I made the little shades to fit an existing metal fixture.

You can buy paper lamp shades at the craft store or online. I painted the shades in a rich dark red. The material that covers the shades is called burnt-out velvet.

Areas of the design where the velvet has been burnt out are transparent so the red paint shows through. The fabric is cut to size, plus overlap for the edges.

White craft glue is applied to the solid parts of the fabric design and wrapped around the shade. Bind off the top and bottom with black bias tape. Add a sexy red fringe to finish the look.

Written by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email decorating questions to house2home@debbietravis.com. Follow Debbie at instagram.com/debbie_travis, facebook.com/thedebbietravis, debbietravis.com.

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