Experts provide tips on how to make a room shine

By: Sherri Kolade | C&G Newspapers | Published June 10, 2015

 Putting lamps at bedside creates a calming feel.

Putting lamps at bedside creates a calming feel.

Photo provided by Corie Conroy


METRO DETROIT — It’s time to let your light shine — in your home, that is.

We all have many lighting styles in our homes: table lamps, under-cabinet lights, and even the tuxedo of lights: chandeliers.

But what kinds of lighting work best for your abode?

Corie Conroy, owner of Bloomfield Hills-based First Impression Home Staging and Interior Design, said different lighting packs a unique punch in your home, like bedroom table lighting that creates a calming feel.

“Putting lamps on either side of the bed creates a lot of symmetry, or pendant lighting on either side of the bed,” she added.

Conroy said that if a bedroom has an overhead lighting source, it is important to have a dimmer option.

“It is best to avoid overhead lighting, but if you do have recessed lighting in this room, aim the light source away from the bed and toward the dressing or vanity area,” she said in a press release. “Choose bulbs with a soft glow to create a relaxing room.”

She added that a table lamp’s shade should be at eye level when sitting up in bed.

Three types of lighting — ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting — in each room provide functionality and flair. Ambient lighting is general lighting for conversing, identifying objects and providing direction in a home, while task lighting is lighting for shaving, preparing food and the like. Accent lighting highlights different features in the home.

“Ideally, it is nice to have (three sources of lighting) in every room,” Conroy said. “It gives you a sense of good design.”

In the kitchen, while overhead and task lighting are necessities, dimmers and under-cabinet lighting create a cozy feel, she said. 

“Lower task lighting will illuminate lower surfaces and highlight different textures and patterns of your countertop,” Conroy said in the press release.

Hanging a chandelier above a dining room table is a popular thing to do, said Marty Meldrum, owner of St. Clair Shores-based Pointe Lamp & Lighting. Having a crystal chandelier in the bedroom is also a fan favorite.

In the living room, aim for illuminating three out of four corners by focusing on areas with objects or a gathering area, Conroy said. Also include lighting at various levels, including table and floor lamps and soft overhead lights with dimmers.

“Avoid using fluorescent lighting in this room, as it … creates the feeling of being in the hallway of a hospital,” she said.

Meldrum said to place two lamps next to the sofa, or a floor lamp next to a single chair, to add some light to a living room. If a fireplace is in the living room, put two lamps or candlestick lamps on the mantle for ambiance.

He added that a pharmacy lamp could be dressed up and down with or without a lampshade.

“Put that at the end of the sofa if you don’t have a sofa table,” he said.

The bathroom is another place to consider the lighting.

Conroy said a common mistake is installing recessed lighting above the vanity, which casts a shadow on one’s face and makes it difficult to apply makeup. 

Instead, she said to install lights on either side of the mirror. In small spaces, she suggested placing the fixture above the mirror 75 to 80 inches above the floor. In smaller bathrooms, install a recessed light over an enclosed shower.

LED lighting is popular, and has been popular due to being energy-efficient.

Antique light bulbs are also getting their fair share of praise.

“A lot of times they are LED lights, Edison bulbs, that give a classic feel,” Conroy said.

Caged pendant lighting and copper lighting fixtures have also become popular because of high-end designers.

“Buyers see things in magazines and want to copy those items; that is where I get my ideas and buyers, too,” Conroy said.

She added to not forget to set the stage for vacant homes.

“When you go to see a home, it is important for showing that you leave your lights on. It creates a warm environment when you walk into a room, and you certainly don’t want to leave buyers in the dark,” she said.