It’s all about the light!

Have you noticed that rooms in magazines have everything perfectly lighted? Special architectural photographers may spend an hour or more setting up a shot and lighting it, and then take dozens of shots from different angles to find the perfect way to show a decorated room at its best.

If we want our homes to look more like the magazines, we need to pay attention to lighting the way professional photographers do.

Photo-shoots combine lights with reflectors. In your home, walls, ceilings and floors can act as reflectors, and windows can serve as lights. You need your living area to look good both during the day and in the evenings. For good daylight in a room, choose window coverings that can open or be raised during the day and closed at night for privacy. If windows get full sun, you may want to consider one of the new adjustable translucent window coverings that can be positioned to bring in light while keeping glare to a minimum.

In the evening, use a combination of overhead lighting, lamps and ceiling spots to create an inviting mood. A plain overhead light may work from a task-lighting standpoint but doesn’t really contribute to the ambience of a room. Look for table lamps and up-lighting from torch lamps to create the look you want.

Mirrors can also distribute light. Positioned opposite a window, mirrors can increase natural light in a room. Choosing light walls or flooring will also brighten a space. Look for shiny or metallic surfaces to reflect light also.

Your home may not be able to match those well-staged photographs in lifestyle magazines, but you can use light and reflections to highlight your home’s best features and create the mood and style you want.

Build your Dream Room, One Piece at a Time – Accessories

The fourth and last piece of this series on building your dream room focuses on the smaller elements. Now that you have your main pieces of furniture in place, it’s time to add the extras that make a space truly yours.

Think about the larger accessories such as lamps and side tables first. These require attention to function as well as aesthetics. Make sure every seat has a table nearby and that your lamps light up any darker corners. Create a comfortable place for reading with a floor lamp behind an easy chair.

Now, consider the pure design elements. This may include a few books on one corner of your coffee table, candlesticks and photos on a mantel or just a simple glass bowl on a side table. If you have accumulated unique pieces on your travels, they can make a room more intriguing. Or if you have a collection of small objects, they can gain new importance by grouping them on a table or shelf. Vary size, color and height where you can to add interest and personality.

If space and accessories are limited, you can display one or more of your serving bowls or platters. Combine with a vase for flowers or a few candles and you have an appealing look using things that you can borrow from when you have guests.

Accessories are the best opportunity to showcase your personal taste and interests in your home. They give your guests a chance to get to know you better. Take advantage of your choices to represent ideas, places and choices that you love. Once your accessories are in place, your dream room is finished.