Lighting-Design Updates

These stylish developments in indoor lighting can help make your kitchen, dining room and living room more comfortable and appealing.

Before: Too Bright Kitchen

The owners of this home wanted to make the kitchen a comfortable place for everyday use, starting with correcting some obvious lighting problems. The pendant lights were too bright and caused a glare on the kitchen surfaces. In addition, the glass-front cabinets have wood shelves, so only the top shelf got light.

After: Well-Lit Kitchen

To update the lighting in the kitchen, the bulbs in the pendant lights were replaced with frosted bulbs, an inexpensive way to reduce the glare and soften the lighting in the eating area. To brighten the dark cabinets, the wood shelves were replaced with glass ones. Now the light is able to stream all the way through the cabinet and give them a warm glow. For nighttime drama, low-voltage light strips have been on top of the cabinets.

Before: Bad Living Room Layout

While the couple love their living room, they hardly ever used the space. The sofa blocked people from entering the space comfortably, and there wasn't sufficient lighting for reading.

After: Strong Focal Point

People tend to think a sofa needs to face the fireplace, but by placing it at a right angle to the hearth, it creates a path that draws one into the seating area. The new furniture arrangement is much more inviting, and sophisticated reading lamps provide comfortable task lighting. To bring some glamour and sparkle to the mantel, glass hurricanes with floating candles have been added, and orchid plants flank it.

Before: Forgettable Fireplace

Though it should be the focal point of the room, this dark fireplace is uninteresting and forgettable.

After: Illuminated Design

The fireplace is given a fresh new look in three easy steps: A large mirror is hung over the mantel to reflect light and make the space feel larger; sconces are installed on both sides to add light and draw your eye to the fireplace; and a simple fixture that displays an array of candles is placed in the hearth, behind a modern screen that lets the light through. The result is a beautiful focal point in the room, with several lighting options to suit any mood.

Before: Boring Dining Room

This dreary, dark dining room was used only for holidays and other family gatherings. The only task lighting in the room was two candles on the buffet, and the alcoves needed better lighting to accent the family heirlooms.

After: Elegant Task Lighting

To add wattage to the dining room without turning up the glare on the chandelier, two table lamps have been placed on the buffet. And rope lighting, which is easy to install and an inexpensive way to add accent lighting, calls attention to the beautiful alcoves and heirlooms.

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