Help For Your Three Biggest Design Challenges: Part One, LIGHTING

There are three elements I find that absolutely flummox most people about their home. They realize it’s important, but can’t visualize-or rationalize spending money on-anything beyond the basic.

 Which is really too bad, because none of these elements need to cost a lot of money, and  the right choice can go a long way, no matter what your goals.

Lighting is one of the Big Three most get stuck on. Not only is there rarely enough of it, what’s there is usually outdated, out of proportion, or looks just like what everyone else has…because it’s what the local big box store shows.  

No matter if you are staying in, or getting ready to sell a property, if it’s well-chosen and with personality, it will add function and be engaging.  It may be counter-intuitive, to spend money on something that will stay when you are selling but think of a small, well-defines area, and  remember:

  • Engaging buyers in a way that other properties don’t is a big component of a well-prepared property
  • When YOU’VE figured something out for the buyer that no other seller has, that is value-added
  • You can always have the sales contract written to reflect the fixture is coming with you
  • Unless you are buying a close-out, you should be able to purchase another within a reasonable time frame

A solid, overall lighting plan will be unique to each property. In the case of task (end-table, vanity, desk top) and accent (sconces, buffet lamps) lighting-much will depend on the taste and existing furnishings. For our purposes today, I will just share a few scenarios I’ve come up against recently, and what I found that worked.

Chose this (left) fixture for a contemporary bathroom, in a modern apartment.  It was a generous-sized room, with darker toned wood vanity, double sinks in a granite counter top and marble floors.

It had been a bachelor pad, new owners  wanted to make it a little prettier. Did three of these fixtures, one at either end of the vanity, one in between the two sinks, $185.00 each.


This (right) was chosen for the entry of a 1928 Arts and Crafts home.  Many A&C  homes are often dark, harsh and austere.

As a design element, stars are signify luck and hope. Antiqued copper was the right material, and the clean lines agreed with the nature of the space, but these curves warmed and softened it.  

Smiles from the first step inside the house,  $218.00 


In a contemporary colonial, there was a pass-through area off the kitchen. It was designed to be a butlers’ pantry, but owners decided to make it a wet bar.

We found this to be exactly the right ‘mix’ of fun and function, $225.00


Money spent on the right lighting is always money well-spent.  Materials, scale, lines and light it gives off-both amount, AND direction!-are all to be considered first, but seriously, have fun with it, too.   

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