You’ve been there.
You remember it well.
You were still single. There was an added degree of preparation before an evening party or social event, it’s not worth denying it.
You’d spend a long time trying on outfits, going back and forward to check in the mirror. Would the flats or the high heels work better with that skirt? Well it depends on your mood, flats to look more casual. Better go with high heels. Guys die for long sexy legs and high heels would definitely help. Now it’s time for hair and make-up. You hope it’s not too humid outside. That never helps your hair. Just in case you work in some more hairspray. Then you run one final check in the mirror and you look awesome. The most gorgeous you’ve been in years. The final touch: perfume. It’s going to be a killer night.
You get to the place. It’s dark already and you are so excited as you ring the bell. The door opens and boom! You can barely see the face of the host, the lights in the room are blinding.
Your confidence plummets and you no longer feel what you felt when you last checked yourself in the mirror. This is way too much light! Somebody please tone it down. You start to feel painfully conscious about your looks. You think maybe you should have worn more make-up. Maybe less. You feel uncomfortable, less and less sexy as you start walking inside. To make matters worse, you turn around and you see that hot guy you’ve been secretly dreaming about.
You are now too paralyzed to make a move.
Oh, no! You had such high hopes for this party. What a waste.
Yes, we have all had a night like that. It was probably right around your college years. It was not the most enjoyable party you’ve ever been to. Thankfully there were plenty of other parties to outweigh that one, parties where the lights were low, the music was just right and the company was awesome. However, that party left a lasting impression and you’ve discovered the power of light.
Are you creating an unpleasant evening experience at your own home?
Chances are, when you bought your home you visited it during the day. Maybe you visited it several times. You toured it with your family and your real estate agent during one of the brightest parts of the day. There was plenty of natural light coming through the windows and that made you happy. It fit your family needs, wants, and budget.
Chances are you didn’t fall in love with your home at night.
But, most likely, except for the weekends, most time spent at home is not during the brightest hours of the day. You probably turn on the lights during dinner. Definitely you need to turn them on when you are fixing that dinner, or reading a bedtime story or rushing to get everybody ready in the morning.
Do you have one of these 5 mood killers in your living room?
Imagine finishing up the evenings in a very relaxing family room. Imagine taking a few minutes to sip the last of your wine in a stunningly lit room. You’d probably feel calmer going to sleep. You’d feel like days are no longer a succession of endless chores, deadlines, and to do lists to complete. There is time for you to relax.
So what is killing the mood?
- 1.Overhead lighting only.
Most houses just have that, overhead lighting. Recessed lights that are placed all over your living room ceiling. You’d better not look up when they are on or you’ll be blinded.
Did you ever place a mirror in that living room? If you haven’t, do it. Then walk around and look at yourself in the mirror while doing it. You’ll notice sad shadows under your eyes whenever you get close to the canned lights. Not flattering, right?
Don’t worry, we are all in the same boat. Unless you are a supermodel and you look awesome in any light, you’ll be disappointed.
So why do most houses only have that? My guess it’s cheaper to build them that way. In any case you should try to fix that problem. Keep on reading for the solutions.
Unless you just have a couple of 25 watt light bulbs in those recessed lights you are much better off with dimmers.
And lucky you, they are really cheap and easy to install. Well, not for me. Get an electrician please. He won’t charge you much. He’ll be done in less than an hour.
Once they are installed, you have the power. The power to crank the lights up when you need to make sure your kids picked up all their toys, including those tiny Lego parts. You’ll also have the power to turn them down for a romantic conversation. No more harsh light when all you want is to wind down.
This is really important in the kitchen and the office but it’s also important in the living room. What things do you like to do in your living room? What aren’t you doing that you’d like to do there? Most likely reading is near the top of that list. Whether a gossip magazine, a child psychology book, or Fifty Shades of Grey, you are going to need good lighting.
You may want to add a little bar to the room, you’ll need good lighting again. Not a super bright cold lamp, but you don’t want to end up mixing the wrong bottles.
By now this should be pretty easy to spot. Tonight go to your living room, turn on the switch and carefully inspect the room.
Hopefully you don’t find your dog’s stash of treats like I did. Does yours do that too? Disgusting habit. I used to find them behind the curtains, under the desk, and behind doors. Now when I give him a treat I either watch him eat it or I chase him throughout the house so I don’t get any surprises later.
Back to the dark spots. If your builder was like mine he drilled nine holes in the ceiling for canned lights. Yes! Nine! Seriously. Back when I didn’t have a dimmer it looked like a flying saucer was about to land there any minute. In that case, chances are you are fine but if you find those spots you’ll need to fix them.
After all, you don’t want it weighing on your conscience grandma tripping and breaking something in a dark corner of your living room. You could get a floor lamp or create a cozy reading area with a chair, side table and lamp.
5.Missing out on room highlights.
What are those highlights? The pretty things you’ve worked so hard to get in there. It may be a piece of art or a gallery wall or a bookcase filled with the collection of objects you gathered through years of traveling. In any case, those are the things that should get noticed. Those are the conversation starters. Those are the things that tell your story, in a subtle way, a beautiful way, in an original way. Don’t miss out on highlighting them.
How can you fix these living room lighting misses?
I’m not going to sugar coat it. You will need to spend some money.
Sometimes you need to spend more, sometimes less. You may not even need to call an electrician.
Ready for the list of fixtures that can transform your living room?
Chandeliers. I’m a sucker for chandeliers. I could probably put them in every room in the house, even the kitchen… even the bathroom. Yes, and even the office if my husband would let me. Worse than that, if I had an infinite supply of dollars I’d change them every year. It’s that bad. I’m constantly finding a new one, a more unique one, one that I almost can’t live without. Some are pieces of art. They transform the room. Think about it, how many times were you flipping through a fabulous décor magazine and spotted a show stopping chandelier? Now that I come to think about it, I have to thank my husband’s endless capability to say no or we’d be dead broke by now.
Chandeliers can be the solution to a ceiling full of canned lights. Call the electrician and switch one of those cans for a gorgeous chandelier.
Fans. I have to admit it. Fans don’t turn me on. If you like the more industrial look then you’d probably rather go for a fan than a chandelier. Not me. However, living in Texas, I need them. They really help me with the crippling electricity bills of the ruthless Texas summers.
Track lighting. Again, I’m not a huge fan of these, but they serve their purpose. They are great for illuminating paintings or other things you want to highlight on the walls.
Recessed lights. A lot was said about these. They are unappealing yet functional. However you can sometimes switch them for a pendant or a chandelier. It’s fairly easy for your electrician and there are kits to help you do this. You can also switch them for the version that swivels and point them towards your favorite wall art and you won’t need to hang picture lighting.
Picture lighting. These are self-explanatory.There is a huge variety of pendants. Most of the time, you see them hanging over kitchen islands but in the living room they work beautifully over the coffee table or even over side tables. Pick your favorite.
Sconces. Sconces are great. You hang them between 5 and 6 and a half feet above the floor, depending on height of the wall and what you are displaying on that wall. Since they are close to eye level they cast a much better light. Plus you can find some gorgeous ones in whatever style you prefer. Win, win.
Mirrors. I know, no on/off switch on these. However, mirrors reflect light amazingly well, day and night. Plus if you chose the right one, they can almost be like art.
Floor lamps and Table lamps. They are another flattering option. Since they will be at eye level when you are sitting in your sofa you can bet they’ll make you look your best. Options are endless. Another tip: replace the stock white shade that came with it for another to create a more custom look.
Candles. Ready for a romantic night?
Floor cans. If you want to create some drama in your living room, try lighting a plant from below with one of these. Gorgeous!
What are you going to do next?
You have a ton of information now. You know the mistakes and your family room may be harboring some of these. It’s not your fault, you didn’t design it.
But you can most definitely fix it.
Go, inspect your living room in the evening and write down the misses. Then make up your mind to create a jaw-dropping room. You, your family, and your guests will be so happy you did.
Have an idea you are planning on implementing? Another tip or success story? I’d love to know. Please post a comment.