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Thursday, June 3

Turn DOWN the lights!

In my opinion lighting can make or break a space.

To me, nothing is worse than horrible harsh lighting.

Lighting turned up too high! Oh my!

I mean I understand that there is a basic need and function for lighting. I am not suggesting that we all live by candlelight. But turn the lights down at least!
PLEASE- put lights on dimmers.
Layer lighting! Turn the overhead lights on low and then turn a lamp on and why not light a candle, all at the same time.
I promise you that once you try this you will love it!

What is the lighting like in your house?
Do you live by these thoughts or just think why bother and keep the lights on full blast, and don't care at all?
I would love to know your thoughts and what you do!

Thank you so much to House Beautiful for quoting me in the June 2010 issue on my thoughts on lighting and dimmers.

These dimmers are from IKEA and are a simple and easy fix to any lamp with a plug (so that really doesn't leave you with much of an excuse to not rush out and do this on every lamp this weekend!)


EAC said...

I love subtle lighting. I live in the Northeast, and during the winter when it gets dark at 4PM, many of us crank up lighting full blast to fend off the dismal darkness. Rather than adding warmth and comfort it reads as harsh. Multiple sources at lower wattage works so much better. The only problem with your dimming philosphy is that for me, it has led to a lighting obsession. When your lower the lumens in one lamp, you need additional lighting in another part of the room. Bring on more lamps!

We just installed a dimmer in a renovated guest bathroom. What a more tacky night lights. We loved it, so we installed a dimmer in the entry when we put in the new fixture. This is leading to another obsession I'm afraid...

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Great advice...I've got all of my overhead lighting on a dimmer but have a few lamps that could use these IKEA numbers....thanks for the recommendation.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

great advice. It was the first thing I did in my apartment -even before painting, seriously! Those little lamp dimmers from ikea are ingenius, i just might have to get some. I am a huge fan of the 3 way light bulb too! And always remember- the more light sources, the better!! Just say no to 1 central light fixture!

Ideezine said...


Spoken by a great guide through the design jungle of amazing comforts for our homes. I agree dimmers are a true in I wonder how we grew up without them.


camdesign said...

The ikea lamp dimmers are the first mention when specking a lamp for my them so much.
My favorite place bar none for a dimmer is the bathroom!!!...really wonderful in so many ways, with candles and a bath... during parties the light can be left on all night... and then theres the midnight visit, no fully awake shock of a full light...
Dimmers of all kinds should be the first thing you see at every Home Depot etc, not hidden in the back of the store somewhere...

All The Trappings said...

Ohhhhh, but only if my clients agreed! I had to compromise with one client that wanted ALL and ONLY recessed spots (gag) so I said "On one condition only––every single control is a dimmer, otherwise, no deal sugar."

kim c said...

I agree with you completely! I was featured in one of our Canadian Magazine's entitled, Style at Home and the articled discussed my obsession with low lighting and reflective surfaces. Bright lighting is one of my pet peeves. Had dinner at a friends a while ago and the chandelier was so bright it makes it hard to relax... obsessed I tell you!! Good to meet another!!!

Lacquered Life said...

I was so glad to see your comment in house beautiful! Clearly you and I are on the same page!--check out my February Post!

magnaverde said...

Clever pollsters always know the poll's outcome before they ever ask any questions, Grant, so you knew perfectly well what our answers would be. You're preaching to the choir, man.

I moved to a new apartment last winter and I'm still moving things around, so I didn't know (without counting) how many light sources are in my my sixteen-foot-square living room, which happens to be the smallest I've ever had. Final score: Lamps 7, Sconces 4, and all of them on dimmers.

I can't remember the name of the book the author or the artist, but when I was a kid, I had a picturebook of watercolors of animals being but to bed for the night--bears in snug caves, hedgehogs & bunnies in underground burrows, squirrels in hollow trees--and every single one of those dark, cozy rooms had a heavily-shaded lamp casting glowing circles of light down onto a rag rug or a patchwork quilt or up onto a low-beamed ceiling. What kid wouldn't want to go to bed in a room like that?

By the time I was in junior high, I had discovered the illustrations that Pierre Brissaud did for House & Garden back in the 193Os, and his work often showed the same sort of dreamiy placid rooms--country bedrooms at night, lit with hobnail milk glass lamps; elegant salons lit only by dozens of candles in wall-mounted brackets; cool summer parlors with dappled sunlight filtering through closed wooden blinds--so it was only natural that, when it came time to decorate & furnish my own places, I would follow that early imprinting.

A pal of mine came over one time, saw all the lamps & went right into his standard lecture on environmental responsibility. So I hustled him right out to the utility room in my building, where we looked at my electric meter & calculated--in my career-before-last, I worked in the engineering department of a large utility--my power usage. Even with all my lights on, the meter was barely crawling. That's what dimmers are for.

The next time I went to his house--a huge beast in the suburbs--the first thing I did after I got there was demand to look at his meter. And guess what?

Despite the dozens of energy- saving CFLs recessed into his volume ceilings--a mile away from where their light was needed--and despite his zoned dual A/C system & his super-efficent refrigerator, freezer, wine cooler, dishwasher & water heaters, his meter was spinning like a top, just as I knew it would be. That's what I meant about knowing the answer before you ever ask the question.

I tell ya, I would get rid of my car, my TV & my microwave before I give up all my lamps. Oh, wait! I already did!

Cristin said...

Yes, yes, yes... layer the lighting and hooray for dimmers.

I am going to miss you at the Kravet's event on Tuesday!


Acanthus and Acorn said...

I am with you all the way! I loathe recessed cans. I try to avoid them at all lengths. I love lamps on 3 way. Sconces, chandeliers, as well as under cabinet lighting in the kitchen on dimmers too!

I also have a few lamps from RH that have the buily in dimmer switches...paired with a silk shades...divine!

Thanks for the tip of these clever gadgets from Ikea.

Things That Inspire said...

I remember reading a post by Maison 21 just before I had a party - he recommended dimming all of the lights, or if you don't have dimmers, use low wattage bulbs. I took his advice, and the atmosphere was great - the next weekend I put in a few dimmers and have been thrilled with the results.

It is quite a quandary when designing a new seems like we are at a crossroads in lighting, but hopefully someone will invent something that is energy efficient and can be dimmed!

Hollywood forever, Kevin said...

Help!!!!!!! The city of Los Angeles is changing they're street lights to LED. There is already revolt in Venice, lets hope Hollywood complains as well. Lighting is the most important inside as well as out.

Pinky said...

This is my first visit to your blog (came over from BNOTP) and what a coinsidence. My hubby LOVES automating things and has set up a system in our home where the lights can go on and off automatically at certain times, can dim by remote etc. I always have used over head lighting (on dimmers), lamps (even on my kitchen counters) and candles....all together! Lighting is CRUCIAL, to me. I had a friend who had the BRIGHTEST light in her dining room and I always wanted to ask her why she didn't just put it on a dimmer!!!:):)

Anonymous said...

Even Brittany Spears says KILL THE LIGHTS!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. Every light in our house is on a dimmer. And as my mother would say, everyone looks better in the dark.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of anything worse than to be sitting in a beautiful dining room with the lighting turned full up!

Anonymous said...

Amen. I provide my family with beautiful lamps and they all still turn on the nasty overhead lights in every room. It makes me insane!!!

P.S. I love this... said...

Thank you for this. I'm going to IKEA to pick a few of these up.

FAB blog!

Lucy said...

I have the most terrible problem with regard to this.

hello by the way ( new reader!)

My partner is freakishly obsessed with harsh overhead lighting, whereas I agree with you beyond agreement. I like to set a mood with soft lighting, I would never choose really bright lighting unless I was having serious eye problems. But he has actually told me that left to himself he would probably have strip lighting. I know you MUST be feeling for me now, living together it causes real problems!

I wonder if anyone else has ever known anyone like this, and if there is a cure (for him!).


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