After my foyer was painted last week, I brought the sideboard, mirror, lamps, and rug back into the space and then left them alone so that I could think about how I wanted the space to look and feel.
It is a narrow two-story space that gets flooded with daylight. I want to keep it uncluttered so that it is a space with breathing room.
A space that will help visually connect the rooms around it, my studioffice, family room, kitchen, and dining room. Keeping things simple, yet adding something with impact is the look I am after. That and something that says SPRING! With the bitter cold we have been experiencing, spring can’t come soon enough.
I put the mirror back up first. It is actually two repurposed wood window sashes where I replaced the glass on each with mirrors. I did this a long time ago and had the mirrors cut to size at my local sheet glass company. I used glazing points (found at the hardware store) and putty to attach them to the back of the sashes.
- I drilled a hole in each sash’s top corner. I used wall anchors that have screws with flat heads screwed into them on the wall. The holes on the back of the sashes fit over the screws. Very secure – going on 18+ years that it has been hanging this way.
- I hung the top sash directly above the bottom one.
- On the top, I hung a decorative ceramic ornamental piece that I bought many years ago. I painted everything gold and added a white wash over the paint.
I decided not to buy anything new to place on the sideboard, but to shop the shelves of my newly purged basement. I found two glass vases and and some long stemmed fake pink peonies.
I wish they could be real, but I don’t have the budget for that. If I ever win the lottery, my first big purchase would be to sign up to have fresh flowers delivered to my home every day all year long. Until that happens, I am quite content with the fake ones until I can cut the real ones from my garden in the early summer. This is the vase I decided to use. I bought the peonies at Michaels.
I tried this vase, too. I like it because it’s bubble glass, but it raises the tall blooms to the same height of the lamps. Back to its designated shelf in the basement until I can find a use for it.
I moved the tray in from my family room. It looks fresh and new here. I painted the paper lamp shades a few years ago in high gloss white. They are opaque shades where the light is directed out the top and bottom of the shade. This creates the perfect mood light at night since I don’t need task lighting here.
To keep the light soft and bright, I added a Cree LED 60 watt light bulb to each lamp. I have written about how picky I am about lighting and using the right lightbulbs and lamp shades a few times before. It is one area of decorating that many forget to consider, but can make or break your decorating efforts.
A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter Kelly called asking me what she could do in her apartment to make the lighting look more like the light at home. It made me smile that she noticed the difference.
I first told her to remove all the funky CFL bulbs that she uses. The light they emit is unnatural and dull. Then to replace them with dimmable 60, 75, or 100 watt soft white bulbs that add a warm glow. Since she is all about the environment, I told her to head to Home Depot to buy a few Cree LED soft white bulbs. They are a bit more pricey to purchase, but will last 25X longer, are mercury-free, and save at least 84% in energy versus using an incandescent bulb, plus they have a normal light bulb shape so you can use clip on lampshades over them.
I told her not to use the ceiling fixture – the downlight is too harsh. Then to add three or four floor or table lamps around the apartment and make sure if they have fabric shades, that the color emitted through the shade when the light is on is the same. Some shades are more ecru and can look yellow. If this is your color scheme, it is not about the color so much but more that they are all the same.
When you look out over a room with one shade casting off yellow and the others white, it throws off the look of the room. It is just a detail, but one that can make a huge difference in how a room feels. I like to use shades that look white when the light is on. Mix in a opaque shade of any color and you will have good mix. A reading light needs at least a 100 watt bulb. Table lamps for general lighting can be 60 watt.
Following my guidelines should get her apartment looking more like the warm and cozy environment she fondly remembers.
I did a little experiment with my foyer lamps to show you how nice soft white LED bulbs look in the day and in the evening.
Daytime: This lamp has a 60 watt Cree Soft White LED in it. I love the softness of the light – it is white, but with no blue tinge to it. Cree also makes LED daylight bulbs, but I like the warm glow of the soft white much better.
You can see how the opaque shade and the bulb itself directs the light up and down. No light can get through the shade. Since the sideboard is stained wood and has an orange tone, it changes the way the downlight looks, but look at the top of the shade where there is nothing to change the color cast – all white.
Here is how it looks at night. I have the lights on a dimmer switch. This is the brightest they get at night.
I usually have them dimmed lower. I removed the flowers so you can see how not only the shade, but the LED bulb itself direct the lights up and down. You can see a better demonstration in this video.
My number one decorating tip I used to tell my decorating clients was to turn all the lights on in a room to see two things:
- Is the light spread out evenly around the room? If not, move or add another lamp. Higher wattage in lamps that you need to read by, lower for others.
- When the light is on, is the color of the light coming through all the shades the same? If one looks different from the others – change it so they all look the same. Opaque shades don’t matter since the light they emit doesn’t go through the shade.
Try it tonight… play a little game of musical lamps and move the lamps to different places in the room. Try different wattages of bulbs and see if the colors around the room look more vivid. A few good bulbs with shades that emit the same color white can change the way colors look as well as how the entire room feels. A few simple tweaks can drastically improve your decor.
I also added a 100-watt bulb to my bedside table.
Congratulations to the Winner: Pam Clark
- If you didn’t win and would like to try the bulbs, you can buy them at the Home Depot.