How Do I Light Thee?… let me count the ways!

Lighting Design Basics

There is so much to know about lighting design.  By focusing on a few points the great look you desire can be achieved.

Balance – The best way to find balance in lighting is to triangulate fixtures in a room.  If you have recessed lighting but still want seating level lighting, add lamps in key areas and visualize a triangle.  A floor lamp next to a comfortable chair and table lamps on side tables or night stands make this easy.

1 Stop Lighting

Mood – Make sure that lighting isn’t too bright by adding dimmer switches for chandeliers and recessed lighting.  This inexpensive feature gives you many options for setting the mood in a room.  Under, over and in cabinet lighting are other great ways to accent and enhance the beauty of fine furniture and accessories in a room.


Efficiency – Today’s efforts to light a space without consuming too much energy are important, and there are several ways to achieve this.  Following are just a couple of energy-saving ideas on how to light a space:

  • Use lighting controls such as dimmers and occupancy sensors.  Dimming a light fixture by 25 percent uses less energy and adds to the life span of the fixture.  Occupancy sensors that turn the lights on or off when you enter or exit a room can save up to 20 percent in energy use as well.
  • Use fixtures which consume less energy such as LED’s.  LED lights can greatly reduce the amount of watts used without reducing the quality of light produced.  These types of lights are more expensive but are virtually maintenance free with 50,000-100,000 hour life spans. They can be dimmed and come in very attractive recessed trims. Well worth the investment.
  • California energy code now requires that 50% of lighting must be ‘green,’ which is comprised of LED, halogen and/or fluorescent, with the remainder being incandescent.

A professional interior designer can provide advice on lighting and typically has a licensed electrician or specialized lighting designer as part of her/his team.

Contributed by Julie Gerns, CAPID

Guest Room Must-Haves

Designing A Guest Room

When designing a guest room on a budget, use  a five-star Hilton hotel for inspiration and discount stores and a savvy interior designer for implementation!


Of greatest importance is the best bed you can afford.  A queen-sized bed is more than adequate for two people and usually fits in a guest room quite nicely. If there is enough room, two twin-, full- or queen-sized beds would be ideal.  Dressing the bed is equally important. Start with a good quality mattress pad that adds a cushioned, luxurious feel.  Freshly laundered bed linens, fluffy but not-too-full pillows, a comforter and extra blankets create a welcoming oasis for your weary guests to rest and restore.

Find a place for a luggage rack or a bench to set a suitcase on. Create a one-to-two foot space in the closet with a few hangers for your guests to hang their clothes.  Keep a drawer clear for them to put their things in.  This will help keep the room neat and organized.


If there is enough room, a comfortable chair where one can curl up is a welcome addition. It also gives guests a place to sit while they put on their shoes.  A small table with a lamp or a floor lamp next to the chair creates a cozy spot for reading.

A television in a guest room is appreciated.  Place the remote near the bed.  Having a few current magazines in the room is a nice touch for those who don’t watch TV.

Window blinds work well in guest rooms to provide privacy when needed and allow for light control during the day.  A simple valance or side panels add character.



Then there are the basics that every guest room and guest bathroom should have:

  • A CD player with a clock
  • Easy access to electrical outlets for charging phones and computers
  • Bottled water on the nightstand
  • A couple of fresh apples in a bowl
  • A fresh flower in a vase on the nightstand is a nice touch
  • Clean towels
  • Fresh bar of soap
  • Disposable cups
  • Hairdryer

Remember to inform your guests if you have a security system that is alarmed at night.

And most importantly, invite your guests to feel at home.