Tip of the Week
Something about spring seems to inspire us to lavish attention on our homes. Whether enthusiastically cleaning or freshening decor, Americans seize spring as an opportunity to breathe new life into interior spaces. For sheer spring-like impact itís hard to beat decorating with light.
Incorporating light into interior design can go far beyond a few strategically placed, attractive lamps and some upgraded overhead lights. Itís possible to use both natural and artificial lighting to complement other decor and architectural elements, and to create a brighter, upbeat mood thatís perfect for warm weather. Not sure where to begin? Here are a few concepts to keep in mind as you begin decorating with light:
Thereís no debating the benefits of natural light for boosting mood. Boost daylighting by lightening up window treatments to admit as much sunshine as possible, choose fresh paint colors that interplay well with the direction from which light enters a room, and consider adding skylights to rooms that demand drama or where adding a window isnít practical.
Some hues absorb more light, making them appear darker which causes the room to look dark as well. Fresh paint brightens any room, but to amplify the effect, choose lighter, less intense colors such as pastel yellows, peaches and soft blues.
Donít overlook energy efficiency when youíre revamping your artificial lighting. Spring is a great time to boost your homeís energy efficiency by replacing old, electricity-guzzling incandescent light bulbs with energy-sipping CFLs and LEDs. While these bulbs may cost more to purchase, youíll save money over their usable life. Energy.gov says these bulbs use 25 to 80 percent less energy than incandescents, and can last three to 25 times longer.
Adding a skylight is a relatively low cost home-selling improvement that can be accomplished by a professional in a day or two or over a single weekend. A skylight not only enhances home decor, it delivers energy-saving benefits as well. Skylights can help reduce dependence on artificial lighting - saving money on electricity bills.
Keep in mind the importance of layering light with a mix of sources throughout a room, and choose lighting styles that fit the roomís purpose. For example, in kitchens where a lot of work gets done, overhead and under-counter lights provide the best illumination for cooking and other chores. In bedrooms, wall sconces and table lamps provide softer, more soothing light.
Exotic looking kale with tall, sturdy, yet ruffled leaves could substitute for elephant ear or banana in a landscape. Yet, you canít add elephant ear to a stir-fry. Kale is jammed packed with vitamins and minerals. Dill or fennel foliage is feathery and delicate. Fine foliage herbs are comparable in texture to ornamental grass and would be perfectly at home in a perennial border.
- National Garden Bureau
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Home Help: Decorating with light captures the fresh spirit of spring
Tip of the Week