Need a quick room makeover? Look to lighting solutions

Photo courtesy of Family Features

(Family Features) — Ever wonder how designers make the rooms you see in magazines or on decorating shows look so good?

It doesn’t always depend on paint colors or fabric choices. From fresh and airy, to intimate and cozy — and everything in between — lighting sets the tone of a room and should be an integral part of its design and layout. And you can make dramatic changes by doing something as easy as switching out a light bulb.

So if you want to give a room a makeover, or just freshen it up a bit, use these tips from the lighting pros at Sylvania to brighten things up.

Types of Lighting
Not only does a good lighting plan make a room more inviting, it also makes it more functional. To create a good lighting plan, you’ll need different kinds of light:

• Ambient — Provides overall illumination and a comfortable level of brightness, allowing people to see and move around safely and easily.

• Task — Helps you perform a specific activity, such as reading or playing games, by concentrating light in a particular place.

• Accent — Sets the mood and highlights certain areas and objects, such as paintings, walls and collectibles.

• Decorative — Fixtures become an element of the space themselves, such as chandeliers or pendants.

The type of light bulbs you use matter as well. Due to the EISA Act of 2007, traditional incandescent light bulbs will eventually be phased out; however there are several energy-efficient options, ranging from CFLs to halogen or LED light bulbs. No matter what room you’re looking to improve, there is an energy-efficient light option that will be a perfect fit.

Dining Room
• Using dimmers and layering with light gives you flexibility for different occasions.

• For an elegant look, blend low levels of light sources throughout the room.

• When installing light over the dining room table, be careful not to create shadows on the faces of your guests. Placing additional light sources elsewhere in the room helps to balance the light.

• Use adjustable accent lamps with Sylvania halogen bulbs to highlight plants, artwork, or special furniture pieces. These bulbs are fully dimmable and use between 22 and 33 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.

Living Room
• For general lighting, use fixtures with a dimmer. The light source is concealed, and with dimming capabilities you can change the lighting of the room for various activities from reading to movie watching. A good choice for these fixtures would be the Sylvania Ultra A-Line 12-watt LED bulbs. They’re the brightest replacement for the typical 60-watt incandescent bulbs, while using 80 percent less energy. They also last 25 times longer.

• Wall sconces and floor lamps are good sources of task lighting for reading or playing games, while track fixtures can be used to highlight art work or unique wall treatments such as wall washing or glazing.

• Place light sources at various heights within the room to add visual interest.

• Use translucent shades on table lamps to contribute to the ambient light level.

• General lighting can be provided by ceiling fixtures, chandeliers, fan lights, recessed downlights or wall sconces that use halogen or LED bulbs.

• Use a floor-mounted directional fixture to project light through plants from the floor to soften a room with interesting shadows. Place the light behind a large plant or indoor tree and aim it through the leaves towards the ceiling.

• Use a low wattage energy efficient bulb to brighten up the closet. These bulbs have a long life and offer energy-efficiency and quality color.

• Provide light for reading by choosing swing-arm or flexible bedside lamps.

For more lighting tips and information about energy-efficient bulbs, go to or