10 Home Lighting Tips from a Tony Winner

Irwin Weiner ASID - Go to an interior designer for all-things decorating, including lighting. But sometimes even the pros need to get a little inspiration from specialists in the field. One such font of wisdom is Kevin Adams, a Tony Award winner who specializes in lighting.
Here are some of Kevin's home lighting tips:
  • At a dinner party, try not to have overhead lighting glaring down on your family and guests. "Light coming straight down on people is not flattering to the face or any object in the room."
  • "Layers of light" will create the desired lighting for any party or special evening. Kevin uses table lamps of varying heights to create warm and friendly pools of light. The interplay of light and shadows is highly desirable.
  • Install dimmers on all your lights to adjust the level of light at any time of day in your home. "Even the music sounds better when the lights are down."
  • Put low-wattage light bulbs in your table lamps for parties - after all, no one's going to be reading a book!
  • "People look very handsome in amber light." Kevin uses 13-watt amber-hued compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFLs - colored CFLs will produce a more saturated color than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • Colored fluorescent tubes can add heightened color to walls. "People always love when the color comes on," notes Kevin. "Purple provides some mystery; red makes the party a little sexier, a little darker." Use colored lighting on the outer edges of your party space - accent colors only.
  • As your party progresses, you can change the lighting accordingly. Make the edges of your party space a little darker "to pull the focus to the center of the room and make people more focused on the people, the one-on-one encounters and small conversations." Kevin lights candles in the middle of the room - they're "darker and more magical."

  • Use candles of different heights in the center of a dinner table, too. Nice for romantic room. "You can't have enough candles," our lighting expert advises. He also adds some colored light in an adjacent room or down the hall to add mystery and atmosphere to the setting. Don't dim the lights too much that guests can't see who they're talking to or see the food on their plates.
  • Use uplighting, too. Lights coming up from the floor will hit people in a way that's surprising. (That's a good thing.)
  • Kitchen lighting? Kevin uses brighter lights all the way to keep everyone focused on their tasks.

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