Bathroom Lighting: Tips and Style Guide

Bath and Vanity

Bathroom design has taken on special emphasis these days; driven not only by the current housing market but also bathrooms have become “status symbols” within today’s well-appointed homes. So whether you are building a new home with several bathrooms or renovating your existing bathroom, take the time to “Distinguish your Lifestyle” with these tips:

1) Bathrooms require at least two watts of light per square foot. Much like good kitchen lighting, the key to putting together a good bath lighting design is to use multiple light sources in order to layer your light. You are going to need general ambient light as well as task lighting and maybe even a little decorative lighting. That’s too much to expect from one light source!

2) A center ceiling light may be okay for your ambient light source (general fill-in lighting) but it is going to cause problems if you relying on it for your task lighting. It will create shadows on your face for that reason you may want to keep it on its own light switch and dimmer.

3) If the bathroom is large enough, you may want to consider some decorative light fixtures just as eye candy to help fill the space and take away that cold feeling a big expanse of empty space can have.

4) For your task lighting i.e. standing at the mirror for make-up and grooming, try and get a color (temperature) as close to natural day light as possible. If you have the luxury of having natural day light in the room, it’s a blessing. Avoid fluorescents like the plague (unless you use one with a CR Index of 90 or above; much the same for LED’s. Truthfully with the exception of natural daylight, the best and most flattering light is the simple incandescent bulb in the warm white color range or a halogen.

5) For your task lighting, few light fixture work better than the standard vanity light a.k.a. bath strip or bath light bar. One highly effective option is to use wall sconces in addition or even instead of a bath strip as your light source. Click here for more on this topic.

Keeping the basic fundamentals of good bath lighting design in mind, we would like to present to you the Four Top Bathroom styles:





Shedding Some Light on your Kitchen Makeover

Thinking about updating your kitchen? It’s probably time to do so. In fact, if you are like most people; it is probably more accurate to say it is past time. Here are some tips and techniques that will hopefully help you get into the planning stage and beyond…. into your dream kitchen!


Some good news: many times simply re-lighting the kitchen is all you need to do in order to update an outdated kitchen. Restyling your lighting is certainly easier and less expensive than replacing cabinets. Even if you have bigger remodeling plans in mind, getting a good kitchen lighting plan together and investing in proper lighting is certainly going to be a worthwhile expense since good kitchen lighting usually has positive effects elsewhere in the home as we will soon discuss.


Here are a few reasons why updating your kitchen lighting will have a dynamic, positive and cost effective impact on your home:

1) Today’s modern architecture has firmly established the kitchen as the focal point of most homes. The popularity of open floor plans places the kitchen directly off many family rooms. So no matter how fabulous ones great room may look, a kitchen that is in need of an update is going to have a negative effect on the total area. Putting together a stylish decorative kitchen lighting design with well controlled accent lighting that creates a dramatic focal point and/or subtle mood lighting will enhance the beauty of the entire living area.


2) Maybe even more importantly, the kitchen is the life blood of the house. There is no fighting it, even if you do not fancy yourself as a gourmet chef (although with all the cooking shows on TV who hasn’t been tempted to show off in the kitchen at least once) have you ever noticed how even the simplest of get- together always end up with your guest gathering in the kitchen. Family, friends, everyone is always in your kitchen. Well, don’t fight it; take advantage of this powerful pull, fix it and the accomplishment flaunts itself. When you update your kitchen everyone notices!




3) New home builders freely admit that lighting is frequently the first thing that gets cut from a budget when building a new home. That is often the case in spite of the fact that most designers know that for a kitchen to look and function at its best, it must be well lit. So there’s a very good chance that due to budget concerns the lighting half-way deserved an upgrade even before the home was even occupied for the first time. That’s okay, upgrading your lighting is much easier than most remodeling projects.

So let’s get to it!

A lot goes on in the typical family kitchen. Tasks are being done that range from food prep to homework. We read, we wash, we eat and we entertain. –So we need good, flexible lighting in the kitchen. Here’s the rule: In the kitchen, you should have at least 2.5 watts per square foot of incandescent light (or the equivalent: 40 lumens per square foot.) If you intend to use dark colors in your kitchen, consider using even more watts per foot as dark surfaces tend to absorb rather than reflect light. However, do not make this glaring mistake: Do not attempt to blast all that light from one fixture in the center of the kitchen. You will create shadows in so many of your task-oriented areas and produce a bright, glaring light that will not be pleasant. Instead what you want to create is well- balanced overall lighting and the best way to accomplish this is by layering your lighting. Every work area should be lit. Use under-cabinet lights were necessary. Use an island chandelier or 2-3 lanterns or pendants (or more depending on the length of the counter) over any center islands or peninsulas you may have. These hanging lights will allow you to bring your task lighting closer to your work area while reducing shadows. Most people prefer to use warm color incandescent lights especially when putting these lights on dimmers and that is something that is strongly recommended.


Dimmers give you maximum control over when, where and how much light you use at a given time. You will certainly appreciate this control should you be seated eating at an island bar and even more so when you are through with your food prep and other tasks and you are ready to settle down and enjoy yourself in the family room. The soothing affects you can obtain by dimming your lighting or maybe just accenting one focal area in the kitchen, will improve the look, feel, and livability of the entire area.


However, there is more to selecting kitchen light fixtures than just producing and controlling watts and lumens. Your lighting fixtures should be selected to enhance the aesthetics of your surrounds. At Shades of Light, we want to make certain that you remember to “Distinguish your Lifestyle” and want to share with you these tips:

1) The decorative lighting you select should be in keeping with the architectural style of the room and the specific style you wish to create for yourself. Should you have a large open kitchen and love that open airy look, consider using light open-airy lanterns or clear glass pendants to keep that spacious feeling. Do you have a warm rustic-lodge feel to your kitchen? Look for lights that enhance that feel. Love contemporary design? The relatively easy, quick change out of your pendant lights can quickly get you into the latest trends. From Bohemian to Steam Punk and Industrial to updated classic design, Shades of light will have the pendants to suit your personal style.
2) Need some color in your kitchen? Consider getting color from your pendants. Solid color pendants or Art Glass pendants might be just the pop of color you need.


3) How many pendants or lanterns should you use across an island? Maybe the answer is one Island chandelier! Sorry, back to the question of how many pendants or lanterns to use; that is going to depend greatly on the size of the Island and the size of the pendants. For a kitchen island approximately 48” long you are going to want 2 or 3 in order to provide enough light for the area. Then factor in the size (width) of your favorite pendant or lantern and see whether two or three might work best. When you are considering the placement of your lights along the island, remember you don’t want people hitting their heads on the light fixture should they lean into the counter so plan to keep your lights 12”-18” from the ends of your islands and work your spacing plan in from there.


4) How high above your kitchen island should you hang your pendants of lanterns? Most kitchen islands are between 36”-42” high. With that in mind, hang your light within the range of 30”-40” above the island surface. You want to bring your light down to the work surface but you don’t want to obstruct the views across the room.


Light Bulb Update

Not only has the Government banned our much-loved 100 watt and 75 watt bulbs, the EISA (Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007) deadline has come for the 60 and 40 watt incandescent bulbs as well. So what does this mean for illuminating our homes in the best light? Do we need to hoard these bulbs??? See the end of this article for my thoughts on this! Today there are more efficient (that produce better light with less energy) options available as long as you know what to look for.

If you are going to buy fluorescent bulbs (the coil bulb that takes 30 seconds to light up), make sure to get a “color temperature” of 2700-3000 Kelvin (warm yellow glow of incandescent bulbs) or 4000K (higher intensity true color “white” light) and know that:

  1. You will have to take them to a bulb recycling drop-off when they burn out due the mercury content in them.
  2. If one breaks, you should wash your hands and air out the room.
  3. They have limited dimmability
  4. They can produce a humming sound from the ballast.
  5. They last xxx times longer and burn without releasing any heat.

Our CFL bulb is dimmable!

The better (although still currently more expensive) option is the LED bulb. Using 84% less energy and lasting 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs now come in color temperatures that rival the competition, can focus light in a single direction or have “grouped filaments” to spread light in many directions, come in the familiar glass bulb shape or in mini sizes, turn on instantly, and are compatible with most standard dimmers.

LED E26 3000k Bulb

LED E26 3000k Bulb

For the aging baby boomers who are longing for that super power bulb, we recommend the halogen high efficiency bulb. These are fully dimmable, mercury-free, are instant-on and meet all EISA requirements.  The light output and familiar shape make these a smart choice for those who prefer a lot of light. These bulbs are also great for showing true color. However these bulbs do generate the most heat.

Frost Halogen Hybrid Bulb

Frost Halogen Hybrid Bulb

The popular “vintage Edison” bulbs give a nostalgic or industrial look but don’t provide the maximum illumination and are not energy efficient. However, these are still available since they are in the decorative bulb category and you will love the warm glowing light! So give them a try, especially in fixtures where you can see the bulb.

Vintage Edison A Light Bulb

Vintage Edison A Light Bulb

But with energy savings of up to 30% over incandescent bulbs, these newer options surpass older technology in so many ways. Except they cost more! Just make sure you get the same base (medium screw base, candle base, etc.) as your existing bulb and enough light (see lumens chart below). Luckily “decorative bulbs” (chandelier bulbs, round globe bulbs, appliance bulbs, 3-way bulbs) are exempted from the EISA ban! `So you can continue to buy all your candle bulbs without worry. But my bottom line is to (yes) hoard those incandescent bulbs until the price of the best-option LED bulb comes down (probably within 2 years)! That’s my two cents!


Here is our conversion table to determine similar bulbs:


Ashton Harrison

© 2014 Shades of Light

Light Bulb Wattage Equivalents

How To Light The Kitchen

To shed some light on the question of how to light your kitchen, you must consider 4 things: work areas, eating/entertaining areas, general traffic spaces, and accent lighting for a little drama.

1. In order to prevent shadows, lights should be placed over top of the work surfaces. A center of the room ceiling fixture cannot do this. Every work surface needs to be lit: cabinet tops by under-cabinet lights, islands and sinks by hanging pendants, lanterns, or recessed lights, and the kitchen desk. Make sure the lighting is placed where your body won’t block it when you are working.

Canopy Glass Island Chandelier

Heritage Hanging Lantern

Colored Seeded Glass Pendants

Colored Seeded Glass Pendants

2. Place hanging fixtures with multiple bulbs over eating tables. Several bulbs will always give you the maximum flexibility where you need it. Make sure the fixture is on a dimmer to allow for different functions (reading the newspaper, romantic dining, homework, etc.)

Downlight Kitchen Chandelier

Cherry Bar Chandelier

Create Your Look Island Chandelier

Create Your Look Island Chandelier

3. General or ambient lighting helps to fill in the gaps in traffic spaces. Recessed lights are great for this purpose. Put these on a dimmer as well to allow for proper light levels from cleaning to dining.

Square Adapter for Recessed Light

Magic Pendant Light Hardware

Trellis Linen Drum Shade Pendant

Trellis Linen Drum Shade Pendant

4.Accent lighting in the kitchen can include lights inside the cabinets (open or with glass doors), picture or sculpture lights, cover lighting, lighting above the cabinets, kickplate lighting under the cabinets (makes a great nightlight), or simply a fun or decorative wall sconce that is simply art itself!

Cone Pivot Shade Wall Lamp

Modern Classic Wall Sconce

In total, you should have at least 2.5 watts per square foot of incandescent light or the equivalent (or 40 lumens per square foot).

Clear Glass Globe Industrial

Clear Glass Globe Industrial

Mercury Glass Bulb Pendant

Mercury Glass Bulb Pendant

Rectangle Radiator Screen Pendant

Rectangle Radiator Screen Pendant

How to Determine the Correct Lampshade Size

Lampshade Selection Guidelines 

  1. The more basic the shape of the body of the lamp, the more varied styles of shades it can take.
  2. Repeat the shape(s) in the lamp body in the shade shape; i.e., a round lamp on a square base can take a shade with a rounded top and square bottom.
  3. The diameter of the bottom of the shade should not be greater than the height of the lamp body (to the bottom of the socket).
  4. Match lampshade colors to the trim color in your room and the tones in the lamp body. Don’t be afraid of black or color as an accent.
  5. Consider your wattage needs! The lampshade (not the lamp body) determines maximum wattage allowed.
  6. Consider the style of the lamp when selecting a shade. A busy lamp generally calls for a plainer shade.
  7. For DRAMA, try thinking outside the box! Put a deep cone shade on a short round ball base, a glossy white shade on a beige stone vase, a cube shade on a stacked ball lamp, a red or black shade on an Oriental base, etc.

How do you determine shade height?
The height of a table lamp shade should be approximately the height of the base (to bottom of socket) x 60% up to 70%. The height of a floor lamp shade should be approximately the height of the base x 30% to 40%. Measure shade height along the slant.

What about diameter?
The diameter (width) of a table shade should NEVER exceed the height of the base (to the bottom of the socket) and should be within 2″ of this dimension. Floor lamp shades should clear the widest part of the bulb by at least 3.5″ on each side of the bulb (unless using compact fluorescent bulb). Lampshade size is usually expressed in terms of its diameter (16″ shade has a diameter of 16″).

Are certain shade styles better for certain base styles? If so, do you have any pointers for matching the two?

  • The more basic the shape of the body of the lamp, the more varied styles of shades it can take.
  • Repeat the shape(s) in the lamp body in the shade shape; i.e., a round lamp on a square base can take a shade with a rounded top and square bottom.

Are there any “no-no’s” when it comes to choosing a shade?

  • For every “rule” (see rules), there is a talented designer who can successfully break it with success! Your eye is your best guide.
  • ALWAYS consider your lumens

If you’re debating between two similar shades, is it safe to go bigger or smaller?
Just like outdoor wall lights, it’s better to go larger to allow more wattage (click here for wattage and shade size guide).

Is there a shape of shade that flatters most bases?
Choose a shade with a shape that follows the general contours of the lamp. Square lamps look best with square shades and round lamps look best with round shades. A shapely lamp can take a shapely shade. An interesting alternative is to repeat the shape of the vase stand (as opposed to the vase shape) in the shade. For example, try a square shade on a round ginger jar with a square wood base.

Are there any shade shapes that are particularly hard to get right?
The more slender the body of the lamp, the shallower the shade can be. Extremely-flared shades are sometimes tricky to get right. Often you will need to change the size of the harp on your lamp when you change the lampshade. The more flared the shade, the shorter the harp you need. Lamps with more than one socket need to have wider and shorter shades and you may need a salesperson’s guidance.

Should the shade kiss the top of the lamp’s base? Should we see a little of the harp/hardware part of the lamp?
The bottom of the lampshade should come to the top of the body of the lamp so that no mechanical parts except 1/2 the neck show. The bottom of the shade should also fall at the eye level of the user. Most harps are interchangeable so you may need to purchase a new harp with your new shade. Harps come in regular and heavy (higher end lamps) and are usually imprinted in the top with their size in inches.

Chandelier Shades

Exclusive Shades

Floor Lamp Shades

Table Lamp Shades




©2011 Shades of Light. All Rights Reserved.

Compact Fluorescent Wattage Equivalents

Standard Bulb CFL Bulb
25w = 5w
40w = 10w
60w = 13w-15w
75w = 20w
100w = 26w-29w
150w = 38w-42w
250w-300w = 55w
Ceiling Medallion Solutions

Where: A ceiling medallion adds an exquisite crowning touch to your chandelier, ceiling light or fan. It helps to balance and visually “anchor” your light fixture.

Size: The ceiling medallion should be 2/3 the diameter of the chandelier, ceiling light or fan.

Style: Our medallions made of durable high-density polyurethane, have sharp details that are virtually impossible to distinguish from plaster. Because they are already primed with white paint, they can be left alone or painted (with latex or oil paint). Our medallions are easily installed using construction adhesive.

Chandelier Solutions

Where: Available in every decorative style, chandeliers add both presence and weight to a room. Whether hung above a dining room or kitchen table, or used as general lighting in foyers, powder rooms, bedrooms, etc., they bring the glow of candlelight to any setting. We offer many ways to customize your chandelier…decorative painting and coordinating shades to name a few.

Size: The size of the chandelier depends on both the size of the room and the size of the table. To determine the size of a chandelier for a dining room based on the room size, add the length and width of the room in feet and substitute inches for feet, giving you the width of an appropriately-sized chandelier for the room. (A 10’x13′ dining room, for example, would take approximately a 23″ wide fixture.) For determining the size of a chandelier based on your table size, the chandelier should be at least 12″ smaller in width than the width of the dining table. The perfect chandelier will be a happy medium between these two measurements. Hanging fixtures can be smaller in scale when used in hallways and other rooms for general lighting.

Placement: Below a diagram for placement of chandeliers. In dining rooms with 8′ ceilings, hang chandeliers about 30″ above the table. (Add 3″ for each foot of ceiling height over 8′.) Remember to order extra chain for higher ceilings.


  1. Ceiling Height ____ in feet x 12 = _______ inches
  2. Table Height (normally 30 in.) = _______ inches
  3. Height from table top to bottom of chandelier:
    Ceiling height in feet less 8 = ___ x 3 = ____ inches plus 30 = _______
  4. Height of chandelier body:
    Bottom of chandelier to chain loop at top = _____ inches
  5. Chain length (incl. ceiling cap & loop) = A-B-C-D=E…………….._______

Wattage: Most people don’t realize that the wattage maximum of a chandelier is determined by the lampshades used on it! Smaller shades limit maximum wattage. The mood and intensity of a chandelier is best controlled by a dimmer.

Shades: Shades add 2″ to 4″ to the total width of the chandelier. Chandelier shades reduce glare and help to direct light down where needed.


Candlestick Lamp Solutions

Where: Use candlesticks on a sideboard, an entry hall table, sofa table, or a bedroom dressing table.

Size: The bottom of the lampshade should fall at eye level when in use. Often candlesticks are taller than the average table lamp, particularly when used on a buffet or entrance hall table.

Style: Color and shapes can be matched to other accents in the room such as finishes in the chandelier, picture frame, fabrics, art, etc.

Wattage: Most often used in pairs, candlestick lamps are more versatile if they have high-low switches (to transition from serving the buffet to a candlelight dinner.)

Placement: Candlestick lamps are used to supplement lighting in a room by filling in gaps left by primary lighting sources.

Shades: Gold-lined shades provide a wonderful warm glow to the room and direct light down to the table surface. Translucent light shades increase the overall light in the room.

Ceiling Light Solutions

Where: Most homes have a center ceiling light in bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways. Our fixtures are selected to work in almost any room, even those with low ceilings.

Style: Typical ceiling lighting choices include:

  • Twinkling candlelights from small chandeliers or lanterns,
  • Diffused light from translucent glass covered flushmounts,
  • Opaque fixtures that reflect light off the ceiling,
  • Small pendant fixtures, usually used in multiples.

Wattage: Most ceiling lights have at least 2 light bulbs to give you more evenly spread light without hot spots. Dimmers are always recommended to alter the light levels to suit your needs.

Bath Light Solutions

Finding bathroom lighting fixtures that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing can present a real problem. Functionally, few fixtures can beat the standard over, on, or beside the mirror bath strip.

Where: Use strips above the mirror or beside the mirror for shadow free light or use wall sconces on either side of the mirror. If electrical boxes are pre-cut in the mirror, strips can be mounted on top of the mirror.

Size: Select the strip light closest in scale to your mirror. A 30″ vanity can take a 24″ wide strip.

Style: For bathrooms with ornate sink and mirror designs, wall sconces are a natural choice. For general bath lighting, consider a small chandelier or lantern. Lack of space or existing wiring often dictates the use of recessed lights, which can cast significant shadows. Sometimes small pendants will work as alternatives to recessed lights. For double sinks, try 3 sconces flanking 2 mirrors.

Wattage: Since bathrooms require two watts of light per square foot, you will need at least two sconces for the space.

Placement: Above the mirror fixtures should be placed approximately 80″ above the floor and at least 6″ from the ceiling. Wall sconces beside the mirror should be placed at eye level.

Shades: If your bath light has candle bulbs, use shades to direct light down and reduce glare.

Accent Lighting Solutions

Drama is created in your interiors using a play of light and shadow. Here are some techniques to use.

  1. Create “pools” of light by replacing translucent lampshades on your table and floor lamps with opaque ones. This allows lighting for tasks such as reading but also provides areas of shadow to maximize other lighting effects. It is also an effective way to spotlight a grouping of family photos on a table.
  2. Use landscape lighting techniques inside on your plants and sculpture. Study nature’s lighting (sunny days and full moon nights) to get some ideas and see the actual effects of downlighting.
    1. Silhouetting: Put a fixture with a broad beamed bulb behind a sculpture or plant. Place this light one foot from the wall pointing straight up to provide backlighting for a silhouette effect. This technique is particularly effective with bronze sculptures, bonsai, and dense plants.
    2. Shadowing: Place a plant light inside the plant just behind the trunk pointing straight up to throw leafy shadows on the ceiling or put the light 3′ in front of the foliage to see shadows on the wall. This uplighting technique is most effective with sparsely foliated plants and unique branching patterns.
    3. Moonlighting: This effect is achieved using recessed lights in the ceiling with soft incandescent reflector bulbs shining down through plant leaves sprinkling shadow patterns on the floor. Incandescent lighting (regular household bulbs and PAR bulbs) brings out reds and yellows while halogen lighting (PAR bulbs) will intensify blues and purples.
    4. Grazing: This technique is used to bring out the texture of an interesting wall such as stone, silk, or flocked wallpaper. Place the light source 2-3 inches from the surface, pointing straight up. A series of floor uplights can create a “scallop” effect along the wall.
  3. Add picture lights (2/3 width of picture), mantle uplights, or recessed wall washer lights to highlight pictures and artwork on your walls. Use an illumination angle of 45º to 60º and non-reflective glass to cut down glare.
  4. Add light to bookshelves and inside cabinets to showcase your collections. Light kitchen counters with under-cabinet strip lights placed 2/3 from front of cabinet. Try our incandescent fixtures for a warm yellow light or our color-correct full-spectrum fixtures for low energy, low-heat lighting. If your light source is inside your cabinet at the top, replace solid shelves with glass. Our English bookcase light is an attractive fixture to install on the top molding of your bookshelf. Recessed lights used to illuminate bookshelves should be placed 3 feet from the wall.
  5. Add a folding stretched fabric or paper screen in a corner with a powerful spotlight behind for a diffused glow, particularly effective with a plant or sculpture behind or in front of the screen.
  6. Don’t forget the power of outdoor landscape lighting seen through the windows at night for a visual extension of your living space.
  7. Use spotlighting to create a focal point, emphasize a work of art, draw attention to a centerpiece, or accentuate exquisite architectural elements. Flexible track lighting, recessed eyeball lights or floor cans with narrow spot PAR bulbs are used to achieve these effects. Place this light source 2 feet from the wall or item you are illuminating.
  8. Try our sculpture light base under clear and colored art glass treasures to make them come alive.
  9. Colored reflector light bulbs (along the floor, in recessed ceiling fixtures, or sockets behind a ceiling valance) will wash a plain wall with color to introduce an element of magic. Place these lights one foot from the wall.
Holiday Lighting Ideas

  • Wrap your chandelier arms with garlands (greens or wire stars, etc.) or twisted gold ribbon and Christmas lights. Use low wattage “flicker flame”, “wax-dipped”, gold, or red and green bulbs in your chandelier. For a whimsical touch, try our golden star bulb! Tie tiny holiday ribbon bows around the crystals on your chandelier. Or add wired ribbon bows with long steamers to each chandelier arm.
  • Hang Christmas ornaments (metallic balls, gold tassels, cherubs, stars, etc.) from your wall sconces, chandelier and ceiling lights using holiday ribbon. Hang chandelier crystals (to reflect the light) from your wreath, garlands, and Christmas tree. Add magnetic crystals to your chandeliers and metal floor lamps.
  • Put candlestick lamps on every windowsill and tie holiday ribbons and holly sprigs around them. Flicker-flame bulbs will give the effect of real candles.
  • Create “curtain lights” for your window (hang between curtain panels) using Christmas net lights sandwiched between sheer gold metallic fabric looped over curtain rod.
  • Hang mistletoe (using holiday ribbon) from your front hall lantern or chandelier.
  • Use a portable outdoor spotlight in your front yard to spotlight your wreath.
  • Use a plant light to highlight special holiday arrangements (nativity, decorative Santas, mantle scenes, gingerbread houses, etc.). Or use a battery candle inside gingerbread house, Nativity barn, etc.
  • Change your chandelier shades for the holidays. Try red and green or gold silk shades.   Or glue holly leaves and berries around the edge of inexpensive shades.   Wrap existing shades in wrapping paper or foil and tie them with ribbon (make sure there are no loose ends near light bulbs).
  • “Dip” your chandelier crystals and tree balls in gold (use gold spray paint to give this effect).
  • Outline your doorways, crown molding and kickplate below cabinets (especially the bar) with tiny light strands (or rope lights).
  • Wrap Christmas lights (or rope lights) around garlands & wreaths and the outline your powder room mirror.
  • Wrap your banisters and columns with string lights. Then wrap with sheer metallic fabric.
  • Put net lights over your indoor plants for a quick effect.
  • Line your mantle with window candlelights or real candles in varying heights.
  • Use timers on your tree, outdoor holiday lights, and window candles!
  • Use our crystal bulb covers (clear or amber) on sconces and chandeliers.
  • Fill a Moravian star with tiny Christmas lights and hang from the ceiling over your Christmas tree.
  • Lay a gold frame mirror down on a table and top with cluster of crystal candlesticks. Add holly or magnolia?
  • Fill glass vases with battery Christmas lights, glass ornaments, and holly sprigs.
  • Line stairway with pillar candles, circled with greenery.
  • Take white wire Christmas lights and create “sculptures” and hang from the ceiling like a pendant.
  • And don’t forget to light the fire and put on the holiday music!

    ©Shades of Light 2008


There are a growing number of ways you can save electricity and make your home more comfortable by choosing the right lights. Just a few of the most promising options include new varieties of CFLs and fluorescent lights, new super-efficient LED (light-emitting diodes) bulbs; and simple strategies for using less electricity and bringing in more natural light.


If you’re ready for a simple way to save energy, think light bulbs. To start with, choosing a compact fluorescent (CFL) is a smart move because these bulbs use much less electricity than old-fashioned incandescents (which produce light by heating a metal filament, and therefore waste 90 percent of their energy as heat). Fluorescent bulbs produce light through a chemical reaction. Not only will choosing a CFL save you about $30 in electric bills over the life of each bulb, it also will help you do your part to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. The compact fluorescent bulb works much the same way as a standard fluorescent light, but the thin tube curves into a round bulb shape that fits neatly into most lamps. Commonly known as CFLs, they use two-thirds less energy to provide the same amount of light, and they last a long time, up to 10 times longer than incandescents.The U.S. government’s Energy Star program, which promotes energy efficiency, estimates that replacing a single incandescent bulb with a CFL prevents nearly 500 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. Today’s fluorescents are produced with electronic ballasts, so they’re not going to flicker and hum as they would with the older magnetic ballasts.
Most experts say not to worry about the health effects of exposure to the mercury in a compact fluorescent, even if the bulb breaks. As a frame of reference, one CFL contains 4 milligrams of mercury, just a fraction of the 500 milligrams found in old mercury thermometers. When fluorescents have ceased to work properly, they shouldn’t just be thrown in the trash; you should dispose of them through your local solid waste agency.


LED lights (light-emitting diodes) are more efficient than incandescents, because the bulbs don’t use heat to produce light. And unlike fluorescent lights, they don’t contain any mercury. Instead, LEDs are made with a semiconductor material that produces photons when electricity passes through it. LEDs are very good at focusing light exactly where it’s needed, plus, they produce light in a variety of colors and last a long time.


  1. Always use the minimum lighting required. Some tasks, especially reading and sewing, require bright light. But in many areas of your home, lower-wattage bulbs may work just as well, such as for ambient lighting in the kitchen. For rooms where you want different levels of light at different times, light fixtures with dimmer settings can be a good option. Not all compact fluorescents work with dimmer switches, so check the packaging carefully.
  2. Put your home on a “lighting diet.” Paul Scheckel, a home energy consultant and author of The Home Energy Diet, has many tips such as “one person, one light,” as a good goal. He also suggests using low-energy (LED or fluorescent) under-counter lights, light-colored lamp shades, no halogen floor lamps, turning off the lights when you leave a room (as well as fining family members who don’t), and auto on-off and motion-sensor lighting controls in closets, bathrooms, etc. If you’ve heard conflicting advice about when to turn off the lights, you’re not alone. One source of confusion is that there are two separate issues to consider, saving money and saving energy. According to the U.S. government’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), every time you turn off fluorescent lights for more than five seconds you save energy. However, turning lights on and off reduces their life span. If your main goal is to save money, EERE recommends leaving fluorescent lights on for up to 15 minutes if you’re planning to go back to a room. Incandescent lights are less expensive to replace and burn mo re energy when they’re on, so turn them off every time you leave a room to save both money and energy.
  3. Use solar power for smaller applications, including outdoor lights.
  4. Daylighting, the practice of designing for maximum use of daytime sunlight (skylights, large windows with roof overhang, etc.), is used to light homes, make people happier, and save energy and dollars everywhere from garages to office buildings. The presence of daylighting often shows increased worker satisfaction and productivity in offices, better test scores in schools, increased sales in retail settings, and, of course, lower energy bills. If there’s enough sunlight to allow us to leave the electric lights off, it saves electricity. The goal is to let in natural light, but to prevent glare.
  5. Materials – Light isn’t all about the bulbs, though. Having eco-friendly lamps and light fixtures is key to greening your lighting. Look for lamps made with natural, recycled, or reused materials. Lights made from recycled materials include metal, glass, or plastic, and natural materials such as felt, cloth or wood. Interesting lamps that use reclaimed materials such as traffic signal lenses, and recycled wine bottles.
Spice Up Your Kitchen without emptying your bank account!

10 Easy Update Ideas for Your Kitchen

    1. Paint one wall a color. Or try a gradated color on the ceiling (going lighter towards the center).
    2. Upgrade your smaller pendants with larger ones (or convert your recessed lights to pendants).Waterfall Drum Shade Pendant Light
    1. Add a large shade over the chandelier above your eating table. Shop here.
    2. Add LED lighting above your cabinets. This will make a low ceiling seem higher.
    3. Add a rug. The new & improved “outdoor” rugs work really well in the kitchen because you can hose them off! They now look like tufted carpet!
    4. Add a Sassy sisal rug and repeat the border fabric on your barstools!
    5. Recover your barstools in an updated fabric.
    6. Change your knobs (See Top Knobs Nouveau section here and here).
    7. Paint your outdated tile backsplash with epoxy paints in a random checkerboard pattern in various hues of the same color interspersed with a neutral (gray, white, beige, etc.). Here’s how!
    8. Replace your center ceiling light with monorail track. This allows for task and accent lighting on artwork, special cabinet and hood features, etc.
All About Table Lamps

You should have a table lamp on each table beside seating pieces or bedside, unless you have provided for light from another source (floor lamp, wall light, recessed down lights, track lights, etc).  Table lamps are the most flexible lights in your home since you can move them from room to room. We have many unique table lamp styles including traditional, oriental, contemporary, antique, vintage, modern, mission, rustic, country, buffet, nautical, equestrian, Japanese, spa, floral, Martha Stewart, and whimsical. Our table lamps are made of the highest quality of materials including crystal, glass, brass, ceramic, porcelain, wrought iron, wood, chrome, copper, mica, gold leaf, art glass, antler, etc.

The correct height of the table lamp is determined by the seating piece and the height of the table beside it.  The table lamp should be tall enough for the bottom of the lampshade to come to the eye level of the person seated beside it.  This will provide the best light without glare from the bulb.  Table lamps on either side of a sofa do not have to be identical, although they should have the same “visual weight” and height.

Dorm and Apartment Decor

Whether you are decorating a college dorm or a first apartment, style, price and function should be your main considerations. With the exception of the kitchen and bathroom, one watt of light per square foot (1/5 for fluorescent and for halogen), with the addition of task lighting (reading, studying, needlework) should provide sufficient lighting. Task lights include floor lamps, desk lamps, table lamps and swing arm wall lamps. We offer lots of styles and themes, including nautical, rustic, chic, contemporary, hip, traditional, and more. To create the best lighting design in your apartment, use a variety of height and direction of lighting (uplights like a floor torchiere and plant lights, downlights like an arc floor lamp and directional wall light, etc.).

Ceiling Fan Light Fixtures

Most ceiling fans can take a light kit. If there is a threaded pipe and nut in the bottom of the motor housing, most standard light kits will be compatible. If not, contact the manufacturer of the fan to find a compatible light kit.

The best ceiling fan lights are the ones that give indirect light ABOVE the motor (often hidden in the motor!). These produce a pleasant, non-irritating light and don’t create annoying shadows when the blades are in motion. The next best chice is a downlight kit below the motor that produces NO upward light.

How to wire a fan light:

If your fan comes with a light kit, it may already be wired and in place requiring only that you install the bulbs and globes. In some instances, however, you may need to wire the light kit yourself. Remove the switch housing cover plate from the bottom of the fan motor. Remove the plug from the center of the cover plate. Feed the light kit wires (black and white) through the holes in the cover plate and screw the plate tightly to the light kit to prevent it from vibrating loose. Locate two wires within the switch housing labeled “for light” (white and blue). Connect them to the light kit wires with wire nuts-white to white and blue to black. Secure the connections with electrical tape to prevent the wire nuts from vibrating loose during operation. Carefully push wires back into the switch housing, and attach the light kit to the switch housing with the provided screws.
Some ceiling fan light kits take a small appliance bulb, while others take tiny but mighty halogen bulbs.

All About Ceiling Fans

Which way (direction) should a ceiling fan turn?

Ceiling fans can reduce your energy bills up to 40% in the summer and 10% in the winter. Reversible motors allow you to put your ceiling fan in forward (higher edge of blade is leading edge) to blow air down and pull hot air up in the summer and in reverse (clockwise) in the wintertime to push air up to the ceiling and then warm air down into the room.

What kind of controls do you need for a ceiling fan?

Typically, a ceiling fan has a pull chain that operates both the light and fan. An option is to purchase a remote control, which provides you with the convenience of being able to turn the fan on and off, up or down from any place in the room. You can choose from a wall-mounted or a handheld remote control.

How do you install a ceiling fan?

Safety is crucial when hanging a ceiling fan. Due to the weight and movement of a ceiling fan, you need to attach the hanging brackets directly to the ceiling joist. If you are not able to gain access to the attic, you can use a brace bar from below the attic. Just be sure it is a heavy duty, adjustable metal bridge that has spiked ends. To make this work, you would cut a hole in the ceiling (if one does not already exist), making it large enough to slip the bar through to the frame. Now you want to position the bar so the legs are completely flush to the bottom of the joists. Finally, rotate the outer shaft so the spikes are set firmly into the wood. Then attach the bracket that holds the motor. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the motor installation. If you plan to use a downrod, attach it above the motor. Next, attach the brackets that hold the blades, then the blades. Often the blades are different finishes on different sides so select the side you want to see and place that side down. Lastly, attach the light kit.

How do you balance a ceiling fan?

Over time a ceiling fan can get out of balance. To rebalance the fan, turn the fan off, identify the wobbling blade(s), and attach the balancing clip that came with the fan, placing it firmly on the leading edge of the blade. Make sure the clip is just halfway between the blades outer edge and the blade bracket. Then turn the fan on to see if this corrected the wobbling problem. Use the other clips as necessary, on each blade, checking the wobble after each placement.

How do you select a style for a ceiling fan?

Although most ceiling fans selected are white, you can make a real style or whimsical statement with your selection! From rustic lodge to belt driven tropical bamboo fans, you can add loads of interest to a room. Nursery and child themes including airplane ceiling fans and baseball light kits can make a children’s room more fun.

What is the best choice for fan blades?

Wood blades are still a popular choice today so if you decide to go that route, just make sure they are properly sealed to avoid warping. This would be especially important if you plan to install the fan in a room such as a bathroom or kitchen, or outdoors. Our exclusive raw oak blades allow you to finish the wood to match or contrast (try a colored stain) your ceiling. In addition to wood blades, you will find some that are a paddle design, tropical palm leaf design, white wicker or beadboard, just about every design you can think of.

How to size a ceiling fan?

The first thing to consider when buying a ceiling fan is the size for the room in which you plan to hang it. Ceiling fan size is measured by the diameter of the span of the fan in inches. A space smaller than 75 square feet should have a 29” or 30” fan, a 75-149 square foot room needs a 42” span, a 150-249 square foot room needs a 52” fan, a 250-400 square foot room needs a 54” to 60” fan and rooms greater than 400 square feet need 2 ceiling fans.

What makes a ceiling fan best?

Obviously, you want your fan to have forward, reverse and at least 3 speeds. The blade pitch, along with the blade span, is what determines the degree the fan will cool the room. The steeper the pitch, the more effective the fan will be in moving the air. Therefore, you should look for blade pitches that are 12 degrees or greater.

Motors that are higher powered will move more air and not overheat like fans that have lower powered motors. The size of the motor generally reflects its overall strength. There are three main motor sizes: small (153mm), medium (172mm), and large (188mm). As the motor increases in strength, it is able to push a blade with a greater pitch or angle. Look for a motor that has sealed bearings, which never need to be oiled. Another good option is a rubber flywheel, which helps keep torque under control. This helps to stabilize the fan while keeping the level of noise down. Most ceiling fan housings are made from stamped steel, whereas the highest quality fan housings are made from die cast zinc. . The larger motors are often the quietest because they use what is called a triple capacitor system. The triple capacitor system ensures that the fan is quiet throughout all of its speeds.

How far should the fan hang from the ceiling?

There is no set rule but you should avoid fans that are extremely close to the ceiling and fans that are closer than 7′ from the floor. For ceilings taller than 8′ it is important to balance the down rod length with the ceiling height. The following is a general guideline:

  • 9′ ceiling – 6″ down rod
  • 10′ ceiling – 12″ down rod
  • 12′ ceiling – 24″ down rod
  • 14′ ceiling – 36″ down rod
  • 16′ ceiling – 48″ down rod
  • 18′ ceiling – 60″ down rod
  • 20′ ceiling – 72″ down rod

Outdoor Ceiling Fans

Outdoor ceiling fans have sealed motors and plastic blades to prevent warping from moisture. Due to the wear from weather, pay attention to the manufacturer’s guarantee. This is an indicator of quality and expected life for the fan. Luckily, today’s outdoor ceiling fans offer may looks and styles including tropical, whimsical, modern, industrial, and colorful! Outdoor fans are also a good choice for the bathroom!

Types of Crystal

There is no great mystery in discerning the quality levels of crystal. In fact, the level of quality is as the phrase implies “crystal clear”. Glass trim reflects light while crystal trim refracts it. Within a solid white environment, glass will have no color. Crystal, on the other hand, will still display fire and brilliance regardless of the presence of color. All that is needed is light.

Strass crystal
Strass crystal is considered the highest quality of crystal trim throughout the world. Swarovski Strass, manufactured in Austria, is considered the premium brand of Strass due to a patented anti-dust coating (an invisible optical coating making it easier to clean and maintain) and name recognition. The term “Strass” means “perfect surface of glass” and contains lead quantities of 30% or more. The machine polishing leaves no trace on the surface of the crystal and the hand polishing creates perfect optic clarity, razor-sharp faceting and unique purity and brilliance. And to protect buyers against imitations, the Strass logo is laser etched into miniature inside each crystal piece.

Gem cut, Egyptian, or Spectra Lead Crystal
Gemcut, Egyptian, or Spectra lead crystal (made with 24%-30% lead oxide) is some of the finest refractive crystal. There is no noticeable difference between 30% and 24% machine-polished lead crystal. Lead improves clarity and softens glass for cutting. Though not as expensive as Strass or Swarovski crystal, this crystal is characterized by a prismatic brilliance, visual purity, sharp faceting and precise polishing all its own. Spectra Crystal is manufactured like Strass crystal but without the optical coating.

Turkish, Heirloom, Bohemian, Czech Crystal
This crystal uses a mixture of oxides other than lead, such as soda ash, to achieve high optical clarity and refraction of light that closely rivals full-lead crystal. The EU certifies that glass must contain at least 10% oxides to carry the label “Crystal”.
In fact, one would need a piece of both lead-free crystal and full-lead Strass crystal to notice the difference between them. What you would see is approximately 10% more color/fire in the Strass crystal and no noticeable trace of polishing within the facets. The difference in price is what makes lead-free Bohemian Crystal a value in comparison to full-lead crystal.

Murano Glass
Made in Italy on the island of Murano, authentic Venetian crystal combines quartz, soda, sand, potassium, and lead oxide at very high temperatures. The glass is blown and stretched by hand allowing artisans to create delicate floral and other unique shapes.

Wood-Polished Crystal
In a labor-intensive process, wood-polished crystal is first cut by hand in two stages on iron and then sandstone grinding wheels. Then each crystal is polished on a wood wheel with marble dust. You may notice faint traces of the wood wheel in finished pieces, a mark of authenticity.

Italian Crystal (Legacy, Venetian)
This lead-free crystal is used in antique reproductions to accurately reproduce the antique since lead crystal wasn’t invented until the 17th century. Italian crystal comes from the historic glass-making region around Venice and has a look and feel all its own. Italian crystal is molded and fire-polished rather than hand or machine cut, resulting in a beautifully subtle luminosity. Fire-polished crystal is characterized by concave facets (instead of flat facets), the appearance of a slight texture within the crystal, lessening optical clarity, and a noticeable characteristic of reflecting color in the environment instead of refracting light into a prism of color within the crystal. It is modestly priced, compared with hand-cut crystal.

Lead-Free crystal
Machine-polished lead-free crystal is the closest quality level to Strass crystal. High-quality machine polishing leaves no trace of the polishing on the facets of the crystal. While this is less expensive than Strass Crystal, there are many who would argue that its handcrafted nature elevates it above machine made crystal. When looking closely into the facets of hand-polished crystal, one can see slight grooves in the crystal left by the polishing wheel, as each facet of the crystal was pressed by hand and individually polished. These slight grooves, apparent only from very close scrutiny, lay testament that it is a handcrafted piece of crystal made of exceptional skill and craftsmanship. Many people within the industry have mistaken this crystal for Strass.

Pressed Glass & Chinese Crystal

Generally made from sand, soda, and lime heated in furnace and then pressed (molded), or “drawn” (re-shaped), this type of glass is the least expensive. Chinese crystal is cut and polished like more expensive grades, but lacks the high optic quality and precision facets. Seams are usually visible in pressed glass lamps and prisms.

Rock Crystal (Quartz Crystal)
Not real crystal glass at all, rock crystal is crystal rock that is mined, not manufactured. It cannot be mass-produced. Each rock crystal is completely unique, created by geological events and pressures taking place over millions of years. Authentic rock crystal bears a unique mark from this process, and can be identified both by visual appearance and by touch – it remains mysteriously cool to the touch no matter what the surrounding temperature. Raw quartz is mined in only a few remote locations. Rocks are hand selected, then ground, cut and polished entirely by hand – an expensive process. Polishing one piece can take a week or more because of the natural complexity of the rock material, and the rejection rate for imperfect pieces can be 12 to 1 or more. Used extensively until crystal glass manufacturing methods were invented, rock crystal is generally used today in specialty lighting fixtures and custom designs.

Aurora Borealis Crystal
Clear crystal needs direct light to really create lovely rainbows on nearby surfaces, while the Aurora Borealis crystal looks beautiful even without direct light. The Aurora Borealis treatment is applied to one side of the prism and looks like a multi-colored rainbow that is reflected through the prism.

Lighting Products – Knowledge Base

METALS: All metals conduct electricity (thus the need for a “ground” wire).

  • Brass: Mixture of copper (55%-95%) and zinc and sometimes lead (for strength). May also have some lead, tin, nickel, etc. Yellow brass has 70% copper.
  • Bronze: Alloy of copper and tin (25%) and sometimes lead, zinc, phosphorous.
  • Copper: Usually plated because it’s too soft to hold shape (unless its fairly thick). Known for its ability to conduct electricity and heat.

Brass, bronze, copper, aluminum, and chrome do not rust and resist corrosion, so they are often used for outdoor lights. A green or brown patina forms over time and helps prevent corrosion. A magnet will not adhere to brass, bronze, or pot metal.

  • Chrome: Hard brittle gray metal used to plate other metals to give them a shiny finish.
  • Pewter: Alloy of tin (95%) and copper or antimony (sometimes aluminum is substituted which is very light in weight).

Pewter, copper, and pure silver dent easily.

  • Tin: Soft and easy to bend. Will rust. Often used in solder.
  • Tôle: Hand-painting on tin.
  • Silver: Softer than gold and usually plated onto a harder metal.  Sterling silver is not good for lamps because it’s too soft.
  • Wrought iron: Pure iron mixed with a glass-like material so it can be “wrought” into shapes.  (Cast iron is too brittle and cannot be shaped). Iron must be covered with paint or lacquer to prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Cast Aluminum: Light in weight, resists corrosion, silvery-white metal.
  • Stainless Steel: Resists corrosion and rust. 10% chromium.
  • “Pot” Metal: a gray alloy that can be cast but snaps when bent. Cheapest of all metals.


  • Rock Crystal: Natural quartz mined in quarries. Very expensive!
  • Crystal: 24%-30% lead oxide (Lead improves clarity and softens glass for cutting).
  • Strass (Swarovski) Crystal: most expensive and most “fire”
  • Soda Ash Crystal (Turkish, Heirloom, etc.): Next best thing
  • Czechoslovakian: Some lead but not much.
  • Italian Crystal: No lead, just cut glass. Used in antique reproductions.
  • Murano Glass: Combination of quartz, soda, sand, potassium, and lead oxide at very high temperature. Glass is blown and stretched by hand. Many floral and unique shapes in glass.
  • Glass: Sand, soda, and lime heated in furnace and then blown, pressed (molded), or “drawn” (re-shaped).
  • Pressed Glass: Seams usually visible.


  • Porcelain: Hard paste ware fired at highest temperature. Purest and most delicate pottery.
  • Bone China: Hardest and most translucent of all porcelains.
  • China: Soft paste porcelain fired at lower temperature.
  • Stoneware: Clay fired to state of vitrification, non-porous, doesn’t require glaze for durability. Hard, heavy pottery that has a glossy surface when fired, so is often not glazed.
  • Earthenware: Clay that is not vitrified (glassy). Usually finished with colorful glazes and baked at low temperature. Very soft and easy to chip.
  • Terra cotta: (Burnt earth) Clay baked without a glaze, very porous and soft.
  • Bisque (Biscuit): Pottery fired once but not glazed.
  • Tin-glaze Pottery: Lead glaze made by adding tin oxide to glaze to conceal clay colors (Italian Majolica, French Faience, English Delftware).


  • Marble: Pressure and heat cause limestone to form into marble.  Pure marble is white. Pink and red marble has iron in it. Black marble comes from carbon or graphite.  Green marble is from chlorite. Tiny calcite crystals in marble make it sparkle. Marble can be cut or carved.
  • Alabaster: Alabaster is hydrated calcium sulfate which deteriorates when exposed to weather. High temperature will cause it to turn chalky white and then brown. Alabaster is carved, then sanded and smoothed, and then sprayed with polyurethane to close the pores and prevent deterioration. The translucent type is used for lighting fixtures lit from within (bowls and shades and wall uplights). The semi-transparent type (which resembles rock crystal) is used for lamp bases and lamp parts.
  • Wood:
    1. Hardwood: Walnut, Oak. Rosewood, Cherry, Maple
    2. Softwood: Pine, poplar, redwood
  • Wicker and Rattan:
    1. Wicker is usually made from willow branches and twigs.
    2. Rattan is made from reedy stems of palms in East India or Africa.
  • Hydrocal and plaster:
    1. Plaster: A lime, water, and sand composition that hardens when dry.
    2. Hydrocal: plaster with an extra bonding agent
    3. Cement: Sand, gravel, silica, gypsum, etc. added to plaster of paris mixture and fired in a kiln.
  • Resin (Plastic): Synthetic compound that can be dyed and molded. Stronger than hydrocal and non-porous.


  • Brass & Bronze:
    1. Lacquered: Wash with sudsy water, rinse, dry, and buff with soft dry cloth. An old cotton sock makes an excellent polishing cloth,
    2. Not lacquered, shiny finish:  Wash and then apply brass polish.  Let polish dry. Then buff with a soft cloth. Apply thin coat of paste wax or lemon oil after polishing.
    3. For aged finishes:  Mix rottenstone and linseed oil to form a heavy cream and apply with a soft cloth and rub. Wipe off excess and polish with a soft cloth.
    4. For heavy corrosion: Rub with lemon dipped in hot vinegar, and salt mixture, wash, and rinse.
  • Chrome: Wipe with cloth soaked in sudsy water, rinse, and buff with a clean soft cloth.  For corrosion, rub with extra-fine steel wool.
  • Copper: Same as brass except use copper polish on unlacquered objects.
  • Iron: Wipe with a damp cloth and dry.  For corrosion, rub with kerosene and fine steel wool.
  • Silver: Follow instructions for brass except use a polish that is for silver only.
  • Silver-leaf and gold leaf: Use a soft shaving brush instead of a cloth to clean to avoid tearing the finish. To brighten, moisten a cotton ball with dry cleaning fluid or onion juice and gently pat (DO NOT RUB). Dry thoroughly.
  • Pewter: Polish with jeweler’s rouge and buff to produce a mirror-like surface. Pewter oxidizes slowly and evenly (as opposed to tarnishes) when exposed to air and gradually develops a soft warm patina.
  • Nickel: Polish with household ammonia.
  • Alabaster: Use a damp (not wet) cloth and gently wipe clean. NEVER use detergents or abrasives.
  • Marble: Remove stains with a paste made from hydrogen peroxide (from the drug store), powdered whiting (from the paint store), and a few drops of ammonia. Rinse with water, buff dry, and apply furniture polish.

(Copyrighted) shades of light training manual

Lighting for New Construction – Checklist


__ Extra chain & wire:_________________
__ All hanging hardware with canopy?
__Light bulbs: _____________________
__Chandelier shades:___X______________________________________
__Medallion: __________________

__ All hanging hardware and candle covers?
__UL label on fixture?
__Cord cover needed?
__Light bulbs: ________________
__Backplate large enough to cover electrical box?

__Light selected for EVERY exterior door and garage?
__ All hanging hardware and candle covers?
__UL label on fixture?
__Light bulbs: ________________
__Backplate large enough to cover electrical box?

__Fixture proper size for vanity?
__Light bulbs:________________________

__Proper size for room?
__Light kit:__________________
__Wall control:__________________________
__Label blades and motor

__Appropriate wattage for room size?

__Direct wire or plug-in?
__Incandescent, Xenon, fluorescent or halogen?
__Cabinets have “lip” to hide lights?

__How many are needed and is wiring provided for each?
__Is wattage enough for eating, working, etc?
__Extra wire/chain?______________

__Swing arm wall lights:___________________________________________
__Reading floor lamp:_____________________________________________




Ceramics & Porcelain

CERAMICS: Ceramics are shaped from clay and then heated (fired) in a kiln to make them durable.  The material that ceramics are made of and the finishing process create the different grades of ceramics:

  1. PORCELAIN: Porcelain (also termed china) is considered the finest ceramic because of its white color and translucent quality (ability to let light through) and its strength.  It produces a bell-like ring when struck.  Porcelain is made from kaolin (a pure white clay made from decomposed granite) and petuntse powder or flint feldspar.  Three kinds of porcelain are hard-paste porcelain (fired at high temperatures so the body and glaze become one), soft-paste or frit porcelain (creamy in tone), and bone china (bone ash added for more translucency).
  2. STONEWARE: Stoneware is water-resistant  made from gray or light brown clay fired at extremely high temperatures which causes the surface to become glossy so it is often not glazed.  Most U.S. folk pottery is made of slat-glazed stoneware.
  3. EARTHENWARE: Earthenware is porous pottery made from a mixture of earthenware clays baked at a low temperature which allows them to be utilize the more colorful tin glazes.  They must be glazed to be waterproof. They are very soft and easy to break (majolica, delftware, faience).      Terra-cotta is an unglazed earthenware made from low-fired clay.  Creamware was a lead-glazed earthenware made from white clay mixed with calcined flint.

Decoration techniques for ceramics include:

  1. Handpainting
  2. Transfer printing (A copper plate is made and inked with ceramic pigment which is then transfered to paper in a press and then the paper is placed on the surface of the item.
  3. Decal (also decalcamania)
  4. Stencil (also called stampino)
  5. Enamel

The following are common styles of ceramics with their popular or most well-known description.

  • CANTON The most common Canton Chinese export porcelain has blue and white landscapes with a stylized border.
  • CAPO DI MONTE Capo di Monte is a soft-paste porcelain with molded relief fanciful figures in bright colors.
  • CELADON Celadon was an early Chinese stoneware varying in color from gray-green to yellow-green.
  • CLOISONNÉ Copper wire separates enamel colors made from glass paste pigments with metallic oxides.
  • CREAMWARE Popular lead-glazed earthenware made of Devonshire white clay mixed with flint.
  • DELFT (DELFTWARE) Delftware is a tin-glazed earthenware with an underglaze blue decoration.
  • DERBY Derby is English porcelain with freely drawn floral patterns or bird and landscape patterns with moth, butterfly, and fruit borders.
  • DOCCIA Doccia italian porcelain is most known for  its bas-relief deoration of classical subjects (shells, peasants, chreubs).
  • FAïENCE Faïence is a tin-glazed earthenware from France (also Germany and Scandinavia) with painted patterns in opaque bright colored glazes.
  • FAMILLE ROSE  Famille rose enamel uses a delicate opaque pink and metallic gold pigment with very precise drawings of flowers, birds, landscapes, tree trunks, and rocks.
  • IMARI Imari is most known for its navy blue and iron-red (rust) colors, gilding with black outlining, and large lidded trumpet vases.  Its motifs include oriental scenes, lotus flowers, and scroll borders.
  • KARATSU Freehand geometric patterns, grasses, and wisteria were painted in iron oxide on a whitish slip.  Japanese.
  • KUTANI Kutani has bold large scale motifs and geometric patterns often with red and gold.  Japanese.
  • MAJOLICA Majolica was an Italian tin-glazed earthenware molded in shapes of nature often whimsical with brillant colors of lead glaze.  Popular colors were yellow, orange, green, turquoise, blue, purple, brown, and black.
  • MAYAN Classic Mayan ware (from Middle America) included delicate figures, polychrome cylindrical vases with scenes and glyphs from Mayan manuscripts and molded scenes of everyday life.
  • MEISSEN Meissen porcelain urns from Germany had fanciful 3-D figures and porcelain flowers, 24K gold decoration, and white skin tones on figurines.
  • MING This blue and white ware had carefully planned arrangements of  dragons, scenes with people, peonies, lotus, and crysanthemums with foliage in decorative bands.  Vases were usually baluster or pear shaped.
  • OLD PARIS or PARIS This porcelain had elaborate scenic designs with lots of gold on handled urns.
  • RAKU Raku ware is shaped by hand in asymmetrical forms with thick dripping irregular glazes in shades of brown, grey, red, yellow or yellow-green.  The only decoration is the glaze poured along the jug with a portion always left unglazed.
  • ROSE MEDALLION Colorful oriental scenes with peopleor floral  butterfly, and bird decoration often with gilding.
  • SATSUMA Ornate floral and oriental scenes with raised gold enameling outlines.  Japanese.
  • SEVRES Sèvres soft porcelain has birds, bouquets, trophies, flowers and borders using colors such as raspberry, gold, cream, and blue.
  • STAFFORDSHIRE Staffordshire was English pottery with motifs of sporting dogs, folk figures, etc usually made in pairs.
  • TOBACCO LEAF Pattern of leaves and flowers in multicolors.
  • WEDGEWOOD Type of creamware (earthenware) with sculptured Greek and Roman ornamentation and a bisque finish.
Light Bulb Types






Lighting and Electrical Glossary

AC: Alternating current: An electrical current that reverses its direction at regular intervals

Accent lighting: Lighting that focuses on a specific object or architectural feature

Ambient lighting:General lighting in a room

Amp: Measure of rate of electrical flow in a circuit

Backplate: Flat plate behind wall sconce to cover electrical box

Baffle:Waffle device used to reduce glare

Ballast: Device used to control the current and prevent overheating in a discharge lamp

Barn doors: Hinged shutters used to precisely shape the beam of a lamp

Bobeche: Decorative crystal, metal, wood, etc. “bowl” used on chandeliers and sconces, often pierced to hold crystals (originally used to catch wax dripping from candles)

Breaker box: Metal box with fuses or circuit breakers that breaks down electrical service into smaller circuits

Bus bar: Fuse box, breaker box

BX or flexible metal conduit: Bendable tubing that holds electrical lines

Candlecover: Plastic, metal, or cardboard sleeve that simulates the look of a wax candle (to conceal a socket)

Candela: Unit of light intensity (SI), roughly equivalent to 12.57 lumens

Candlepower: Luminous intensity of a light source measured in candela

Canopy: Decorative plate that goes flush to the ceiling on a chandelier or ceiling light that conceals electrical box

Chimney: Open-ended glass surround used on an oil lamp to hold lampshade

Circuit: Path of electrical flow (wiring)

Circuit breaker: Switch that interrupts electricity in case of a short or overload

Check ring: Metal disk that holds candlecover or neck on a light fixture

Clip adapter: Metal bulb clip that attaches to a lampshade converting it to a shade that clips onto the bulb

Collar: Threaded ring that holds the canopy to the ceiling on a chandelier

Color rendition index: A measure of the effect of a particular kind of light bulb on a colored surface (the larger the number, the truer to the color in real sunlight; measured between 1 and 100)

Common: Dark-colored screw on an electrical switch

Conductor: Wire that carries electricity

Conduit: Rigid or flexible tubing that holds electrical wires inside

Contacts: Connection point for electrical wires

Continuity Tester: Test device for electrical circuit

Cord switch: On-off switch for a portable lamp that attaches along the cord

Current: Flow of electricity through a wire, measured in amps

DC (direct current): Electrical current that flows in only one direction, not a complete circuit

Diffuser: Translucent “shield” designed to reduce glare and filter light more evenly

Dimmer: Switch that allows you to vary the intensity of a light fixture

Discharge lamp: Light bulb which incorporates an electronic discharge through a gas or vapor

Duplex receptacle: Outlet with 2 plug-in connections

Efficacy: Lumens per watt measure of the efficiency of a light source

Electrical box: Box in the wall where electrical connections are made to fixtures and that supports fixtures

Electric meter: device that measures amount of electricity consumed

Electronic transformer:

Faceplate: Switch box or outlet cover plate

Filament: Thin tungsten wire that emits light when heated by an electrical current

Finial: Decorative item with threaded base used to secure a lampshade to a harp and “finish” the look of a table or floor lamp

Fish tape: Extending metal tape with a hook on the end used to pull wires through a wall

Fitter: Decorative rim that holds glass shades on place on a light fixture

Fixture: Any decorative electrical item that permanently affixes to a wall or ceiling

Flush mount: Light fixture that hangs flush on the ceiling

Foot switch: Device for turning a floor lamp on and off that sits on the floor and is joined to the cord

Framing projector: device that allows you to accurately control the size of the light beam

Fuse: Screw-in, plug-in, or snap-in device that interrupts electricity in case of a short or overload

Ganging: 2 or more electrical lines ending in the same switch box or receptacle

Ground wire: Wire (that carries no current) that runs from the fixture to metal attached to nonmetal material to ground the current in case of a short (Ground wire is usually bare copper or green).

GFI: Ground-fault interrupter: A sensing device that shuts down the electricity in the case of a shock hazard

Harp: Metal “U” that supports lampshade over bulb and lamp base

Harp holder: Metal “U” that connects harp to lamp base

Hot wire (live wire): Wire that carries the current to a receptacle and fixture (usually black)

Hurricane: Decorative glass surround for candle-like sockets

Illuminance: Amount of light that falls on a surface (measured in lumens per square foot)

Indirect lighting: Lighting that is reflected off a wall, ceiling, shade, etc.

Insulation: Nonconductive coating that protects electrical wires

Junction box: Connection point for wires from fixture to fixture and switch box to fixture

Kelvin (color temperature): Measure of redness or blueness of a light source (the higher the number, the warmer the color)

Kilowatt: 1000 watts (measure of electrical consumption)

Knockouts: Tabs that can be removed from electrical box or fixture to make wiring connections

Lamp: Technical name for light bulb

Loop: Threaded U-joint that attaches chain to the canopy on a chandelier

Locknut: Threaded nut used to tighten parts inside a light fixture

Louvers: Parallel slats on a lighting fixture used to prevent glare and direct light

Low-voltage: Reduction of regular household current (120 volts) to a lower voltage (usually 12-volt) using a transformer

Lumen (measured in footcandles): Measure of amount of light emitted (one lumen is the amount of light from one candle one foot away)

Magnetic transformer:

Medium base: Socket size for a regular household bulb

NEC code: National Fire Protection Association codes for wiring

Neck: Brass or decorative rod used to add space between a lamp base and the socket

Neutral wire: Wire that carries current from receptacle or fixture back to the fuse box to complete the circuit (usually white)

Outlet: Point at which electrical wire attach to fixtures, receptacles, or switches

Pendant: Light fixture that hangs from the ceiling

Polarized plug: Plug on portable lighting item with different shaped prongs to ensure that the hot and neutral wires can’t be reversed

Raceway: Exterior channel that allows wires to be run on the surface of a wall or ceiling

Rated life of bulb: Number of hours at which 50% of the bulbs will fail under standard conditions

Receptacle: Outlet that supplies power for plug-in electrical items

Reflector: Mirrored or polished surface designed to project light in a specific direction

Riser: Threaded brass rod that screws into the top of a harp to raise the lampshade

Romex cable: Romex is a common brand name for Nonmetallic (i.e. plastic) sheathing for wiring which carries hot, neutral and ground wires, both one and two circuit. It is used in dry, protected areas like stud walls, not underground. A similar cable, commonly called UF, has a heavier plastic sheathing and is suitable for underground uses, like outdoor lighting.

SAD (seasonal affective disorder): Depression that occurs in individuals due to lack of sunlight during winter months

Sconce: Light fixture that hangs on the wall

Semi-flush mount: Light fixture that hangs down from the ceiling less than 2’

Service panel: Main fuse box where electrical service enters the home

Set screw: Knurled-edge screw used to hold a glass shade tight in the fitter

Short: Spark resulting from neutral and hot wires touching each other causing a blown fuse or circuit breaker flipping to off

Silver crown bulb: Bulb with silver coating on the end to reduce glare

Single pole: Light switch in the wall where you can only cut on & off the light from that one location

Socket: Electrical component that connects to 2 electrical wires and has threads for light bulb to screw into

Socket reducer: Screw-in socket that attaches to another socket to reduce the size of the bulb base

Spider: Three top horizontal rods of a lampshade frame

Splice: Connection made by joining 2 or more wires

SPT2 wire: Technical term for lamp wiring cord

Starter: Magnetic coil that strikes an arc between electrodes when a fluorescent bulb receives electricity

Stripping: Removing insulation from electrical wires to allow a connection between wires

Three-way bulb: Bulb with 2 different wattage filaments, allowing you to turn on each separately or both together

Three-way switch: A light control switch that allows you to turn the fixture on and off from 2 different locations

Transformer: Electrical device that changes the amount of voltage in a wiring line

Magnetic Transformer: Larger & heavier transformer using copper around a steel core to step down elctricity from 120 volts to 12 volts. Requires special magnetic dimmer.

Electronic Transformer: Compact & lightweight and more efficient than magnetic transformer. Requires electronic low-voltage dimmer.

Turn knob: Brass or plastic screw-on knob used to switch a portable lamp on and off

Underwriters knot: A special kind of knot in 2 electrical wires to secure the wires from pulling out from the socket

UL: United Laboratories testing organization that issues guidelines and provides testing to ensure wiring safety

Vase cap: Brass or wood cap to cover the opening in the top of a vase when converting it to a lamp

Volt: Measure of electrical pressure in a circuit

Voltage drop: Loss of electrical current on long wiring runs

Washer: Open round disc in the center of the top horizontal rods of a lampshade

Watt: Measure of electrical power being used on a circuit (volts x amps = watts)

Wire nut: plastic-enclosed coil used to join the ends of 2 or more electrical wires

Zip cord: Electrical cord with 2 wires joined with grooved insulation between them

Lighting Techniques:

Downlighting: Light filtering downward from above casting shadows on the floor in a moonlight effect

Grazing: Positioning of a light source in a vertical direction close to a surface to highlight surface texture

Silhouetting: Light from behind to create an outlined effect of an item

Spotlighting: Highly focused beam of light

Task Lighting: Lighting that focuses light on areas where tasks are done (reading, make-up, cooking, etc.)

Uplighting: Technique of lighting an item from below, creating shadows above

Wall washing: Light up entire wall usually from at least 3’ away

Types of bulbs:

Delayed-start fluorescent tube: Type of fluorescent bulb that takes a few seconds to warm up

Fluorescent tube: A light source created by an ionization process and a coated glass tube

Halogen (quartz): Incandescent bulb filled with halogen gas to increase the intensity of the light and increase the life of the bulb

HID (high-intensity discharge): Mercury vapor, metal halide, or high-pressure sodium gases in pressurized glass container that produces light when electricity is applied

Incandescent bulb: Household bulb with a tungsten filament wire that lights when electricity flows through it

Neon: Bulb that contains an inert gas (neon) that glows when voltage is applied

Xenon: Similar to halogen but has Xenon gas and bare hands do not reduce life of the bulb

Table Lamp Solutions

Where: Unless you have provided lighting from another source, a table lamp should be placed beside each seating piece.

Size: Although table lamps on either side of a sofa need not be identical, they should have the same “visual” weight and height. The correct height for a table lamp is determined by the chair/sofa and the height of the table beside it. To avoid glare, the lamp should be tall enough for the bottom of its lampshade to reach the eye level of the person seated next to it.

Style: Designers recommend using table lamps as the principle lighting source in a room. By bringing the light down to task level, table lamps provide a warmth and intimacy unmatched by overhead fixtures.

Wattage: The average table lamp will light 40-50 square feet. You may need up to five lamps in a standard 12×20 foot living room.

Shades: The proper shade will add the finishing touch to your lamp. Bulb wattage is determined by the size of the lampshade.

Anatomy of a table lamp:


Swing Arm Wall Lamp Solutions

Where: Swing arm wall lamps can be the perfect lighting solution when tabletop space is not available: beside beds, behind sofas, between bookshelves, over dressing tables, and even in bathrooms.

Style: Because these lamps have adjustable arms and can be hung at any height, they are excellent task lights for functions such as reading and needlework.

Wattage: Look for swing arm wall lamps that provide a variety of light levels (3-way sockets and dimmers).

Placement: Hang wall lamps so that the bottom of the shade is at eye level of the user.

Shades: Unique lampshades can give any wall lamp just the right personality for your room.

©2005 Ashton Harrison. All Rights Reserved.

Lampshade Selection “Rules”

  1. The more basic the shape of the body of the lamp, the more varied styles of shades it can take.
  2. Repeat the shape(s) in the lamp body in the shade shape; i.e., a round lamp on a square base can take a shade with a rounded top and square bottom.
  3. Always take the lamp body (not necessarily the shade) to the store to buy a new shade.
  4. Match lampshade colors to the trim color in your room and the tones in the lamp body. Don’t be afraid of black or color as an accent.
  5. Consider your wattage needs! The lampshade (not the lamp body) determines maximum wattage allowed.
  6. Consider the style of the lamp when selecting a shade. A busy lamp generally calls for a plainer shade.
  7. For DRAMA, break the rules! Try “extreme” shades! Put a deep cone shade on a short round ball base, a white shade on a beige vase, a cube shade on a stacked ball lamp, a red or black shade on a boring base shape, etc.

©2005 Ashton Harrison. All Rights Reserved.

Lampshade Basics

A lampshade can have many different fittings to attach it to the lamp.

washer (goes on a harp)
regular clip (clips on to a regular light bulb)
candle clip (clips on a candle bulb)
uno (threaded hole in top that screws onto the socket)
chimney (open hole in top that slides over a glass hurricane)
reflector bowl (shade rests on top of a glass bowl)

Maximum wattage for Lampshades

Distance from widest part of bulb to inside of shade Wattage
1 5/8″ 25 watts
2″ 40 watts
2.5″ 60 watts
2 7/8″ 75 watts
3.5″ 100 watts
4.75″ 150 watts
6″ 200 watts
7.25″ 250 watts

How to measure a shade: diameter across top/ diameter across bottom/ slant along side

©2005 Ashton Harrison. All Rights Reserved.

How to Select the Proper Lampshade

A carefully selected lampshade will make your lamp really special as well as maximize the function of the lamp. You should choose a shade with a shape that follows the general contours of the lamp. Square lamps look best with square shades and round lamps look best with round shades. A shapely lamp can take a shapely shade. An interesting alternative is to repeat the shape of the BOTTOM BASE of the lamp in the shade’s shape. For example, try a square shade on a round ginger jar with a square wood base.

The height of the shade should never exceed the height of the body of the lamp. Generally, the shade is 1/3 the total height of the table lamp. The more slender the body of the lamp, the shallower the shade can be. Often you will need to change the size of the harp on your lamp when you change the lampshade. The more flared the shade, the shorter the harp you need. The bottom of the lampshade should come to the top of the body of the lamp so that no mechanical parts except the neck show. The bottom of the shade should also fall at the eye level of the user.

While shades add the finishing touch to a lamp, they should also be selected to produce the amount of light required. Translucent white and ivory shades give off a gentle overall light while opaque shades focus light down for reading or illuminating objects on a table. Although it’s best to keep all the “white” shades in a room the same color (keep to the tones of the wall or trim color), an occasional colored or black shade can add pizzazz and diversity.

©2005 Ashton Harrison. All Rights Reserved.

Wall Sconce Guidelines

Where: Sconces are perfect as a framing device for French doors, mantels, mirrors and paintings, so they are equally at home in the living room, dining room, and bedroom. They add decorative interest while lighting up artwork and other eye-level details.

Size: Sconces should be scaled to complement the size of the room as well as the mirror or painting or doorway between them.

Style: Sconces can add elegance, whimsy, sparkle, interest, and beauty to your walls. Wall sconces are an often-overlooked solution for brightening dark spaces. Compact but decorative, they add just enough extra light to complement other lighting sources. Wall sconces can also be used to light a hallway or any dark area with no space for a table or floor lamp. They are often the forgotten alternative for bath lighting, placed on either side or above the mirror.

Placement: Wall sconces should always be hung so the light shines at eye level. When an electrical box is not available or practical to install, sconces can be converted to plug-ins.

Shades: Small shades or shields will help to avoid glare and soften the lighting effect, as will a dimmer.

Outdoor Light Guidelines

Placement: Place your electrical box for your exterior light so that the top of the fixture is 20% lower than the top of the molding. Allow for the side door molding also.


Size: Outdoor lamps should be approximately one fifth the height and width of the doorway, including trim. (For example a 100″ high by 60″ wide entrance would require an 20″Hx12″W fixture.) Post lights should be as large or larger than the lights at your front door.


Style: Outdoor lights should be compatible with the look and lines of a house. Door lamps should be approximately one fifth the height and width of the doorway, including trim. (For example a 100″ high by 60″ wide entrance would require an 20″Hx12″W fixture.) Open bottom fixtures are better for down lighting an area, and glass-topped lanterns are the better choice for accenting architectural elements above and around the door.

Post lights should be as large or larger than the lights at your front door.

Wall-mounted fixtures with arms or brackets can fit into tighter spots in areas between moldings. Fixtures with several low wattage candle bulbs are superior to those with a single bulb since they provide more light with less glare.

Floor Lamp Guidelines

Where: Floor lamps can be used in any room. Try two to frame your entrance door in your foyer. They illuminate dark corners, provide great reading light, or can add the perfect decorative accent to a room.

Size: Some floor lamps are adjustable in height, allowing the reader to position the shade to his or her advantage. Select a floor lamp height so that the bottom of the shade falls at the eye level of the user.

Style: Floor lamps offer a very versatile lighting source. As a result of the wide variety of sizes and shapes of floor lamps available, they can also be selected purely for their decorative contribution to the space. Torchieres (lamps with upside down shades) provide an interesting alternative by focusing intense light up to illuminate the ceiling and architectural features or flood a dark corner with softer reflected light.

Wattage: Look for floor lamps with 3-way sockets to allow you to change your lighting levels for different activities.

Placement: For reading, floor lamps should be used behind or to the side of a sofa or chair, casting light directly on the work area. Floor lamps are most effective when glare is reduced by placing the bottom of the lampshade at the reader’s eye level.