This past Wednesday I went to over to my very good friend’s house for an intimate dinner of six. When I arrived, the setting was absolutely perfect. I was greeted with an excellent glass of Pinot from Willamette Valley, my friend was on her piano playing a beautiful Bill Evan’s song (“Someday My Prince Will Come”), and I was surrounded in great company. A couple of hours later, however, a tragedy of the mood-killing kind happened when we took our seats for dinner. The dining room lights were on full blast!
Internally, I felt like I got slapped across the face by Martha Stewart, and I had to ask my friend why she didn’t put a dimmer in her dining room. Her response: she is renting. That’s no excuse, I told her. No excuse at all.
I share this story because many don’t realize the impact lighting has on our well-being. Lighting creates and sets the mood for our daily lives. With this experience in mind, I decided to talk to a professional about home lighting, so I met with Kathy Pryzgoda, a lighting consultant/designer who owns Light Studio LA and also instructs lighting design at UCLA. She is part interior designer, part therapist, part contractor and all artist. She is extremely talented and knowledgeable about making any home beautiful and efficient through lighting. Notably, she has done many celebrity homes across the world, and she is also the lighting director for the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.
Here are five basic home lighting tips that Kathy recommends:
- Dimmers on Everything. The number one thing we should do is put all our lights on dimmers. That even includes your walk-in closet. In fact, the only rooms you shouldn’t install dimmers in is your garage, storage room and/or laundry room. According to Kathy, “It’s like having a stereo and going from no sound straight to full blast by not having a dimmer.” With a dimmer you are able to control your environment and set the mood. Think of a stage and how you are guided with light (with a spot light or low lighting) to see what they want you to see and to emphasis a certain emotion or effect. If you can’t afford permanent installations (like Lutron), then hit up your nearest Ikea for the DIMMA.
- Put a shade on those CFLs. If you have some table lamps with incandescent bulbs (just your regular ol’ bulb) try switching it out with a Feit Electric 23W Mini Twist Dimmable CFL and put a light-colored shade over it. You can also play with shade colors to get different color temperatures, for example go with a pinkish or amber color to warm it up.
- Need more drama? Replace the A-Bulb with Halogen. If you want more drama in your living room replace those standard 60 watt A-bulbs with Halogen Spot lights. A typical frosted bulb in a recessed will evenly light your environment, especially for spaces like laundry rooms and kitchens. However, if you want a more dramatic effect, replace those frosted bulbs with clear halogen spots. This will give more contrast, which makes a space more interesting and sexy.
- Your garden is the best place for LEDs. I have to say, the best place to use this new LED technology is outside. As LED technology constantly changes indoor use is still hit and miss. However, outdoor LEDs have been successfully burning in landscapes for many years! These little power-savers can handle fluctuations in voltage which is great for when you want to add some fixtures even after you’ve completed your landscaping! I recommend the Kichler Light Pro LED.
- Play with Color Temperature. Well , first of all, what is color temperature? It’s the warmth or coolness of white light! Daylight is actually cool and incandescent is warm. Depending on who you are (and where you are from) you may be a warm person or a cool person. For example if you’ve grown up in a part of the world that doesn’t get a lot of full sunlight you might be a “warm” person because you’ve lived artificial light most of your life. And vice-versa, if you’ve grown up surrounded by a lot of natural daylight you might be a “cool” person. The best way to find out is to get yourself a standard incandescent bulb and a 53W Reveal Halogen Bulb and compare! The reveal bulb has a cooler color temperature.
Kathy can be hired as a lighting consultant and walk through your home and tell you exactly what needs to be lit, how to light it, and what type of light source you need to get your end result. This might seem like an extravagance to some, but being a real estate broker in the luxury market, I can say it’s one of the smartest and least expensive investments you can make on one of your biggest investments.
John “Wig” Wigmanich has a gift for finding the perfect home to enhance your lifestyle; it’s a passion which he approaches as an art form. He works exclusively with a small number of loyal clients to ensure they always receive his highest priority and top-level service. Wig’s dedication to his clients accelerated him to be ranked top 3% nationally and to close a $13 million dollar estate in Beverly Park, both within his first 24 months in the business.
Learn more about Wig here.