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How to Get Flattering Lighting at Home

This 1 Trick Will Make Everyone in Your House Look More Beautiful

Event planners have long used colored lighting to create ambiance at weddings and galas — which explains why all the guests seem to exude a romantic glow — but a wash of moody color is not just for special occasions. You can adapt this lighting trick for the home to derive similarly flattering effects every day.

We wanted to learn when and where to install colored lighting, so we turned to Heather Hilliard Design, the firm that created the rose-tinted lady's dressing room in the San Francisco Decorator Showcase.

"To avoid the association with event lighting, we recommend using color in a very soft way, like the soft pink lightbulb we used in the table lamp of our dressing room," said Phebe Williams of Heather Hilliard Design. "While it doesn't read as having a color, it casts a beautiful, warm glow."

Want to learn more? Phebe shared her insider knowledge below. It's guaranteed to make you and all your guests look better!

POPSUGAR: Why is lighting important in interior decorating?

Phebe Williams: We emphasize the experiential component of light — how the space looks but also how it feels. Light is crucial in this.

PS: What type of lighting should be avoided in the home?

PW: It's widely known that we don't love the way we look in cold blue/green light like fluorescent, but that warm light like candlelight is flattering.

PS: What type of lighting do you recommend for entertaining?

PW: A trick of the trade is swapping out the lightbulbs in your table lamps for low-wattage soft pink bulbs when entertaining. Everyone looks and feels their best in soft, warm lighting.

PS: What are some ways to create colored light?

PW: Ladies have been throwing scarves over their lamps for a boudoir effect for generations; however, a pale pink lightbulb is much safer! It's also fun to have a lampshade made out of a colored fabric — think pink or even rosy violet.

PS: Can this be done affordably?

PW: Absolutely! Subtly colored standard lightbulbs are available at the hardware store. I have even seen tutorials online about re-covering your own shades in colored fabric or using watercolor paint to tint them.

PS: Anything else to know before incorporating colored lighting into the home?

PW: In general, having layers of light in a room is the best approach for creating an inviting space. If your room has only an overhead light, add some lamps. Sconces with the shades at head height are also a nice-to-have. Of these layers, I would pick one to softly tint and let the others be a standard bulb type.


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