According to Kimberley Seldon, who is a brilliant decorator and equally great teacher, the number one thing that makes an interior look dated is the lighting. Yikes! Harsh words to those of us on a decorating budget. Or who have better things to spend their money on like vacations and shoes. Lighting can be Really Expensive.
So my biggest lesson when shopping for lighting is this. The priorities are function and form, probably in that order. Shop diligently for something that will meet your lighting requirements. What size is it? How bright is it? Is it hard-wired? Is it adjustable? And shop for something that is classic and transitional in form. It will see you through many more years without looking dated.
What NOT to worry about: the shade and the finish. Every big box and discount department store sells shades and these can be easily switched out. Some of my favourite sources are Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire and Homesense. And the finish…also easily changed.
So let’s learn from some new lighting that came into the master bedroom recently.
These are the bedside lamps, found at Sears online for less than $80. Also there was a deal if you bought two. Score. So the function was perfect. A wall sconce which could be plugged into an existing outlet. No re-wiring required, and I need all the room I can get on my bedside table. I tidied it up for the photo but in real life it is piled with books, magazines, creams, lotions, beverages, food, books, and did I say magazines?
Also it has an adjustable arm and three levels of brightness. Perfect. The finish however is kind of weird. A pinkish sort of brushed metal that I don’t really understand.
For the ceiling fixture I was looking for a simple pendant with a drum shade, a very short stem so it would sit close to the ceiling, and a diffuser across the bottom so we weren’t looking up into a light bulb.
You’ll never guess where I found it…Wal-Mart! Actually! Less than $30! So again it’s perfect, except for the finish which looks pretty cheap. (Well, I guess it is.) And once you’re at this point, your best friend is a can of spray paint. For this project I went with the advice of the always-genius Nate Berkus. If you ever watched his show when it was on, you know he was a big promoter of spray paint for updating or co-ordinating your decor. But who knew you could get it in an oil rubbed bronze? Well, Nate, of course. Oil-rubbed bronze is a great finish for a classic, timeless look.
So this is the product I used. Since I was impatient waiting for the weather to warm up to paint outside, I painted down in the basement. (Well, technically Husband did.) When the instructions say Well Ventilated Area they are not kidding. Open up every window in your entire house.
And here is the fabulous, finished, co-ordinated result:
You can see in this close-up how it has the great sheen and texture of a real oil-rubbed bronze finish.
I’m in love with the results. Just the upgrade I was hoping to achieve in our master bedroom.
So now, Kimberley Seldon, at least it’s not the lighting that makes this room look dated.