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Optimal lighting is both uplifting and calming. Light induces productivity when needed and can be adapted to produce a cheerful mood when work is done. With lighting you can make quick adjustments; however, you have to plan ahead and think through possibilities. Doing so means diversifying lighting sources, having ample options available, and clarifying your priorities. What do you need to wake up, refresh yourself, read a magazine, settle down at the end of the day, or create a memorable moment for guests? These considerations will affect how you select your fixtures, sources, and even your dimmers.

Finding your optimal lighting scheme is key. Spend time in each space. Sit. Read. Watch TV. Host guests. Run through all the actions of your routine. Answer these questions to put together a lighting design that works for you:

What light do I crave?

You might love soft moodiness, or maybe you prefer crisp brightness. Or you might want both in the same day. Do you crave warm, bright, inviting, soft, smooth, restful, active, cool, celebratory, or romantic lighting? For an upbeat, joyful mood, light reflecting off of objects creates a sparkling effect. For a more intimate moment, select lower levels of light to flatter the faces and draw attention inward. Being able to make quick adjustments is one reason I have dimmers everywhere. My home has to readily transform with my desires.

What’s already here?

Assess what is installed in your home — chandeliers, pendants, sconces, and so on. Decide what you like as is, or what needs to be updated. Are you happy with those new double glazed windows letting in the light or should you change to sash windows instead? As you clarify the primary purpose of each room, you can determine what alterations or additions are needed. Aim for quality of light rather than sheer quantity.

How does the light change?

Natural light changes all day, so determine which crevice or corner may need a boost in the evening. Incorporating varied light sources can give you maximum usage all day long.

Dress windows lightly

Dark fabrics absorb light. Translucent shades and panels take sunlight further and add a breezy, easy feeling. I default to lighter fabrics for my bedroom window treatments, even if it means I wake up earlier. If privacy is an issue, use gauzy layers.

Use transparent doors and screens

Switch out one or more of your exterior and interior wooden doors for one with glass panels. If you’re concerned about security, add frosted film, which provides privacy but still lets light through. Having a screen on my back door lets me keep it open for the breeze and light.

Clean your windows

Keeping the panes dirt- and dust-free allows light to stream in.

Choose glassy furniture

Glass-top and acrylic tables let natural light move throughout a room.