Improve Decor, Lights

So you've hit upon the right design for your target market.

By Patrick L. O’Toole, Senior Editor | November 30, 1999

So you’ve hit upon the right design for your target market. One expert emphasizes the importance of finishing your model with lighting and decorative elements.


Simple lighting and decorating details make model rooms homey.

"People forget about lighting, but it’s crucial to create a warm, inviting model," says interior designer Dawn Kearney, president of San Diego-based Design Line Interiors, Inc. "It’s, above all, the single most important way to set a mood in every room."

Knowing the types of lighting is important. Ambient lighting is generalized and usually emanates from hanging or recessed fixtures. Table lamps are good examples of accent lighting—defining specific areas. Lastly, a floor lamp next to a sofa is good example of task lighting for a reading area or work space.

Properly lighted rooms, she says, have a mixture of all three types of light. She also argues that many sources of ambient or general lighting should be on dimmers--not just in the dining room.

Bulb type is important. Use incandescent bulbs in places where a warmer yellow light is preferred. Use Halogen bulbs in places where brighter and whiter light make sense.

But good lighting is wasted in a poorly decorated room. Kearney provides builders some guidelines.

Wherever possible, add natural elements like arranged fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Group similar items together where they can have a greater impact. For example, place a candlestick across from the other, but put it on some old books and lean a framed painting against it. Decorate upward. For example, place urns or vases on other interesting objects, like a wooden chest.

Finally, focus on little touches. Fill an old watering can with bundles of twigs and use stacks of plump towels in the bathrooms, says Kearney. "Decorating is in the details, not necessarily the big design statements."

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