Did you know that you can instantly transform a room simply by adding or changing the lighting? Let's talk about the simplest way to do so. Add a gorgeous lamp to a room and it will illuminate with charm. Not only does it add to the decor, but additional lighting is always a welcome plus. Additional light in a room can be set to dimmers so illumination can be controlled according to need or mood.
Some of the most popular lamps are ones with metal finishes ranging from bright, polished steel to subtle pewter or bronze or copper.
Let's not forget about lamp shades. There are many styles, shapes and textures to choose from. Once shades of white or cream were about all you could find. Now there are many popular dark shades such as cocoa, deep blue, burgundy and black. The darker shades don't let as much light shine through, but they are great for atmosphere lighting.
Murano glass shades are great and add a bit of sophistication. And don't forget fabric shades. Many are still using shades made of fabrics that coordinate or match with other fabrics in the room.
Your job is to find what fits best in your decor. Start by looking for what is most appealing to you. And remember: It doesn't matter what is the most popular. What matters is what is most appealing to you and what is most compatible with your decor.
How much light is right for a room? Lighting experts say a good rule of thumb is about 2 watts per square foot. For a room that is 10 by 12 square feet, you would need four lamps that have 60 watts each. Or you could try three lamps containing 75-watt bulbs each.
A decorating rule of thumb is that an odd number of items, such as two lamps and an accessory, is better than four (or any even number of items). In a small room, two lamps are okay, but it might be better to have two regular lamps and one very small accent-type lamp, just for that odd-number appeal.
Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, is author of "Mystery of Color."