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Decorate in Style with Lighting

The wallpaper is up. The drapes are hung, and the furniture is in place. But something is missing. Decorating is not complete without a selection of stylish lighting. There was a time when lighting did not have the decorating value that it has today. The choices were few. Now, consumers can find lighting to fit their decor, no matter the room.

Today's looks follow four major developments as stated by experts of the American Lighting Association (ALA).

1. Softer metals. Brushed nickel, stainless steel, pewter, even brushed copper, have done their best to dethrone brass as the top finish choice. The softer tones of these gray metals make it easier for a lamp to blend with a multi-toned interior, according to Dan Blitzer, the American Lighting Association's technical lighting consultant.

2. Painted finishes. Multi-toned colored finishes offer consumers lamps with more depth and texture. Expect to find colored finishes with a soft tone that may include gold or silver flecks and tones of brown and red. Textured white finishes are also widely popular.

3. More authenticity. Developing hand-in-hand with painted finishes, are weathered finishes and patinas, which offer a unique, timeless look. "This is the next antique brass," says Monty Gilbertson, CLC. "It's a soft, traditional look."

4. Better detail. "Today's fixtures are more refined," says Blitzer. "There's more attention to detail." Nearly every aspect of the lamp, from the base to the pull chain, has earned more decorative detail, giving the lamps greater sophistication.

It isn't possible to consider the weight of lighting in home decor without considering one of the lamp's most decorative features-the lampshade. It too, has evolved from the days of limited choices. Shades have taken on a more decorative look with a variety of shapes, fabrics, and adornments. Materials from metal and paper to tapestry and sheers, beads, stones, wire, fringe, and myriad accoutrements have made it onto shades.

Whether it is crystal or beads or whatever... It's been a growing trend for several years.

Certainly, the off-white A-frame silk shade in its traditional form is available, but why stop there when you can customize a lamp with shades shaped in cylinders, spheres, rectangles, and squares?

When it comes to decorating a home, lighting certainly can't be left out. A well-chosen lamp may make all the difference. And finding the right one shouldn't be too difficult. "Lighting has changed dramatically," says Gilbertson. "And, it does a dramatic thing for your house. [Remember], it is how it's done that can make a world of difference."


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