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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Home and Design: Interior Motives Dark Corners
by JOSEPH RICE
2004-09-01

This article shared 2294 times since Wed Sep 1, 2004
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Dear Joe,

I cannot seem to get enough lighting into my livingroom. There is no overhead light, so I have placed several lamps around the room. One is a floor lamp that shoots light up to the ceiling, the other two are table lamps with blue shades on either side of my sofa.

What can I do?

— Afraid of the Dark

Dear Afraid,

Lighting can make or break a room. Distributing light adequately and evenly around a room is a challenging task.

The first point to consider is your living habits; How will you use this room? Do you need general lighting or do you need task lighting? Or do you need both?

For general lighting, lamps should be placed as evenly as possible around the room. If you have lamps on either side of the sofa, then you should have lamps opposite that sofa for the other side of the room. These lamps should be the same type. In your case, I suspect that the torchere lamp that is shooting light up is only highlighting the ceiling and not giving any general light to the room. You need at least one other table lamp or a floor lamp with a fabric shade. You should also be using the highest wattage possible, preferably three-way bulbs.

This brings up a possible problem with your blue-shaded lamps. There are two types of lamp shades; translucent and opaque. A translucent shade will allow light through the shade for a general lighting. An opaque shade will prevent general light from emitting through the shade and will direct the light up and down. You don't say if your shades are solid or fabric, but I suspect that they are not emitting enough light. My suggestion would be to replace the shades with fabric shades in white or off-white.

Here is another suggestion: try to have all the lamps the same approximate height. This will keep the light at a certain level rather then having a spotted effect at different heights.

Dear Joe,

I'm planning on remodeling my bathroom, and like the smooth non-polished look of limestone.

Would this be good for a countertop?

— Brad

Dear Brad,

For a countertop, limestone could be one of the worst choices.

Limestone is an extremely porous material. In order to have any durability, it has to have several coats of sealer. Even after that, it is still porous and can stain quite easily. Suppliers of this material will generally require a customer to sign off on any responsibility for future damage.

It may work in a powder room or guest bath that is rarely used, but I would not recommend it for daily living. If you want natural stone, granite would probably be the best choice.

Dear Joe,

I'd like to get an armoire for my TV set and stereo. The problem is wall space in my livingroom. Is it OK to place at an angle in the corner?

— Limited

Dear Limited,

It is rarely a good idea to place furniture at an angle in a corner. This is jarring to the continuity of the room, and often makes the room look even smaller. There are some cases where furniture can be placed at an angle in the center of the room, particularly if the space is large enough.

The key here is to find a way to store the equipment in the room that will provide easy access, fit in with traffic flow, and blend in to help create continuity to the room.

In your case, the armoire will make the room look crowded and help emphasize the obvious problem of space. Why not try to find a smaller piece to house the sound and audio equipment? There are some beautiful smaller cabinets in all styles. The Chinese lacquered cabinets are very popular and never really go out of style. Also, there may be a way to place the equipment in attractive open shelving.

Open yourself to alternative solutions and you'll hit on the right one for you.

Please email your questions to: jos.riceinteriors@att.net . In the subject box, fill in 'WCT Design.'

Joseph Rice is a full service interior designer. With 22 years of experience, he specializes is 'hard to treat' windows. You can reach him at Joseph Rice Interiors, Inc. (773) 271-2361, or you can e-mail jos.riceinteriors@att.net .


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