Welcome to SHM Designs where life is our inspiration. Our company designs interiors and exteriors of homes, furniture and accessories. We are passionate about creating a home which is not only beautiful, but comfortable and functional as well. Our number one goal in every design is to create such a feeling that all you can do is SMILE!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lighting Tips

What Should I Pick ?????

Walking into a lighting store can be a bit overwhelming. There are SOOOO many different colors, shapes and size lights that it is really hard to visualize just one in your home. Should I go dramatic and make a statement or should the room be simple or romantic? Should I spend that much on this one light or find something less expensive? Cost of lighting is definitely an eye opener and adds alot of stress on the buyer to make sure they pick the right light.

Hopefully, these tips will help decrease a little of that stress.

  1. Before going to the store decide on your lighting BUDGET and stick to it. Determining how much you want to spend before you go will eliminate choices before you ever enter the store.  As soon as you arrive find someone to help you or even call ahead and schedule an appointment. Explain to them what you are looking for ( ceiling light, fan, chandelier, sconce, etc.)and your budget. Tell them you only want to look at lights within your budget. (THIS IS IMPORTANT) If they start to show you lights outside of your budget this is not the store you want to buy from.
  2. Decide on the function of the light in the room.  Do you want it to be a focal point in the room or do you want it to go unnoticed? Is it the central lighting or is it just an accessory? How will the lighting effect the mood of the room? The answers to these question will help you in deciding the color, size and even budget for you light. Answer these questions BEFORE going to a lighting store.
  3. How do I know the correct size of a chandelier for a dining table?
    A general guideline is to choose a chandelier that has a diameter equal to one-half the width of the table. The general appearance of the chandelier must be taken into account, too; that is, if it is a light airy piece it may be slightly larger than the standard.
  4. How low should a chandelier be hung over a dining table?
    Generally there should be 30" between the bottom of the chandelier and the top of the table in a room with an 8' ceiling. If the ceiling is higher, the distance between the bottom of the fixture and the table should increase slightly. Remember that the chandelier should provide light for the table, but not be so low as to block any one's line of vision when they are sitting at the table.
  5. What guidelines should I follow in choosing a chandelier for a foyer or other room?
    Add the room dimensions together. If the room is 14' by 16', add 14 + 16. The answer is 30, which means that your chandelier should be approximately 30" in diameter. Again, remember that other factors such as the height of the ceiling may influence the proper size
  6. How high should I hang a wall sconce?Generally, sconces should be placed on a wall 60" from the floor
One last tip that I want all of you to remember, expensive does not mean perfect.  Some of my favorite lights in my house were bought at consignment stores, auctions, on ebay, and on craiglist. To me, these are the perfect finds, because they arrive to you with a story.

Here are some examples of lights I bought on auction for well below retail cost.

great for over a mirror in a small powder room

perfect for a covered porch

beautiful in a bedroom

A little side note:

When I was little my parents took my brother,sisters and I antique shopping ALOT ( I actually really enjoyed it).  As we went from shop to shop, my mother would find something she liked and  begin to make up a story about the item. She would make it all seem so magical. As a kid I thought all these stories were true and now I know not only was my mother trying to keep us entertained but she was creating a story from a feeling she got when she picked up the item. Any way, they are great childhood memories but my point is, real finds like that can instantly give you the mood you want to achieve.

I hope these tips have been helpful.

Anyone interested in any lighting or home decor from the websites provided in the first post please contact me and I would be glad to help.

Take Care,

Please send me a comment about your lighting experiences and great finds.


  1. I LOVE this blog! You have great ideas. I, too, used to be "dragged" to antique stores and auctions---and I loved it!! You have wonderful ideas. I am so excited I found this site!

  2. Congratulations on your new blog! Love your lighting post - very informative! I am following you and will add you to my blog list on my sidebar so hopefully you will get more followers soon ;) xo Sherri

  3. P.S. I have no idea why my photo does not come up on the follower box but one of those shadow people is me!