Renovation & Design

Choose bedroom lights by function, then form

Ceiling lighting is most effective when placed directly above the task area.

QUESTION: How do you pick the best ceiling light for a bedroom? We are removing a ceiling fan in the middle of our room and now we are confused as to what type of light would look best there.

ANSWER: When it comes to lighting, regardless of the room, I think of function first. Of course, lighting should create ambience as well, but its first purpose is shedding adequate light. Many bedrooms have the traditionally placed central fixture. Its placement in the room often lines up above the bottom third of a bed. The idea is the light radiates from the centre to the ends of the room. From a functional consideration, this isn't terribly practical. It often casts shadows and provides poor reading light.

Ceiling lighting is most effective when placed directly above the task area. Think of kitchens where lights sit above a table or island, because that's where the direct light is needed. This should be no different in a bedroom, where light placement should match the function required.

If the central location is not serving your needs, consider moving the fixture depending on your furniture placement and room size. You will need an electrician to safely and correctly (to code) relocate the electrical box.

If relocation is not an option, just choose a fixture for its look, general lighting and ambience.

A large, substantial poster bed would match well with a vintage brass carriage light with seeded-glass panels. If your furnishings dictate a romantic French theme, consider a chandelier for a touch of panache. A mission-infused decor would be the perfect home for a stained-glass Tiffany fixture. Whatever you choose, let your room's personality inspire you.

Size and scale of the new light will be dictated by the room's size and ceiling height. The higher the ceiling, the larger the light can be to balance the scale of the furnishings. Rarely is a light the focal point in the room, so ensure its scale is not an obvious attention-grabber -- too small and insignificant feels just as unbalanced as too large.

QUESTION: We are planning to build a porch on the back of our lake house. What is your advice about removable screens to keep the bugs out? In the evenings, the insects are really annoying and I don't want to spend our summer nights indoors.

ANSWER: We all look forward to warm, summer nights spent relaxing after a hard day's or week's worth of work. But a getaway is only beautiful until the moment is rudely interrupted by high-pitched buzzing in our ears, often in the middle of the night.

This can be remedied, to a certain extent, by products such as retractable screens for windows and doors. Phantom Screens ( are exquisite options for large openings. With a handy remote control, you can open and lower screens simultaneously, to quickly barricade yourself from pesky insects.

Because these coverings treat the opening like a window, there are some installation requirements such as straight edges. They won't work with designer pillars or spindles.

Another option is to install mosquito netting. It can generally accommodate any opening, but tends to involve more labour during installation, due to its manual application. Window-treatment techniques -- such as Roman shades, for an up-and-down motion, or loose panels on a rod for a pulled-to-the-side application -- can be both effective and flattering. Attaching drapery weights at the bottom will help the netting stay in place during breezy evenings.

You can also try repelling the critters with scent, such as citronella candles, marigolds and certain herbs; rosemary repels mosquitoes or mint deters ants.

Check with your local garden experts for the best options and place pots of herbs around your porch.

Not only will they assist in controlling the bug problem, they will add to the outdoor greenery and spice up your summer meals.

-- Postmedia News



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