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Let there be (good) light

Light up your home this holiday season with a variety of light sources for added appeal
by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Tammy Lefever, president of Interior Motives in Tigard, said lighting is one of the most important factors in improving your home environment – and it can make all the difference for a home for sale. This holiday season, she suggests trying out techniques to show your home in its best light.

You may have heard of 'light therapy,' where bright lights can lift a person's spirits. Just walk through a shopping mall on a dark, stormy autumn evening and notice how all those bright lights and colors prompt your senses to wake up.

The same is true of your home.

You don't want a dimly lit living room or a dark hallway where you can trip over your cat or your child's toy.

This time of year may be just the time to upgrade your lighting; your guests will be impressed, and it might just help sell your home.

Tammy Lefever, president of Interior Motives in Tigard, uses her interior designing skills to make sure homes display bright, visitor-friendly lamps and light fixtures.

Lefever, who started out as an art major and has worked on more than 20 Street of Dreams homes, said lighting is one of the most important factors in improving your home environment.

There are different kinds of lighting to consider if you are thinking about a home lighting makeover, she said.

* Ambient lighting is background lighting that 'brings in the outdoors.'

* Accent lighting highlights your prized possessions, or perhaps your fireplace.

* Task lighting illuminates a work area, such as a desk.

* Decorative lighting would include such items as table lamps, ceiling fixtures and chandeliers.

Decorative lighting can improve and modernize the overall look of your home, Lefever said, adding that she's doing a project now for which a homeowner is changing out her dining room and entryway fixtures.

Decorative lighting areas include the dining room, entry area and nook, although, Lefever said, and it's more exciting to use lighting fixtures in new ways. She said a designer can help you place the lights correctly, adding, 'You really want to get some professional advice.'

If you're trying to sell your home, decorative lighting is important, but Lefever said a new light fixture needs to be in the right scale for the space.

'A lot of times, people will get too small of a light fixture over a dining room table. It's hardly ever too big. Just by getting the proportion correctly, it will make a huge difference,' she said.

Jessica Lee, a broker with Realty Trust Group in Lake Oswego, said she sees the importance of lighting from a realtor's point of view.

'I think in Oregon, especially, when our gloomy days seem to outnumber our bright and sunny days, the lighting can be really important, because you'll walk into this home, and if it's got a dark, kind of cave-like feel, it's not going to be a very welcoming environment,' Lee said.

Not only can lights give the home a brighter appearance, she said, they're also important from a decorative perspective.

'Lighting can quickly date a home back to the '80s or '90s - it's just one more thing on the check list that buyers do look at as they go through the home,' Lee said, adding that you only get one chance to make a first impression.

When Lefever visits a home, she said she wants to make sure there's enough task lighting. That's of utmost importance if you're going to perform any task in your home, she said. Ambient light is another concern, especially if it's too dark in the house.

'That can usually be solved easily either by an electrician (with additional candle lights) or by visiting a store like ours and purchasing new lamps,' she said.

If you're involved with new construction, Lefever said accent lighting can be also add a splash of fun to a home's interior design. Sometimes, she said, you can put a floor lamp behind a tree to provide mood lighting. The idea is to create a mood, or ambience.

Lighting can also help you show off special features in your home. Lefever said.

'You (may) want to highlight a picture or some beautiful texture on a fireplace, or maybe you want to accent a collection that you have,' she said.

Lefever said there are several popular lighting trends these days, including drum shades. She saud drum shades are affordable, most of the time, and appeal to younger people. They can be used on table lamps or hang from the ceiling.

From a Realtor's perspective, Lee said it's a nice idea to keep your lighting somewhat neutralized, because a variety of buyers will be looking at your home.

'Not everyone has the same taste, believe it or not,' she said.