Thanks for the light, baby.

One of the best ways to ensure that your guests enjoy your party is to make them feel gorgeous while they’re there. And the easiest way to do that is to light them like glamorous movie stars. Here are 10 tips for achieving perfect party lighting:


1. Use candles. There is nothing more glamorous and flattering than candlelight. Whether votives or tapers, use them everywhere and in bunches. White candles are the most elegant, and make sure they’re unscented so they don’t compete with your delectables. 

2. Turn off overhead lighting. Most rooms have a large light in the middle of the ceiling. Don’t use it. Overhead lighting casts very unflattering shadows. In fact, in Hollywood, overhead lighting is used as a technique for aging actors and actresses. 

3. Use table lamps. Diffused light from lamps at eye level creates the most flattering and soft glow.  

4. Install dimmers. Use dimmer switches on lamps so you can control the level of illumination as the natural light changes and the evening progresses.

5. Use low-wattage bulbs. For lamps that aren’t a dimmer, use 25-watt bulbs. Some recommend installing pink bulbs but resist the temptation. They create odd color shadows and could compete with your décor.

McDonald Living Room

6. Choose elegant lamp shades.  A thin white shade will allow a lot of bright light to pass through, so opt for opaque shades that cast light up or down. Shades lined in gold provide an extra-glamorous glow.


7. Pre-light your powder room. It can be jarring to walk from a candlelit party into a brightly lit powder room, so pre-set your powder room lighting to a dim level and place a small, lightly-scented candle on the vanity. Try Jo Malone’s Grapefruit candle—it appeals to both men and women.


8. Include mirrored pieces in your furnishings. Mirrored consoles, tables and trays reflect candlelight beautifully and add instant glamour.


9. Add colored glass. Light that reflects off glass  lamps, bowls, and decanters creates the look of sparkling gemstones and adds a wonderful dimension to the ambiance.

10. Build a fire. Who doesn’t feel gorgeous in front of a fire? Fire light is the ultimate romantic and flattering light source.

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