Thanks for the light, baby.

One of the best ways to ensure that your guests enjoy your party is to make them feel like dreamboats. Really, love. It’s that simple. When everyone feels gorgeous, they relax, become less self-conscious and take more joy in themselves and others. An easy way to make your guests feel attractive is to light them like movie stars. Too-harsh or too-bright lighting is such a dud. Let’s face it, no one wants to get all dolled up to hob-nob in their dentist’s office.

So how can you achieve perfect party lighting? Follow The Salonniere’s top 10 tips:


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 most elegant. Just make sure they’re unscented so they don’t compete with your delectables. 

2. Turn off overhead lighting. Most rooms come with one light in the middle of the ceiling. Don’t use it. Overhead lighting casts very unflattering shadows. In Hollywood, overhead lighting is used as a way to age actors and actresses. 

3. Use table lamps. Diffused light from lamps at eye level is most flattering and creates a 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 any lamps not on a dimmer, use 25-watt bulbs. Some people recommend installing pink bulbs but resist the temptation. They create odd color shadows and will compete with your room 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 instead for opaque shades that cast light up or down. Most of the shades in our home (above) are lined in gold foil because they provide a flattering and glamorous glow.


7. Pre-light your powder room. Few things are as jarring in the midst of candlelit revelry as walking into a dark powder room, flipping on the light switch and having 400 watts of bright white light hit you. Pre-set your powder room lighting to a dim level and place a small, lightly-scented candle on the vanity. We recommend Jo Malone’s Lime, Basil and Mandarin travel candle because the scent appeals to 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 sparkles like 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.

For more lighting ideas, follow our Candles and Lighting board on Pinterest.

Photos for tips 8 and 9: Jan Showers and Swank Lighting

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