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Let There Be Lighting: Tips From C+A Interiors

This Colorado duo shares their design smarts as well as why we need everything to be illuminated



Conni Newsome and Ashley Eitemiller from C+A Interiors have been infusing Colorado homes with their upbeat style and sophistication for eight years. We have featured many of their projects on our pages and have even honored them with a CH&L Home of the Year title. We sat down with these fabulously spunky ladies, seeking insight into their design process, and the conversation kept coming back to one thing: lighting.

1. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LIGHT

This Paul Ferrante Starlight Chandelier's scale and simplicity is ideal for the breakfast room; paulferrante.com 

Lighting is the key element of a space, and that’s how the rest of the design comes together. It should be looked at as the “bones” of the home—it’s not only functional; it’s often your focal point in a space. We focus on our main fixtures: chandeliers, flush mounts, sconces, all the way down to table lamps. Not only does the design and scale of a light fixture dictate the direction of the home, but it also sets a mood and transforms a home from day to night.

2. SIZE MATTERS—INDOORS AND OUT

We love this Dunes and Duchess Double Rachel Sconce. This company can customize any light for a needed burst of color; dunesandduchess.com

You should devote as much attention to exterior lighting as you do to interior, because it is the first thing you see. Sometimes more is more, and scale can change the look from standard to extraordinary. Many times, we see that exterior lighting is almost an afterthought. Choose a scale that is appropriate and can hold its own with the scale of the architecture.  


This matte-white Paul Ferrante Marina Chandelier is to die for in a master bedroom with a pitched ceiling; paulferrante.com
3. SPLURGE ON LIGHTING

The Kara Chandelier by Jean de Merry is handmade glass and metal, and the crown jewel of chandeliers! The metal gives it a rock star vibe and the glass gives it the bling bling; jeandemerry.com

Budget appropriately for lighting; it’s more than you think. If you prepare yourself ahead of time that your lighting will cost significantly more, it helps to budget in other areas of the home. When building a new home for a client, it is amazing how many decorative lights are needed. Closets and secondary locations are great places to save money; however, the main pieces should be of quality. Lighting is the jewelry of the home.


Robern is the Cadillac of lighting for any bathroom. Not only does it help you look as though your glam squad just left, it comes with fully tricked-out medicine cabinets; robern.com
4. DIMMERS, DIMMERS, DIMMERS

This pendant from Bone Simple Design is a fresh take on the bohemian trend; bonesimple.com

When in doubt, put a dimmer on it. In fact, dimmers should be on everything. They set the mood for all occasions. We stage our own homes at night, as soon as the sun starts to set, by turning on the table lamps, keeping them dim and adjusting them as the night takes over the space. Add dimmers to the exteriors, too. They may not get used as much, but it is wonderful to have the option. We often try to add photocell sensors to our exterior lights. The lights will turn on as the sun starts to set—so important for our Colorado winters when it gets dark early. It is so nice to come home and have your lights welcome you in. They then automatically turn off each morning—it’s brilliant!  

5. HIDE ALL CORDS

Sexy serpents, beautiful botanicals. Each of Liz Marsh's lamps are handmade and one-of-a-kind. We would love to see these in a formal paneled study on each side of the sofa; lizmarshdesigns.com

We can’t stand cords, because they take away from the design. If you have a big clump of cords hanging from a console, that’s all you will notice. Either roll cords up neatly and use ties to keep everything in place, or cut down your cords when possible so you have just enough length to plug in. If visible cords are unavoidable, you can switch the cord to a cloth or color cord to make it look like part of the design. Any local lighting repair shop can make these changes for you; one of our favorites is Bonnie Brae Lighting  (bonniebraelighting.com). 

6. WARM LIGHT

The graceful shape of the solid bespoke Liz Marsh lamps adds simple design to any space. Pick you color; lizmarshdesigns.com

Finally, make sure you use the same temperature of lightbulbs throughout the design. Nothing stands out more than when you have a warm (soft-white) bulb next to a blue (daylight) bulb. Try to stay consistent throughout the house, using the same temperature of light, even for “task” lighting. Usually around 2,700 kelvins gives a warm appearance to the fixture and doesn’t look like you are in an interrogation room. The cooler blue light is hard on your eyes, let alone your complexion. With all the great technology and energy efficiency of LED bulbs, there are a lot of options, so pay attention to the bulbs that are used to keep them consistent.

Local Lighting Finds & Inspiration

John Brooks Inc. We do a lot of sourcing here, but it's to the trade only. 
Black Tulip Antiques for one-of-a-kind antiques.
Urban Lights carries great brands like Visual Comfort, Hinkley and Ralph Lauren.
Instagram & Etsy have so many options, if you're willing to hunt for them.
Ultra Design Center. We really like their Robern vanity/bathroom lighting.
Lili Marlene for custom lampshades.

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