Rooms that Glow

Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.

– Pierce Brown

This season of the year and the wild fires have indeed changed my life. Fall now beckons me to leave the day sooner and arrive home to the evening earlier.  I have never been more grateful for my two-bedroom worn and weathered work in progress 1928 Spanish Revival home by the San Francisco Bay.

Now that the sun is fading sooner, and evenings are growing darker, I find myself driving the long narrow road that takes me home, where I notice windows of all shapes and sizes to my left and right literally sparkling in the dark. Suddenly I can’t wait to get home to my old white house still standing far below the street with light from its tiny second floor windows welcoming me below a crusty textured red tile roof.

Triangles of Light

When I walk down the front steps to my home, I am greeted immediately with warm light as I open the door to the single lamp in the entry. I switch on four lamps in the living room which sit on a piano, a console and a table behind a sofa. In the dining room two lamps light a buffet and the floor beside the fireplace. The family room has three lights where a lamp is placed on a table, a chest by the sofa and in a corner behind a chair.

I strive for a triangle of light at a minimum in all rooms and as few overhead down lights as possible which can be harsh and oppressive.  Instead I suggest using wall washers in ceilings to light artwork and reflect color off walls.

Orange brick arch glows with light from red and cream colored lamp shades
Orange brick arch glows with light from red and cream colored lamp shades


Persimmon colored shade makes fireplace bricks glow

What I like most about my home is that it feels like it is from another time and place where life was filled with the warmth of rooms that glow.  This is created not only by the warm colors on the walls and furniture, but primarily by warm toned energy efficient LED bulbs that pass light through red, pink, gold, orange, salmon, persimmon, caramel, and cream-colored lampshades.

These warm colored shades can truly make rooms glow, and people feel and look good. At least that has been my experience from entertaining in my home for the past 20 years.  My guests generally don’t want to leave which I feel is due to the feeling I attempt to create with light and color in my home. Remember, it’s not just the way a room looks, it’s the way it feels.

Experiment with Color and Light

White lampshades can evoke a stark flat feeling in a room and cool toned shades that emit blue or green hues can make people look unhealthy. Gray or black shades can reflect a somber feeling unless they have a reflective gold lining that warms their light. Neutral colored beige lampshades generally don’t generate a warm feeling in rooms unless the shades tend toward more golden tones.

Experiment with color and light. Remove your white lampshades in one small room in your home and take the lamp bases to a store that sells shades.  Try on different colored lamp shades until you find ones with warm colors that you like whose shape and size compliments the lamp base. Try your old lamps with the new shades in the room you’ve chosen and see what a difference they make. Has the feeling changed in the room? You may want to purchase three-way lights which now come in LED versions, so you can adjust the amount of light coming from a shade since most lamps do not have dimmers.

A red shade sparkles against yellow walls filled with art

Healing and Nurturing Light

Golden shade with tiny ball fringe warms the table below

This fall, come home to rooms that glow and experience how you feel when surrounded by soft light projected through warm colors. This time of year, doesn’t need to feel dark and depressing.  Embellish your home and life with color and light which heals and nurtures. Don’t take your home for granted.  Be grateful and appreciate the rooms you are so privileged to live in night after night, season after season and year after year.  And, take a chance – let your rooms glow with light and color!

In love and light,

Showing 6 comments
  • Debbie

    I love this article .I miss all the warm tones in general,so much gray now.Great lamp shade advice Linda ! Love,Debbie

  • Julie P.

    This is the Linda we know and love. I started thinking the whole world was gray. So sick of all that gray on the walls with white slipcovers. What are the Tuscan and Country French lovers to do? Yippee for Linda. I sill wish you were on HGTV. It just isn’t the same without you.
    Leland, Mi

  • Sherrie G.

    My sister-in-law and I always say that as soon as we win the lottery, Linda Applewhite is coming to design our new lives! The colors that you choose are my favorites, but I’ve never been bold enough to actually use them.

  • Renate

    From the time I got to “know” you – I’m thinking there is a girl after my own heart! I’m from Bavaria and my house reflects it ……….Happy-Happy. Thanks Linda for your inspiring work and attitude. Love – Renate…….


    Linda, I first saw the interior of your home, pictured above, on an HGTV show and fell in love with it and your taste! Oh how I LOVE that home!!! Gray is NOT my thing but so on trend right now. I wasn’t into it when it was hot in the late 70’s! Thanks for your articles.

  • Patricia

    thoughts of gratitude and appreciation along with design advice…thank you!

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