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Decorate to Make Your Holidays Shine

We all have a neighbor who goes overboard with the novelty Christmas lights around the holidays, but what if you want a more subtle, sophisticated approach to herald the season? The American Lighting Association (ALA) offers some proven tips for holiday decorating with refined style, inside and out.
Decorating for the holidays doesnt always have to be sparkles and glitz, says Bruce Hathaway, national sales manager for the Vermont-based lighting manufacturer Hubbardton Forge. Sometimes a little understatement goes a long way.
First of all, consider a grand entrance. Adding a few, easy-to-install landscape uplights to highlight trees and shrubs, or path lighting to illuminate a sidewalk or driveway, will immediately add a sense of elegance and sophistication. Once your company comes inside, its really time to shine. Little touches can inspire a cheery mood and make guests feel comfortable and merry.
Entertaining in your home involves managing the flow of a room, so be careful not to over-clutter the space especially when youre hosting a group of people, says Hathaway. Recessed lighting should be dimmed, and accent and cove lighting should be used to create highlights and drama. And dont forget that portable table and floor lamps help set the perfect stage.
Focus attention on a tree and other holiday decorations with portable spotlights. These small, inexpensive fixtures are available at most ALA-member showrooms and can usually accommodate a tabletop dimmer. Create pretty silhouettes by placing a spotlight beneath a Christmas tree so that it shines up through the branches. For an especially warm and intimate feel, shine a spotlight toward framed photos of family members and past holiday gatherings, and fill a corner with a basket of childrens holiday books.
One easy and quick change that will have maximum impact is switching out a few lampshades. Replacing a neutral lampshade with one that is red or gold will soften the light and create a holiday atmosphere. Try adding a few shade charms, available at many craft stores, to add some sparkle and fun. You can even buy an inexpensive plain shade and decorate it with whatever suits your style and particular occasion.
Visit your local ALA-member lighting showroom to discover all the items and expertise you need to make simple, low-cost changes to make your home beautiful and inviting this holiday season. Get details about all aspects of home lighting at www.AmericanLightingAssociation.com.
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