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3. Lighting

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ondine Karady, a designer in Washington and New York, says her first holiday impulse is to create a fabulous centerpiece. But the truth is, many flower and fruit arrangements are removed from the table to make room for the meal. Instead, she says, "move the centerpiece above the table and decorate the chandelier." Karady likes to decorate with fresh garland, berries and acorns, adding ornaments as the season progresses.

If your builder's-grade brass chandelier could use an upgrade, consider something more modern, such as an oversize lantern, says designer Dee Thornton of Houseworks Interiors in Alexandria. Hang a chandelier between 30 and 38 inches above the table, depending on the table's size, the diameter of the chandelier and the ceiling height. If the chandelier is large, says Thornton, test it before permanently installing it to make sure it doesn't hit anyone on the head.

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