The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Authors Posts by Amy Scalia

Amy Scalia

Amy Scalia
Publisher & CEO - Amy Scalia, a Cincinnati native, is the editor in chief and publisher of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at From growing up in the cornfields of Harrison and getting a Mass Communications B.A. degree in the bubble of Oxford, to living on the NKY side of the river in Newport and then Ft. Thomas, Amy Scalia has embraced Cincinnati with her presence. Her major life accomplishments include: being a mom of two girls and a boy, a 2010 "40 Under 40" recipient from the Cincinnati Business Courier, winning the "Best New Product/Service of the Year" Award from the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and a national Web-writing award from ASHPE in 2007, a national feature writing award from ASBPE in 2006, and running three Flying Pig Marathons.

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The best home lighting balances function with form for maximum comfort and style. The key to achieving this is ambient lighting. It provides a room with general lighting and sets the mood. Ambient lighting requires the right fixtures and placement location. With this lighting type, even the darkest room can be turned into a bright and lively space. As long as the proper techniques are implemented, you can create your desired look. 

Choosing Your Lights

Ambient lighting should be soft, warm, and provide enough light to safely navigate a space. This requires multiple light sources. Wall lights are great for ambient lighting. If the fixture is wired into the wall is considered direct-wire and requires electrical experience to install. Wall lights are controlled by either a built-in switch or a separate wall switch. If you’re on a budget or want to avoid the hassle of wiring, then opt for plug-in lights. This less expensive option plugs directly into an existing outlet. However, their exposed cord can be an eyesore. Direct-wire wall lights are best when the fixtures are part of a room’s general lighting. Use plug-in lights if you plan on using the lights on their own.

A wall sconce sits close to the wall and offers many styles that emit light differently. Some shine light upwards to illuminate the space or downward to accent specific areas. Swing-arm wall lights are adjustable space-saving fixtures that extend from the wall. Install them bedside to have task lighting for nighttime reading in bed.

Increase your ambient lighting with table and floor lamps. Make sure table lamps are proportional to the table for best results. The bottom of the lamp shade must be at eye level to protect your eyes from direct light. The shade must be 2/3 the lamp base height and 1 ½ the lamp base width. This is not a hard and fast rule since lamp design will impact measurements. Recessed lighting is commonly used for ambient lighting or to supplement natural light. Space recessed lighting on the ceiling according to its height for evenly distributed lighting.

Bright Lighting

If you have a dimly lit room, take advantage of any natural light. The best lighting is in rooms with south-facing windows. East and west-facing windows provide adequate natural light. Supplemental artificial light sources are required in north-facing rooms. Place mirror across from a window so it reflects the natural light and increases illumination.  

Considers the light reflectance value (LRV) of your wall paint. This measurement shows how much light the paint reflects which helps in determining the best paint hue for the room. This is especially important for windowless rooms or rooms with minimal natural light. The lighter the paint color, the brighter the room. Glossy surfaces and other reflective material will also boost illumination.


So, now that you know how to create ambient lighting, it’s time to control room mood. Fixture position, light output, and bulb type determines the overall look and feel of the room. These factors allow you to personalize your space.

Accent lighting

Use accent lighting as a focal point to create visual interest or direct it towards specific areas. Recessed spotlights, track lights, sconces, uplights, table lamps, and floor lamps are accent lighting options. Light output is 3 times the room’s normal light level. Highlight artwork by pointing lights at a 30 degree angle towards it. Try wall washing and flood the wall with light. Install multiple accent lights in linear fashion on the ceiling 2-3ft from the wall and point them towards the opposite wall. Extend the distance to 3 to 4 ft on higher ceilings. If you want to illuminate textural surfaces, then install a row of track lights or recessed lights 6 to 12 ft opposite the wall you’re accenting.

Color temperature

Your bulb choice depends on the mood you want to create. Bulbs have color temperatures that range from warm to cool light. This is measured in Kelvins where warm temperatures have a yellowish hue, while cool temperatures create a blue lighting effect. The lower the temperature, the warmer the bulb light. A color temperature of 2700K emits soft warm lighting. For a balanced blend of temperatures, use 3500K. Lighting resembling daylight, requires a cool temperature of 4000K. This is ideal for rooms regularly used during the day. Many typically choose color temperatures in the 2900K to 3200K range. The temperature should match your home style. Traditional homes look best with warm colors similar to incandescent or candlelight. Cooler temperatures with whiter light pair complement modern styles. 


Brighter lighting enhances productivity. Increase ambient lighting in task areas, such as the kitchen, living room, and home office. Opt for soft white bulbs over clear or colored. LEDs are best for energy-efficient, bright white light. Plus, they have a long lifespan. Though these bulbs are expensive upfront, they save you money in the long-run. A less expensive option are low-voltage bulbs, followed by the Halogen MR16 bulb. However, if you’re looking for an energy-efficient, cost-effective, bright light source that emits very little heat, fluorescent lights are it. Once considered a light to avoid, advanced technology has substantially improved its performance. These bulbs now come in various styles, not just the long tubing. Consider glare when you choose your bulbs. Lower the wattage if the light is too harsh. 

Lighting control

Attach dimmers to all lighting fixtures to control light intensity and mood. There are various dimmers styles available, such as toggle, rotary dial, and touch sensitive. Keep in mind, lights must be dimmable. Another option is lamps with three-way bulbs which let you adjust lighting levels. Separate the lighting into different zones so you can control multiple locations individually. Add perimeter lights to a designated zone and put them on a separate circuit. That way, you can adjust light reflection with greater precision.

Customized ambient lighting provides ultimate comfort. Think about factors that impact the amount of light you need, such as age, health, and eye color. If your lights are direct-wire, check building codes first. Consult a lighting expert for help with developing a lighting plan. As long as you apply the tips above you can have your desired atmosphere at any time.

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We're giving you majestic views of the river, city, and park in this week's Listing of the Week!

This beautiful home features stunning panoramic river, city, and park views. There is an exceptional grand rooftop terrace in the Platinum LEED residence, which is perfect for small or large group entertaining. The home is supremely appointed with fine luxury craftsmanship and details. Features 6,000 square feet, an elevator, 3-car garage, 2-off street spaces. The home is low maintenance living and amazing. The 4 bedroom, 5 bathroom home is priced at $2.69 million.

This listing is sponsored by Ron Erdmann at Guaranteed Rate, the official mortgage professional of Cincy Chic.

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A former carriage house turned historic estate is featured in this week's Listing of the Week!

The carriage house to the original estate home on Grandin Place. Over 5,000 square feet! Wooden beamed ceilings (11), Italian marble floors, Versailles patterned parquet wood floors, grand entertaining space! First floor master suite, walkout finished lower level, brick patios. Extra large rooms, very special one-of-a-kind! Agent is owner and has listed the 4 bedroom, 6 bathroom home for $1.425 million.

This listing is sponsored by Ron Erdmann at Guaranteed Rate, the official mortgage professional of Cincy Chic.



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Cozy character, luxury finishes and a prime location in Mt. Lookout are just a few of the things we love about this week's Listing of the Week!

Listed at $1.02 million, this exceptional home is on a flat .327 acre lot with frontage. The home features architectural details, fine finishes, large rooms, natural light, and hardwood floors throughout. The 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home has a finished lower level in 3,823 square feet.

This listing is sponsored by Ron Erdmann at Guaranteed Rate, the official mortgage professional of Cincy Chic.

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Need design, home improvement, or party hosting ideas? Cincy Home Chic Home has it all! Click to check out this month's recap!

Here’s a recap of what you can find on our new site, Cincy Home Chic Home, this month!:

Decor Ideas:
The Layers of Design 
A Modern Twist 
All About The Details 

Real Estate Tips:
How To Sell Your Home When You Have Children 
Inspection Process 101 

Home Improvement:
Four Ways Light Makes a Room 

Listing of the Week:
11759 Enyart Road 

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Luxuries and river views abound, we're off to the gated Rivers Edge Community for this week's Listing of the Week!

Brand new, spacious, beautifully finished custom built home with large rooftop deck for amazing river views! Extravagance and upgrades galore down to the tiniest details. Four bedrooms plus office, five full bathrooms, elevator, and much much more, in gated Rivers Edge Community. Pending Platinum LEED tax abatement status. The home features 4 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms for $1,599,900.

This listing is sponsored by Ron Erdmann at Guaranteed Rate, the official mortgage professional of Cincy Chic.

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Surround yourself with luxury in this home located in the exclusive Riverview Estates at Coldstream. Click for a peek inside.

Enjoy this spectacular custom built home on 1.33 verdant acres in the exclusive Riverview Estates of Coldstream. The home features exceptional craftsmanship with quality and luxury at every turn. Its thoughtfully designs open floor plans features 5 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms in 9,196 square feet. It has only the finest finishes, includes a first-floor master suite, gourmet kitchen open to the hearth room, a magnificent lower level with wet bar and wine cellar and the home is meticulously maintained and extensively improved. The home is listed at $1.975 million.

This listing is sponsored by Ron Erdmann at Guaranteed Rate, the official mortgage professional of Cincy Chic. 


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With the holidays right around the corner, you’re likely beginning to think about who you need to shop for and what to buy them to put under the tree. You’re off to a great start just by thinking about holiday shopping this early. 

If you want to save some extra money this year without looking like you’ve been pinching pennies, here are a few tried and true, easy ways to save when shopping for the entire family:

1. Look for Coupon Codes

Before you make any purchase online, you should always do a quick search for any coupon codes. Simply type in the search query “(store name) coupon code” into your search engine. RetailMeNot is a great resource for finding coupon codes as well. 

Another option for finding coupon codes is to use the browser extension Honey. After a quick install, Honey will automatically search for coupon codes for you and automatically add them to your order for effortless savings.

2. Sign Up for Retailer Emails

You should also make sure you’re an email subscriber of your favorite brands. Many retailers send emails with exclusive coupon codes, free shipping offers and other discounts. These emails will also alert you of any sales, so you can get the best deals on your favorite must-haves for you and your family.

3. Splurge on Quality Staples

For wardrobe staples such as winter coats, lightweight jackets, sneakers and jeans, it’s always worthwhile to invest in top-quality gear from the best brands. Not only will this gear last longer and perform better, but it will also hold its value so you can eventually re-sell or consign it to recoup some of your investment.

When applying this principle to children’s wear, don’t be afraid to size up so that your little ones can get more use out of it. Kids are often growing so fast that it won’t take long for them to grow into the proper fit of the garment. 

4. Pay Attention to Prices

Sure, you’re diligent about price comparisons when you’re considering whether to make a purchase, but what about after you buy it? Do you continue keeping track of the price for another week or two? At most retailers, it pays to, literally. 

Many retailers offer price adjustments for items that have a price reduction within 14 days of when you made the purchase. Typically, all you need to do is watch for a price drop, provide the retailer with your dated receipt and ask for a price adjustment to get automatically refunded the difference in price.

5. Don’t Pay for Shipping

These days, paying for shipping when shopping online is a rookie mistake. There are simply too many options when shopping online to waste your hard-earned money doing so. Some stores offer free shipping on every purchase, while others require a minimum purchase to earn these deep discounts. 

If that’s not the case, though, look into other options such as free shipping codes, joining customer loyalty programs that include free shipping as a perk and always consider using the “in-store pick-up” option when it’s available. 

Indeed, there are so many different ways to earn free shipping now that the only time it’s worth spending any money on shipping is if it is to expedite an urgently needed item.

Get Excited for the Holiday Season

After heeding our advice and looking for coupon codes, signing up for retailer emails, splurging on staple items, paying attention to pricing after making a purchase and never paying for shipping, don’t be surprised if you’re actually excited to do your holiday shopping. You may even find that you have some money left in your budget to treat yourself to a little gift.