By Sydney Mondry
Updated Dec 16, 2015 @ 5:30 pm
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One of the most overlooked aspects of planning a party is choosing the perfect lighting. Strings of colorful Christmas lights might seem like the obvious choice for a holiday soirée, but Karen Herold, the creative mind behind Chicago-based design firm Studio K, encourages hosts to go a few steps beyond to create an inviting atmosphere. “Of all the tools we use as interior designers, lighting is by far the most important one and can make or break a mood,” says Herold. “My advice is to use multiple light sources to create a ‘layered’ feel. This means creating many smaller light moments instead of one large feature. We all look best in a soft glow from multiple angles!” Read below to learn how to achieve this flawless layered look for your next holiday bash.

1. Candles, candles, candles.
“The best holiday lighting consists of unscented candles—lots of them. Real ones rather than the battery-operated versions are best.”

2. Add some twinkle.
“I love white Christmas lights. I like to wrap them around a big branch, hang the branch over my dining table, and dangle crystals and ornaments from them. In this way, the focal point is over my dining table instead of on top, so there's more room for food.”

3. Warm up your space.
“Switching out your current bulbs for warmer light is an easy party fix, especially during chillier months. Adding dimmers to your floor lamps is another way to create a layered lighting affect in your house without creating ‘hot spots,’ or areas with too much light.”

4. Floor lamps are a must.
“I'm currently obsessed with floor lamps, as they create lighting in the room below eye level. The best kinds are the ones that have pivoting arms and shades so you can direct the light to the wall or ceiling to add more drama.”