Paint shades guaranteed to flatter(Photo: Time Inc. Digital Studio)

1. BE SMART -- GET DIM
Bright light might help when you're reading, but it isn't doing your looks any favors. "I have dimmers on every single lamp in my apartment," says N.Y.C. lighting guru Bentley Meeker. Plug-in dimmers cost about $10 a pop and are a snap to hook up.

2. THINK SUNSET
When choosing paint for a room, soft amber, honey, and peach hues always work. Just as a setting sun envelops you in a buttery glow, interior lighting bouncing off warmly toned walls will give you a golden look.

THREE SHADES GUARANTEED TO FLATTER (above, at right)
Flickering Flame: Dutch Boy C4-2, starting at $25; dutchboy.com for stores.
Monarch Gold: Benjamin Moore 1109, starting at $34; benjaminmoore.com for stores.
Australian Apricot: Cloverdale Paint 8018, starting at $30; cloverdalepaint.com for stores.

3. FOCUS ON THE HIGH LIGHTS
On film sets, lights are placed high and at an angle -- never below the actors. The arrangement helps illuminate the scene, accentuate features, and "fill in" faces. To go Hollywood at home, simply place all lamps at waist level or higher. And always avoid direct overhead lighting, which creates Frankenstein-like shadows.

4. ADD A LITLE TWINKLE
Shiny decorative accents -- like a subtle metallic lamp shade, an antique silver base, a crystal chandelier, or a well-positioned mirror -- reflect a radiant, dappled light that gives any room a special glow. Now you know why disco balls were ubiquitous in the '70s.

5. MATCH YOUR WATTS
A 60-watt bulb here, a 75-watt one there, an eco-friendly model screwed in for good measure -- what's the biggie? "When you have a different kind of bulb in each lamp," says Meeker, "it throws everything off, subtly manipulating the eye and forming strange shadows." Note: The lower the wattage, the more forgiving the light.

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