The chandelier over our dining-room table cast harsh shadows, even though it was on a dimmer, so I recently had it removed and installed wall sconces. They’re an improvement, but I’m still not getting the warm, flattering light I’m after. Is there a way to tell — before spending a bundle on fixtures and electricians — if the end result is going to be what you want? Any suggestions about how I can fix my sconces? — Tessa W., Harrison
As is so often the case, it depends whom you ask. All agree that slate is a timeless, durable material that comes in a wide range of subtle, earthy colors. It’s usually less expensive than most other natural stone. It’s hypoallergenic and bacteria- and water-resistant. After that, opinions differ.