The technique of applying gold leaf or powder to a surface (wood, stone, metal) for decorative purposes. Water or oil can be used as a medium to transfer the gold from leaf to surface–water gilding produces a softer look. A gilded object is described as being gilt.
Gilded surfaces reflect light, which is why so many picture and mirror frames, chandeliers and lamp bases are gilded in part or in whole. Prior to electric lighting, gilded surfaces were not only made beautiful in their own right, but also served as light reflectors. They still look particularly magical by candlelight.
A little gilding goes along way and as so little gold is needed the process of gilding is much less expensive than you might think, and though it does need great care you can learn to do small, simple things yourself.
The benefit of gilding is to introduce points of brightness, not to over power -, a few carefully placed spots on a wall- picture frames and mirror frames with , or a glaze – gold powder (not real gold) mixed into a clear top glaze can work wonders for a dark room; a few gold beads on a cushion or a curtain trim; a gilded curtain pole, or tie back. None of these will break the bank, and all will add something that only gold can.