chandeliers, lamps and sconces

Great Lighting Fixtures; it is easy to be obsessed

Since January, I have been focusing on lighting to “brighten things up” since the world’s news had been so gloomy. My first post on lighting, “Let’s talk about lighting,” discussed the importance of good lighting as a design element and was meant to open your eyes to the possibilities lighting offers aesthetically. 

My second lighting post discussed “How to know what size chandelier to buy.” Selecting the right size chandelier or light fixture is not a cut-and-dry process, but I shared basic guidelines to use as a starting point.

The Pearson Chandelier-Gold Leafed Iron
from Four Hands. Artisan craftsmanship is visible from each hand-applied gold leaf to miniature bubbles floating in blown glass bulbs.

In the next post following, I explained layering lights in a room using a combination of “Ambient, Accent and Task” Lighting.”   A well-lit room has layers of lighting combining ambient, task, and accent lighting, when used together, can create a spectacular feel-good space! 

The Havana Sconce from Arteriors is a great example of accent lighting. It is showcasing the wall’s faux finish.

Last week’s post was Recessed Lighting; what you need to know. I shared the rule of thumb to figure out a lighting layout while stressing the many other factors that need consideration to determine the correct number of recessed required recessed cans in a room.  

I hope you have learned a few things and have become inspired to think about the lighting in your home! To conclude my posts on lighting, I will finally share some great lighting fixtures made by some of my favorite vendors.

The Ultimo table lamp by Currey& Co cuts a bold profile with the lustrous matte black finish on its round ceramic body.

Great lighting design can make a beautiful room even better! Great new topics coming up in future posts. Be sure not to miss anything by subscribing.

outdoor room

Five Tips for Creating an Outdoor Room That You Will Love

An outdoor room can be a beautiful extension to our home to relax and entertain in. Outdoor rooms should receive the same amount of thought as inside spaces when designing and creating them. Here are five tips to help you create an outside room that you’ll love.

outdoor room with pavillion
Curtains, throw pillows, lighting for ambiance; YES PLEASE!

1: Plan carefully And Pick The Perfect Location For Your Outdoor Room

Planning is an essential step in every design project and outdoor rooms are no exception. Think about your expectations for this space and how are you going to use it. Is this a grilling and eating space or refuge to unwind and relax? Or is it both of these things?

Determine the perfect location for your outdoor room. In a small yard, you may have limited options making this an easy decision. In larger yards, you may have more options to consider.

Grilling and eating areas work best near the house so that you don’t have to trek dishes a distance. Barbecues and outdoor kitchens located near the eating area keep the Cook part of the party.

Refuge areas don’t necessarily have to be close to the house; however, I recommend creating it where you can see it from the house. Having it in an eyeshot will lure you into using it more often. Also, if it is close to the house, trips to the kitchen or bathroom are quick and easy.

Other considerations are view and privacy. Both can be created if need be, but they should weigh in when choosing your location.

2: Define the space

Area rugs help to define a space.

Your space won’t have a “room” feel if you don’t define it. The simplest way to do this is with an outdoor area rug. Area rugs not only give the room definition, but it is an opportunity to add color and pizazz. Check out Loloi’s outdoor rugs for a great selection.

Another way to define the space is with a structure such as a gazebo or a pavilion. You can have one built or purchase one of the many great pre-fabricated ones available on the market today.

3: Keep it Easy

As a rule of thumb, keep it is easy so it will get used more often. An outdoor room that can remain set up all the time is optimal because you can steal a few minutes here and there to use it. If it is an ordeal to set up, you won’t do it if you only have a short time to enjoy it.

Outdoor structures are a great investment because they protect from light rain, intense sun and can also help to keep your furniture clean. If you have to wipe the seating down every time you sit outside, you may shy away from enjoying time out of doors as often as you could.

Many outdoor structures have electricity, allowing for a ceiling fan to be incorporated. Fans are a great way to keep your outdoor space free of pesky mosquitoes.

4: Choose comfortable AND Durable furniture

outdoor room
All guests are comfy on this sectional.

Let’s face it if your furniture isn’t comfortable you won’t want to use it. If only some of your outdoor furniture is comfortable someone will get the “bad chair.” The good news is manufacturers are making outdoor furniture that resembles our inside furniture and that is equally comfortable. Pay attention to the quality of the foam used as well as the thickness of the cushions to make sure you are purchasing quality furniture.

5: Don’t Forget To Add Your Personality

Don’t forget to put your stamp on it. Incorporate the things you love, and what makes you happy. After all, making it a home that is perfect for you is what it is all about!

I truly believe our home plays a role in our happiness. It is the core of my design philosophy and I want to help others create their perfect home. If you enjoy getting these tips and seeing what is happening in the design world, be sure to subscribe.

Read more about Design to be Happy. I hope you got to read last week’s post on fixing damaged wallpaper.

virtual design living room picture

Virtual Design Consultations: This is so exciting!

Virtual Design Consultations have been amazing and have allowed my clients and me to stay safe, which is the absolute most crucial thing now. In a few short months, many things have changed. Business is different, but that doesn’t mean bad, quite the contrary.

Virtual design and technology

Virtual design consultation rendering sample

I once used technology to make things easier. Facetime allowed me to meet with a client when physically, I was unable to. However, currently, it has taken on a whole new incredible role. Technology has made it possible to continue projects in progress and START NEW ONES during this stay at home time. I have new clients beginning new projects, and all virtual. What a happy twist that I was not expecting.

interior design rendering of a living room

Facetime and Zoom make it possible for a face to face discussion and for me to view their home. Zoom also has an added benefit. I can share my computer screen so that my client can see floorplans and sketches that I have done for them. While viewing, we can go over everything and discuss them just as if I were sitting alongside them. Dropbox is terrific for sharing photos. It allows comments and questions about each picture, which makes it a valuable and efficient tool.

These technologies help me provide an authentic design experience for my clients. Although I have used all of these technologies before the stay at home order, during the last two months, I have relied on them to do everything, including picking paint colors, and it has been AWESOME! Even after the stay at home order is lifted, I will continue offering virtual services in addition to my regular design “in-person” design services.

Curious about Virtual design?

If you are interested in finding out more about virtual consultations and other virtual design services, contact me using this link. I will be happy to answer your questions.

Here is some links to some favorite past posts, in case you missed them.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoy being in touch with the interior design world please subscribe.

Horizon WIndow Fashions on windows

Five Essential Design Tips For Creating Amazing Spaces

Below are six design tips that are essential to creating a warm and welcoming home. Keep them in mind as you decorate and plan your next project.

Design Tips #1 of 5: Focal Points

Upholstered headboard and bedroom creates a focal point for the room is an essential design tip
The over-sized headboard grabs your attention and acts as a focal point

Make sure you have a focal point. All rooms should have a focal point to grab your attention when you first enter. For a bedroom, it is often the bed. In other rooms, a focal point may be an architectural feature of the room, like a fireplace. When decorating if the room doesn’t have an architectural feature that you want to play up, it is easy to create one. This can be done with color, art, accessories, and furniture. Think of this as an opportunity to get creative.


Mirrors are great in helping us create focal points. They also help add light to a room because they are reflective. Mirrors can be an excellent way to brighten up your home during a dreary winter. You can add them to your décor not only in the traditional means of hanging on the wall but as furniture, accents on tabletops, and closet doors.

fancy bathroom with mirrors and tub
Mirrors can be creatively arranged in groups

Horizon WIndow Fashions on windows
Adding a texture to a wall with wallpaper or shiplap can make a focal point

Design Tips # 2 of 5: Negative Space

Dining room with mirrored server
Negative space makes the items displayed special

Be sure to have negative space (empty space) on the walls after placing art and accessories. When decorating remember that every available wall space does not need to have a picture hanging on it or furniture against it. Your eye needs negative space, too. If there is not enough negative space, it can cause the items in the room to compete for attention and become unsettling to your eye.

Design Tips # 3 of 5: Selections

mood board
Design presentation mood board relays the feel of the room

Remember when decorating to consider all items together when making selections. Sometimes things, on their own, don’t make an impression, but once placed with other items, they can be an essential element. Mood boards that designers put together for their clients are so helpful because they show all the aspects of the room and convey the feeling that they have together.

Design Tips # 4 of 5: Variety

Vary your selections. Get out of the habit of buying matching furniture sets. Rooms with variety are much more interesting than ones without variety. Vary the shapes of furniture. If a coffee table is round, use end tables that are oval or square. I also like to vary the look of furniture types; this means pair sofas that have legs with chairs that have a skirt or vice versa.

Variety is vital in creating an exciting room. Make sure you use furniture with varied heights — balance taller pieces with artwork and accessories over the shorter pieces.

Design Tips # 5 of 5: Lighting

Layered lighting creates an interesting room
Layered lighting creates an interesting room

Use different types of lighting when decorating. Layering additional types of fixtures such as floor and table lamps, pendants, track lights, sconces, and chandeliers creates different kinds of lighting that can be useful for tasks and ambiance. Use dimmer switches wherever possible to have complete control over the amount of light to regulate the mood in the room.

Why did I share these tips? I truly believe our home plays a role in our happiness. It is the core of my design philosophy and I want to help others create their perfect home. If you enjoy getting these tips and seeing what is happening in the design world, be sure to subscribe.

Renovations And Remodeling: What You Should Know Beforehand

I love renovations and remodeling projects. The smell of the lumber and the noise of the power tools invigorate me. I find the whole “reno” scene, at every stage exciting and a bit addicting. Okay I confess, extremely addicting. I always want more. That is because I know it means something is about to get a whole new fabulous look. Something old is about to be new again. Now, doesn’t that sound exciting?

I have had the pleasure of helping many clients with their homes but also have gained much experience with renovations first hand. My own home has been through many transformations. It started as a little cottage that many thought my husband and I were over ambitious for buying (maybe we were). It quickly grew to a ranch and then years later transformed again when we added a second floor.

My husband and I, along with our children, lived in the house throughout the whole second-floor addition. I remember somebody asking me if I was okay. The concerned and caring person thought I must be stressed out beyond belief. I shocked them with my reply, “Are you kidding, this is great.” I was in my element and in my glory! I was so wrapped up in the excitement of the transformation journey that it didn’t matter that I was living in the middle of it.

If you are about to start a renovation or remodeling project, here are some things I have learned as a designer and from personal experience that WILL HELP you throughout your project.

A mess of papers for a renovation

Be Organized Throughout Your Renovation

From the planning stage throughout the completion of your project, being organized is essential. I dedicated a whole post to this advice a few weeks back. For details on being organized from start to finish throughout your project: big or small read, Headache saving advice for anyone starting an Interior Design project.

Hire Contractors Carefully

Having the right people on the job can make all the difference in the world. Start by gathering recommendations from friends or on social media community pages. When interviewing and getting bids, ask a lot of questions. The information you collect will be helpful when you are comparing proposals, so you know you are comparing apples to apples. Of course, you want to hire someone talented, honest, and reliable but also pick a personality that you will not mind in your home for an extended amount of time.

floorplan being drawn for a renovation
Photo by Lex Photography on

Understand Your Design Plans Fully

If you have hired a designer or architect to help with your plans, make sure that you understand the floor-plans and designs. If you are not used to reading a floor-plan, ask for 3d renderings to help you visualize the design concept.

It is also a good idea to ask for a furniture plan when having a new space constructed. Furniture on the floor-plan can give you a reference to understand the size of the room. Also, if the furniture is not laying out to your liking, you have the opportunity to tweak the design plans before construction begins.

Photo by Pixabay on

Review And Check The Work Completed Each Day

Errors can be made even by the most qualified crew. But if you catch them early, they can be corrected without too much backtracking. If a wall goes up and it is a few inches shorter or longer than the plan calls for, it can drastically change things, for example, not enough room for a double sink or a smaller hall than you wanted etc.

Photo by bruce mars on

Check Deliveries As You Receive Them

All deliveries should be checked thoroughly to make sure that nothing arrives damaged, and that all the parts needed are on the job site. You do not want to find out on installation day that something is damaged or missing. Not having all the components needed will cause your job to be delayed while you first wait for replacement parts and then wait for the contractor to be available again.

Expect Bumps In The Road

If you find yourself hitting a bump in the road, have faith in the people you hired to smooth it out. It is impossible to control everything. Sometimes things get back-ordered, dye lots don’t match, or the weather doesn’t cooperate. Whatever the obstacle is, keep it in perspective. Remember it is temporary and fixable.

Photo by Skitterphoto on

Budget For Surprises

Things can pop up unexpectedly that need to be tended too. Have some extra money budgeted so that these surprise costs do not financially burden you. The insurance of a slush fund takes the stress off, and if you don’t need it for a “surprise” you will complete your project under budget. If you need help with establishing a budget, Home Advisor’s website has a ton of information about average remodeling costs per zip code.

If you are about to start a renovation enjoy the journey and take lots of photos; before, during, and after!

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