The Many Designs of Track Lighting

The design of track lighting has evolved over the last decade. It is no longer the simple straight line on the ceiling with oversized “coffee can” lights. It has become streamlined and interesting incorporating curves and a variety options. In some cases then end result is only limited by your imagination.

Track lighting today is easy to install and very flexible allowing light to be directed to the desired location. You can even combine spotlights with decorative pendants to light multiple applications in the same room. This versatile alternative to traditional light fixtures can provide light to any kitchen, game room, garage or for showcasing art or collectables.

This “S” shaped bronze five-light monorail kit (Bellacor #279496) would provide additional light for any kitchen or game room.   In cases where the installation was over a wet bar or pool table additional hanging pendants could be added for additional styling.

This track light (Bellacor #500885) has the same number of lights but is less flair.

The spiral shaped track provides the best flexibility of directing light to where it is desired when dealing with a small area.  The Shuttle Three-Light Spiral Rod Track in Brushed Nickel (Bellacor number 276771) is a great example of this type of track lighting.

Decorative track lighting as this Focus Brushed Steel Three-Light Adjustable Track Lighting (Bellacor #330228) can be a wonderful simple solution to lighting a kitchen island or breakfast counter.  The flexibility allows for that custom look.

My favorite is the mini-pendant of mouth-blown blue murano glass with mille fiore glass fusion and silver flakes (Bellacor #42071).  The best thing about this track lighting is all mounting hardware and accessories necessary for typical installation are included.

Ceiling Lighting: What To Consider When Choosing a Lighting Fixture

When picking out light fixtures for our homes, it is important not to overlook ceiling lighting as an option because of the variety this category has to offer. We will review some of the different types of ceiling lighting such as chandeliers, pendants, flush mounts, and semi-flush mounts.

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a chandelier is a branched often ornate lighting fixture suspended from a ceiling. Perhaps this is the reason why people are intimidated by chandeliers. There are many chandelier designs that are far from ornate, and can be fun and fabulous when complimented by other décor items in your space. Whether you’re starting with a traditional light fixture or something unusual yet simple, your chandeliers can make a personal decorating statement.

Pendants are a great way to add a splash of color or instantly transform the decor of your room. Easy to put up (and just as easy to take down if your tastes change), they’re an affordable way to update the look of a room. Suspended in multiples above an island, or singly in a breakfast nook, pendants can function as task lighting for food prep or mood lighting at mealtime. There are a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, ranging from 4-inch-diameter mini cylinders to massive 30-inch domes.

If you’ve got low ceilings, or working with hard-to-fit settings, considering a flush mounted fixture is going to be ideal. They are called flush mount ceiling lights because the mount to the ceiling is flush with the drywall surface.  Being both close to the ceiling and suspended, semi-flush lighting is considered the offspring of unions between flush-mount fixtures and either chandeliers or pendants.  In designs with shades that point down and up, semi-flush lighting is a great option for providing task and ambient light in homes with ceilings 9 feet or lower.

Candleholders for Every Style

If you’re like me, candles are a must have decorative accessory in your home. They are a charming way to quickly add ambience and warmth to any space. However, I sometimes struggle with choosing the right candleholder or candle lantern to fit the style and feel of my home. There are so many types and styles of candleholders I could chat about it forever, so I’m going to highlight a few of the styles and designs that caught my attention.

Contemporary Style – Usually boasts clean lines, a smooth and polished surface with a few intricate details.  Contemporary design is considered comfortable, spacious and clutter free.  The Siam Small Wall-Mount Candleholder Sculpture pictured below is a great way to add wall décor and candlelit ambience to a room in one décor piece.

Country Style– You can consider country style a casual, comfortable and lived in look.  The design style is usually cozy and charming with more practical and useful décor elements.  Don’t be afraid to dig in your attic, scour a rummage sale or go antiquing to find candleholders and lanterns to fit this style.  My personal favorite is the Silver Star Lanterns pictured below.  They are quaint, county and completely irresistible!

American Rustic/Lodge Style – Those of you that love the mountain lodge wilderness feel, this design aesthetic is for you!  With the stress of today’s fast paced society, rustic design brings you back to a slower, calmer and more relaxed lifestyle.  When picking out a candleholder, look for natural elements (woods, stones and metals) to complete your look.   The next step is to light your candles, put your feet up and relax in your lodge inspired room.

Romantic Style – It’s the dead of winter in Minnesota and I love the thought of a warm candlelit bath or retreating to my master bedroom for a little R&R.  Whether I’m creating romantic ambience in my master bedroom, bathroom or any room in my house, here are a few tips I always keep in mind.  Focus on a few items with graceful curves, adding a little sparkle and shine adds to the design depth.  Make sure your color scheme contains softer tones, which are conducive to rest.  Most of all make the space a comfy place you’re going to love to relax, day in and day out.

Finding Your Style with Minka Lavery

Minka is a name I’m sure you recognize.  Their reputation for quality, style and value is well known here in the United States, but also in Europe.  They produce classic lighting that will be in style – whatever your style – for years.  With operations on 2 continents, they continue to exceed customer expectations. The Minka Group includes Minka Lavery, Metropolitan, Ambience, Minka-aire, and George Kovacs, among other private labels. Their product line includes thousands of items from ceiling fans to accessories and lighting.

Does this seem like too much to look through?  Let’s try and break it down a bit and find your style within the Minka Group Lighting category. Here are just a few beauties to whet your appetite:

Do you like Contemporary (top) or Mission style?

We’ll start with one of Minka’s many choices for the bathroom.  Here’s a room designed around a George Kovacs Contemporary light.  Ever seen anything so cool?  Two sinks, two mirrors each with one two light on top.  One more wall sconce (one light) and a “linen tower” finish it off. Like? This George Kovacs fixture is called “Bath Art Black.”

Too modern for your taste?  Let’s try something more traditional and put together a dining room. Both of these Minka Lavery fixtures are from the Salon Grand Collection. Other products shown can be found on as well.

This is too fun – come on in the water’s fine!!  Our final room, in the Mission Style, has geometric lines and a sprinkle of Frank Lloyd Wright whimsy and elegance. Need I say more?  The fan, called Calebria, is from Minka Air.

Who says you can’t have a pendant light outdoors?  One is over the deck door and the fan cools guests at this gorgeous teak table.  The pendant  and sconce are Minka Lavery.  Here is my deck by the pool — don’t have either—but, as long as I’m dreaming, I want a wave pool.

Chandeliers, Area Rugs, & Color: Transform Your Entryway With These Simple Tips

As one enters your home, it’s the first thing that they see; your home’s entryway. If your house or apartment could say “hello” this is where it would happen. Unfortunately, the entryway is often overlooked as an important part of the home. Shoes and coats are scattered here and there, lighting is mediocre at best, and the day’s (or month’s) mail sits unorganized on your entryway table, maybe on top of a couple unused phone books. It’s not a very welcoming greeting and it leaves guests with a bland first impression of your home. Thankfully, all is not lost. There are big and small things you can do to improve your home’s entryway. Here are just a few:

Lighting ALLIER

First of all consider the lighting. You want to show off your home. It’s your space, where you spend a lot of your time, and the way that it is set up is a direct reflection of your creativity. What better way to showcase your foyer or entrance than with a grand chandelier. Grand does not mean gaudy, which can often be associated with obscenely large lighting fixtures. Perhaps because of its popularity, the word chandelier often conjures images of large expensive, bulky crystal lighting fixtures. That’s not the case anymore. Chandeliers come in all kinds of styles and sizes from whimsical to contemporary, small to large. You can even make your own chandelier if you can’t find one out there that suits your fancy.  A chandelier is functional and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It sets the mood and the stage for your home. It can also be the focal point of your entryway; a much better alternative to the unopened mail and phone books.

Photo credit: The Creativity Exchange

Photo credit: The Creativity Exchange

Now let’s consider the color of your entryway. Again, if your home were a person, the entryway’s color would be analogous to the tone of your home’s greeting. Is it dull and lifeless? Is it bright and cheerful? Is it bold and strong? Remember, a guest’s first impression of your home is the entrance. Use this opportunity to splash some personality into your décor.

Wall Decor
Photo credit: Against the Grains Design

Photo credit: Against the Grains Design

Now take a look at your walls. What’s on them? Showcase some artwork or an eclectic set of pictures. You would be surprised at how much life you can breathe into a large or small space just by filling the walls with items to look at.


The entryway staple…. Do you know what it is? A decorative mirror! It’s convenient and it’s so ubiquitous that I’m sure someone; somewhere wrote in stone that every entryway needs a decorative mirror of sorts. Or if you’re eclectic, lots of decorative mirrors! If you have room for an entryway table, consider adding one of those as well. It’s a convenient place to stash your keys or anything you plan to take with you as you head out of the house.

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy

Let’s not forget about the floor. Whether you hate your floor or love it, you’ll like it even more with a unique rug to pull all of the decorative elements of your space together. An area rug can really finish off a nice room, making it go from nice to gorgeous! It also prevents people from tracking dirt all over your floors.

By doing simple things like: adding a stunning chandelier, clearing clutter, and hanging a few things on your wall you can easily improve your home’s entryway. If you know where and when to shop, it shouldn’t cost much, but it does call for some creativity.

Dark Space Dilemma

Don’t we all that have that room in our house that just isn’t bright enough? It doesn’t matter what kinds of lighting fixtures you use, you’re always looking for ways to bring in more light? For me, this room is my family room. It is a large room in the basement of my house—but since this is a rambler style home, there are little to no windows to allow in natural light. And since this is the room we spend the most time in, we want it to be comfortable for all activities—we went on the hunt for the best lighting design with could find.

Our Family Room acts as a place for my family to gather to watch TV/movies and play games.  It’s also a place where we entertain guests and get our work done.  This means that I need a variety of lighting to suit all of these activities.  When we’re getting ready to watch a movie,  we want the lighting to be low.  But then of course, there are times that we would prefer a brighter light so that we can play a game, or use the computer.  It’s important to see how different light fixtures illuminate a space differently.  This way you’re sure to get the right lighting combination for your needs.

Here’s how I fixed my dim lighting dilemma…

Paint and furniture color: The room is roughly 12’x27’.  The TV is positioned at one end of the room, and the computer is at the other.  Knowing that there is no natural light entering the room, I decided to paint the room a neutral creamy white color.  I brought in warmth with the brown tones in the carpeting and furniture.  The brighter color on the walls helps right away with light illumination.

Ambient Lighting: To be sure we had adequate overall lighting in the room, we installed recessed lighting throughout the entire family room (12 total lights).  We hooked these up to a dimmer switch so we can bring the mood of the room from task and entertaining down to relaxing with the touch of a button.  The recessed lights that we chose are similar to these lights found at

P8074-28:  6-Inch 120V White Incandescent Open Trim, Progress Lighting, Sale Price $24.72 each

Accent Lighting: For times when the overhead recessed lights aren’t needed, when we are settling in for the night, or ready to watch a movie, we use the strategically-placed Accent Lighting.  I chose two floor lamps and a table lamp.  In the sitting area of the room, we have a floor lamp next to the couch and a table lamp between the couch and the chair.  This is just enough light for relaxing, but because the lamps are placed in the seating area, they can also accompany the recessed lights to create a brighter light for reading a magazine, etc.

The other floor lamp is placed at the opposite end of the room from the TV, next to the shelving unit (which also acts as a computer desk).  This provides even lighting at both ends of the room when the overhead lighting is not being used.

See these similar lamps from

(Left) Chandelier Library Rubbed Wood One-Light Floor Lamp, Murray Feiss, Sale Price $191

(Right) Fredrique Bronze with Aged Gold Accents Three-Pole Torchiere, Kenroy Home, Sale Price $232

Shaded Bronze Accent Lamp, Holtkotter, Sale Price $440

Task Lighting: Finally, when you’re trying to work in a dark space, you’ll quickly realize that the overhead lights and accent lighting aren’t always enough.  This is why we also installed under-cabinet lighting in the shelving unit to help illuminate this dark space for working at the computer, and to create visual interest in the cabinet itself.

These lights are small, and can be unseen, but are very useful in illuminating a direct working space.  There are many styles to choose from (plug-in, direct wire, etc.).  We chose a plug-in model for easy installation.  Bellacor has a great selection of under-cabinet lighting to choose from.

So as you can see, lighting a room is not as easy as buying a lamp and plugging it in—especially if your space is dark.  To lighten the room, you can start by picking well-illuminating paint and furniture, but it doesn’t stop there.  You need to use different lighting for different activities.  If paired together properly, you will have made a very functional, well-lit space.

Bedding for Your Home

Do celebrities really check the thread count of their sheets when visiting hotels? Maybe their “people” do it for them…who knows?  Well, you don’t have to be rich and famous to enjoy the luxurious comfort of new bedding set.

Your bed sheets shouldn’t make you feel as if you just got out of fight with a crazy cat, or if you’re sleeping on sand! Replace your old, scratchy sheets, with soft cotton, silk, or one of the many cotton/polyester blends that are available.

Whatever your preference, Bellacor has a variety of affordable fabrics and styles, with thread counts ranging from 250 to over 1,000 to fit your comfort and budget.

DreamFit, item #417079 has over 1000 threads to make you feel like you are sleeping on a cloud.

Also, item #417164 with a 400 thread count, is super comfortable, and at a price that won’t squeeze your wallet.

A new comforter, quilt or nice blanket can not only provide warmth but could also help accent your room.

Cotton Quit, Item #446683 from Greenland Home Fashions is easy to maintain, simply because it’s machine washable!

Goose Down comforter from Downlite, #477610, not only has a 300 thread count, but is also Hypo-Allergenic.

This simple but comfortable acrylic throw from Chooty & Co., item #454548 is affordable, and not shy on length. You can wrap around snuggly at 79”L.

Don’t forget the little ones. Bellacor has four-piece baby bedding sets, like this pretty one, item #314172, which comes with bumper, coverlet, skirt and sheet.

Bellacor has hundreds of bedding sets, blanket/throws, sheets and comforters to choose from.  Simply type “bedding” into our search box, and explore!