Lighten Up This Summer

Although home design evolves at a more leisurely pace than runway fashion, the 2014 Dallas Lighting Market tradeshow revealed an array of trends that mean big changes for the year ahead. And what better time than now—a season of renewal—to refresh your abode with cutting-edge lighting products and accessories? This season, be on the lookout for innovative technology and materials, new takes on tradition and playful explorations of scale and detail. Whether your home has a contemporary, transitional or traditional vibe, you’ll discover a wealth of on-trend luminaires for every style of décor. Check out some of our new favorites:

1. HAUTE TECH No longer the rising indie star, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are gaining mainstream super-fame as more lighting manufacturers start building elegant fixtures around the high-tech, energy-efficient module. Small-scale LEDs make it possible for designers to go beyond the boundaries of incandescent lamping in pursuit of sophisticated luminaires that provide illumination in ways that weren’t possible until now. Sonneman - Chromaglo Square Pendant   Consider Robert Sonneman’s Chromaglo Square Reflector LED Pendant, which simultaneously directs light downward from one LED source and upward from another, creating a balance of ambient and task illumination.   ALR-5563-DBRZ-INSTAL Justice Design Group’s Fusion Framed Rectangle LED Wall Sconce with dimmable LED is another great option. A bathroom-friendly wall fixture, it exudes warm light, dims down to 5%, and is rated for a seemingly infinite 50,000 hours. (Remember replacing burned-out bulbs? So 20th century.)

COMING SOON: After 30 years in the fan industry, Fanimation Fans is taking a new twist on technology with the launch of fanLink a universal ceiling fan remote control with Bluetooth capability that lets you control your fan(s) right from your smartphone. Once you take it for a spin, we suspect you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Sonneman 16-light

Taking cues from mid-1960s artists ranging from George Segal to Laddie John Dill, lighting designers are transforming plexiglass, acrylic and other future-forward materials to create shapes and effects that are inconceivable with glass. Fusing LED-technology with intricate geometric compositions of white etched or clear crystal acrylic, Sonneman’s 16-Light Lattice Square Pendant is nothing less than a modern lighting masterpiece.

2. METAL MANIA The Industrial Revolution may be long gone, but its legend lives on large, turn-of-the-century industrial-style warehouse lights, smaller sconces and swing-arm lights. Hudson Valley Lighting’s Pelham collection fuses proto-contemporary lines with machine-age details to provide distinctive downlighting for kitchen islands, dining rooms and other spaces. Plus, it’s available in rich finishes, ranging from bold Aged Brass to smooth Satin Nickel, to complement a variety of interiors. Although Bitcoin dominated the buzz online, the gold standard prevails offline in luxe aged and hand-rubbed brass tones. Hudson Valley Lighting exercises the Midas touch with the retro-inspired Ashland flush mount fixture and the fanciful Amenia semi-flush mount—note its unique ring-and-rod suspension. Calais-CMYK And if you’re seeking a gilty pleasure, pun intended, the Calais Chandelier from Troy Lighting was meant for you. A combination of hand-crafted aged wood and distressed gold leaf, it adds just the right amount casual opulence to a spring makeover. 3. BOLD SCHOOL More is more, and these distinctive styles prove it through a convergence of big ideas and intricate details. Dolcetti Corbett Lighting’s award-winning Dolcetti collection features exotic shells, shimmering crystals and steel accents. Vertigo And its Vertigo family—dramatic spirals of hand-crafted iron—is designed to leave you dizzy in the best possible way. But even when Corbett minimizes the scale, they amp up the glamour. The Barcelona Silver and Gold Leaf Mini Pendant shimmers with the intensity of jewelry fashioned by a master, and it’s so fabulously ornamental, it becomes makes an undeniable statement. As a perennial industry innovator, Varaluz has acquired legendary status for eclectic designs, recycled content and unsurpassed hand-craftsmanship. With the introduction of the Wright Stuff Chandelier, Varaluz takes a simple concept (early aeroplanes) and elevates it sky-high. Flow And their new Flow collection unites rhythmic and organic shapes with two-tone finishes, creating a sense of fluid motion, even in stillness. A BRIGHTER EVERYDAY There’s nothing like new lighting to transform the way you see your home—and the way others see it, too. Explore these emerging technologies and innovative trends to find new ways to brighten up your home and your life. By Wendy Weinert

How to create a welcoming porch

I don’t know about you, but I want my home to feel welcoming to guests. A welcoming home means that friends and family will feel more comfortable during a visit and may even mean that they will be anticipating their next stay! While every room in the home can be decorated to feel inviting, the best place to start is actually outside, since the front porch is the first “room” guests will see. Here are some of my favorite ideas for welcoming guests into a home:

Porch_Livingroomset_Club-4

Offer a seat

I like to think of the front porch as being an outdoor living room, where you can socialize with close friends and family while enjoying the nice weather. A porch swing is a popular choice for kids and adults alike, but if your space isn’t big enough you can also seat guests on a smaller patio chair.

 

porch blog- rug

Photo credit: Pinterest

Make it cozy with a rug

A rug instantly makes any room I’m in feel more cozy. You probably use a rug to cozy up the living room, so why not do the same for the front porch? A welcome mat can also look inviting, especially if you’re working with limited space.

 

porch blog- lighting 2

Photo credit: Pinterest

Add light for nighttime

It’s hard to create a welcoming vibe when your front porch is completely dark. Plus, evenings are often the best time to enjoy a front porch – when the weather isn’t so hot. Try using a couple of outdoor wall lights to invite guests outdoors.

 

porch blog- painted door

Photo credit: Pinterest

Paint the door

You don’t have to paint the front door to make it welcoming, but I love the idea of a a bright-colored door! If you have a small front porch, this can be an easy way to add color and style without cluttering the area.

 

porch blog- final touches

Photo credit: Pinterest

Complete the look with a few final touches

A couple of potted plants, a few accent pillows on your swinging chair and a hanging sign on the door – these types of finishing touches are perfect for tying the welcoming look together.

Does your front porch invite people into your home? If not, try out a few of these welcoming ideas!

By Wendy Weinert

Bring personality to your dining room by mixing and matching chairs

 

Mismatched dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

 

Who says your dining chairs have to match? While it’s perfectly okay to purchase a dining table and chairs as a set, you could be missing an opportunity to create a unique look for your space. Mixing and matching chairs allows you to add some fun and personality to your dining room, which is especially useful if you don’t have a lot of space to decorate.

Keep in mind as you mix chairs that there still needs to be a unifying element tying them together. Here are four unifying characteristics to consider:

Color

Even if every chair around your table consists of a different design, the overall look will still appear put together and intentional if they all feature the same color. It may be difficult to find chairs that all have the exact same shade, but you can always paint them if the chairs aren’t upholstered.

Mismatched blue dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

Material 

Just like with color, you can place different chairs in the dining room that are made up of the same material, such as wood, to create a unique, cohesive look. You don’t even have to use just chairs. Consider placing a bench on one or more sides of the table and let guests be impressed by your creativity.

Mismatched wood dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

Patterns

If you prefer upholstered chairs, look for different chairs that feature the same pattern. For example, if you like stripes, you can surround your table with chairs that all have the same striped pattern. Or you can mix striped chairs with chairs that have no pattern at all to keep the look from appearing too busy overall.

Mismatched upholstered chairs featuring the same pattern

Photo credit: Pinterest

Style

Every decorating style consists of unique elements, so use those elements to mix and match your dining chairs. For a traditional dining room, you can use the style’s characteristics – such as detailed carvings and dark wood tones – to find unity among your chairs. If you have a modern dining room, seek out chairs that are simple and sleek.

Modern mismatched chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

If your dining room is lacking the excitement you would like, have some fun mixing and matching dining chairs to create visual interest. With a quirky setup, you’ll never have to worry about your style being bland or predictable!

By Wendy Weinert

 

The trend that’s here to stay: ombre and interior design

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

Photo credit: Etsy

Ombre became a popular trend on the runway last year and now the look can be seen everywhere, from hair styles to cake designs and even interior design. The word ombre describes when colors gradually fade into each other, usually from light to dark. For example, in fashion you might see an ombre skirt that starts white but gradually shifts shades into bright pink. This popular trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and it’s easy to see why. The look can be casual, sophisticated or simply fun depending on the colors you choose and the shading technique used. Here are some ideas for incorporating ombre into your own home’s interior design.

1. Paint the walls 

If you want to go bold, an ombre wall is the way to go. You may have to hire a professional to get the look just right, or you could also consider hanging up ombre wallpaper. If you like the dip-dye look but would rather make a subtle statement, start with a dark color of your choice on the bottom. Have it gradually change to a lighter shade within that same color family, rather than white.

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

2. Incorporate ombre with bedding or curtains

You might like ombre now, but if you think you’d only enjoy it for a year or two, try to incorporate the look into accessories that can be switched out easily, such as your curtains or bedspread. Decorating with trendy accessories allows you to keep your home up to date on all of the latest styles.

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

3. Update your furniture

Even furniture can feature the ombre style. Add a new chair in the living room that features the dip-dye style or give an old dresser new life by following this fun DIY ombre project.

Ombre may be the latest craze, but it doesn’t look like it’s going out of style anytime soon. Use any of these ideas to freshen up your home with ombre and give your space a new look!

By Wendy Weinert

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

During the summer season, people often head to their cottage or cabin to take a break from the ordinary and enjoy a relaxing weekend. With the right interior design, you can enjoy that cottage-like coziness in your home every day. Consider these five decorating tips to get started.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

1. Bring the outdoors in 

Cottages are typically set up in a quiet, scenic area. Even if you live in a large city, you can use natural elements and decor to enjoy the soothing qualities of the outdoors. Find furniture made from materials such as wicker and decorate your home with fresh flowers to design a space that allows you to feel relaxed.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

2. Find a few antiques 

The wicker chairs you use in the living room will lend a casual, cozy feel to your interior. You can take the look further with antique furniture or accessories that you’ve received as a family heirloom or found at a local antique store. A few antiques here and there will also add an elegant touch to the cottage look.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

3. Layer with blankets, rugs and pillows

In order for your home to feel like a cottage, it needs to be cozy. Use a combinations of throw blankets, rugs and accent pillows wherever you can to add warmth in the rooms and to create a comfortable space.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

4. Throw in a splash of color

The cottage style typically consists of neutral, light colors. You can, of course, add a pop of color to liven up a room or make it appear more cheerful. Incorporate a color that makes you happy, such as yellow or blue, into accessories like your pillows or a lamp.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

5. Add a fireplace

Nothing adds coziness to a home better than a fireplace, and it doesn’t have to be the middle of winter to enjoy one. Install a fireplace in the living room for the whole family to enjoy on a chilly night.

Wish you could get away for a weekend? What if you could rejuvenate right at home? With a cottage-style interior, you can feel cozy and relaxed any day of the wee

By Wendy Weinert

 

What your home says about you

What your home says about you

You may not realize it, but your home says a lot about who you are as a person. So, does your home reflect the true you? When family, friends or neighbors stop by for a visit, here are just a few of the things they might learn about you simply by walking through your home:

What your home says about you

Interests

Do you love to travel? Is music your biggest passion? Share your interests through your home’s decorations and accessories. Display as decor the souvenirs you’ve acquired on your different trips. If your large music collection is stuffed in storage boxes, set up a shelves where you can feature it instead. Meaningful decor will not only display your passions with others, but it will also help you design a home that allows you to feel happy in your surroundings.

What your home says about you

Values

Take some time to think about your personal values and the things in life most important to you. If you value your relationships with family and friends, consider displaying pictures or handmade gifts to highlight those relationships. Values like leading a simple lifestyle can also be shown by designing an open, uncluttered space.

What your home says about you

Organization

Some people can’t stand clutter while others feel a little clutter here and there is actually more comfortable. Guests will typically pick up on the level of organization you prefer based on your home’s decorating style. For example, the eclectic style would come off as much more laidback than an ultra-sleek modern environment.

What your home says about you

Personality

The colors, patterns, textures and styles you choose can say a lot about your personality. If you consider yourself a bold, adventurous person, you might share that with others by choosing brighter colors and louder designs. If you are someone who likes to be practical, you might prefer to design a space that has a more timeless look.

Consider what others might learn about you by touring your home and determine whether it paints an accurate picture. A home that reflects who you are as a person is a space where you will feel more comfortable living.

By Wendy Weinert

 

9 things you don’t want for a “Home Sweet Home”

9 things you don't want for a "Home Sweet Home"

Turning a house into a home takes time, but the end result is worth the effort. When you feel at home in your space, it becomes a place of refuge. A place where you can go to feel relaxed, happy and refreshed. Allow yourself to enjoy a “Home Sweet Home” by focusing on your interior’s setup and avoiding these nine design problems.

1. Bad lighting: Lighting should always be one of the first elements of the room’s design that you consider. Use multiple light sources in each room to create a space that is well lit without being too harsh.

2. Uncomfortable furniture: With so many designs available today, you should never have to sacrifice comfort for style.

3. Tacky wall art: The wall art you bought in college may have been fine for dorm life, but it just looks cheap and tacky hanging in your nice home. Replace it with a more sophisticated alternative, or use wallpaper to add visual interest.

4. A cluttered interior: A cluttered home will make you feel stressed. Make sure every personal belonging has its place and get rid of unnecessary junk.

5. Cheap furnishings: You might save some money on the initial purchase, but cheap furniture will wear down more quickly, forcing you to replace it more often. Instead, invest in quality pieces you can enjoy for a long time.

9 things you don't want for a "Home Sweet Home"

6. An undecided style: Your home looks traditional, but there are some contemporary elements that stick out. Choose a particular style that you want your home to represent and stick to it when purchasing new furniture or decor.

7. A cramped space: Clutter isn’t the only culprit of feeling cramped in your space. Paint small rooms light colors and use mirrors to make them appear larger.

9 things you don't want for a "Home Sweet Home"

8. An unwelcoming entryway: You want to feel happy every time you walk through your front door. Make sure it is well lit, and add a few decorative pieces to create a cheerful appearance.

9. A catalog design: Instead of setting up your room to match the store’s catalog, use your unique style to guide your purchase decisions. Setting up a home to reflect your personality is the easiest way to turn your house into home sweet home.

By Wendy Weinert

The modern floral: why it’s not just your grandmother’s print anymore

The modern floral: why it's not just your grandmother's print anymore

Photo credit: BHG

You bring fresh flowers into your home all of the time to add color, beauty and energy to your space. As soon as someone suggests decorating with a floral print, though, you cringe a little and remember the wallpaper in your grandmother’s old home. Like many trends from your grandmother’s time, floral prints went out of style and the look became dated. However, just like many fads from the past, floral prints are making a comeback. This time around, you can choose from modern and elegant designs to complement your contemporary interior.

The modern floral: why it's not just your grandmother's print anymore

The big and bold floral

To put a modern twist on the traditional floral print, many designers are giving it a bolder look by featuring just one large flower in an eye-catching color. Decorating with a bold flower graphic will take out any of the “granny” vibes outdated floral prints tend to give off, so you don’t have to worry about living in a tacky home.

The modern floral: why it's not just your grandmother's print anymore

Photo credit: Etsy

The black and white floral

People have this idea of floral prints as being too girly, but that’s not always the case with today’s designs. If you’re decorating a room that you want to keep looking fairly neutral, pick out a simple color scheme like white and black. The contrasting colors will look great in your modern home and won’t make your interior design appear overwhelmingly feminine.

The modern floral: why it's not just your grandmother's print anymore

The understated floral

If you’re still a little hesitant to rock a floral print in your home, start small with an understated design such as the one shown in this floral etched glass urn table lamp. The elegant details give the lamp character, and you won’t have to worry about the floral design overtaking your space.

Keep your home energized all year long with a modern floral print. If you select the right design, a floral upholstered chair or rug can be the perfect addition to your space.

floral

By Wendy Weinert

 

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

You’ve set up a coffee table in front of the sofa, a pendant light is hung up over your kitchen island and a large area rug is covering your hardwood floors. In interior design, there are many patterns that homeowners follow when setting up their space. While these unwritten guidelines can help you design a functional space, they can also make your home appear too predictable if you’re not careful. Spice up your bland interior with these five traditional decor items. Although the products themselves are not unique, the designs are; in fact, they just might give your home the personality it needs to stand out.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique
1. Arteriors Home Vern Rusted Iron and Jute Rope Wrapped Lamp

With jute rope featured on the base, this design puts a nautical twist on the traditional table lamp. Now you can get the task lighting you need in the bedroom or living room and still give your space an interesting look.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

2. Troy Sausalito Five-Light Drum Pendant    

Almost every kitchen that has an island also has a pendant light above it. This light fixture gives the traditional linen-shade pendant a boost by adding an elegant iron cage finished in silver and gold tones.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

3. Modway Furniture Transparent Coffee Table in Clear  

Forget about the traditional wooden coffee table. If you have a modern or contemporary interior, use this glass table to enhance the style and add a unique element to the room.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

4.  2-Day Designs Wine Barrel Side Table  

Furniture with history always makes a great conversation piece. Combining old-world charm and modern lines, this former wine barrel has been re-purposed into a beautiful accent table to give your home personality.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

5. Surya Rugs Fallon Gray Rectangular  

Large traditional area rugs often feature elaborate details and a variety of rich colors. This elegant rug instead has a simple design and a two-tone color scheme to fit in with contemporary homes.old world charm

Does your interior look the same as every one else’s? A few great unique pieces here and there can be just what your space needs to gain a fresh new look and impress your friends.

 

By Wendy Weinert

 

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

Kara Paslay Designs

It’s your turn to host movie night this month. Are you ready to put a new spin on your monthly tradition? Taking your movie night outdoors is an easy way to change things up and offer a new experience to guests. To make the evening enjoyable for everyone, keep these helpful tips in mind while planning the event.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

1. Let guests help pick the movie

You might like horror films or romantic comedies, but that doesn’t mean your guests like the same ones. Let your friends have some input regarding what movie you watch by compiling a list of suggestions and asking them to pick their top three. Then you can pick the movie (or movies) with the most votes.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

2. Prepare snacks and refreshments

Go with the classic movie-theater snack by making popcorn, but flavor it with fun toppings like paprika or chili powder for a unique twist. When handing out refreshments, offer them in closed bottles to prevent spills and to keep bugs from contaminating the water or soda.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

3. Provide comfortable seating

It’s hard to enjoy a movie when you’re constantly shifting to get comfortable. If you have outdoor chairs, add a cushion or pillow to make the seat comfier for guests. If your seating area is in the grass, you can use plush blankets instead.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

4. Keep everyone warm

As the sun drops, so will the temperature. Help your friends stay warm by sitting around a fire pit and providing spare blankets for everyone. You can then use the fire pit to make s’mores for dessert!

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

5. Add light

A fire pit may be all the light you need, but if the fire dies out you’ll need to rely on a different light source. Your outdoor lighting should be soft so everyone can still see the movie. Consider an outdoor lamp or use landscape lighting to illuminate your outdoor space.

Hosting a movie night outdoors isn’t hard, but it can be an uncomfortable experience without the right setup. Use these ideas to start a new tradition and host an unforgettable movie night outdoors.

By Wendy Weinert