Enjoy a more peaceful home with these 7 tips

I recently shared an article on farmhouse style and how its simple characteristics can make a home feel very peaceful. The farmhouse style isn’t for everyone, though, and you don’t have to enjoy country living to create a relaxing and quiet home. No matter what your preferred decorating style is, you can design a more peaceful environment with these quick tips.

1. If bright colors are energizing and oftentimes too stimulating, try decorating with muted colors instead. A softer shade of your favorite color can help you to feel more relaxed. (If you’re trying to decide on a color, blue is well-known for its calming effects!)

Blue walls are calming

Photo credit: Pinterest

2. To keep your overhead lighting from feeling too bright, install a dimmer switch that will soften the lighting. At night, you can add even more ambience by lighting a few candles.

3. I know cleaning doesn’t exactly sound relaxing, but keeping your floors and surfaces clear will help to reduce stress. At the end of the day or right away in the morning, set aside 10 minutes or so to tidy up each room so you can enjoy a clean home for the rest of the day.

4. If your home is lacking in decor, try bringing in some fresh flowers and plants. The natural scents will help you feel calm and some plants can even purify your home’s air.

Fresh Flowers

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

5. I think most people would agree with me when I say that nature is very peaceful. Along with decorating with plants, you can bring the outdoors inside with natural materials like jute or wicker.

Natural fiber rug

Photo credit: House of Turquoise

6. A simple decorating scheme is refreshing. Be careful not to add too many complicated patterns in one room or overcrowd your space with decorative accessories.

7. Are the loud neighbors or annoying traffic patterns causing you to feel stressed? Tune them out with soft music or consider buying a decorative water fountain.

Indoor Fountain

Whether your home is modern or traditional, you can enjoy a more peaceful environment. Try incorporating a few of these tips in your house and see how they work for you!

By Wendy Weinert

Create a cozy reading nook in your home

Curling up with a good book in a cozy spot is a great way to spend a rainy day…or any type of day for that matter. While I can always get comfortable in bed or on the sofa, there’s something about a reading nook that I find luxurious and pleasant. It makes for a great reading experience, whether you prefer Jane Austin classics or are rushing to finish the Game of Thrones series. Try creating a reading nook in your own home with these five essentials. Trust me, you’ll never want to go back to reading in bed again.

1. A comfortable seat for lounging

Comfortable chair in reading nook

Photo credit: Lisa McDennon Design

The size and shape of your chair or bench will depend on your own reading preferences, but comfort is key. Without a comfortable seat, you’ll be forced to move right as you’re getting to the good part in the story!

2. Seclusion

Secluded Reading Nook with curtains

Photo credit: Pinterest

Reading in a secluded spot will help prevent distractions and make it easier for you to get lost in the book. Consider hanging up a stylish curtain to create an environment better suited for reading.

3. Proper lighting

Add light to your reading nook

Photo credit: Pinterest

Inadequate lighting can cause eye strain and headaches. If your nook is located directly by a window, you may not need much task lighting. Otherwise, consider installing a lamp, wall sconce or pendant light fixture.

4. Blankets

Reading nook with blankets

Photo credit: Pinterest

It doesn’t feel right to curl up without a blanket. In the summer, opt for a light blanket that you can use to feel cozy without becoming hot. Replace the blanket with a thicker alternative as the weather becomes chilly.

5. Shelving

Reading nook with shelving

Photo credit: Pinterest

A book shelf in your reading nook is convenient. It allows you to choose a book or switch authors without actually leaving the area.

There are a lot of different ways to design a reading nook, but these five essentials will ensure your space is comfortable and functional.

By Wendy Weinert

When selecting a lamp, consider its shade

When shopping online for lamps, we tend to look at certain styles to narrow down our search and choose the best option. But I’ve found that style is not the only factor we should consider. Choosing the right lamp shade is essential and can determine whether your lamp serves its purpose well.

More than likely, you aren’t just buying a lamp to use it as decor; you’re buying a lamp because you need light. The question is, however, what kind of light do you need? Are you planning to use your lamp for reading or other activities that require task lighting? Or do you want to add ambience and set a specific mood? Asking yourself these questions and pinpointing your reasons for needing a lamp will help you choose the right shade for your space.

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In my experience, both the shade’s thickness and color can contribute to the type of light it provides. Translucent shades in lighter colors will provide more light and are ideal for activities that require task lighting. If you’re buying a lamp for ambience, on the other hand, choose an opaque lamp shade in a darker color instead.

Now for the fun part: once you’ve determined what kind of lamp shade will provide the lighting your room needs, you can start searching for shades based on style. There are a lot of style choices you can make depending on your own preferences, but I would advise that you look for a smooth shade if your home is modern or contemporary. Pleated lamp shades, however, fit well into traditional or antique-style rooms.

In my opinion, the right lamp shade is both functional and stylish. Before you buy your next lamp, whether it’s a table lamp or one that sits on the floor, decide the type of lighting you desire and which shade will help you achieve it.

By Wendy Weinert

Stage your home to sell with these 3 tricks

Staging a home for selling isn’t as simple as decorating the space to match your preferred style. Think about the qualities you look for when touring potential houses. If you’re like me, you want the home to appear spacious, functional and inviting, as well as versatile so it can easily be changed to match your tastes. There are many tips and strategies you can implement to sell your home successfully, but I found these three tricks to be the most helpful.

Elk Lighting lights up a living room

1. Get rid of the clutter

I’m not talking about the piles of magazines that used to sit on your coffee table – you already knew to get rid of those. I’m talking about furniture. It’s essential that your home looks bigger and more open, and having too much furniture can create exactly the opposite effect. Go from room to room and see if there are pieces that aren’t really necessary or are simply taking up space.

Baxter - Elk Lighting

2. Keep the style neutral

I might love the eclectic style, but I wouldn’t decorate my home to be eclectic if I were trying to sell it. Everyone has different tastes, and even though a home’s style can be changed easily, it’s hard for potential buyers to picture a different look in their minds. Keep the style as neutral as possible to attract the largest number of people.

Elk Lighting - Galaxy

3. Improve the lighting

I would much rather purchase a home that appeared welcoming and open rather than dark and cramped. Wouldn’t you? The right amount of lighting can make a huge difference in how inviting a room looks, so consider increasing your bulb wattage and make sure you have a combination of overhead, task and accent lighting.

If you’re having trouble selling your home, you might just need to rethink your decorating strategy. Simple tricks like these can help you sell your home quickly and for the right price.

By Wendy Weinert

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

5 ways to boost energy in the home

Feeling drained? I bet I’m not the only one who could use a little more energy to get through the day. The good news is that there are many techniques we can use to boost energy, starting with our home’s interior setup. With a few changes in the home, you may not even need that afternoon cup of coffee anymore! Here are a few strategies you can try:

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1. Design your room to encourage sleep

There are people who say they can function just fine on four hours of sleep, but I believe in the power of a good night’s sleep. If you’re tossing and turning at night or having trouble falling into a deep sleep, consider which factors could be keeping you awake. Is it an uncomfortable mattress? Electronics? I know it’s relaxing to watch TV in bed, but in reality it could be diminishing your quality of sleep!

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2. Add a stimulating color

Some rooms can provide energy just by being painted a certain color. If you have a home gym, consider painting it a shade of red or orange to feel energized. Other rooms may benefit from just a pop of color, such as the living room.

3. Let as much natural light in as possible

I always feel more energized when outside on a nice day. Why? Well, the natural light is one reason. Wherever you can, let the natural light inside your home. In rooms that don’t have large windows, be sure to install an adequate amount of lighting.

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4. Improve your home’s air quality

Don’t you just love breathing in fresh air? When the weather is nice, open your windows to let the fresh air inside. You can also purify the air by changing air filters regularly and by decorating with green houseplants.

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KidKraft Espresso Wall Storage Unit

5. Stay organized

I find it hard to feel energized when my house is a mess. Get rid of the clutter and work to stay organized so you can feel relaxed and full of energy in your home.

We need all the energy we can get. Try some of these ideas in your home and see if they work for you!

By Wendy Weinert

What’s Bright Now: 4 Ways to Add LED to Your Home

We’ve rounded up some great ideas to help you induct LED lighting into your abode—and the best part is that you don’t need to be an expert to tap into lighting industry’s coolest, cutting-edge technology. Here’s a short list of exciting new ways to update your living spaces with LED fixtures, from effortless and affordable to artistic and innovative.

1. Make the switch

Changing an ordinary household light bulb is just about the easiest task imaginable, and the same holds true with replacing common lamping options like incandescent or compact fluorescent with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Once you make the trade, the benefits are endless.

LED Lightbulbs

LED light bulbs

Unlike traditional bulbs, which emit light and heat all directions, LEDs provide bright directional light while remaining cool to the touch. They’re available for all types of fixtures, ranging from ceiling, wall and portable luminaires to outdoor residential and landscape lighting. They use less energy and most last approximately 50 thousand hours before losing intensity. This means you could change a bulb once and—depending on usage—forget about it for the next 20 to 30 years.

2. Mix it up

Want to give a room an instant makeover? Update one or more of your lighting fixtures, and it will change the way you see the entire room.

Access Lighting Tungsten Brushed Steel LED Mini Pendant

Access Lighting Tungsten Brushed Steel LED Mini Pendant with Opal Glass

Access Lighting offers more than 300 pendant lights to choose from, including an abundant selection of energy-efficient LED options. A trio of mini-pendants—like the mini pendants from Access Lighting’s Tungsten series—could transform a kitchen island into an uber-functional modern workspace and spice up your décor. (You can’t go wrong with chic opal glass and a brushed steel finish).

 Justice Design Group LED Porcelina semi-flush ceiling light fixture

Justice Design Group LED Porcelina

With Justice Design Group, you can choose from a range of options—including shade material, shade finish and metal structure—to get a customized luminaire for any décor. To add a warm, gracious note to a cozy nook or dining room, a semi-flush mount from Justice Design Group’s Porcelina™ creates just the right effect. And now that dimmable LED is now an option for thousands of products offered by Justice Design, you can now adjust the light for a bright family brunch or a softly lit romantic dinner for two.

3. Go bold at home

Some fixtures illuminate. Others enlighten. Voilà!

Sonneman 16 Light Lattice Square Pendant

Sonneman 16 Light Lattice Square Pendant

Designers like modern lighting pioneer Robert Sonneman work with future-forward materials like acrylic to create new shapes and unexpected effects. Uniting LED-technology with a sculptural composition, Sonneman’s 16-Light Lattice Square Pendant transcends functionality to create a thoroughly modern artistic statement.

Corbett Illusion LED Sconce

Corbett Illusion Silver Leaf LED Sconce

As a two-time recipient of the coveted ARTS Award for “Lighting Manufacturer of the Year,” Corbett Lighting has achieved international renown for luminaires with elegant lines, stylized materials and jewelry-inspired details. The collection ranges from small yet glamorous LED-stunners like the Tango One-Light Pendant to others driven by opulent excess like this wall sconce from Corbett’s Illusion collection. Covered in Silver Leaf with Polished Stainless Accents, this six-light fixture’s a made-you-look-marvel that dazzles, even before you flip the switch.

4. Take it outside

Troy Bronze Deck Light

Troy Natural Bronze LED Micro Deck-Light

Once you’ve transformed your home’s interior, perhaps you’re ready to take on the biggest challenge—the exterior. A light at the front door is ubiquitous, and by adding additional LED fixtures to accentuate the architecture and landscape, your residence can shine with all the drama of a Rembrandt.

Troy Lighting has been making sophisticated and original hand-forged iron and solid brass fixtures since 1963. The G243 Bronze Deck-Light blends well with numerous design themes, making it a popular outdoor LED Micro-Light.

CSL LED Steplight

CSL LED Steplight

Illuminate your world, one step at a time.  One option is CSL’s LED Steplights Collection, which includes versatile designs and requires zero maintenance. They blend in seamlessly with nearly any environment, completely changing the way you see it.

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

 

Ideas for using modern light fixtures in traditional spaces

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Worried your style is becoming too predictable? Do the unexpected and transform your traditional space with a modern light fixture. When used appropriately, modern lights can kick your home’s traditional interior up a notch for a style that is truly unique. Here are three different ideas for making it work.

Ideas for using modern light fixtures in traditional spaces

Add a whimsical touch

Traditional spaces tend to have a serious appearance, but you can change all that with a modern light fixture. Choose a pendant or chandelier that is playful and fun to lighten the mood and help your room feel more relaxed. This will also help you hit that perfect sweet spot between formal and casual.

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Repeat shapes and finishes

The easiest way to find a modern light fixture that will work in your traditional space is to find elements in the room and then repeat them. Identify the various finishes and shapes in a room and find a light fixture to match. If your room has brass accents, for example, then hang up a brass fixture to tie the look together.

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Bring a room into the present

Sometimes a modern light fixture is the only way to keep a room from feeling outdated. If you live in an older home with lots of traditional detailing, help bring it into the present era with modern lighting that both complements your interior and updates the look, too. Be sure to match your fixture to existing elements in the room so it doesn’t look out of place.Ideas for using modern light fixtures in traditional spaces

Who says you have to go all modern or only traditional? Adding a modern light fixture in a traditional space allows you to combine the best characteristics of each style to achieve the exact look you want in your home.

By Wendy Weinert

5 Lessons you can learn from your cat

You might look to friends, blogs or professionals for advice when setting up a stylish and comfortable home, but what about your cat? Your furry friend is wiser than you know, and he can teach you a thing or two about interior design. For example, cats know to:

5 Lessons you can learn from your cat

1. Take pride in appearances

Your cat knows the importance of keeping his coat glossy, which is why he spends so much time licking his fur to keep it clean. Take pride in not only your own appearance, but your home’s as well. You’ll feel more confident welcoming guests into your home if it’s clean and thoughtfully put together.

5 Lessons you can learn from your cat

2. Take chances, but be aware of comfort zones

You’ve seen your cat take some pretty incredible leaps, but you’ve also seen him lie all day curled up on his favorite sofa. Cats aren’t afraid to take chances now and then, but they are also aware of their comfort zone and use that to stay content. When decorating your home, don’t be afraid to hang up a bold color if it makes you happy. At the same time, don’t feel like you have to always be edgy, when really you prefer a more relaxed style.

5 Lessons you can learn from your cat

3. Trust your instincts!

Your cat trusts his instincts, and you should, too! If you’re uncertain about that chandelier you’ve been looking at, don’t buy it. There are plenty of other designs to look at, and you’ll be less likely to regret your purchase if you go with your gut.

5 Lessons you can learn from your cat

4. Give yourself alone time

Your cat needs peace and quiet from time to time and so do you. Look for an area in your home that you can decorate to make yours. It could be the bedroom, a bathroom or even a little nook by the windowsill.

5 Lessons you can learn from your cat

5. Bask in sunshine

Cats love sitting by windows to enjoy the warmth of the sun, and humans enjoy the benefits of natural sunlight, too. Design your space so the windows let in as much light as possible. A dose of sunshine is sometimes the best medicine when stressed.

When it comes to interior design, let your cat be your guide. A few lessons from him can help you create the space of your dreams!

The pictures you see on this post all came from Bellacor’s Pinterest page.  Come and get inspired!

By Wendy Weinert