3 common mistakes to avoid when choosing light fixtures

With so many styles, designs and types of light fixtures to choose from, picking out the right one for your space is not always an obvious or easy choice. You can, however, improve your chances of finding lighting success by avoiding these three common mistakes:

3 common mistakes to avoid when choosing light fixtures

Mistake #1: Choosing a light fixture based on style over functionality

There are many beautiful and stylish light fixtures available that will improve your space’s appearance and enhance the overall look. Choosing a light fixture solely on its appearance, however, could leave you with less than optimal light output. The right fixture should be both stylish and functional, so consider your desired light output and keep it in mind when searching for a new light fixture.

3 common mistakes to avoid when choosing light fixtures

Mistake #2: Selecting a light fixture without considering ceiling height

It’s important that your family and guests can walk around your home comfortably without needing to duck to avoid hitting their head. Keep these rules of thumb in mind when choosing a ceiling light (these rules only apply when hanging light fixtures over walking spaces):

  • Ceilings below eight feet: If you have a low ceiling and are not planning to install the light over a table or counter, it’s best to choose a flush-mount light fixture so taller people can walk around safely.
  • Ceilings between eight and ten feet: If your ceiling is slightly higher, choose either a flush-mount light or a semi-flush lights, which typically hang just a foot away from the ceiling.
  • Ceilings over ten feet: For high ceilings, it is often best to install a pendant or chandelier to light up your space more effectively.

3 common mistakes to avoid when choosing light fixtures

Mistake #3: Relying too much on overhead lighting

Every room is different, but generally you’ll want to have a combination of task, accent and general ambient lighting to create a well-lit space. While you can install ceiling lights to provide the general overall lighting, be sure to also incorporate other types of light fixtures such as lamps or wall sconces.

Choosing a light fixture isn’t always easy, but avoiding these three mistakes will help you choose better lighting solutions so you can enjoy a home that is both stylish and functional.

By Wendy Weinert

How to clean and care for your chandelier

How to clean and care for your chandelier

Chandeliers can be a stunning addition to your space, but without regular cleaning they can quickly become dull and dirty. When guests come over, you want them to notice the beautiful crystals and elegant design of your chandelier, not that it has collected numerous cobwebs and a lot of dust. Learn how to properly clean your chandelier and allow its beauty to shine.

How to clean and care for your chandelier

There are many chandelier cleaning products that people can buy, but these special formulas are actually harmful to your chandelier’s frame and can cause your crystals to become cloudy. When cleaning your light fixture, all you need are white cotton gloves and possibly some warm water. Using products that contain chemicals, such as glass cleaners or even soap, can tarnish the metallic coatings and defeat the purpose of cleaning your chandelier in the first place.

Before cleaning, make sure to turn the light off. Then you can dust the chandelier and remove any cobwebs that have formed using your cotton glove. A cotton cloth also works, but be sure not to touch the crystals with your hands, as they could leave fingerprints. If the crystals are extremely dirty and dusting with cotton gloves doesn’t do the trick, remove the crystals from the frame and use warm water. After wiping with a damp cloth, be sure to dry the crystals immediately.

How often you need to clean your chandelier will depend on the room and the fixture. Pay attention to the way your chandelier looks right after it has been cleaned so that you’re more likely to notice when it’s dirty. A quick clean now and then will keep your chandelier shining bright and your overall space looking great.

By Wendy Weinert

Architectural Lights made easy

At night, the lights turn on and the city comes alive. One of my favorite things about visiting different cities is experiencing what they look like at night. Las Vegas is a city that has architectural lighting down, with exploding colors. It seems to be as bright at night as it is during the day. From glowing arches and colorful fountains to buildings draped in an artistic design, cities around the world are using lighting to stand out from the rest. Architectural lighting is what illuminates commercial buildings with color and style. It is not something designers just slap together; it is thought out and arranged in specific patterns to create the desired effect. Lighting can be expensive, and a professional not only wants the outside of a building to look good, but they work to fit it in a budget while still keeping the energy bill down. Lights can make a huge impact on your building and create positive exposure of your location and business. With a little study, planning, and work, you can add architectural lighting to a commercial or even residential building without breaking the budget or overworking your brain.

Photo by Moyan Brenn (Flickr)

Photo by Moyan Brenn (Flickr)


Before buying any lights for a building, you are going to have to make some design decisions. I love lighting that screams for attention, but it doesn’t work for every business or building. Decide on what you want your building to “feel” like. I know that seems silly, but subtle lights around the corners and landscaping can give the feeling of peace. Bright lights that are filled with colors might signify action and adventure. Other buildings need lights to keep the outdoors lit while people are working; spotlights will help employees feel comfortable and safe.


We would all love to add as many lights and accessories as we envision, but sometimes the final decision is left to the budget. Choose what lights are necessary first. Depending on what time of day your building is most occupied, you might need to focus on night lights or accent day lights. Once you have figured out the necessary areas, you can then begin adding extra lights to darker areas or to advertise your building. I know for my home, having my walkway lit is important, but adding lights under the roof line is an added bonus if the budget allows for it.

Map it Out

Once you have figured out the budget and type of lights you want, it is time to map it out. This will help you recognize areas where lighting is needed most; doors and walkways will need the most lighting. Arrange the lights to cover all darkened areas, and slowly trace back to add architectural lights to increase curb appeal and add that little extra something.

Night Lights

Night lights serve multiple purposes; some lights are used to prevent break-ins, while others help guide people to the door and keep the area safely lit. For buildings that are open at night, adding bright architectural lights can helps direct customers your way. When you think about big cities, night lights can be everything to make a commercial building stand out and look alive.

Day Lights

Lights during the day might sound a little like overkill, but adding them under the building roof line helps people feel comfortable and know the business is open. Creating lights that can be used both at night and during the day is a great way to get the benefits of both on a tight budget. Getting help from a professional is the easiest way to ensure complete visibility, style, and curb appeal on a budget.

By Wendy Weinert

12 DIY Light Fixtures via Pinterest

Like most people, I love Pinterest. It makes it so much easier to gather inspiration from pictures and blogs all in one convenient location. There are so many DIY projects that I could have something to do every single day for the rest of my life. When it comes to decorating, I am always on the lookout for affordable projects to add to my home. Light fixtures can be expensive, but you can cut down on the cost by creating your own. Here are 12 light fixture projects you can see floating around the pages of Pinterest; they are a great way to add a little flare to any room.

1. Lantern Fixtures

If you have seen rustic lanterns, then you know how much style they add to room. Instead of spending a fortune on these lights, you can make them yourself. Buy a light-less lantern and a used light to place inside. Combine the two and you have yourself a lantern fixture.

2. Knitted Lamp Shade

This lamp shade leaves room for creativity. Knitting a circular pattern to cover a hanging pendant will give your house a cottage feel while spicing up a boring light.

3. Cable Light

Sometimes simple lights can make the biggest impact. Wrapping a basic cord light with rope and hanging it from the wall can give a room a touch of rustic living.

4. Paint Mixer Stick Lampshade

This is exactly what it says: a lamp shade made of paint mixer sticks. With a little glue and wood stain, surround an old lampshade with sticks in a vertical pattern.

5. Circle Light Fixture

Buy two sets of sewing hoops and spray them your desired color. Then circle them within each other and screw them together. Use the guts from another light and hang it from your ceiling.

6. Cylindrical Wood Veneer Pendant Light

Combining two empty paint cans with the bottoms removed and wrapping them with wood veneer will give you a cylinder look in the color you want.

7. Wood Veneer Lamp Shade

This is definitely one of my favorites and is similar to the paint mixer lampshade. Using an old lampshade and veneer strips, simply wrap the wood around the lampshades in a loose pattern.

8. String Light Fixture

This is probably the most popular one circling around Pinterest and is created by using a ball and string. If you remember making piñatas in grade school, then you can figure out how to make this. Glue long strips of string in various patterns until most of the larger holes are cut into smaller. Once everything is completely dry, deflate the ball and you have yourself a gorgeous light fixture.

9. Metal Hanging Light

Start with a metal hanging basket and remove the chains. Cut out pieces of circular cardboard and place at the top of the basket and inside. Then insert a light bulb cord and hang your new piece from the ceiling.

10. Hanging Branch Lamp

Another simple lamp fixture can be created with the use of a light bulb cord and a branch. Attach a thick branch to the wall with part of it protruding. Then staple a cord light to the underneath and have the bulb dangle from the end of the branch.

11. Teacup Fixture

This light is definitely unique, and you won’t see it in very many homes. By carefully removing the bottom of a teacup you can hang cord light bulbs inside; try using several teacups for a bulkier look.

12. Wine Bottle Chandelier

This one is a little tricky, but following a tutorial will help you get an expensive look with wood and old wine bottles.

No matter what lamp fixture you decide to create, it is an opportunity to add your own personality to your home.

By Wendy Weinert

Light your home like a pro with these 3 easy steps

Light your home like a pro with these 3 easy steps

Creating a lighting plan for a room is a lot different than simply replacing a light fixture or adding a new light source. When making a lighting plan, you are starting from scratch, which makes it that much more important to carefully consider the best way to get good lighting for your space. Make sure each room is properly lit by following these three steps.

Light your home like a pro with these 3 easy steps

1. Draw out a plan of your room

The setup of a room will largely influence where you will need the most light. Even if you don’t have the room furnished, map out where you intend to place furniture and accent décor. Then, pinpoint the areas where specific tasks will take place and pieces or architectural elements that you want to feature. This will not only give you an idea of where to place light fixtures, but also what type of light source is best suited for your needs. Be sure to take note of existing sockets in the room, which may influence where you can place lamps.

Light your home like a pro with these 3 easy steps

2. Consider connecting rooms/spaces

Even though every room requires a unique lighting plan, it’s important to factor the transition from room to room. You want to ease people into a space. A softly-lit room that connects to a bright hallway creates a harsh transition that neither you nor guests will appreciate.


Light your home like a pro with these 3 easy steps

3. Determine the style you hope to achieve

The light fixtures you choose should be functional, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be stylish. A pendant light or sconce can have a huge impact on a room’s overall look, so consider what you want a fixture to do for your space and the style you hope to achieve. This will narrow down your list of options and make the shopping process easier.

Now that you know the style and type of light fixtures you need, you can finally start shopping! Give yourself plenty of time to browse different options so you can find the perfect light fixtures to match your room’s style and functional needs.

By Wendy Weinert

Jimmy Fallon’s art deco studio on ‘The Tonight Show’ and how to get the look in your home

Jimmy Fallon’s art deco studio on ‘The Tonight Show’ and how to get the look in your home

Art deco may have been a popular interior design style during the mid-1920s to 1940s, but the strong style is making a comeback. Just tune into “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and you’ll see just how captivating the art deco style can be. Fallon’s new art deco influenced studio set makes a stunning statement that you simply can’t help admiring – and envying.

While Fallon’s new studio is certainly impressive, there’s no need to be jealous. You may not be from the 1920s or host “The Tonight Show,” but you can still create a striking art deco look just by incorporating these characteristics in your home:

Jimmy Fallon’s art deco studio on ‘The Tonight Show’ and how to get the look in your home

Photo credit: Man Made Home

Eye-catching colors and contrasts

If you watched the premiere of “The Tonight Show,” you might have been laughing along with Fallon’s goofy jokes during the opening monologue. More than likely, you were also noticing the vibrant blue, floor-length curtain behind him. The Art Deco style is all about making a statement, so decorate your home with deep, bright colors and contrast them with metallic colors like gold, silver, or chrome.

Jimmy Fallon’s art deco studio on ‘The Tonight Show’ and how to get the look in your home

Bold geometric shapes

Soft floral prints have no place in an art deco space. Remember the city skyline backdrop behind Fallon’s desk? While you don’t have to decorate your home with skyscrapers, you can give your space an art deco feel with accessories that feature geometric designs like a throw pillow or a piece of artwork.

Jimmy Fallon’s art deco studio on ‘The Tonight Show’ and how to get the look in your home

Photo credit: gettype

Streamlined furniture

When choosing furniture, look for modern pieces that are streamlined and feature a no-nonsense design. Keep in mind that the art deco look is strong, so you want your furniture to be without frills. Furniture that features sleek, strong curved lines is perfect in an art deco setting.

Jimmy Fallon’s new studio is stunning to look at, so why not make a statement in your home as well? By incorporating some of the more common art deco characteristics in your home’s interior design, you can also create a space that is both captivating and elegant

By Wendy Weinert

Choose a bathroom sink and faucet finish to match your personality

Choose a bathroom sink and faucet finish to match your personality

Have you considered why you choose one color or style over another? Well, your personality might be to blame. As humans, we do it all the time – we make design choices that reflect our personality traits without even realizing it. And, hey, that’s OK. After all, we’re always looking for ways to express ourselves and not all of us can paint or write poems. So why not use your personality to your advantage? Even a smaller decision like a bathroom sink or faucet finish can be narrowed down by considering your character traits.

Choose a bathroom sink and faucet finish to match your personality

Bellacor Number: 354899

Bold: polished brass finish, copper

You’re not afraid to stand out and be heard, so why not show off your daring side with a sink to match? A polished brass faucet or a copper sink both create a striking look that will make your sink instantly stand out and become the main attraction of any room.

Choose a bathroom sink and faucet finish to match your personality


Easy going and low-maintenance: polished silver, white porcelain

When styling your home, you just want to find something that works and looks good without spending hours looking through different options. Polished silver and white porcelain are popular choices for low-maintenance home owners because they are durable, easy to clean and easy to match.

Choose a bathroom sink and faucet finish to match your personality

Bellacor Number: 630155

Very organized and dependable: vitreous china, black matte finish

To-do lists keep you sane and a clean room makes you feel calm. Your friends and family members might tease you for always being organized, but they’re secretly jealous that your home always looks so put-together. If you’re a bit of a clean-freak, then vitreous china sinks and black matte faucets make an excellent choice because they are easy to clean and do not show water spots or fingerprints.

Quiet and sometimes shy: brushed nickel finish

If you rarely make yourself the center of attention and would rather not fill your home with “statement pieces,” then you might consider using a brushed nickel faucet finish. These faucets will blend together well with your existing décor.

Choose a faucet or sink material that matches your personality or mix it up and surprise people. You might be quiet at large parties, but that doesn’t have to stop you from making bold design choices!

By Wendy Weinert

5 expert lighting tips to enhance and complete the look of your home

5 expert lighting tips to enhance and complete the look of your home

You may have decorated your space with stylish furniture and stunning artwork, but a bad lighting plan can make your beautiful home feel unwelcoming or harsh. Lighting should be stylish, functional, flattering and convenient all at the same time – and just relying on a ceiling light/fan combo isn’t going to cut it.

Illuminate your home and achieve the look you want with these five expert lighting tips.

5 expert lighting tips to enhance and complete the look of your home

1. Don’t rely on just one light source: All rooms can benefit from multiple light sources. Use a combination of direct and indirect lighting to create a well-lit room without it feeling too harsh. And of course, don’t forget about the lamps! They are excellent solutions when you need task lighting and can be used in tight spaces. There are even cordless options available now that let you light up an area without outlets.

Feiss Stelle Oil Rubbed Bronze Two-Light Semi-Flush

Bellacor Number: 546327

2. Choose the right overhead light for your space: Different overhead lights work better in some rooms than others. For example, flush-mount fixtures are best in kitchens and bathrooms because they emit a bright light to illuminate the whole room. Pendant fixtures are best in rooms with ceilings nine feet or higher, while recessed lights can be used in rooms with low ceilings.

5 expert lighting tips to enhance and complete the look of your home

3. Consider size and placement: This is especially important when dealing with pendant lights. Chandeliers or any pendant light should be hung up 36 to 48 inches above tables and, if used in the dining room, be sure the fixture is 1/2 to 3/4 the width of the table.

4. Install dimmers: We’ve mentioned this before and we’ll say it again: dimmers are a great addition to anyone’s home because they allow you to change a room’s atmosphere at an instant. If you’re throwing a party, you don’t have to install new fixtures or change up your lighting plan. Just lower the dimmer switch to create mood lighting instead!

light bulb infographic


5. Use energy-efficient bulbs: Energy-efficient light bulbs are not only better for the environment, but they actually save you money in the long run. While the purchase price of these bulbs is typically more expensive, they last a lot longer so you won’t have to buy replacements as often.

Don’t let your home suffer from bad lighting. Follow these lighting tips and enhance your home’s beautiful interior design.

By Wendy Weinert

Advice from a Designer: How to Solve Accent Lighting Dilemmas

As an interior design consultant, I am frequently challenged with space planning the ‘occasionally awkward room’. Let’s face it -if it was easy, I’d be out of a job!

Placement of windows, flooring, stairs, hallways, doorways, and, something as simple as an electrical outlet, can dictate how a room is laid out. Home dwellers want and need lighting options other than fixed overhead lighting. Accent lighting helps to set different moods in a room. This is achieved by using table lamps and floor lamps, often described as the jewelry of a room.

We all know that the magazines retouch the plugs and cords out of photos anyway, much like they retouch the appearance of supermodels. Something as simple as a misplaced $1.99 outlet can take the design of your dream room to a cramped menagerie of furniture pushed against a wall. The result leaves you wondering why your room doesn’t look like it came out of a style magazine! This lighting problem scenario can leave everyone, including the designer, frustrated with the outcome.

ModernLamp Cordless lamp

ModernLamp Cordless lamp

Challenged with this same lighting dilemma of unsightly cords and restrictive plugs, I proposed the idea of battery operated lighting to my husband. He also happens to be a home furnishings product designer. After two adventurous years in the making, we have a solution for this lighting problem. We have created a patent pending design for rechargeable table lamps that look like traditional lamps except these lamps are truly portable! No more flowers and large plants to fill the void where a table lamp should reside, these lamps can be placed anywhere. No more dangerous cords running under rugs (can you imagine cutting through a 2 thousand dollar woven rug?!), or wrapping/hiding cords around table legs. Rechargeable, cordless lighting is finally here to provide simple solutions to lighting dilemmas in homes everywhere.

About Carrie Fitzwater:
Carrie is an interior design consultant and cofounder/co-owner of Modern Lantern, Cordless Lighting Solutions. When she isn’t solving problems through design and messing up Quickbooks, she loves to spoil her two lil dogs while trying not to over spoil her husband and two grown children/men.

Want to follow Carrie and Modern Lantern on social? You can find them here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ModernLantern
Twitter: @ModernLantern
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mlgirl/
Houzz: http://www.houzz.com/pro/carriefitz/modern-lantern

Yes – you can decorate with pink even if you’re an adult

amanti art

Pink is a great color to use in home decor because it can help create a calm and soothing environment. So why is it that we rarely see people decorate their home with pink? Sure, a person might use a nice flower arrangement, but rarely do you see pink furniture or décor unless it is in the bedroom. The color has gotten a bad rap in interior design and is often thought as being too girly or immature. But you can prove everyone wrong and show just how stylish pink can be with these various items.

The Pillow Collection Rennice Ikat Dots Pillow Fuchsia

Bellacor Number: 837424

Throw pillows

If you’re still a little hesitant to incorporate pink into your home’s interior design, start off small with pink throw pillows in the living room. Even this small change can make a huge impact to the room’s overall look.

Lush Decor Ruffle Pink Shower Curtain

Bellacor Number: 840225

Curtains or rugs

When paired with a neutral wall color, a pink curtain, rug, or combination of both, can have a dramatic effect. The stark, contrasting colors will give your space a sharp appearance that in no way resembles a five-year-old girl’s room.

pink accent chair

Accent chairs

Pink accent chairs are a great way to add a pop of color in a room that needs an extra touch of pizazz. If you have a kitchen counter or a home bar, you might also consider using pink bar stools, which is a way more fun alternative than the typical brown counter stools.

York Wallcoverings Girl Power White Background and Purple and Green 2 Paris Wallpaper

Bellacor Number: 828977

Wallpaper and paint

Even your walls can be pink! It’s important not to overdo it, however, because even if you love pink, you’ll cringe walking into an all-bright pink room. Try painting or using wallpaper on only one wall. You can also paint just the ceiling and leave the walls white.

Uttermost Pink Flamingo Pink Framed Art

Bellacor Number: 1208202


Got a bare wall that could use a little love? Hang up a picture or piece of art that you really like and has pink as the dominating color. Adding pink with artwork is also a great idea if you like to change up your interior design often and don’t want to be stuck always trying to match pink furniture.

If you love pink, then let it show! Decorating with pink will give your space a unique appeal that others will soon want in their own home.

By Wendy Weinert