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

Dark room? Top tips for choosing a light fixture

Lighting is such a simple concept, yet there are so many considerations – it’s enough to drive even the savviest interior designer batty. If you are updating your home’s lighting, you might feel a little overwhelmed when choosing fixtures. Find your perfect lighting option – and a little bit of Zen – with these top tips for choosing a fixture.


Photo Credit: pin/414823815647632268/

1. Blend aesthetic features

Just as accessories tie together your favorite outfits, lighting fixtures are the jewelry that ties together the overarching design aesthetic of a space. Make sure color, style and detailing are all aligned with the main theme of the room.

2. Consider scale and proportion

The size of the room should be a main consideration when selecting the size and type of fixture for the space. Too big and it will be overwhelming; too small and the fixture won’t ever get noticed. To get a good general idea of appropriate fixture size, start by adding the length and width of a room. Take that sum and replace feet with inches. A 10-by-20-foot room has a sum of 30 feet, which means a fixture of about 30 inches would be appropriate for the space.


3. Decide on the light’s purpose

You may think this is a silly question – of course the purpose of a lighting fixture is to provide light. But it’s important to dig deeper. Is the purpose of your fixture to provide overhead light while dining, task lighting in the bathroom, or accent lighting around your favorite painting? This will dictate the features and type of fixture you should select. A sconce will function much differently than a chandelier or a recessed lighting fixture.

4. Consider timeless materials

When shopping for a light fixture, consider the material and how well it blends with the interior design. If you know you’ll be using this light fixture for many years to come, choose a material that is timeless so that in five years, it doesn’t date the space. If you want to play with trends, update shades and glass globes, and keep the fixture classically appealing.

As Featured in Veranda: Troy Lighting brings grace and elegance with the Delacroix collection


A lighting industry leader since the 1960s, Troy Lighting’s fixtures demonstrate their passion for quality, design, value and service. A stunning example is their Delacroix collection, which was featured in the July/August issue of Veranda magazine. Delacroix combines an old world style and aesthetic with cutting edge technology and artisan craftsmanship. This transitional piece can work well in any interior, from modern to traditional, and would look great in an entryway, kitchen or dining room – not to mention myriad contract applications.

Made from hand-worked iron, it also features the warmth of aged wood beading and hand-carved accents, as well as distressed gold leaf, giving it a luxurious, yet restrained feel. The French bronze finish confers a sense of classic European elegance. The Delacroix collection includes multiple pendant sizes and shapes to fit a variety of rooms and uses, all while maintaining its distinctive style.

Delacroix Room

Troy Lighting’s dedication to unique design, superlative service and exquisite craftsmanship – all at a reasonable price – has allowed them to become an industry leader in its 50-year existence. They create both indoor and outdoor fixtures that are unlike anything else in the marketplace.

Some of Troy Lighting’s outdoor pieces have been spotted in stylish living rooms and dining rooms. Hand-forged iron, hand-applied finishes and hand-blown glass are just a few of their signature materials, which, combined in both new and classic ways, have come to establish the Troy Lighting style and brand. They take great pride in their design, engineering and inspection standards. It’s through this brilliant combination of product and service that they’ve thrived in the marketplace for half a century. Explore their whole collection, including pendants, sconces, indoor and outdoor fixtures and bathroom and kitchen lighting, all available at Bellacor.

“Sconce It Up!”

By Corey Damen Jenkins for

In your mind’s eye, picture a woman getting ready for a formal evening dinner. She wants to make a great first impression on her peers and opts for the classic “black dress”. She makes this choice due to the dress’ versatility; she knows it can be jazzed up or dialed down depending on her accessories. Yes, the right choice of shoes, clutch and—of course, jewelry—can take this simple garment to the realm of the wow.

Little Black Dress

As an interior designer, I believe that wall sconces are like jewelry— for the house. They can make even the blandest rooms more appealing. With careful planning sconces can perform as sculptures or works of art. Today, there is an almost mind-blowing assortment of them available on the market, in all shapes, sizes and styles. Some are understated, while others are over-the-top. There are some sconces that look amazing with silk or glass shades, while others are most stunning with their light-bulbs exposed. And while reproductions are great, antique sconces add instant culture and start conversations.

I encourage my clients to avoid skimping on lighting–even when working with a limited budget. Like jazzing up that simple black dress, an inexpensive sconce can make a room look very posh and high-end. While sconces can be chosen to compliment a particular “period” design style, you can also have a lot of fun with them! For example, I like juxtaposing weird, abstract sconces against more serious, traditional architecture.  The end result is something whimsical, edgy and unexpected.

decorating with sconces

Photo credit:

Sadly, some home-builders don’t give much thought—if any—to wall lighting while planning new construction. Instead they build these big spaces with naked walls devoid of character which later leaves homeowners scratching their heads on what to do to “fill the space”.  As a result, many are overwhelmed and either leave these walls bare, or try filling them up with under-scaled artwork. And this is particularly tragic because sconces are not only awesome alternatives to hung artwork, but they also improve a room’s functionality by providing more ambient light.

Of course, consulting your interior designer and electrician is essential for determining the proper scale, feasibility and installation of wall lighting, but such professional input is well worth it. Embrace the versatile nature of sconces and use these accessories as jewelry for your home!

Corey Damen’s Top 10 Sconces:

1) Dessau Home Antique Gold Wheat Candle Sconce


 2) Currey & Company French Gold Leaf Boudoir Wall Sconce


3) Hudson Valley Cheshire Four-Light Antique Nickel Sconce

Sconce #3

4) Corbett Graffiti Silver Leaf and Polished Stainless 2-Light Wall Sconce

Sconce #4

 5) Crystorama Brentwood Polished Gold Two-Light Wall Sconce with Swarovski Elements Crystals


 6) Hudson Valley Jefferson Old Bronze Three-Light Wall Sconce


7) Currey & Company Bel Esprit Antiquity Gold Right Wall Sconce


8) Currey & Company Zara Two-Light Plug-In Wall Sconce


 9) Corbett Harlow Tranquility Silver Leaf with Polished Stainless Accents 2 and 4-Light Wall Sconce


10) Corbett Femme Fatale Small One-Light Silver Leaf Sconce


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From blah to spa: How bathroom lighting can turn your space into an oasis

Whether your bathroom is hectic or heavenly depends on more than just the size of the room. With the right décor and lighting touches, any bathroom can become more tranquil, providing you a spa-like getaway whenever you need it.

Lighting should be at the heart of your bathroom design – and the more options you give yourself, the more versatile the room will become. But the details of the lighting you choose will also make a big difference, so select wisely.

Think muted 

Rather than super-shiny and crystal clear designs, frosted glass and muted metals can create a softer, more relaxing atmosphere. A vanity light like the Minka-Lavery Aged Stone Three-Light Bath Fixture is also a great choice that also incorporates natural stone for an organic feel.

Layered lights Bathroom

Flipping one light switch and being overwhelmed with brightness is the exact opposite of the spa effect. Consider putting overhead lighting, sconces and vanity lighting on separate switches that better allow you to control where the light is coming from.

Dim it down

If you’re limited in the number of fixtures you can add to your bathroom, one simple way to achieve a more versatile look is to put your existing fixtures on dimmers. That way, you can dial down the brightness when you want a more serene space for relaxation.

Everyone needs a place to escape, even in their own home. With a few simple changes in lighting, the bathroom can become your go-to space when you need a little R&R.

Where and why to use wall sconces


It’s patently obvious why you need overhead lighting fixtures, but the endless options for accent lighting can be confusing enough that some homeowners forgo them completely. But if you do, you’re missing out on an opportunity to add functionality and extra touches of style throughout your interior design. Sconces in particular are versatile enough to be used throughout a home and can add a variety of effects that enhance your space.

If you’re unsure about how to get started with sconces, follow these tips about where – and why – to use them.

Bathroom: This is the room where your day gets started, but also where it ends, so bathroom lighting needs to be adaptable. Bright light gives you that extra energy you need to shake off sleep in the morning, but using calming, offset light as you get ready for bed can help you settle down for a good night’s sleep. Sconces are great for bathrooms because they can do both jobs. In the morning, used in tandem with overhead lights, they brighten the whole space – and your view of the mirror. Use them on their own at night for a more serene, glowing light.

Guest room: Giving your visitors a comfortable place to stay goes a long way toward making you the host with the most. Placing sconces on either side of a bed is a simple touch that makes a room much more comfortable – your guests can read by them and not have to worry about getting out of bed to shut off or turn on an overhead light.

Dining room: Here’s a secret from food stylists – your meals will look a lot prettier when they’re not presented under glaring direct light. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, a cozy holiday meal or an at-home date night, sconces can provide the offset, glowy lighting that will set the atmosphere perfectly. Sconces are also great above a sideboard or credenza; set out an array of dishes, buffet style, and sconces will provide the perfect amount of extra lighting.

These ideas can get you started, but as you explore your options, consider how sconces can enhance other rooms in your home, from the kitchen to the living room and beyond.

Choosing the Right Wall Sconce

Wall Sconces serve more than one purpose in that they can accentuate something on the wall (for example a picture or a shelf) in the form of accent lighting, or they can create mood-lighting with a soft glow. In addition, they can provide functional task lighting around a mirror. Depending on the situation, Wall Sconces are a very useful part of the overall lighting scheme.

If you are looking for a wall sconce for your bedroom, to assist in late night reading, this qualifies as task lighting. I would suggest choosing a sconce that shines down to help better illuminate the space.  An example of this type of sconce is featured below.

Choosing a sconce to highlight a picture on the wall of your living room, or to illuminate your hallway can be styled very differently from the sconce you chose for your bedroom.  The sconce that will be used as accent lighting should be tailored to the item it is illuminating.  For example, if you are showcasing a picture on the wall, I would suggest a light that can be angled and directed specifically at the piece you are featuring.  Something like the sconce featured below.

When illuminating your hallway, a more traditionally-styled wall sconce could be used.  A sconce that does not direct the light into one particular direction, but illuminates an overall space instead.

Finally, the same type of sconce that can illuminate your hallway, can also help to illuminate your workspace in the bathroom—particularly on each side of the mirror.  These types of sconces can be viewed as both accent and task lighting.  Notice how the bath lighting below could be paired together around a mirror to create a well-lit, workable space.Whether you are looking for a sconce to accent an area of your home, or to help you illuminate a space to make it more functional, Wall Sconces are very important elements in the entire lighting design.  Armed with the right information, you are sure to choose the right sconce for your needs.

Wall Sconce Tips and Tricks

Overcome any design obstacle using these wall sconce tips & tricks.

The creative use of a wall light or sconce can play up the best features of a room. Sconces can easily provide general, task, or accent lighting in all areas of the home.

Avoid shadows: The combination of a bath strip and wall sconces provide ideal lighting in a bathroom. The placement distributes light along the side of the face, top of the head & under the chin.

Create drama through repetition: This hallway photo from Hubbarton Forge shows how the combination of a ceiling fixture & wall sconces can unite a space. Use a series of wall sconces to accentuate the path & create a sense of drama.

Test out the location with a plug fixture: Currey & Co offers the most sophisticated fixtures & many are wired with a plug. It is the perfect solution if you are renting your home or are not ready to commit to a final location. Rhine gold scrollwork is adorned with simple strings of glimmering beads.

Clear the clutter from your nightstand: Replace bedside lamps with a wall light designed for bedtime reading. This fixture from Access Lighting features a 60 watt sconce that can be switched off independently of an adjustable arm with LED light. The arm can direct light onto the page to allow one person to sleep with the other reads. As a rule of thumb, mount the wall fixture 30 inches above the mattress & ensure that the on-off switch is within reach.

Use eco friendly materials to update your home: The Fascination collection from Varaluz features Hand forged frame supports circles of varying sizes that are filled with a variety of shaped Rosettas. It is made with with 70% or greater recycled steel and recycled glass.

Add a bit of sparkle & character: Who doesn’t need a little more bling in their life? The Bling Bling collection from George Kovacs features crystal accents.

Use combination of fixtures from the same collection to unite a space. The Tacoma™ Lighting Collection complements a variety of interior styles. The trestle pendant works well with an elongated dining table.

Shelly One-Light Bath Fixture Use classic forms with rich wall colors. Update a space with deep, rich wall colors. A ceiling fixture in a small bathroom may be sufficient with light colored walls. Wall sconces will “pop” against dark walls & add light back into the space. The Shelly bath collection from Hinkley Lighting is shown in chrome & is also available in brushed nickel. The Hinkley Lighting website features lifestyle images that were taken in private homes that they used as sets to feature their products.