4 inspiring female interior designers in the industry today

The interior design industry is full of talented artists, but today I want to highlight the women who are making an impact and raising the bar for other creatives. This list is by no means exhaustive, but I feel these four female interior designers are some of the top in the industry due to the inspiring and beautiful work they create.

Charlotte Moss

Charlotte Moss

Photo credit: Charlotte Moss

Moss started her business in 1985 and since then has been designing homes, executive suites and lending her talent to retail stores. She is well known for pushing the limits in design and has created a signature style through her use of American, European and Classical influences. Moss has won several awards, including “The Timeless design Award” by the Royal Oak Foundation.

Kathryn Ireland

Kathryn Ireland

Photo credit: Jon Hugstad

Practical homeowners who prefer a comfortable, stylish interior will love Kathryn Ireland. She is well-known for her bohemian style and continues to be ranked in top designer lists. She was even named one of the 10 designers who would influence the 21st-century style by House & Garden.

Laura Day

Laura Day

Photo credit: Laura Day

Inspired by the natural beauty of her rural, Arkansas home, Laura Day spent her early twenties traveling the world, seeking out more incredible sights and landscapes. Now, Day uses her experiences and memories to create fresh designs you are bound to love. Check out some of her work here and you’ll see what I mean.

Tyler Dawson

Tyler Dawson

Photo credit: Tayler Dawson

Having started Tyler Dawson Design in 2007, Dawson is still an up-and-coming designer. However, her talent is already recognized and her work has been featured in House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living and more. Her work is often characterized by the warm, comfortable and playful feel, but she always seeks to make each project unique.

Get inspired by the designs and styles these four women have created. You might just learn some new ideas and approaches for decorating your own home!

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

Need a plan for the holiday? Consider these three 4th of July entertaining ideas

I love the Fourth of July. Unlike other holidays like Christmas or New Year’s, Independence Day can be celebrated outdoors where the temperature is warm and the sun is shining. I know many of you already have plans in place, but if you don’t, there is still time! These three July Fourth entertaining ideas are fun and easy to put together.

4th of July Strawberries

Photo credit: Pinterest

Enjoy a small picnic

You don’t have to throw a large party to enjoy the holiday. Gather your closest friends or have a picnic with just your family. To make the picnic festive, set up blankets, pillows and napkins designed with red, white and blue graphics. For food, consider making something that is both delicious and patriotic, such as strawberry and blueberry cupcakes.

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POLYWOOD® La Casa Cafe Five-Piece Dining Set w/ Cushions

Host a potluck

If you know a lot of people looking for something fun to do over the Fourth, why not have them over for a potluck? With a potluck, guests will help by contributing food and supplies, so you won’t have to spend all week preparing. Ask guests to get creative and host a competition to see who brings the most patriotic dish or wears the most red, white and blue!

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POLYWOOD® South Beach Adirondack Chair

Invite guests over to watch fireworks

I love watching fireworks with friends and family. If your home offers a good view of the town’s annual fireworks display, invite friends, family and neighbors to watch them with you. Be sure to offer blankets, chairs and pillows to keep guests comfortable throughout the show. You might also want to have insect repellent handy in case the bugs are out and ready to attack.

Celebrating the Fourth doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. With the right people, beautiful weather and a few patriotic touches, you can make this year’s Fourth of July a special occasion.

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!

clarendon

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

 

The tiny house movement: what it is and why it’s so popular

Tiny house

Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

Lately I’ve been hearing or reading a lot about “tiny houses” (also called “small houses”). It has made me curious, so I wanted to take the time to learn more about what these tiny houses are and why so many people are talking about them.

It seems that a tiny house is exactly what its name implies. Several sources define a tiny house as being less than 1,000 square feet, but that’s generous considering many who build or buy one choose to go as small as 400 square feet or less. Although the new trend is in no way taking over, the small house movement is growing in popularity; many Americans are now choosing to downsize or start their life in these tiny homes.

Floor plans of a tiny house

251 sq. ft. of living space
Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

The question is, “Why?” Why are people choosing to live their lives in such small spaces? Well, there are many reasons, but the biggest ones are because of financial concerns, environmental impact and the desire for freedom. Tiny homes are a much more affordable and sustainable living solution, and many people use them to travel. They are, after all, a much more comfortable way of moving from place to place than an RV.

Although I’m not ready to pack up my home and move into a tiny house just yet, I think there is a lot of good in the movement. It’s an adjustment for sure, but many creative architects and designers have managed to make their small houses feel open and even spacious. It’s all about choosing your furniture and accessories carefully. A futon, for example, can be a great substitute for a couch or sofa in one of these tiny houses, as they are typically smaller and serve a dual purpose. When decorating, look for accessories that make an impact so you can still enjoy style with less decor.

Kichler small ceiling fan

Perfect ceiling fan for a small space

 

What are your thoughts on the tiny house movement? Do you think you could live in such a limited space? Write a comment and let us know!

By Wendy Weinert

 

The Perfect Gift for Your Next Party

Summer brings lots of pool parties, birthday parties and family events. If you are the one hosting, the right décor and design is often top of mind, leaving the gifts to figure out later. This year, give a gift that is one-of-a-kind. If you are in a rush or can’t find the perfect gift, we have a few suggestions for you!

Consider Wall Decor

Wall décor is not only for adults but is a great gift for kids as well! No matter what your style is, wall decals from RoomMates make decorating easy and fun! Featuring your favorite licensed art like Minnie and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Winnie the Pooh and Disney Pixar Cars, kids can bring their walls to life with their favorite characters and designs. (Wall decals by RoomMates also offer a wide selection of wall quotes, trees & branches and floral décor for adults). The best part is these wall decals are peel and stick. No sticky residue gets left on your walls! Plus, temporary decorating is great for kids since their favorite characters change so frequently!

Wall decor makes a nice gift if attending a child’s birthday party that has theme! The Frozen line is especially popular and is a special gift to give at a Frozen themed birthday party. What little girl wouldn’t want to open up her very own giant Elsa and hang her right up on her bedroom wall?

RoomMates Gift idea- Elsa

And one of our favorite reasons to give wall décor as a gift, it pairs well with bedroom themes. If the child’s bedroom décor is based on Mickey Mouse, giving a giant decal of Mickey or Mickey and his friends, just adds to the collection. Plus, after the décor is hung, it makes a nice bold statement on the wall.

RoomMates Gift idea- Mickey cropped

Personalized Wall Art

A cool spin on wall decals, give a custom wall decal for a gift that is really memorable. RoomMates custom wall decals offer the ability to personalize your own wall sticker. Use one of their premade templates and add your name or phrase. A great gift for any child, there is nothing that brings a room to life than a personalized peel and stick decal that says “Sasha’s Room.”  Like the wall décor line, customizable wall art is also removable and reusable!

RoomMates Gift idea- Personalized

Children receive so many toys. Consider a gift that is out of the box and fun! Remember wall décor is child friendly! We particularly like this kind of gift because of the application process! It is nice for the child to decorate together with an adult and be amazed by the peel and stick of the decal on the wall as they move it from wall to wall.

Consider something out of the box the next time you give a gift!

 

Jessica Toutsis

About Jessica Toutsis

Jessica Toutsis is the Digital Marketing Manager for Roommatesdecor.com is passionate about blogging, all things Web, and of course wall decals! Her expertise lies around content development, as well as SEO and social media and she frequently writes about home decor, re-purposing and home organization. To read more of Jessica’s blog posts, follow the RoomMates blog and add Jessica on Google+