Lighting is an often-underestimated interior design feature. Using different lighting techniques such as under-cabinet lighting, sconces and recessed lighting creates ‘mood lighting’ i.e. creating certain moods such as ambience, restful, warmth and coolness. Incorporating mood lighting throughout your home is a wonderful way to make it your own, welcoming space and is the equivalent of giving you a loving, embracing hug. Here are a few ideas of how you can achieve this in your home.
Living Room Lighting
The living room is the place in the home where family members can relax and unwind. It is the place of sanctuary after a hard day at work. It is also an area in the home that is used for entertaining guests with food, wine and exchanging stories. Therefore this space is crying out for lots of mood lighting to achieve the perfect setting for these occasions.
• Opaque lamps – Using lamps which have opaque shades ensures that most of the light is channeled down. This means that the light output is subtle, tranquil and creates a wonderful homely ambience.
• Accent lighting – This type of lighting can help you to show off features, a painting or an alcove filled with beautiful objects. It is achieved by directing a spotlight directly towards the element you want to illuminate.
• Dimmer switches – Dimmer switches are a must in the living room. This is a practical method of controlling lighting and therefore the mood.
The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home. It is a place of creativity, socializing and enjoyment. Therefore you need great mood lighting, which enables this. Some great techniques include:
• Hanging Pendants – Hanging pendants is a very contemporary technique, which more and more homes with an interest in interior design are adopting. Not only does it make a fantastic aesthetic, but it also acts as brilliant task lighting too.
• Recessed/ Under-cabinet lighting – Using spotlights under your kitchen cabinets is a fantastic way to illuminate your kitchen as not only does it serve as extra task lighting for food preparation etc., is also creates a lovely cozy atmosphere for when you want to wind down and relax.
Bedrooms are a private space, but they are most likely to be used for resting, relaxation and sleeping. Therefore having low level, subtle lighting is paramount. It is also worth noting that a certain amount of task lighting is required because of activities such as reading and putting on make-up. Some ideas include:
• Wall sconce - These are a great way to achieve mood lighting in the bedroom. They can be incorporated on either side of a mirror (facilitates putting on make-up), or even above the bed to really set the tranquil, snug tone.
• Accent lighting – This technique is often used in bedrooms, particularly behind the bedhead, as this highlights the main interior design feature in the room (the bed) and casts a dramatic light around the room.
• Table Lamp – Table lamps are of course one of the most common methods of achieving mood lighting in bedrooms and are brilliant for task lighting.
Other quick wins to achieve mood lighting include using different light bulb outputs, the lower the cozier, and using different colored light bulbs.
Using one of a combination of these techniques means that you can now set the scene of romance, relaxation or entertaining in the very heart of your home.
Katie Nunwick is an interior designer from the UK. She writes for a number of websites including Light My Home
Inspired by the "What's Your Favorite" Questionnaire seen in House Beautiful Magazine each month, I wanted to do a little "Favorites" list of my own to cap off the year. I separated mine into Design and Personal Favorites to give you a better flavor of me and my personal style. Enjoy!
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE...
- HGTV SHOW "Sarah's House" - She has the most similar style and design approach to me.
- MILLION DOLLAR DECORATOR Mary McDonald. Mary's chic style and quick wit cannot be matched. She is everything.
- NATIONAL DESIGNER Tobi Fairley. I also got the privilege to meet her, she is a doll.
- MICHIGAN DESIGNER Michael Coyne. His interiors and office at the Michigan Design Center always inspire me.
- DESIGNER FURNITURE COLLECTION Thomas O'Brien for Hickory Chair. I love the clean lines and forward-thinking silhouettes on his pieces.
- DESIGNER FABRIC COLLECTION Celerie Kemble for Schumacher. Her color combinations and patterns have so much spirit and personality.
- DESIGNER BOOK Inspired Interiors by Suzanne Kasler
- SHELTER MAGAZINE House Beautiful & Traditional Home (can't choose!)
- WEBSITE Pinterest. I have a serious addiction.
- SCENT Crisp Champagne by Voluspa Candles. Makes any room smell chic.
- COLOR Olive green is my all-time favorite. It mixes well with so many neutrals and just makes me happy.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE...
- FRAGRANCE "Flowerbomb" by Viktor & Rolf for Spring/Summer and "Vitt Black" by Ella Sven for Fall/Winter.
- GADGET My iPhone4S.
- PRIZED POSESSION My family. I've got a good group :)
- FRIDGE STAPLE Annie's Shittake Salad Dressing. I buy this in bulk.
- MEAL Al pastor tacos & a chorizo torta from Chela's Taqueria in Ann Arbor, MI.
- MOVIE Meet Me In St. Louis - my family's favorite.
- TV SHOW Parks & Recreation / Mad Men (had to do comedy & drama)
- BOOK Tribes by Seth Godin
- PARTY PLAYLIST Ellie Goulding + Lady Gaga + Beyonce + Kelly Clarkson.
- GULTY PLEASURE Almost every reality TV show on Bravo.
Tastes change from year to year, so we'll see what my new year brings and I'll be back here next December with my round up for 2013.
Happy Holidays :)
This past March I was honored to attend Detroit Home Magazine's 2012 Design Awards Gala. Every spring the magazine awards the area's top designers and architects for their achievements in design in a wide range of categories. I've looked to these winning designs over the years as inspiration, so it was especially thrilling this year to hear I had won two awards upon my first year entering.
When submitting entries for the awards, I selected two of my children's room designs for the Children's Room category. I had just completed them for a client here in Northville and was so pleased with how well they photographed. I spent a lot of time refining the details in these rooms to ensure that everything would reflect the girls' tastes, be fun, yet also grow with them over time. To me, the combination of those three is what helps makes a successful children's room. And upon their transformations, I also felt they could be inspiring for other children's rooms.
After submitting my designs to the magazine in the fall, I had to wait until January for their panel of judges
to review all entries to find out if I had placed. Sure enough a beautiful, orange envelope from Detroit Home appeared in my mailbox mid-January and I was elated to discover I had won for both rooms! I wouldn't know which places I'd won until the Awards Gala, but that didn't matter too much after realizing that I'd finally have my work published in a magazine, a long-time goal of mine :)Complete List of Interior Design Winners
1st Place - Children's Room Design
2nd Place - Children's Room Design
When March rolled around and it was time for the Awards Gala I took my good friend and design consultant, Erica Shy, with me to enjoy the evening. We had a great time strolling the GM Heritage Center with delicious food, cocktails, and mingling with the other designers and vendors. When they started announcing the winners, it was so fun for us to view these designs in detail on the large screen projectors. For design enthusiasts, such as Erica and myself, it was a real treat. After hearing previous winners tying themselves for projects, I jokingly told Erica "I bet I tied myself for 3rd place," but was pleasantly (and I mean very pleasantly) surprised to hear I had won First and Second! We did a little happy dance in our seats and then composed ourselves to take in the rest of the night's winning designs :)
Below is a highlight video from the Gala, and if you look closely you can spot me in it a couple times!
The excitement of winning two awards was fantastic, but even better than that, the feeling of being included in this elite group of designers, representing our hometown of Detroit made the whole experience so special. And while I'm still thrilled from the awards (and buying copies of this spring's issue left and right), I'm also looking forward to the projects I'm wrapping up now. I've been doing a lot of remodeling jobs lately, and hopefully some of these great transformations can be photographed in time to enter the awards for next year.
As always stay tuned for more updates, but be sure to pick up a copy of this spring's magazine (or check out the Digital Edition
) to appreciate all the stunning designs!
This fall I was honored to participate in the AAUW Designer Showhouse, where I designed the home's kitchen & breakfast room. The event was for a wonderful cause and showcased a select group of interior designers in one of Northville's most historic homes, a beautiful 1929 Tudor.
I brought my "updated traditional" aesthetic to both rooms through new paint colors, textiles and furnishings, taking inspiration from the home's landscape and architecture.
The following images are materials I selected for my designs:
Paint Colors (both Benjamin Moore)
Furniture (R.J. Thomas Showroom)
Here's how the rooms looked when we started...
Breakfast Nook - Before
Kitchen - Before
And here's the transformation...
The 2011 Showhouse turned out to be a great success for the AAUW and was a wonderful experience for me as a designer. I felt so fortunate for the opportunity to showcase my work in my community and to work alongside such a talented group of designers.
My goal was to highlight the rooms in their best possible light in keeping with the traditional feel of the home, and I hope I was able to inspire some people along the way :)
At TGI we have been working very hard on a local, client project over the past 6 months. This project started with our client's kitchen remodel and has expanded to include their adjacent dining room, living room, and powder room. As those elements come to a close, I wanted to give you all a sneak peak behind my design.
We found inspiration from this beautiful, Kravet fabric that will end up being used in our window treatments. This floral has a fun and updated feel while also providing a color palette of soft greens, blues and taupes that we'll use throughout the space.
As for window treatments, they always go a long way in completing a room, and our client's kitchen and dining room were no exception. We decided to go with the following treatment styles in the same fabric to add a softened texture and cohesive feel to the space.
Relaxed Roman Shade
Box- Pleated Valance
As for some of the furnishings in the room we decided to go with an english roll-arm style loveseat and armchair for a comfortable yet classic look.
English Roll Arm Loveseat
Round Side Table
The fabrics we selected for our upholstery furniture are both done in Kravet Smart fabrics. They're durable, affordable and will really help to reinforce our color scheme in the space. This small-scale blue & green fabric for our armchair brings out our accent colors in a subtle way. Our loveseat is then upholstered in a neutral, chevron fabric to simplify the overall look and provide a timeless piece of furniture for our clients.
Kravet Smart: King Pool
Kravet Smart: Classic Chevron, Umber
We then put a lot of focus on the last element in the space, our custom fireplace. We designed it as our focal point, viewable from all three areas in the open floor plan. Our trusty carpenter built a custom mantel with inset panels and moldings to add a more substantial look. He then applied similar moldings and arch-top detail around the adjacent built-in shelves. We painted all the trim and woodwork in the space a "cloud white" to brighten the space and contrast nicely with our fireplace-surround consisting of soft green, yellow and neutral tiles (the yellow was thrown in as another fun accent but will unite the adjoining front, entry room of the client's home...our next project which will be painted yellow). These 4x4 tiles from Virginia Tile were done in a matte finish to provide a soft overall look that would add interest but not compete with our light green wall color.
Wall Color: Benjamin Moore - "Nantucket Breeze"
Middle Stage Image: Here you can see the new wall color, painted mantel and built-ins. This picture was taken right before our new, bronze fireplace door and surrounding accent tiles were installed.
Currently we are waiting for a window wall to be installed by the dining room. There is a 6' sliding door on this wall now, but a new stylized sliding door with sidelights is on its way. This will give our client 14 more square feet of natural light and make the space feel even bigger!
After the window wall installation in the coming week, we'll just be waiting on our rug, furniture and window treatment installations. Then our last step will be selecting artwork and accessories.
Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for more updated pictures as our project comes to a close!
Happy Friday :)
I thought it would be fun to showcase a different color in upcoming blogs and with Valentine's Day quickly approaching, pink was the obvious choice for this week.
Pink is a color that can be used to promote a fun and flirty spunk, yet it can also be spaced out in subtle ways to add that soft, feminine and romantic touch.
Here are some of my favorite Pink inspirations...just lovely :)
With New Year's Eve upon us, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite spaces that sparkle just as brightly as that ball will at midnight tonight :)
Notice the reflective glass, tiles, mirrors, and lighting that all help to bounce light throughout these spaces. A little shine can really dress up a room and create a more elegant, glamorous look.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy & beautiful new year!
Check back every Friday in 2011 for more design inspiration, tips and advice!
Decorating your first apartment can be overwhelming, so I've gathered up some inspiration photos and tips for any new apartment or condo owner looking to transform their blank canvas!
1. Paint if you can: If your complex allows you to paint, by all means do! Color enhances your mood and is a great pick-me-up from the depressing builder's white they give you. A color on your walls also allows artwork and wall decor to really POP! Your space will instantly feel cozier!
This dark gray paint provides the perfect backdrop for white ceramic accessories and a colorful piece of art!
2. Oversized Mirrors & Artwork: Large-scale wall decor makes a bigger statement than lots of little pictures and prints. Think of larger items and you'll need less of them!
This apartment bedroom shows how simply adding 1 oversized mirror and 1 large frame are all that's necessary to complete the look.
One large, mirror is all that's needed in this bedroom to make a unique design statement.
3. Group frames together If you have a collection of photographs or prints you'd like to display, you can make more of an impact by grouping them together. Hang prints together tightly with minimal spacing and go for oversized matting and identical frames for a rich, gallery look.
Different size compositions still look unified with thin, black frames
All white mats and frames give a super chic look
4. Skip the matching bed & bath sets. Instead of the "bed in a bag" and coordinating bathroom sets, opt for simple, solid sheets and towels, then pick the accent color of your choice!
In the bedroom, keep your bedding neutral, and bring in a color scheme through pillows, drapes, lamps and accessories.
Loving this bedroom's color scheme of black & white with accents of blue. So chic!
In the bathroom, look for crisp white or gray towels and rugs with a simple touch of color. And if you can, avoid the matching counter accessories, instead opt for clear glass jars to hold cotton balls, q-tips, etc. and then find ceramic pieces in your accent color for water cups and toothbrush holders.
Now this is a grown-up bathroom. White towels with a darker shade of blue tie in the wall color without overdoing it.
5. Tie it all together: Whether it's your inspiration or the final touch, you'll need some pieces to unify your space. This could be an area rug, a great piece of art, a colorful print for pillows, or a grouping of accessories. Consider all these items in addition to your wall color and upholstery to have a well-balanced room :)
The colorful canvas and ceramic vases bring this cheery living room's color scheme to life.
With these tips in hand, you should be well on your way to making your first apartment a home of your own!
Looking for a creative gift idea this holiday? Consider gifting my in-home consultation package as a thoughtful way to help a friend or family member improve their home with professional design advice! Happy Holidays from TGI :)