Analysis Paralysis - the Number One Reason Your Home Decorating Plans are on Hold


This could be your bathroom!
(Photo courtesy of
Avalon Flooring )
First of all, the good news is that you are reading this post. You're reading it probably because you have all the intentions of giving your home a new look, but somehow nothing gets done.

Life, home, family - everything is calling for your immediate attention. Plans to paint the rooms, find new sofas, rugs or revamp the 90's kitchen and baths are on hold. Days, weeks and months (maybe years) go by and nothing gets done.

Even though I am an interior designer, I am faced with the same dilemma. Truly my clients projects are my first priority during the workweek. There's little time to spend on the updates that are calling for attention in my own home. 

So, you're wondering, how does this designer get out of the Analysis Paralysis roadblock?

Simple - just start with small decisions then action. For instance, here is a portion of the list I used to get our Master Bath renovation started and done:

  1. Create a floor plan to show if the shower area could replace the tub. 
  2. Determine an approximate budget for the project. 
  3. Go to resources like Artistic Tile or Waterworks or Avalon Tile and review tile selections. Select the tile and furnishings for the floor and walls.  (Ok - I'm used to doing this for my clients, so it's easier for me. But I still had to do this).
  4. Go to my local cabinet shop with the tile sample and select the vanity.
  5. Return to the tile or fixture store and place the order the tile, grout, etc. 
What you may notice above is that I use steps to follow that make sense. First, I had to know that a shower could actually fit in the old tub space, before I got too excited about having a zen-like shower to enjoy at the start of my busy days. 

At some point, things will get done when you start the journey. I worked on the floor plan on one day. Another day, I visited the tile store. The point is that it takes action. Thinking about what you want to do is great, but nothing gets done unless you do something, anything!

So, leave Analysis Paralysis behind - start today with just one small thing. Call a friend, call your Mom or call a designer to get the home you've always wanted, the home you deserve to enjoy. 

Call for professional help, for a nudge to get started, for the best year ever:

732 690-2030

M. A. Smith LLC Interior Design
1288 Beauchamps Place, Toms River, NJ 08753
E-mail:  masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID

http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden
Blog: BestDesignCoach.com
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York City




How Much do Interior Designers Charge in New Jersey?


How much will it cost to work with an interior designer in New Jersey?

If you need decorating help with your home, there has never been a better time! Furniture stores, retail stores like Pottery Barn, and even tile stores are set up to help clients with their decorating choices. While some stores may include design help with the purchase of furniture, others may charge a fee added to the price of furnishings purchased at the store.
Or, you can hire an interior designer who is qualified to help with not only furniture, but with kitchen and bath design, floorplan design, architectural review or simply paint color selection, etc.

The beauty of using an independent interior designer is that they work with clients in all aspects of design, remodeling and renovation. We work alongside contractors, trades people (electricians, plumbers, tile installers) or architects to keep the client’s project on track and everyone involved on the same ‘wavelength.’
A designer’s fee is often based on an hourly charge for professional help. For instance, for  consultation and design services, a designer may offer a package that would include such things as: 
  • Five at home visits, including measuring the space and discussing client preferences
  • A floorplan, a furniture plan, a concept board and window treatment suggestions
A plan such as the one above could cost anywhere’s from $750 per room and up, depending on the size of the room and the extent of the interior design project. The plan may specify a floorplan layout, the style and size of furniture, or finish and fabric suggestions.

Another aspect of design assistance is shopping with or for clients at retail stores. Here, the designer often charges an hourly fee (in NJ and Metro NYC typically from $95 to $250 per hour depending on location). 

If the designer shops for the client, the designer may extend designer discounts to the client and only charge an hourly fee to handle the purchase, follow-up and receiving the delivery at the home. 

What's the first step to making the changes you long for in your home?

After an initial meeting with a homeowner or commercial client, the interior designer determines the extent of the help needed. She then prepares a proposal for services, that includes a retainer, fee or payment plan plus proposed schedule. 

While there is no one standard billing method, each design project should be custom-tailored to fit the needs and the budget of the client. Interior design is not only an art,  it includes professional expertise to pull all the pieces together. 

Whether working with a client on a fixed fee, an hourly or a cost-plus fee, your designer will be working throughout the design process to insure that your ultimate goal of creating a beautiful home or commercial space that is on track in accordance with your budget and expectations.
To obtain an estimate for your renovating, remodeling or decorating project, call or email me to schedule a meeting to discuss your project at: 
732 690-2030 or
email me at: masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com

M. A. Smith LLC Interior Design
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith729@comcast.net
Allied Member ASID
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York

What My Best Clients Do To Avoid Stress and Get Their Projects Done (So They Can Enjoy Their Homes)

 Do you get a queasy Feeling when you think about starting a 

Renovation or Decorating Project?

If the idea of a home renovation leaves you at a loss for where to start, surprise - you're in the right place! I know you have decisions to make, people to contact and budgets to stick to and all of that takes time.

Yes, it will take time to meet with architects, contractors and interior designers to help you decide what to keep in your home and what will change.

But, remember, if you take the time, you can eventually enjoy the good things in life - like your home! But you say "I hardly have time now!" Yes, that's true.


It's all about small wins.

Every small win makes my successful clients want to get to their next small win.

And so it is with home renovations or decorating. You schedule meetings with your contractor and interior designer, the first important win.

You discuss the project, another small win. Each day is a day to enjoy the feeling of getting your project off to a great start. Each day you will enjoy a small win or even many small wins.

What a great perspective and a great way to view change! Now, go click your heels and repeat:

"Today I will have small wins, one or many" - it's your mantra, your day to get your project off to a great start!

Call for professional help, for a nudge to get started, for the best year ever:

732 690-2030

M. A. Smith LLC Interior Design
1288 Beauchamps Place, Toms River, NJ 08753
E-mail: masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID

http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden
Blog: BestDesignCoach.com
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York City







5 Ways to the Best Decorated Room in Town

Benjamin Moore colors with an accent color for the chairs 




If you're like me, you are often (or always) thinking about updating your home.
Whether planning on a change in a room or an entire home, follow these important concepts, so your end result looks like your home and is reflective of your lifestyle:

1. Have a clear idea of how the space will be used.
For instance, if you plan on entertaining more than before in a dining room, decide on the total number of dining chairs and table length you need. 

2. Create a budget for the new furnishings.
Dining tables can be anywhere from 'free' (used) to thousands of dollars. What your budget allows will be the starting point for where to source your new table.


3. Understand the elements of great design.
When you see beautiful rooms in Pinterest or Houzz, they were created with the concepts of balance, proportion and scale. They were most likely created through a well-trained eye and/or a professional interior designer

4. Know what decorating style suits your lifestyle best. 
Are you a traditionalist, a minimalist or a lover of mid-century design. There is much to choose from today in the furniture world. In the 'before' it was expected that if you were into a more traditional look, you would avoid contemporary furnishings. However, today it's acceptable to have a mix of traditional with contemporary furnishings.

5. Plan a color scheme for your home. 
Try the idea of connecting rooms with one color that is repeated in the other rooms of your home. For instance, one room could have a blue-green color on the walls and the adjacent room could have a blue-green rug with soft white walls. 


Call for professional help, for a nudge to get started, for the best year ever:

732 690-2030

M. A. Smith LLC Interior Design
1288 Beauchamps Place, Toms River, NJ 08753
E-mail: masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com 
Allied Member ASID

http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden
Blog: BestDesignCoach.com
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York City




Photo courtesy of the Reading Mama 

THE THREE THINGS THAT COULD HELP YOU TO GET YOUR HOME OR YOURSELF READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS OR THE NEW YEAR

It's a puzzle. You've gone through this season for a number of years. You'd think by now you've got a system to keep it all in check - the shopping, the decorating and your weight. But, here you are again with a to-do list as long as a trip to the moon!

I'm with you on that. But, lately I've found that if you just allow yourself to take a moment to think what your really have to do vs. what you think you are expected to do, your list will shrink immensely. 

It' all about mindset. I've discovered this recently when my son suggested a book to read called "A Happy Pocketful of Money" Yes, the book discusses money, but most important it reminds you to keep in mind the following life changing concepts:

  • Stay in the moment - really hard to do, but it will keep you from thinking about the horrible holidays of the past and the 'perfect' holiday you want this year.
  • Believe you already have what you want. For instance - you want to be 140 pounds. So, instead of seeing yourself not there, see yourself as that person now and you will be much more inclined to do what it takes to get there. 
  • Take a few minutes each morning and visually see yourself in your ideal vision. For me, it's to be 139 lbs., enjoying a very busy and successful interior design business and paying off the mortgage within a year. 

By the way, sometimes you need a little help, encouragement and a coach. If it's interior design - I would be your coach! But if it's weight loss, you might consider what I've been successful with lately. It's a program that my son Chris and daughter-in-law Lisa builds for each client. 

And it's simple. They take your weight, age, activity level, goals into account and create the plan that gives you a road map to losing weight and getting in shape. Check out ocdfit.com and email them for details. (The accountability part of the program is what I really needed!)



So far, in two weeks time  I've lost 3 lbs., I'm not hungry and I feel so much better about how I look. 

Do something for yourself or someone you love - get with a program and have fun with it too!


Call for professional help, for a nudge to get started, for the best year ever:

732 690-2030

M. A. Smith LLC. Interior Design
1288 Beauchamps Place, Toms River, NJ 08753
E-mail: masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID

http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden
Blog: BestDesignCoach.com
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York City


What My Best Clients Do To Avoid Stress and Get Their Projects Done (So They Can Enjoy Their Homes)

 Do you get a queasy Feeling when you think about starting a 

Renovation or Decorating Project?

If the idea of a home renovation leaves you at a loss for where to start, surprise - you're in the right place! I know you have decisions to make, people to contact and budgets to stick to and all of that takes time.

Yes, it will take time to meet with architects, contractors and interior designers to help you decide what to keep in your home and what will change.

But, remember, if you take the time, you can eventually enjoy the good things in life - like your home! But you say "I hardly have time now!" Yes, that's true.


It's all about small wins.

Every small win makes my successful clients want to get to their next small win.

And so it is with home renovations or decorating. You schedule meetings with your contractor and interior designer, the first important win.

You discuss the project, another small win. Each day is a day to enjoy the feeling of getting your project off to a great start. Each day you will enjoy a small win or even many small wins.

What a great perspective and a great way to view change! Now, go click your heels and repeat:

"Today I will have small wins, one or many" - it's your mantra, your day to get your project off to a great start!

Call for professional help, for a nudge to get started, for the best year ever:

732 690-2030

M. A. Smith LLC. Interior Design
1288 Beauchamps Place, Toms River, NJ 08753
E-mail: masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID

http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden
Blog: BestDesignCoach.com
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York City







Afraid of Color

Try this Technique to change your ‘Fear of Color’

A Touch of Yellow perhaps?

You probably have a favorite color, one of those colors that you are drawn to for your clothes or your home. You use it often because it makes you feel good and look good.

But there’s a world of color out there and maybe it’s time to try or add a new hue to your repertoire.

For instance, never in my wildest dreams, would I have thought of using gray in my home. I’m a lover of warm colors and even my home office/studio has red walls. Our Foyer and halls had a shade of beige that works well and is timeless.

So, when shades of gray became popular for paint and furnishings, it first seemed to go against my love of warm colors. But since I’ve used gray for a number of my clients, I was open to the idea of using gray tiles in our Master Bath renovation.

It’s been months now since our former tub area became one of my favorite places to start the day. The gray tiles and mosaics in our new shower have that ‘spa’ look that suggests a feeling of tranquility.

Besides tranquility, I’ve found I love gray because it has that fresh, clean and updated look.

Afraid of color? Try a touch of gray or a touch of another color that attracts, yet scares you. Add a touch of color with accessories, lamps, bedding, etc. It doesn't always mean painting walls a new color. Try a new color idea on for size first.

By the way, what color would that be that you've been thinking (forever) to try?


Photo courtesy of Country Living Magazine 

Call for professional help, for a nudge to get started, for the best year ever:

732 690-2030

M. A. Smith LLC. Interior Design
1288 Beauchamps Place, Toms River, NJ 08753
E-mail: masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID

http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden
Blog: BestDesignCoach.com
Serving New Jersey, Connecticut and Metropolitan New York City


Five Steps to Refresh Your Home This Summer


Summer is finally at our doorstep - yay! But wait, all those projects you thought you were going to do  before summer are  - not done.

The painting of the guest bedroom or the new window treatments or even a new furniture plan are still on your to do list. I understand life gets in the way and other things beckon, but nothing will change unless you do the following steps that I do to get started:



  • Start with a writing a list of the ONE thing that needs to be changed 
  • Create a file of pages of rooms, homes or gardens that you think look just great
  • Break the list into steps needed to complete your project
  • Add dates to complete each step onto your calendar
  • Call the one person who can help you complete the steps


For instance, our Master Bath cried for a renovation. However, I am so busy helping my clients with their renovations, I have little time to spare. But making our first appointment with Mark, the contractor, Don our plumber and Daryl our tile installer, put us at the starting gate to get things going. 

Now that our Master Bath is done, our Master Bedroom is next on our list. Our ONE thing that needs to be changed is the paint color. I'll keep you posted with what I have in mind, but for now, I've got to go and do the ONE thing on my exercise list for today.

Call for professional help, for a nudge to get started, for the best year ever:

732 690-2030

M. A. Smith LLC Interior Design
1288 Beauchamps Place, Toms River, NJ 08753
E-mail: masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID

http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden
Blog: BestDesignCoach.com
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York City




What My Best Clients Do To Avoid Stress and Get Their Projects Done (So They Can Enjoy Their Homes)

 Do you get a queasy Feeling when you think about starting a 

Renovation or Decorating Project?

If the idea of a home renovation leaves you at a loss for where to start, surprise - you're in the right place! I know you have decisions to make, people to contact and budgets to stick to and all of that takes time.

Yes, it will take time to meet with architects, contractors and interior designers to help you decide what to keep in your home and what will change.

But, remember, if you take the time, you can eventually enjoy the good things in life - like your home! But you say "I hardly have time now!" Yes, that's true.


It's all about small wins.

Every small win makes my successful clients want to get to their next small win.

And so it is with home renovations or decorating. You schedule meetings with your contractor and interior designer, the first important win.

You discuss the project, another small win. Each day is a day to enjoy the feeling of getting your project off to a great start. Each day you will enjoy a small win or even many small wins.

What a great perspective and a great way to view change! Now, go click your heels and repeat:

"Today I will have small wins, one or many" - it's your mantra, your day to get your project off to a great start!

Call for professional help, for a nudge to get started, for the best year ever:

732 690-2030

M. A. Smith LLC. Interior Design
1288 Beauchamps Place, Toms River, NJ 08753
E-mail: masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID

http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden
Blog: BestDesignCoach.com
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York City







Three ways to Get Inspired for your Home


Where do designers go to get inspired for their interior design projects?

Even the most acclaimed designers have days when they feel uninspired or can't find the answer to a design problem. Sometimes it seems that there is no answer. You mull over ideas, talk to friends and still you're not sure what to do.

Today I'll offer one of the easiest ways I unlock my creative juices to get back on track. It's so easy, you'll wonder why you didn't do it yourself!

Grab a shelter magazine such as House Beautiful or Coastal Living. Or, go to your favorite website such as One Kings Lane, for ideas. (Today they have Bunny Williams Home as a feature design resource.) Also revisit your file of magazine tearsheets that you've been accumulating for your home design project. Chances are you already earmarked a page or photo of a room, or a garden project that called to you and will unlock the idea to solve your design challenge.

Look for my next tip to get you inspired. What's your design challenge today?

Call for professional help, for a nudge to get started, for the best year ever:
732 690-2030

M. A. Smith LLC. Interior Design
1288 Beauchamps Place, Toms River, NJ 08753
E-mail: masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID

http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden
Blog: BestDesignCoach.com

Word of the Day - Transformation

                                                                                   As the saying goes...
 
Anita and Bob's new runners - a perfect pattern
to dress up their new home
 
“A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step…"
                                                                         Lao-tzu

Most days I help my clients transform their homes with new floorplans, colors and beautiful furniture. But yesterday, I decided that it was time to reclaim my best weight and focus on my fitness goals at the end of this summer (while helping my clients at the same time).

Of course, it's not surprising that I started this new plan at the end of August. There's something about this time of year that brings me back to the start of a new semester at school. I look forward to clear, crisp days of September and the colors of Fall.


So maybe this Fall, I'll finally fit into the size 8 clothes that are still in my closet. Actually, most likely I will fit into the jackets and skirts that I haven't worn in ages -  as long as I stay focused on my transformation goals with the 30 Day Isagenix plan. I know from creating plans for my clients, that plans do work. I also know that coaching and open communication with others plays a big part in success. Isagenix is committed to keeping in touch and asking how they can help you.

It's a great start to a new season. Today, I actually feel more energetic and that is good not only for me but my clients as well. We'll take a step every day and focus on our goals - what more could we want?

(Give yourself a break! Consider hiring a designer to help you move things along and pull together a look for your home that will leave them speechless.)

To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030
M. A. Smith, LLC
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden and Best Design Coach
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York

Important Steps To A Successful Renovation

After Construction The Fun Begins!

I will always remember the first day I stepped into my client's newly purchased home. It was markedly different from her home up north. This house was empty and visibly in need of renovation. The kitchen was dark and separated from the living room's view of the water's edge. The question was how could we change the dark rooms, the tattered walls and bring them into the light of day.

To begin the process of renovation, we discussed the what-ifs to get a vision of where to go. After many discussions with the team made up of the client, myself, the contractor and after approval from the home-owners' association - the project started to come to life.

But like many journeys, there were surprises and disappointments along the way during construction. Yes, the wall could be opened up, but the dining room had no place for a china cabinet. Luckily, we found space behind a wall in the dining room to build a built-in china cabinet.

It took months to complete the project. The contractor had other commitments, things slowed down a bit, but all through the days, my client moved through the inevitable upheaval with a 'let's forge ahead' attitude.

Change is hard for some. But, it's those who forge ahead every day and understand that it's a process when you are working on a renovation project. Many steps are needed to go from a dark and dated room to a bright and welcoming home. It's about saying 'yes' to change and yes to better days ahead.

(Give yourself a break! Consider hiring a designer to help you move things along and pull together a look for your home that will leave them speechless.)

Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. - an interior designer serving New Jersey, Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.
To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030
M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden and Best Design Coach
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York


Arranging Furniture Around A Fireplace Made Easy

Armchairs instead of Sofas or Loveseats

How Successful Rooms Are Created

This photo reminds me of a successful outcome for a client who had a space problem in an open floorplan room.

On one end of the room we chose a large sectional for watching their TV. At the other end of the room we decided to place a lovely bleached oak dining table with French blue dining chairs.

The problem was what to do with an off-center fireplace wall that was somewhere in between the seating and dining areas of the room.

Since there was ample space in front of the fireplace, we decided to create a special and intimate seating area - Four upholstered chairs with swivels surrounding a round table for drinks or coffee.


However, early in the design phase it looked like only a loveseat or two armchairs facing the fireplace would work. Yet once I had the floorplan drawn to scale, I determined that the fireplace 'nook' had the capacity to become a very special space for entertaining friends by using four armchairs instead of the usual loveseat.

Answering this challenge reminds me of Steve Jobs who once said "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."

For my clients, this was a solution that looked great and worked for years to come.


Lesson: Never underestimate the power of taking the time to draw a floorplan to scale and to open your mind to more than either or solutions.

Problem Solved: A Great Window Treatment For A Bathroom

Photo courtesy of Hunter Douglas

One thing I love about design for the home is that there is always a challenge (some people call them 'problems') to solve.

One of my clients is looking for a solution for their bathroom window. The window faces a boardwalk, so the window treatment needs to provide for privacy.

But, since the window doesn't need to be closed to views from outside all the time, it needs to have a quick and easy way to adjust light coming into the room.

Lastly,  because the bathroom has various degrees of humidity during the seasons, it should be a window treatment that can hold up to the wettest of conditions.

Problem solved: Since I recently attended a seminar featuring Hunter Douglas products I recalled that their Palm Beach Shutters might answer all the challenges on our list.

With a guarantee to "never warp, crackle, fade, chip, peel or discolor" I think we may have an answer that not only works well, but looks great for years to come!

Discover a Designer's Secret to Creating the Best Dining Room

William Sonoma Heritage Dining Room Table - large but 'airy'

What are the Biggest Mistakes in Selecting Dining Room Tables?

Make no mistake, you have company coming to your home soon! You have visions of friends and family gathered around the holiday, birthday, anniversary, or graduation themed table. But the vision quickly turns into a nightmare! Once again you are faced with one or all of the three biggest problems most have with dining rooms.
  • You realize your room size was designed for midgets - not for seating eight to ten comfortably. Or it's so large you feel like your in an airplane hanger. 
  • Your chandelier never was in style. (By the way, it's installed either too high or too low and doesn't go with anything else in the room.)
  • Your chairs all match (boring).They may be uncomfortable and the fabric was out of style twenty years ago.

Dining Table Ideas 101

Many of the dining rooms I see are often too small or too large for typical family gatherings. Maybe the room can only handle a 36" deep table and no sideboard or buffet. Or the room is too large, so the space makes dining for four look like the rest of the company never showed up.

Wherever you are in your dilemma, keep these basic rules in mind when buying a new dining table so you actually will enjoy and want to use this room for upcoming festivities.

  1. Allow at least 24" of table space for each diner's place setting and room for candles, centerpieces or if you still use them - a salt and pepper set.
  2. Make sure people can get to their seats! Around a table there should be a minimum of 36" from edge of the table to the wall - so you and others can get to their chairs before the food gets cold.
  3. Whenever possible, look for tables that have pedestals so that you and your guests have ample leg room. This way they won't damage the table legs that you won't notice till they have left the scene! 
  4. Be realistic in choosing the finish of the table. If your entertaining is casual, look for a distressed finish that will hold up to all those people (small and large, young and old) who will accidentally find some way to scratch the table top, legs or the table apron.
  5. If your dining preferences lean toward the aristocratic vibe - make sure your cleaning staff use the correct furniture polish on your table and chairs.

For professional interior design for your home, office or commercial project call:


Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. - an interior designer serving New Jersey, including Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.

To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me at masmith729@comcast.net.

M. A. Smith, Ltd., Interior Design
Allied Member ASID

The Best Way To Light Up Your Rooms


Add Texture and Sparkle with a Lamp

Last week, when I entered the room, I noticed not only that it was so dark (even during the day) but that there were no lamps to be seen. Are they just moving into this home or are they getting ready to move out of the house?

Where were the lamps? Were they on order, stolen from the house, in a repair shop?

No, the homeowner never thought that they were needed since there were numerous recessed lights in the ceiling.

Hmmm ... I thought. But what about task lighting when you're reading? What about creating mood from the glow of a lampshade. Or, adding a neat little accent light on the mantel?

As Clodagh says "In a bedroom, you need what I call a 'love light' - a lamp you can dim..." Or perhaps you might agree with James Huniford and I - "A room should have multiple kinds of light to balance it and give it interest."

Every evening after a full day of work, I love to turn on the 'black frog' lamps on our sideboard and light the alabaster lamp on our foyer cabinet. Truly, the chandelier in the Foyer's ceiling does not warm up the space quite like that alabaster lamp.

If you want to make your home dazzle, sparkle or just look great, make sure you include lamps, chandeliers, candles or floor lamps to your design repertoire.

Here are some Lighting 101 suggestions to get you 'lit' :

  • Dimmer switches - no dimmer switches?  Use low watt (15 watt) bulbs instead
  • In a lamp with 2 sockets - use one pink bulb and one white bulb
  • Leave the Swiss cheese look on your sandwich, less is more with recessed lights in a ceiling
  • Go BIG in size with at least one lamp on a table - go ahead, make a statement!