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7 Interior Lighting Tips for a Brighter Interior

With the end of daylight savings time your home might be ready for a lighting overhaul.

As you spend more time indoors, and the sun sets a lot sooner, you want overhead lighting that keeps your home safe, and rooms bright, and task lighting that makes each room more functional, any time of day.

Today, we’ll share some lighting styles and tips that will help you put together the right design.

Tip #1: You will need a variety of lighting in each room.

The general rule of thumb for all interior lighting is that you want a mixture of lighting at multiple levels throughout every room in your home. For example, picture a kitchen with lighting units above your island, and task lighting underneath your cabinetry; or ceiling units in your living room with table top lamps around the perimeter.

This combination of lighting will make the rooms more functional.

Tip #2: Incorporate dimmers whenever possible

When you install your lighting, consider dimming technology. This can be especially beneficial in your kitchen or living room where you want to adjust the overhead lighting more frequently.

By installing dimmers you will experience many benefits including being more productive, reducing energy consumption, saving money, and making rooms more customizable to the situation.  Just imagine being able to dim the lights for your favorite movie, or brighten up your kitchen when you are cooking dinner.

Tip #3: Be strategic with your lighting placement.

When you are selecting lighting for your rooms think about the function of the room and focal points.

Living Room

Install more indirect lighting so the space is more relaxed. Allow for table top lamps next to a sofa or armchair. If you have high ceilings combine lighting on the ceiling and walls to help give the room a more relaxing feel, so visitors don’t feel lost in a big open space.

Dining Room 

Install lighting so that your dining room table is the brightest spot in the room.  It will grab people’s attention and make them want to congregate for family meals.


Install lights along the walls of your entryway to make passage safe.   You can combine recessed lighting (which we'll talk about later) architectural lighting, or a trendy ceiling light depending on the shape, size and design of your entryway.  Your mudroom lighting design may be more industrial in nature, where lighting is more of necessity.  But in your formal entryway you may use your lighting as a focal point of the design. 

In the case of this Boulder, Colorado home you can use architectural lighting to show off artwork or photography.

Contemporary Entry by Boulder Interior Designers & Decorators Pocci Design Group featuring Carlisle Wide Plank Hickory Wood Flooring


Install plenty of lighting overhead, and plenty of lighting under the cabinets so you will be just as comfortable boiling water for tea, as you would be preparing a gourmet meal.

Notice how this Georgia home has plenty of lighting around the island and the cabinets.  It also helps brighten up the space with a naturall dark backdrop, from the hand distressed wood flooring throughout the home.


Install indirect lighting on nightstands or use wall sconces so create a soft more intimate atmosphere, just like this Washington, DC home.

Game Rooms

If your home features game rooms with foosball tables, pool tables and the like you can use your lighting to draw the attention to these features of the room. Just like your dining room table, hang large, well designed lighting units above your billiard table.  Notice the smaller lamps in the background, positioned on either side of the sofa.

Tip #4: Recessed Lighting or Exposed Lighting Elements

Recessed lighting, just as the name implies is a lighting unit who's structure is hidden, so you only benefit from the light itself, there is no architectural detail.   This is very practical for clean, modern interiors for aesthetic reasons. It is also quite practical in homes that have low ceilings, and hanging lighting units could present an problem.

If you want recessed lighting in your home, you want to make that decision early on since it will affect your builder and electrician.

Contemporary Kitchen by Washington Architects & Building Designers FORMA Design featuring Carlisle Quartersawn White Oak Flooring

In constrast to the clean, crisp look of recessed lighting, you can use more distinctive lighting units.  This rustic kitchen has decorative lighting units all around the room that blend with the rustic wood flooring, Distressed beams and cabinetry, and old stone work.

Tip #5: Pick your Big Lighting First

Next to recessed lighting, begin your lighting design by choosing the largest lighting elements first.

You can want to select these lighting fixtures so they complement the overall design and color scheme of the room.  The lights over the island in this kitchen, match the white color palette, and help maintain a clean modern look. 

Tip #6: Accessorize your rooms with lighting to enhance functionality

You can definitely make rooms more cozy and comfortable with the right lighting.

  • For living rooms, create a reading nook with a table top lamp, in the corner of the room (along with a cozy blanket and a bookshelf if you can).
  • For a bedroom, install recessed lighting above the headboard, if you like to read in bed
  • For the master walk in closet, install task lighting around your shoes and jewelry so its easier to accessorize
  • For a gallery hall install architectural lighting to show off artwork

Tip #7: Use your Lighting for More Than Just Function

When you think about your lighting plan think about some of the ways you can use lighting to show off small features of your home that may be more personal to you.

This Atlanta home has a beautiful wide hallway between rooms with architectural lighting above the custom cabinetry. This shows off the book collection, family photos and other treasured family heirlooms.


How can you upgrade your lighting in your home?

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November 18, 2014

Shanon Sterrett

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Tips to Transform Your New House into a Home

Moving into a new home is as exciting as it is exhausting.

Yet, sometimes, even after all your furniture is arranged and boxes are unpacked, your house doesn’t quite feel like home. Settle in room by room by tackling these easy projects first, and put together a plan for some larger projects down the road. Before long, it will feel like you've been there forever.

White Oak Flooring and Prefinished Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

A Room of Your Own

Pick a room, any room. It could be your living area, which will get the most traffic, or your bedroom. The best way to feel like your house is truly a reflection of you is to make it personal. Start by painting an accent wall in a vibrant color or repaint the entire room. Completely owning a project yourself will make you feel like you’ve done something to really make the house yours. Plus, adding color to the walls is an inexpensive way to transform the mood of a room.  According to Houzz.com over 33% of new buyers plan to take part in an interior painting project when they first move in to their home, because  "on average this is a lower cost project that brings a sense of personalization to a new home".

Next, use framed photos to enhance your décor. Personal photos go miles in making a house cozier. Create a statement wall by arranging a collage of favorite photos. Use frames in different colors, shapes and sizes to make it as fun and creative as want. Or, use clipboards to mount photos on your wall. This way, you can change up photos seasonally for an instant transition.

Light Your Way

Depending on your design aesthetics, you may want to do different things with a room. Lighting can drastically change the mood and atmosphere in a room. The former homeowners might have liked bright fluorescent ceiling lights or art deco sconces that don't match your taste.

The beauty is that you don’t have to keep them. For a vintage-inspired look, consider copper light fixtures which fit in nicely with the trend toward metallic finishes. Or, make your lighting a showpiece with a lamp modeled after quartz. Whatever you choose, don't settle for drab fixtures left by the previous owners.

On-board Inspiration

Stuck on where to start? Create an inspiration board to solidify the decor that suits your tastes. Rip pages from home magazines of your favorite, spaces, furniture or wood flooring. Gather paint chips and collect fabrics that inspire you and pin them to your board. You'll start to see a pattern of the colors and styles that make you happy and lighten your mood.

You can make your boards as large or small as you want but just be sure not to start one and stow it away. Keep adding and expanding until you've recreated the looks you love.

Quick Fixes

Even the most perfectly arranged room needs a final little something. Plants and flowers are the great space equalizers. A vase of fresh-cut flowers on your dining table, coffee table or even bedside table breathes life into any room. Online floral shops like FTD make it easy to match your decor to a wide selection of flower arrangements and plants.

Another quick and easy enhancement is candles. Walk into a room with the flickering of an aromatic candle and let the relaxation begin. Buy candles that scale to the size of your room. For a fireplace mantel for example, look for candles that aren't dwarfed by the space.

Home Improvement

When you move into a new home there may be some larger projects you want to tackle.   This usually falls into two categories - structural and aesthetic.

Structural updates include important components like the roof, HVAC system, security and electrical updates.   Aesthetic updates include new appliance installation, kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel.  Perhaps you fell in love with the home, but NOT the carpet and strip oak flooring that was installed and it is time to explore some replacement hardwood flooring options.   Both are important to your long term satisfaction with the home.  Don't feel like you have to rush into these improvement projects.  Put together a priority list and then begin to formulate budgets for each of the items.  THis can help you develop a management timeline and manage expenses. 

Take Your Time

One final piece of advise, don't rush into anything.  When you first move into a new home, you need to adjust to the new space.  You want to live in it for several weeks to truly understand how you and your family use the spaces.

Once you do you can gain valuable insight.  For example, where do people enter the house most, this will help you understand what is needed in your parlor or mudroom to collect back packs, coats, boots, car keys, etc.  If you learn that everyone wants to charge their electronic devices in the living room, you can set up power strips in a central location so no one goes without.   This settling in period will help you understand what is missing from each room and make adjustments to the layout, furniture placement, and accessories needed in that space. 

If in some cases, you may find that a remodeling project is needed to best meet the needs of your family.  Perhaps you really need a pantry or a laundry room instead of a coat closet, or the mudroom really needs to be better organized to keep it neat.

Moving your stuff into your house is the easy part. Making a house a home is the challenge. Consider it a journey though and don't get overwhelmed. You don’t just own the house—you are living in it and making memories.

How did your make your house a home when you first moved in? What projects did you tackle?

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From Mantles to Table Settings – 5 Sophisticated Fall Home Décor Ideas

It’s time to put away oversized pumpkins, spider webs and other goulish creatures and take a turn toward something a little more sophisticated for your home decor, both inside and outside.

Today, we’ll show you home décor ideas to create a sophisticated atmosphere in your home to take you through the rest of the fall season.

Front Door

To create a sophisticated entry for all your guests forget the pumpkins and gourds and Indian Corn and opt for a simple decorate wreath on your front door like this cotton burr wreath from SouthernLiving.com  It adapts through fall and winter holidays, just change the color of the burlap bow on top.
Cotton Bur Wreath Southern Living on Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog

Source: Southern Living


When family and friends enter your home you want it to be warm and inviting, with clear direction on where they should go next and where they should store their belongings (coats and shoes).  But you also want to protect the flooring in your entryway be it hardwood flooring or tile.  Select an all-weather area rug to collect dirt, water and other debris synonymous with fall weather.  Be sure to choose a simple yet sophisticated design that goes well with your overall décor.

Source: HGTV

If you know who’ll be visiting set up a collection spot for hates, gloves, purses and mittens.  Wicker baskets are an inexpensive and tasteful way to temporarily store items during the holidays. Place a decorative family name plaque for easy identification.

Source: That's My Letter Blog

To make a great impression, consider a spread of nuts, cheese and crackers, wine and cider on an entryway table, so guests can grab a drink, and a snack as soon as they enter the door.  This is great way to tide over growling bellies until the full meal is set up.


Table Settings

And speaking of food, when it is time to sit down for a festive fall holiday dinner, you want the setting to make a statement so pull out the good china and dishes.  
For a sophisticated look we found some great ideas from Homedit.com. 

First and foremost, keep the table neat, and choose your table accent carefully to avoid clutter. Pick an overall theme, be it fall foliage, gourds and pumpkins, or logs, twigs and logs.  And choose a color scheme whether it is consistent or monochromatic.   

Fall Table Settings from Homedit.com on Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog

Source: Homedit.com

If you have an organized seating chart, get creative with your name cards to make the table fun, inviting and organized when it’s time to sit down for the long awaited meal.

Fall Table Setting Name tag Ideas on Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog

Source: Eighteeen25.com

The Mantle

There is probably nothing quite as cozy as settling in the family room and basking in the warmth of a freshly lit fireplace.  Don’t neglect your fireplace mantle when it comes to Fall Décor. 
For something more sophisticated than pumpkins and gourds, choose design elements that are simpler and monochromatic.  Start with some fall photography or botanical drawings of leaves and scenery, in matching frames.  If you like pumpkins paint them white or a metallic hue lie copper or silver.  If you like plants choose some simple greenery and display them in a tasteful pot or vase. 

Fall Mantle Decor Ideas on Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog

Source: MidwestLiving.com


You probably aren’t planning to introduce new furniture just for the fall holiday, so instead just dress it up with cozy layers and simple colors.  This seating arrangement from HGTV.com shows off a contemporary armchair draped with and a cozy gray throw (that goes with all the seasons), and modern lighting with decorative fall foliage, amber and copper accents  in the background.  

HGTV Fall Home Decor Ideas on Carlsle Wide Plank Floors Blog

Source: HGTV

And as the weather turns cooler outside, you can capture some of the beautiful fall bounty by bringing plants, foliage and fall flowers indoors for your tables, hutches and buffet.  Place them in clear or amber glass vases and color up your guest rooms and common areas.

Fall Home Decor Ideas from HGTV on Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog

Source: HGTV

If you prefer a little more color think of the auburn, copper, reds and greens of the fall season and mix those in to your accent pillows and throws.  Or look for items with botanical prints and stitching.

 Source: HGTV

How do you keep your home looking sophisticated with fall decor?

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Bring Hotel Design Home: 3 Secrets from Stylish Boutique Hotels

After a relaxing weekend at a five-star resort, the last thing you want to do is head home. It's not easy to return to your lumpy bed after spending a few nights sleeping on a cloud.

But, there's no reason you can't bring that high-end hotel feeling into your home. We have a few simple design strategies inspired by some of the world's most stylish boutique hotels.

Dark Wood Flooring and Commercial Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Layers on Layers

Nothing screams luxury like the king-size plush bed stacked high with pillows, a duvet and a decadent throw all in crisp white.

The Wynn Las Vegas features a firm mattress topped with a fluffy pillow top feather bed and Frette linens that were designed exclusively for the hotel. This bed can take the quality of your sleep and decor to the next level. The Sealy mattress, box springs, sheets and pillows used in guest suites are available for sale at the Wynn Home Store. Or, if you want the same idea with your own twist, try incorporating white, soft sheets, a white comforter and pillows stacked high to emit a feeling of luxury.

You can also use layers in your seating arrangements and on your flooring surface.  Adorn your sofa's and armchairs with cozy blankets and decorative accent pillows.  Install hardwood flooring and layer it with a colorful accent rug that goes with the overall theme and style of the room.

Work Within a Color Palette

One of the main takeaways from good hotel design is that working within a defined color palette is the best way to create a cohesive feel.

A color palette of metallic gold, marigold, ivory, ebony and steel blue was used to guide the recent $165-million renovation of the guest suites at the Bellagio. By staying within the designated palette, designers mixed a wide assortment of prints, textures and finishes to develop a look that exudes elegance and the classic excess that Sin City is known for.

In addition to the combination of colors you will use for your interior decor, think about the architectural details that will complementyour  palette.  What style and color baseboard will you be using?  Is there a specific architectural style to the windows or doors, and what paint or stain will you use on those.  Your prefinished hardwood flooring can also be finished to match, or complement, your color scheme.  With enough planning you can match woodwork on wall paneling and columns, or decorative stone, like in this upscale Washington, DC hotel.

White Oak Flooring and Solid Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors



Tantalize With Textures

Visual appeal tempts not just the eye, but the sense of touch as well. The more textures you can bring into a room, the better.

While plush textures like velvet, tweed, fur and dramatic knits may come to mind, there are many more options. Others to consider are sleek, like Lucite, steel and glass, as well as natural textures like wood, marble, terrazzo and concrete.

Heed guidance from the decor experts at the Ritz Carlton in Lake Tahoe, and use a minimum of one plush texture, one natural texture and one sleek texture to mimic the over-the-top elegance of your favorite resort.

If you like the idea of textures, why not consider distressed wood flooring for your space.   It is a great way to add character and further personalize the space to your exact style preference.

What ideas have you brought back from your favorite hotel to use in your own home?

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4 Ways to Use Distressed Wood for a Rustic Home Décor

It seems everywhere you turn today you are seeing stainless steel appliances and sleek home designs that create modern, clean spaces. While that is a very fashionable look, the flip side to this genre of home décor is something a bit more eclectic, and what some might call “rustic”.

If you prefer something a little more rustic, then you’ll fall in love with distressed wood for your kitchen cabinets, rustic floors, wall paneling and furniture. If you are in search of distressed wood for your home, we’ve found a few gems to jump start your research.


There are many types of cabinets you may install in your home. Kitchen cabinets, are usually the first priority, but then you must consider cabinets for the bathroom and perhaps a walk-in closet or pantry.

If you prefer a more rustic cabinet design, distressed wood is a great option and there a couple ways to create this look. The most natural way is to use antique, reclaimed and salvaged wood which has an abundance of natural color variation, character, and rustic charm. Some cabinet manufacturers also offer techniques to hand-distress the wood, to create character. You can also use faux finish techniques to create a distressed or antique effect. We’ll show you some examples of each.

Reclaimed Wood

Salvaged wood like barnwood or oak antique flooring can be used to build cabinet doors, when you want natural color and character. Every hole, stain, crack and color variation has been created over decades of natural aging as floor joist or beam, in a factory or barn. In some cases, like the project below you may even get original paint added to the mix. This look is primitive, but charming and as authentic as you could possibly be.

Eclectic Bathroom by Portland Photographers Whitney Lyons

When considering antique wood, make sure you have an understanding of the variety of character and color you are going to get, as well as the rough texture you should expect.

Faux Distressing

Faux distressing is a technique to alter the surface appearance of the wood, create imperfections and make new cabinets look slightly more distressed. One example of the methods used, can be seen from Wood-Mode Custom cabinetry.

Distressed Wood Cabinet Styles from Wood Mode on Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog

Faux Finishes

Faux finishes are another way to distress wood. This involves applying a series of finishes to the wood to create a multi-tone affect. Normally you notice the darker color underneath, with a lighter color applied on top, then carefully but sporadically scraped or rubbed off to create variation, and avoid any kind of pattern to the final finish.

Eclectic Bathroom by Danville General Contractors Gayler Construction

There are other areas where distressed cabinetry might go well with your home décor. Perhaps some built in cabinetry for a wet bat, or rec room.  Notice an antique finished wood is inset in more modern, monochromatic border.  A great example of rustic distressed cabinetry in a more modern setting.

Contemporary Home Bar by Eagle General Contractors Meadow Mountain Homes

Or you have an oversized hutch like this media room below.  It looks like it was salvaged from an antique shop and fits in perfectly with the mediterranean decor. 

Mediterranean Family Room by Miami Interior Designers & Decorators Margaux Interiors

Wood Floors

If prefer a rustic, ecelectic look for your home, distressed wood flooring will be a perfect addition to your home.  We'll look at two of the most authentic ways to create the right look.

Reclaimed Flooring

Reclaimed wood flooring , also known as Antique flooring, is available in a variety of species. The rich amber hues and dark original sawmarks of Reclaimed Grandpa’s floor make for a stunning backdrop.

Distressed Wood Flooring and Reclaimed Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Reclaimed Grandpa's Flooring, Rustic Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Reclaimed Oak is also a popular option because of the inherent durability of oak wood flooring, but also the variety of the nutty brown and gold tones, and rustic character.

Distressed Wood Flooring and Reclaimed Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Reclaimed Oak Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Hand-Distressed Wood Flooring

Antique wood can be very rustic and unpredictable, it can also be slightly more expensive.  If you want to control the character of the floor a bit more, or if you want to reign in your costs there are other ways to create this look.

Watermill distressing, as seen below in this rustic Eastern White pine floor,  maintains the original sawmarks of the when the tree was originally cut, then hand-scraped the edges and lightly sands the floor to create variation in color and texture.  If you like antique cut nail, you can easily install the to add to the authentic look.

Rustic Flooring and Pine Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Watermill Eastern White Pine Flooring From Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
If you want a more durable floor, than use you can also apply this distressing technique to a hardwood floor, like the Walnut dark wood flooring below, from Telluride, CO.
Distressed Wood Flooring and Rustic Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Dark Wood Flooring and Distressed Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors, Telluride, CO Residence

Wall & Ceiling Paneling

If you are considering the walls and ceilings for your home, you might just be considering paint colors or wallpapers.  But you can add rustic charm to your vertical surfaces as well, with wall and ceiling paneling.  This billiard room below uses reclaimed flooring for the wall paneling and wainscoting.
Distressed Wood Flooring and Reclaimed Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Rustic Wood Flooring and Wall Paneling from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


From a rustic headboard for the master suite, end tables for the leather sofa, and a farmhouse dining table for the family, you can find distressed wood furniture for every room of the house. Some companies actually use real reclaimed wood flooring planks to build furniture, like this coffee table from Sierra Living Concepts. This would go well in retro, industrial, or farmhouse style décor.

Rustic Coffee Tables by Fremont Furniture & Accessories Sierra Living Concepts

In the dining room you’ll find tables in a variety of shapes and colors, but a traditional rectangular table is the most authentic. This charming farmhouse table from EcoArt first was crafted to replicate an authentic 19th century French farmhouse table.

Farmhouse Dining Tables by Oak Park Furniture & Accessories EcoFirstArt

If your bedroom is going to be relaxed and casual, a distressed headboard would be a great focal point for your master suite. Faux distressing, like this set from Fable Porch Furniture gives you the look of naturally distressed wood, where paint has naturally chipped away over time.

Traditional Beds by Lawsonville Furniture & Accessories Fable Porch Furniture

Or you can use reclaimed and salvaged wood for a charming, authentic design.

Eclectic Beds by Chattanooga Furniture & Accessories SmartFurniture


A rustic wood countertop could be a great addition to your front entry to drop your keys off on. Perhaps your half bath is going to take on a more rustic look and would look great with this style countertop.  And of course your kitchen island…just image an old farmhouse sink set in some rustic wood planks as a central focal point of your kitchen design.

Traditional Kitchen by Houston Photographers Carl Mayfield Architectural Photographer

How do you use distressed wood in your home decor?

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