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3 Ways to Bring More Natural Light Inside

Summertime provides us with a great reminder of how refreshing the sun is in our lives. 

You get your daily dose of Vitamin D and enjoy the beautiful, bright skies.  Not only is this healthy for us, but it helps brighten our mood.  But unless you live in a glass house, or a house with magnificent floor-to-ceiling windows, you probably don't get to enjoy this as much as you'd like to.

So today, we are going to explore some ways to brighten up your rooms all year round. Light colored paint on walls, adding solar tubes, adding clerestory or transom windows to dark areas, and trimming bushes and trees that are in front of windows will all add to the amount of natural light that enters your indoor living space.

Lighten up with Paint

Make the most of any natural light that does come in with the right colors on the walls. Design experts know that it’s challenging to pick good colors for rooms that get insufficient natural light. Dark, shadowy rooms, hallways, basements, rooms without windows, and rooms that face north all need not just light colors on the walls, they need the right colors that won’t be grayed out by shadowy light.


Ellen Divers of Divers Color says that it’s true that light colors reflect more light. However, in low-light cases light colors can appear dingy and often don’t work as well to light up the space, because there’s not enough light coming into it to reflect. Divers notes that saturated colors work best in dimly lit rooms.

In addition to modifying your paint colors on your walls, you can also transform your room with a lighter finish on your wood floor.  Even though dark wood floors are very popular, they can make small rooms, or those without a lot of natural light, feel smaller.  Consider a natural finish on your flooring, or use a Whitewash style stain, such as you see here.

Hardwood Floors and Whitewash Stain from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Add Solar

Add solar lighting by putting in tubular skylights, or solar tubes. They bring light from the top of the roof into the house for a dramatic difference in the amount and quality of natural light. Solar options don’t require extensive installation as regular skylights do, they don’t leak, and you can save money on electricity by reducing the need for interior lights.


Use tubular skylights to bring light into the dark corners of your home, such as back hallways and internal rooms without windows. Coupled with a mirror to reflect the new natural light, tubular skylights can ensure a more steady flow of light to formerly shadowy areas.

Replace Existing or Add New Windows

If your budget allows and your windows are in poor enough condition to warrant a restoration, replacing windows is an effective way to add more natural light to your interior. Bring more natural light inside with windows by adding shaped or transom windows. Shaped windows are any high windows placed above eye level, used to bring in more light and add a design element to your space. They come in different shapes and sizes. Transoms are windows installed above doors. Both are used to bring in additional natural light.


Incorporating more natural light into your home saves money on electricity, changes the energy in the space, and allows for a larger variety of design factors. Simple methods to bring more light into your home include trimming trees and bushes blocking windows, thoroughly cleaning windows so they aren’t reducing visibility, and keeping drapes and blinds open. 

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Hang It Up to Dress it Up - Fashionable Tips and Ideas for Your Wall Decor

Wall fashion is so much more than paint color or wallpaper selection. 

There are other components you can use to dress up, dress down, or further personalize your room.  Wall decor can be fun to plan, organize and install.  It's a great do-it-yourself project, although you may want a helper who can assist you with layout and alignment.

Here's a few more tips, ideas and reminders to inspire you and help you plan for your wall decor.

Your Canvas

Next to your wood floors, your walls are the largest canvas of your home. 

Before you select the right wall fashion for your home you need to understand the type of wall you have to work with.

Do you have a traditional sheetrock or plaster wall that you can paint over and nail to? 

This is an easy canvas from which to start. Just make sure you know where your joists are located and/or employ the right installation techniques for your artwork.

Do you have wood paneling made from antique flooring or pine flooring

While you can’t (and don’t want to) paint over this it can be a lovely backdrop for your wall fashions, or stand as a fashion piece all it’s own, especially if you are going for an old-world, eclectic or vintage look. 

Antique Wood Flooring and Hardwood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


Do you have wood bead board?

Beadboard is similar to paneling, but smaller in width, typically with a decorative bevel on either side. If you are using an antique wood floor for your beadboard, you should consider finishing it naturally.  If you are considering staining or painting the beadboard, you should consider Select Grade wood that will be mostly free of knots.  Often times beadboard only goes half way up, still giving you plenty of room at the top for a traditional wall.

There are other materials you can use to build your walls, or which may already be in place when it is time to decorate.  This includes clay, brick or limestone.   You may also have a combination of wall styles which is decorative all on it’s own.  In this case, your installation of wall decor may vary from a traditional stick built wall, but your options should be just as versatile.

Find Your Style

The style of your wall decor is completely up to you.

To start with you need to determine if your decor will be modern, eclectic, french country, shabby chic - there are dozens of styles to choose from.  This will help you choose the right textures, fabrics, and items. 

Your wall decor doesn't necessarily have to match the room, unless you want it to, but it should complement the overall style.

Wall Decor Ideas on Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog

Source: Hometopia

It may not be easy to move around furniture, cabinetry, lighting and other larger design elements in your home, but it is easy to move around most of your wall decor!  Even most stencils and murals can be easily removed with the right supplies.

Wall Mural Ideas from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog

Source: Paperblog

This should take the pressure off and help you just have fun.

Your style may also be dictated by the type of room you are decorating.

Contemporary Kids by Saugus Interior Designers & Decorators Alicia Ventura Interior Design

Types of Wall Fashion

Wall fashion goes beyond paint color and wallpaper.

There are an almost unlimited number of possible styles for your wall adornments.

Wall Decor Ideas from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


Source: Google

If you are an avid traveler or collector you may pick up plates, pottery, artwork and other artifacts. 

You might have a giant wall in your mudroom or kitchen that screams "blackboard" for daily menu's or reminder notes.

You might want to dress up an office with motivational quotes.

You may want to give your entryway a little zing, or add a little decor to your infants new nursury.

When thinking about your wall decor you can organize it in themes or keep everything eclectic and anything goes.


There are many decorative accents that you can add to a room, and your home to give it more color.  Your wall decor is no exception. 

Neutral and light toned walls benefit from a little splash of color in the wall decor.  Add shelves for books, or colorful picture frames. 

Transitional Living Room by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Chango & Co.

Even your photographs and artwork themselves will bring color into a room - unless of course you go with the black and white theme, which case you may want to use colorful frames.

If you want to add some color, but don't want to paint, your wall decor can provide the best solution, and you know it is not permanant.

Size and Scale

The size and scale is an important consideration as you select wall fashions for your room.

If you have large oversized windows or high ceilings your room can accommodate much larger displays of artwork, be it entire wall size murals or a scattered motif. Use long artwork or stacks of wall decor on high, narrow walls.

Contemporary Living Room by Kamloops Interior Designers & Decorators Emily Hagerman Design

Choose wider, longer walls to adorn your murals and larger photo displays.

Contemporary Living Room by Laguna Hills Interior Designers & Decorators Peg Berens Interior Design LLC

If you are installing wall fashion above a piece of furniture, it should be slightly smaller, except if you are trying to pull the eye away from the furniture. For example, a flat screen TV can lose it’s importance under a strategically placed collage of artwork.

Layout and Shape

The layout and shapes of your wall decor should look like a natural fit in your room.

To start with, position your wall fashion about 60” off the ground, which is at average eye level. Then build your décor around it (or above it – whichever the case may be). 

Then determine, whether your layout will be symmetrical or asymmetrical. This may depend on the style room that you are working with and whether you want your room to look more sophisticated or eclectic.


Mirrors are an excellent accent to the wall décor of a room.

If your room is small, strategically place your mirrors in areas that will reflect a lot of light, or an adjacent room.  This can give the illusion that the room is larger.  If you have a large space, match the scale of your mirror to your room so it doesn’t get lost in the dimensions.

If you have a long gallery hallway, hang multiple mirrors down the entire length for a dramatic effect, or add a simple vanity mirror to check yourself on the way out the door. Or combine mirrors as part of a larger motif.


Eclectic Hall by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Michael Abrams Limited

If you need some tips on HOW to hang your artwork, we found this helpful article from Elle Décor just for you.

Share your ideas for fashionable wall decor!

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Big or Small – 10 Ways to Make your Home More Energy Efficient

With the onset of warmer weather and longer days, you may be finding that you are using a lot less electricity to fuel your lights.  This means a big savings all summer long your electric bill.

If these energy and cost savings appeal to you then why not implement other change throughout your home to make a difference in your energy consumption and home operating costs, all year long.

Big Changes

Improving the energy efficiency of your home can be a costly investment.  Here are a few of the "big ticket" items that may cost a bit more, but may provide the maximum return on your investment.

1. Install Solar Energy

Solar energy is a big investment, but one that can pay dividends over the long term.  To help offset expenses, research tax credits from your local and federal goverment.  You may also be able to take advantage of special financing progaerms. Access this Consumer's Guide from the US Department of Energy Efficiency for more information.

2. Install Energy Star Appliances

If you are in the market for new appliances, you should consider those branded with the Energy Star rating.

Energy Star appliances are designed to curb energy use while also reducing operating costs year over year.  







3. Insulate & Seal

From the attic to the seals around your doors and windows, little bits of cold air could be getting into your home all winter long – and increasing your energy consumption in the process.

Invest in insulation for your attic, and spend the time to seal the doors and windows of your home, especially if they are older, or original to the home.  You can also seal the ducts for your air conditioning and heating systems. 

4. Replace the Windows & Doors

If you feel like you are standing next to a wind tunnel every time you walk by your windows it may be time for an upgrade.

Installing new windows and doors can save you money on heating and cooling costs, so you’ll benefit from this investment all year long.  Be sure to invest in solid doors, versus hollow doors for maximum benefit, and consider all the variables of your window replacement before you make a final purchase.  From the window style, construction to the sash and frame, there are many variables to consider to get the best aesthetics, function and value. If you don’t need or want to replace your windows, you can also consider storm windows.  

See more from HGTV here.

5. Invest in your Landscape

A nice landscape not only looks nice, but it can benefit your energy costs and consumption too!

If you have the room, plant trees on the sides of your home that get the most sunlight.  This will block out the hot sun during the summer months to provide some shade and cool off your home.   Conversely, when winter is upon you the branches will be bare allowing more the heat from the sun to get to the home.

Small Changes

There are small changes you can make in your home to make it more energy efficient. The 5 ideas we list below should cost little to no money at all!

1. Rethink Your Lighting

In the summer, it is easy to reduce your lighting needs thanks to long, sunny days. But that doesn’t last forever.

The US Department of Energy recommends replacing just 5 of your most frequently used lights with fluorescent bulbs or Energy Star LED lights to get a longer life span, lower costs, and energy savings.  Also, look for ways to maximize the natural lighting in your home.  Solar screens are a great way to keep out the sun, but still allow you to enjoy the natural light - and the view.

2. Invest in Power Strips

Homes today consume an abundance of energy just to power electronic devices.

No longer is it just the television and VCR.  We are charging mobile telephones and tablets, big screen televisions, appliances, and more.  Investing in something simple like a power strip for all of these gadgets allows you to turn these devises on and off when you need to, rather than keep them plugged in all day long.    

3. Adjust your AC and Hot Water Heating Settings

There are small changes you can make to the various comforts of life to still enjoy them, but reduce your energy use and costs.

Consider turning your air conditioner settings up just 1 degree, it can save 7-10 percent on your overall costs!  Also make sure your hot water unit is set at 120 degrees or lower, and if it is an older model, invest in insulation jacket for the tank.

4. Start a Collection

Your home, and the environment around it, produce a lot of excess and waste. 

Rather than allowing it to end up in a landfill, create a collection method to reuse it.  For example, pick up a compost bucket for your kitchen counter, and start a compost pile or large compost bin. You can also develop a rain water collection system to store excess rainwater to water plants, flowers, trees and shrubs both inside and out.   If you live in a particularly high risk drought area, use drought tolerant shrubs, perrenials, plants, and other foliage that requires litte to no water.

5. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Upgrading your existing thermostat to a new programmable thermostat is a great way to save money and energy. 

And, as long as you aren’t going too high tech it may be something you can do yourself (or a relevant handyman).  Here are some tips from This Old House.  If you are want to something more advanced, you may need to recruit the services of a certified HVAC technician.

US Department of Energy
US News
Green Home Guide
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3 Styles To Inspire Your Kitchen Upgrade

Revamping the kitchen remains a popular remodeling trend in 2014.

There are different levels of remodeling that can occur in the kitchen.  Some homeowners may take part in a major kitchen overhaul as part of a large remodeling project.  But according to the 2014 Houzz & Home Survey, more homeowners are choosing to keep their existing footprint and home size.  They are choosing to update the interior of their kitchen for better aesthetics and function. 

Today, we are going to take a look at three popular kitchen styles, with products and design ideas to insipre your kitchen remodel.

Popular Kitchen Styles from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


The Modern Makeover

Modern Kitchen


Modern kitchen styles feature clean lines, less seams, and superb functionality for a sophisticated yet minimalist look.


Modern kitchen cabinet styles may not be flashy, but they are tastefully designed and the overall sense of organization and function is so apparent. You can replicate this with International recognized Kitchen company Bulthaup

Opt for monochromatic wood cabinets and islands.  Natural and neutral tones like beige, gray and white remain the most popular colors because of their understated elegance, and to act as a versatile backdrop for the overall design.

Veneer style wood cabinets, indicative of a mid-century modern look, show off the interesting color and grain of the wood if you want something a bit more “flashy”.  

Keep cabinet hardware to a minimum.  If you do add it, choose simple symmetricl designs, versus those intricately styled, to maintain the modern look.


Engineered Quarts countertops are a great choice for the modern kitchen. 

While all countertops will have some degree of variation, because the material is engineered, it provides greater color consistency when compared to other countertop options, like granite.  US Based Silestone has a variety of great colors from which to choose.

If you are going for a modern kitchen design that leans more industrial, consider stainless steel for your countertops.

Wood Floors

Despite the somewhat consistent design of most modern kitchen cabinets and countertops, wood floors remain a versatile backdrop to the overall design.

Some kitchens will feature more trendy gray, driftwood style flooring.  Others may maintain a neutral tone.  Very dark wood floors are also extremely popular, although they require more frequent cleaning due to the dark color. Choose floors with a more subtle grain.  For example, choose Quartersawn Oak floors as opposed to Plainsawn Oak or floors with a naturally subtle grain like Cherry wood floors.

Wood Flooring Design Ideas for the Kitchen from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors



Because the modern kitchen is all about consistency, consider fully integrated wood facing refrigerators that can be designed to match the rest of your kitchen.

See examples at Liebherr.

A Traditional Approach

Farmhouse Kitchen by Lexington Architects & Building Designers Latady Design


If you are neither flashy nor rustic you may be leaning toward a more traditional kitchen design.


Traditional kitchen cabinetry will feature more timeless designs like shaker style or raised panel. 

Oak cabinetry remains popular, especially given the variety of natural finishes that can be applied.  But white painted cabinetry has become quite popular as well.  Beadboard adds a touch of craftsmanship to the backside of the island.

Wrought iron cabinetry hardware adds to the traditional look, but bronze is also making a comeback in 2014. 


When you think of countertop options for your traditional kitchen, granite and wood butcher blocks are going to be a great choice. 

If you are using an island, you can even use granite on the perimeter counters and a butcher block on all, or a portion of the island, to add variety to the overall design, and incorporate more natural wood. 

Wood Floors

Pine flooring and Oak wood flooring are going to be the top two flooring styles for a traditional kitchen.

Eastern White Pine flooring is ideal for historic restoration or reproduction era kitchens, especially those along the Eastern seaboard.  Long Leaf Heart Pine flooring provides a Southern Plantation look, hailing from the South in areas like Alabama.  Wide Plank oak floors are perfect for a traditional kitchen, especially if you prefer a hardwood floor.  Keep in mind they have a more prominent grain no matter what stain you choose. 


If you are creating a traditional style kitchen look for legacy appliance styles with detailed front doors, knobs, and overall design, versus the traditional flat front appliance.

AGA has a variety of appliances that suit this style.

Eclectic Escape

Traditional Kitchen by Atlanta Architects & Building Designers Harrison Design


Perhaps no kitchen is more fun to design than one that is eclectic.  After all, anything goes!


For the eclectic kitchen, don’t be afraid to mix up your cabinet styles.  In this Atlanta home you see glass-facing cabinetry on the upper levels, and raised panel cabinetry on the oversized island.

Note the combination of colors in the cabinetry - white painted cabinets around the perimeter and light gray on the island.  


For eclectic kitchens color consistency may not be as much of a concern.  In this case, granite or marble countertops are the perfect product because they feature a dynamic, and sometime unpredictable, range of colors.

Wood Flooring

The final color of your wood flooring will depend on your overall color scheme, but the aesthetics and texture of your floor should feature characteristics that let people know it is a “real wood floor”. 

This includes wider planks, ideally in a random width to minimize the consistent look.  You may want to consider distressed wood flooring for this same reason. The natural character of the wood - color variation, knots, and grain patterns - should also be embraced. 


From the range vent, appliances and abundant shelving, stainless Steel is abounding in this kitchen.  But it pairs nicely with the farmhouse style dining room table and chairs.

When it comes to an eclectic kitchen you can go with traditional stainless steel, as seen here, or why not opt for something a little more colorful with appliances in your favorite color.  See examples from BlueStar.

General Guidelines

Designing a new kitchen takes time.  It can be a challenge to coordinate all the various components. 

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

Have you designed a new kitchen recently? What other suggestions do you have?

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Summer Color Trends for your Interior Design

If you are looking for color inspiration for your interior decor this summer, don't feel limited to the patriotic red, white and blue of Independence Day.

While that would certainly brighten up your decor for the holiday weekend, we are thinking you want something a little more timeless.  If you're feeling stumped on ways you can introduce some of the season's hottest hues, we've got you covered. Check out our tips and suggestions to help you decorate your home with summer's trendiest colors.

Warm Tones

Brighten your home with the warmest tones of the season, like Pantone's color of the year "Radiant Orchid." Explore colors such as fuchsia, gold, crimson red, tangerine or blood orange.Radiant Orchid for Your Summer Interior on Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog

While warm tones are both trendy and versatile, they can also be a bit intimidating when it comes to home decor. Instead of tackling an entire room, stick to an accent wall or accent furniture. If you're more conservative when it comes to color usage, introduce items that are subtle while still making a bold statement.Throw pillows, blankets, ottomans and even a duvet cover are great ways you can incorporate color without overwhelming a space.

Soft Tones

Both easy to use and functional, summer's softer colors are perfect for any space. Channel a sophisticated peachy nude, or a soothing sea foam blue. Get girly with a rich buttercream or subtle pink.

Buttercream Interior Decor Ideas from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog

Source: Google


Softer tones are ideal for walls. Redo your living room in a creamy nude, or give your bedroom a fresh coat of carnation pink. If you need new flooring for your room, you can find wood flooring in your favorite soft colored tones.

If you're married to your current color palette, mix and match these colors with accent or console tables, curtains or dining table chairs.

Decorate with seasonal flowers to give your home an instantaneous burst of color without spending too much money. Accessorize with delicate peonies in white or pale peach roses.

Cool Tones

The summer's cool tones are bold and luxurious.  Electric blue, slate, olive and deep emerald are timeless, basic colors. You can even opt for a rich lime or a dull mint shade.

Electric Blue Interior Decor Ideas

Source: Google


Cool tones make great accent walls. Give your master bedroom a bold charcoal wall, paired with more neutral tones to soften it up. Give your dining or living room a punch with a navy contrast wall or with an electric blue trim. If you're wary about putting these bold, dark colors to your walls, incorporate them instead in a patterned area rug, detailed pillows or funky wall art.

Neutral Tones

If you like to play it safe, opt for one of summer's neutral chic shades. Earl gray, honey, ivory and khaki are just a few of the season's most popular neutrals.

Natural Interior Decor Ideas from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Source: Pinterest


From walls to sectionals, curtains to bedding, you simply can't go wrong with a neutral shade. Keep your living room light and airy with beige walls and ivory furniture. Compliment such colors with pops of light gray or honey brown. These tones are not only sophisticated, they also stand the test of time. If you're concerned about keeping your home relevant and chic, neutral colors are your safest bet.

What are your favorite summer colors?

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