interior design lighting Organization

Designing for Wellness

With more Coronavirus cases showing up in the US, fears are mounting that the virus will become more widespread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has many recommendations for avoiding the illness and keeping it in check. Hand washing tops the list, along with hand sanitizing and avoiding crowds. A robust immune system may also help and your home can play an important role in keeping you healthy.

The links between the built environment and health have been studied for decades though applying it to your home is gaining momentum. Wellness oriented interior design influences both our physical health and our mental state of mind. Here are some fundamental tips on how to achieve an environment that creates a healthy lifestyle.

Commune with Nature Bringing the outside in with abundant natural light, vegetation, good air quality, natural materials and nature views will have a positive impact on your immune system.

Wellness interior design

Lighting Natural light is always best and studies have shown that it improves productivity, alertness, and mood. It enhances our vitamin D balance, which is critical in absorbing calcium keeping bones strong. Artificial lighting systems should mimic daylight as much as possible with controls in place to allow our circadian rhythm to work normally. Utilize bright light for active pursuits and progressively dimmer light as bedtime nears.


Color I’ve written about the effects of color before. While color is always a personal decision there are certain hues that either under or over stimulate your spaces. Educate yourself on specific colors and choose wisely.

Sherwin Williams

Scents You don’t need to be an aromatherapist to understand the emotional and wellness benefits of scents. When we inhale aroma molecules they connect to the brain and incite strong emotional responses. Be careful with chemically derived scents though as they can cause headaches, respiratory issues and irritated sinus passages.

Clutter Studies have repeatedly shown that clutter = stress. We all know that stress impacts our physical health and that subconsciously, clutter effects your mood, relationships and sleep. Check out our declutter tips on a recent blog. Your body will thank you.


WELL For additional information on healthy spaces check out the The International WELL Building Institute™ website whose mission is to improve human health and well-being in buildings and communities across the world through its WELL Building Standard™ (WELL™).

Mr. H says: Those who have their health have everything-Enjoy!

Artwork interior design lighting Window Treatments

Five Luxe Living Room Tips

When it comes to designing your living space, you don’t have to spend a fortune to make it appear like you spent a lot of money. Here are some shortcuts to creating a luxurious living room without breaking the bank.

Layered lighting

Lighting up a space the right way is important and a topic that I have written about before. Having a variety of light sources adds depth to a room. Utilize a combination of ambient, accent and task lighting that can be adjusted based on the time of day or mood of the occupant.  Dimmer switches allow for complete control of lighting levels.

Bernhardt luxury living room

Beautiful Textiles

Toss some pillows in an opulent velvet or an exotic print onto the sofa for a luxurious update. Custom pillows can be found in designer fabrics on Etsy and many other online sources. Reusing old pillow forms saves money too.

Eastern Accents

Drapery to the floor

Curtains that do not go to the floor look skimpy. Hang rods as close to the ceiling as possible so that windows appear tall. Choose a fabric that blends with the wall color and doesn’t create contrast if you are concerned about overwhelming the space.

Large Art Pieces

Oversized art makes a daring focal point in a space. Large artwork somehow just looks so much more expensive than smaller pieces. Keep the colors and patterns of the piece subtle so that it seamlessly blends with the rest of your decor.

Renwil Artwork


Improve a rooms interior architecture with applied wall and crown moldings. While adding a visual presence, upscale moldings, make a home feel substantial and well built.

Daniel Island Interior Design
J. Rhodes Interior Design

Mr. H says: The living room is where we come to slow down the world for just a second-Enjoy!

furniture interior design lighting

Seven Essential Interior Design Rules

While interior design trends are ever evolving there are some fundamental design rules that are worth adhering to for an interior that performs beautifully.

Live With It

The key to a well designed space is to have a well defined plan.  Part of that plan, especially when on a budget, is to make decisions once you have used the room for awhile.  Taking the time to amass the different elements of a space gives you time to evaluate each piece and how the next one will fit into the scheme.

photo by Camylla Battani


I repeat-measure.  Before you buy the first piece of furniture measure your space and your doorway openings.  The last thing you need is for that luxurious sectional sofa to not have any circulation space around it or worse not fit through the front door.


Form Follows Function

It’s a decades old concept that still rings true today.  Decide on the function of a space first, concentrating on how it will be used, who will use it, special storage needs, and lighting.  Craft your design, including the aesthetics after those objectives have been established. 

Never Buy a Set

While it’s tempting to buy the whole bedroom set off the showroom floor and calling it “done” it is not in your best interest to do so.  People respond best to spaces that have an acquired, blended style.   Pairs are fine, like nightstands and lamps, which create symmetry in a room.

Invest in Quality

The adage “you get what you pay” holds true when purchasing furnishings.   Hunting down that deal is not a valid design strategy and is often, in the long term, the least budget friendly.  Cheaply made, inexpensive pieces will break down quickly requiring replacement that much faster.  Buy from a quality retailer or experienced interior designer for the best value.

Layer Lighting

While an over sized fixture fixture can add drama to a space, lamps and other ambient lighting like sconces or cove lighting are important to a room’s design.  Overhead lighting alone can wreak havoc on even the most well designed room, throwing shadows on the furniture and the room’s occupants that are terribly unflattering.

Avoid Clutter

Lastly, keeping your space tidy is vital to good design.  Having a place for everything by incorporating unique storage solutions and keeping surfaces clear of non essential items will make your design stand out.

J. Rhodes Interior Design, Inc. Photo: Holger Obenaus

Mr. H (posthumously) says: An empty room is a story waiting for you to be the author-Enjoy!

Hampton 2006-2017

interior design lighting

Recessed Lighting Mistakes

It is touted for its unobtrusive appearance, blending into the ceiling while lighting up a space.  These benefits helped to make the recessed light one of the most common type of fixtures found in many homes.  Unfortunately, all those benefits were the cause of its actual undoing.  For starters, down lighting make people look bad, almost ghoulish with deep shadows around the eyes.  It also a wildly inefficient form of general illumination since a single beam of of high wattage light is forced down causing the vertical surfaces to remain dark.  Most compensate for this lack of broad lighting by simply adding more “can lights” creating a ceiling peppered with a spots of glaring holes.

Recessed lighting mistakes

Fortunately with a little planning there are better ways to light a space.  While not all recessed lighting should be banned from lighting planning, it is best not to consider them as overhead fixtures.  Used as accent lighting, recessed fixtures can highlight art, architectural details or a decorative window treatment.

Living Room lighting

Utilizing a layered approach is best when lighting up most rooms.  A combination of recessed, up-lights, hanging and portable fixtures allow lighting levels to be adjusted based on the time of day or mood of the occupant.  Dimmer switches allow for complete control of lighting levels.

Layered lighting in living room design

Kitchen plans tend to be the largest abusers of recessed lights.  One substantial center fixture would have eliminated the majority of these down lights.

Overdone kitchen recessed lights

Better illumination is achieved with semi flush and hanging fixtures such as pendants and chandeliers.  Under cabinet lighting light up counter task areas.

Best kitchen lighting
Signature Custom Cabinetry

Minimal recessed lighting in kitchen
Retro Lights

Kitchen without can lights
Caves Kitchens

Bathrooms should almost never utilize recessed lighting.  Using downlights over the vanity without adding side lights creates exaggerated and unflattering shadows.  Wall lights installed at eye level is the best light for tasks like shaving and applying makeup.

Best bathroom lighting
Signature Kitchens and Baths

A decorative chandelier provide general illumination in this transitional style bathroom

Bathroom lighting
J. Rhodes Interior Design

Bedroom lighting should follow the same rules of light layering.

Bedroom lighting ideas

A center chandelier makes a statement in this bedroom.  Imagine the vaulted ceiling with “can” lights in it.

Bedroom lighting design

Mr. H says:  Those who fear darkness have no idea what the light can do-Enjoy!

interior design lighting wallpaper

Watery Design for the Home

With all the flooding and rain the Charleston area has endured these last few days we are all a bit tired of slogging along.  Water and rain though are the inspiration for a myriad design products.

Porcelanosa created this Carrara marble wave wall tile

Porcelanos Carrara Creta Wave Tile

Steve Adams “Raindrop Table” is composed of slumped glass and steel

Steve Adams, Raindrop Table slumped glass and steel

Fasade Metallic 4′ x 8′ panels are formed from a composite thermoplastic that is water and corrosion-resistant allowing them to be used as a back splash material.

Waves backsplash Fasade Thermoplastic Panels

Mastercraft Cabinets rain glass doors obscure a not so organized chef

Mastercraft Cabinets Rain Glass Doors

Crystal Rain chandelier from the James R. Moder Company

James R Moder IMPACT crystal rain chandelier

Threads “Raindrops” wallpaper

Threads Raindrops Fabric

Julia Buchanan’s signature “Rain Drop” pillow by Global Views

Global Views Raindrop Pillow

Grey Rainy Days pillow from Artfire

Artfire grey rainy days pillow

A tray and bowl produced from delicate rain drop textured glass, or bubble glass by Behrenberg Glass Co.

Behrenberg Glass Co bubble glass tray

Behrenberg Glass Co bubble monkey dish

The best cure for a rainy day is a nap.  Luxuriate on the Duralee Westside sofa in  a water droplet velvet pattern

Duralee 15473-15 Grey

Mr. H says: Predicting rain doesn’t count but building an ark does-Enjoy!

design trends interior design lighting

Moderate Modern Lighting

For years, the lament that hip modern lighting was out of reach to so many has come to pass. Modern styles that were innovative and stylish seemed to be “designed” right out of most homeowners budgets. No longer must contemporary consumers be left in the dark thanks to a some visionary lighting companies that are offering up fresh concepts that are easy on the wallet.

Retailing under $875, Feiss Lighting’s Allier Pendant Suspension is named for the French forest that produces wood used for wine barrels.

Allier Pendant Suspension

The Lightology Collection presents the Lilly pendant is composed of a carbon steel body with polycarbonate white discs.  $1200 retail

Lightology Lilly pendant

Glow Lighting’s Silhouette six light chandelier features clear crystals, a white sheer drum shade and a silver pearl metal finish.  Retails at $937

Glow Lighting Silhouette chandelier

Robert Sonneman pioneered modern lighting by making it an art form. World renowned and acclaimed for his alliance to form and function, his award winning designs has been inspiring interior designers for over four decades. His Tuxedo chandelier has clear glass cylinders and chrome and black metal finishes. $987

Sonneman Tuxedo Chandelier

Since 2001, Philippines-based design collective, Hive has been producing organic modern lighting from locally sourced natural materials.  Each original fixture makes a bold statement while creating a captivating atmosphere.  For less than $1900 “Poppy” Suspension evokes a feminine grace with meticulously hand-folded paper blossoms attached to a metal frame forming a delicate floral globe.

Hive Poppy Suspension Light

Founded in 1974, Hubbardton Forge utilizes ancient hand-forging metal techniques to produce their simple, yet elegant light fixtures.  The Lisse Chandelier is available in six finishes highlighted by slim cylindrical Opal glass shades.  Retail: $1100

Hubbardton Forge Lisse Chandelier

The Cubist Chandelier from ELK Lighting is composed of offset Tiffany glass cubes in a brushed nickel framework.  Retail: $1227

ELK Lighting Cubist

Mr. H says: Design is not just what it looks like but how it works-Enjoy!

interior design lighting

Floor Lamps

A uber cool floor lamp is a must have in any well designed space and the design options are endless.

These pieces do double duty as a light source and a perch for drinks

Uttermost Stabina End Table Lamp

The Natural Light All Wrapped Up

Keep a desk or table surface clear by tucking a floor lamp for illumination

Photo by Hardie Design

Some floor lamps have a sculptural quality and can be showcased like art

The Natural Light Silver Branch

Photo by Webber + Studio, Architects

Arc lamps are useful in rooms with little overhead lighting or a soaring ceiling

Luceplan Costanza Lady Floor Lamp

Photo by Gardner/Fox Associates

Mr. H says: To love beauty is to see light-Enjoy!