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!

interior design

5 things that are making you tired at home

Are you sleep walking through your day without knowing why? Your lifestyle and design choices you’ve made at home may be the culprit. Here’s a checklist of all the things that may be negatively affecting your sleep and making you unproductive.

Bad Lighting

I’ve talked about this before: poorly designed lighting affects the mood of the occupants and can create either a restless or restful feel to a space. Access to natural light is critical as researchers have found that exposure to more natural light actually resulted in a more restful sleep at night. Sunlight first thing is morning has been linked to sounder sleep so be sure to open your shades as soon as you rise.


Study after study have found that those blue wavelengths from your cell phone, tablet and TV suppress your brain’s production of a critical sleep hormone-melatonin. Without sufficient amounts of melatonin, not only are you more likely to have a restless night, but melatonin suppression has also been shown to increase the risk of cancer, impair the immune system, and possibly lead to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Using filters on your screens at night or amber glasses should help with your sleep without having to toss your devices.

Wall Colors

The color blue has been shown to slow down your heart rate, reduce your blood pressure, and make you feel sleepy. While a great in the bedroom, it’s not an ideal color in the active spaces in your home. Colors with yellow undertones, think green and peach, give rooms a mental boost by promoting conversation and social interaction.

Brian Dittmar Design, Inc. photo by David Duncan Livingston

Sitting Too Long

We’re all guilty of being a couch potato while binging on Netflix. Sitting for long periods of time though can deplete your energy and can actually make your body equate that inactivity with going to sleep. Frequent breaks are important so stretch often, get up and walk way from your sofa. Better yet, get outside and enjoy some natural light

Inefficient Overall Design

Dysfunctional kitchens and baths, lots of clutter, and an unorganized environment causes your brain to be overwhelmed and unable to focus increasing your fatigue. Set a goal to clear out and organize at least one area of your home to see how it changes your mood and energy level. Once you see the effects challenge yourself and your family to tackle the rest.

Mr. H says: Tired minds don’t plan well-Enjoy!

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 down lights 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!

design trends interior design

Interior Design Trend: Rose Gold Finish

Warm and inviting.  That is how best to describe the hottest new new rose gold metallic design trend.  As most homeowners rebuff the gold finishes of the 1980s in favor of polished nickel or stainless steel, warmer metals are creeping back into selections.

A subtle cross between brass and copper, the pink undertones of the rose gold metals feels both unique and rich.  It mixes well with other metal finishes and is seen on both modern and traditional products.

An Arteriors chandelier features both rose gold glass and metal.

Arteriors Caviar Large Rose Gold and Rose Glass chandelier

Currey and Company Abercorn Pendant

Currey and Company Abercorn Pendant

Rose gold finish ginkgo leaf metal table lamp by Dimond Lighting

Dimond Ginkgo Leaf Table Lamp in Rose Gold

The Dornbracht “Tara” faucet features a high-gloss finish produced by combining using 18-carat gold and copper.

Dornbracht Tara faucet in Rose Gold

Update your table top this holiday season with rose gold flatware or rose gold hurricane lights

Kate Spade Malmo Rose Gold Flatware

Marchesa by Lenox Imperial Caviar Rose Gold flatware

Rose gold huricane lamps

Add warmth to any space with the Zuo Elio Bar Chair in Rose Gold

Zuo Elio Bar Chair in Rose Gold

Mr. H says: It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold-Enjoy!

interior design travel

Paradise Found

Atlantis Resort, on tiny Paradise Island, is an over the top Bahamas vacation spot.  Celebrating the wonders of the sea, its inspiration is found in the myth of the lost continent of Atlantis.

Atlantis Resort

Ocean motifs reign, from the carpeting to the ceiling tiles however the custom light fixtures were the most intriguing to me.

In the casino, two massive glass fixtures,  by the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly take center stage in this enormous space.

Atlantis resort casino

Chihuly chandelier Atlantis resort

In other areas sea creatures feature in many of the designs

Atlantis sheahorse chandelier

Atantis resort seahorse sconce

Octopus chandelier Atlantis resort

Some had an ethereal under water quality

Atlantis resort jellyfish lights

Sea inspired lighting

While others were beautiful in their simplicity

Glass beach inspired lighting

Mr. H says: Why call our planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean-Enjoy!

design trends interior design

Luminous Lighting

With the economic downturn, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs and often the design budget is first on the block.  Do not despair.  Lighting is an ideal makeover candidate since one fabulous fixture can transform a room.

Urban Electric – Nadia Watts Interior Design.

This contemporary metal fixture from Utttermost features a polished nickel finish and a frosted glass shade with crystal accents.

Uttermost Brandon Chandelier

Currey & Company’s delicate chandelier is quite large (48″ round) but its open iron frame and turned wood “crystals” appears so airy.

Currey & Company Christina Chandelier

Quoizel presents a twist on the popular the popular drum shade with a perforated metal  overlay, over the silk drum shade, featuring a leaf design.

Quoizel Utopia Pendant

Any room in the house can benefit with a lighting up fit.

Interior design by Novella Homes. Photography by Patrick Brickman.

Mr. H says: When there is no light, there is no beauty-Enjoy!