Dec 112014
 

Holiday Mantles that SHINE Holiday Mantles that Shine

Whether shimmering, sparkling or softly glowing, incorporating light into your holiday mantle design is an instant way to add glitz. We have collected some gorgeous examples from Houzz designers where light played a role in creative holiday mantle decor, as well as simple ideas to make your mantle shine.

Quick tips for designing your holiday mantle:

  • Think outside the box (er, mantle) — If you don’t have a fireplace or mantle in your home, recreate the look easily and with just as much glamour using a large shelf or entry table.
  • Go outside! — A quick trip to the back yard can reap huge rewards for your holiday decor. Branches, twigs, holly and pinecones add to a rustic look.
  • Borrow baubles from the tree —  Extend your current theme by taking a handful of ornaments from the tree and scattering them throughout your design.
  • Get crafty – You’d be amazed at what a can of silver or gold spray paint and some glitter will do to make the mantle sparkle.
  • Add light! — Candles, string lights or just the simple glow from the fireplace are the finishing touches that can take your design from “Meh” to “Marvelous.”

contemporary living room Holiday Mantles that Shine

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Dec 052014
 

Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day and even Halloween … No holiday is immune to the spell of twinkling of lights. Since July 2009, we’ve written over 600 blog posts. It comes as no surprise that a large majority of them have centered around a holiday. If you are one of the many folks hauling out holiday lights this weekend, you’ll appreciate this round-up of 6 Popular Holiday Lighting How-To Blog Posts that we’ve accumulated throughout the years.

1. Holiday Lighting Guide

Get out your notepads because we’re building a strategy in this 2013 blog post with loads of tips on creating the ultimate holiday lighting plan.

holiday lighting guide sm 6 Popular Holiday Lighting How Tos
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Nov 132014
 

holiday todo1 Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays with these Crime Stopping TipsHoliday menu planned? Check.
Christmas tree decorated? Check.
Cards mailed? Check.
Gifts wrapped? Check.

We painstakingly coordinate our holiday, fretting down to the last perfectly placed candy cane as we eagerly await the deluge of family and friends that rotate in and out of our home from mid November through the New Year. What we don’t always plan for is the unwelcome guest — the Thief.

Criminals love the holidays. Christmas trees are lit up like beacons that scream: “Hey! Bad guy! The expensive stuff is here, right under this huge window for easy access!”

Even worse is the absence of any light. If your house sits in the dark on a street full of twinkling lawn ornaments, it sends a clear message: “Hi, Mr. Thug? My house is pitch black because I’m out of town visiting the in-laws. But you already know this because you saw my teenager’s social post that we’d be 2,000 miles away for the next 4 days, right? Awesome.” Continue reading »

Nov 052014
 

Using Your Tablet or Smartphone in Bed Using Your Tablet or Smartphone in Bed May Be a Lousy Idea

The conclusion of Daylight Saving time this past weekend means the night comes a little earlier. Logic may tell you that the longer and darker evenings will make falling asleep easier. However, even though the nights are longer we are also using smartphones, tablets and HDTV’s more and more in the 21st Century, particularly at night. Some scientists believe that Mr. Sandman has a new nemesis – the little blue light in all of these new-fangled devices.

What It Is

Naturally occurring blue light, a short wavelength in the light spectrum, is abundant in sunshine and hugely beneficial during the day when the majority of people need to be awake and alert. It’s been said to boost mood and increase attention span by stimulating sensors in the eye that then send signals to our internal clock. It also suppresses melatonin — a hormone produced by humans that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles — more than any other light wave. In fact, blue light is so efficient at suppressing melatonin that it’s often used to treat seasonal sleep disorders by mimicking the naturally occurring light of the sun. Here is where the problem surfaces — modern devices like high definition televisions, smartphones and tablets are massive producers of blue light. This blue light wreaks havoc on our circadian rhythms — our internal “body clock” that regulates 24-hour cycles, approximately — by basically tricking our brains into thinking it’s still daytime. Continue reading »

Oct 092014
 

It’s Zombie season! Halloween decor is already beginning to line the streets with witches, ghosts, monsters …. and ZOMBIES. And with the season premier of The Walking Dead looming on the horizon (a mere 3 days away), I’m all aflutter with the living dead.

Nobody wants to be caught in the dark with a drooling, moaning, rotting Zombie hoard, am I right? Take note fellow survivors, we’ve compiled a list of 9 must-have zombie-apocalypse light sources.

1. Solar and Battery-Operated Lights

Powered by the energy of the sun, you’ll never have to make a dangerous trip into the city to get more batteries with Solar LED spotlights. If you prefer the adrenaline rush of city trips, you may want to position battery-operated motion-sensor spotlights around your campsite to alert you to any sneaky Zombies.  Take them with you when you’re doing late night reconnaissance.  Doomsday Tip: Make sure there is an off-switch. Nothing worse than trying to douse your light with a zombie on your trail.

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Oct 022014
 

Blended Design Featured Img 7 Diverse Design: When Mixing Up Your Lighting Makes SenseI’m reminded of a book that I once read to my children called “It’s OK to Be Different” by Todd Parr. In this colorful board book, the author takes us through a series of scenarios that often plague young and old alike. “It’s okay to be shy,” and “It’s okay to make mistakes,” he writes.  And though (understandably) he didn’t have a page dedicated to lighting, the message remains the same.  Read on for tips on how to successfully merge different layouts, styles & moods in lighting design, and when it really is “OK to be different.” Continue reading »

Aug 052014
 

It’s incredible the way lighting can change outdoor spaces. As is the case with indoor spaces, spending comparatively little on lighting can produce dramatic results. A DIY outdoor lighting project might be just the thing to make you fall in love with your home all over again. But before you begin an outdoor lighting project, it’s important to think about your options. Here are 10 tips for 10 approaches to outdoor lighting.

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Jul 182014
 

New Room 5 Questions To Ask Before Choosing Ceiling Lights

If you’re thinking about a home remodel or new home project, then you have some serious decision making to do regarding your ceiling lights. Some people don’t realize this, but few things make as big an impact on how your space looks and feels than lighting, especially ceiling lights. And there are many different types of ceiling lights. You might start out wanting recessed ceiling lights, and, despite other choices like flush mount, semi flush mount, or track lighting, etc, you might end up STILL wanting recessed lights. But have you given thought to what size pot lights? Low voltage or line voltage? Square trim, round trim, or no trim at all? What about finish? Plain old white, or maybe brushed nickel? It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, asking five questions will make the process much simpler. So before you swipe that debit card, check out what’s below.

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Jun 102014
 

Electrical Plans and Tools Low Voltage Lighting: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Straight Up Myths

Low voltage lighting got its start in American residential settings in the 1950s. Originally developed to facilitate landscape lighting, low voltage lighting soon made its way indoors and is now very common for lighting applications like track lighting, recessed lighting, under cabinet lighting, strip lighting, and more. So, what’s the deal with low voltage lighting? What does low voltage lighting do that regular line voltage can’t? And why do people disagree on matters as seemingly straightforward as to whether or not low voltage light bulbs last longer?

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