Superstar Annuals for Containers and Baskets

I demand a lot of my container crops. I expect them to blossom with very little if any deadheading or to possess fabulous foliage — preferably both. I do not want to pinch them back, prop them up or do a whole lot more than water them frequently (and I do so with an automatic drip irrigation system to keep my hands free for that large, cold drink with a little umbrella in it). I don’t have any tolerance for wimpy crops. Only the best will do, and after personally analyzing each of them I can vouch for their celebrity status in the Pacific Northwest, although a lot of my horticulture colleagues will attest to their visibility from different fields of the United States too.

Have you tried these annuals? Many were new introductions for 2013 but are readily available in nurseries and on the internet.

1. Superbells Lemon Slice

I am not a petunia fan. In my Seattle climate, petunias go mushy with tacky and rain with aphids, and in addition, they have to be deadheaded regularly — way too much work for me.

Superbells Lemon Slice may look just like a miniature petunia, but thankfully that’s where the comparison ends. This new Calibrachoa hybrid is unfazed by summer rain and heat, and it blooms so prolifically that the foliage is hardly observable.

The dense, mounding habit means it hugs the sides of containers or baskets well, while trailing two feet approximately. This tidy habit makes it an 11 out of 10 from me.

Botanical name: Calibrachoa hybrid
Water requirement: Average
moderate requirement: Full sun

Le jardinet

Design thoughts: The multihued Luscious Berry Blend lantana displayed here is a perfect color partner, repeating the yellow while presenting hot pink and zesty orange. This lantana is vigorous enough to contend with Superbells too.

Lemon Slice would also make a vivid colorful ruffle beneath an arching purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’).

Le jardinet

2. Spitfire Coleus

There are hundreds of coleus hybrids. While all are colorful, some are spindly others need endless pinching back to keep the plants compact and a few assert they can take complete sun but actually can’t.

Spitfire is different. I analyzed it in harsh circumstances in 2012, and it came with style. Despite intense summer sun, it didn’t show any signs of scorching. It never wilted from the heat and even remained compact without pinching. The bronze foliage turns more cherry in full sunlight and can be accented with lotion.

Botanical name: Solenostemon scutellarioides
Water requirement: Average
Light requirement: Full sun

Le jardinet

Design thoughts: Emphasize the paler colors within Spitfire by mixing it with Orange King coleus (pictured here). The leaves of the 2 coleuses may differ in size and pattern, but their shared color palette creates a sense of unity.

I also planted Spitfire with Luscious Piña Colada lantana, which has a soft creamy yellow flower. This was shown to be a beautiful, fresh-looking combination.

Le jardinet

3. Bonfire Begonia

This sun-tolerant begonia is so dependable that I buy a dozen at a time once I see it look in nurseries. I use these tracking annuals in hanging baskets or at the advantages of containers, in which they not only tolerate full sun but thrive inside. Bonfire begonia is revealed here with Angelina sedum (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’).

The orange flowers, often mistaken for fuchsias are a hummingbird favorite, and I often find myself being heckled by these feisty little birds while I’m attempting to complete my planting.

No deadheading is required to maintain this beauty blooming. Just be careful not to overwater, but settle back and appreciate.

Botanical name: Begonia boliviensis hybrid
Water requirement: Average
moderate requirement: Full sun or partial shade

Le jardinet

Design thoughts: Permit Bonfire to ship out dozens of orange sparks out of a densely planted container.

This picture indicates the Arakawa Japanese walnut (Acer palmatum ‘Arakawa’)underplanted with deep red coleus, chartreuse and bronze sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), and Bonfire begonia. It also pairs well with purple or blue flowers and foliage, like the fanflower described next.

4. Whirlwind Blue Fanflower

This is one for the front of the pot. It is called a spiller, since it paths loosely, yet it ends flowering branches at a multitude of directions — making for some great, if unexpected, mixes. As opposed to making it look untidy, this feature is actually one of those I love most about fanflower; it is a filler plus a spiller all in one.

The pretty periwinkle-blue fan-shaped flowers cover this unassuming annual until a hard frost. It is really an outstanding performer.

Botanical name: Scaevola hybrid
Water requirement: Average
moderate requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Design thoughts: Plant a hanging basket exclusively with fanflower.

For more colour add the bold orange Bonfire begonia and trailing sweet potato vine — the black foliage of Blackie (Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’) would be dramatic.

Le jardinet

Or let fanflower to mingle with additional container crops, like this Superbells Apricot Punch. For foliage interest I’d add in one of those deep burgundy floor cover succulents like sedum ‘Blaze of Fulda’ (Sedum spurium ‘Fuldaglut’). The dark red rosettes would play off the similarly coloured neck of theSuperbells.

5. Beefsteak Plant

At first glance this looks like a coleus, yet it is sturdier than coleus and appears to be slug resistant. This leaves plant requires no return to look fabulous all season. It is going to typically reach two feet tall and one foot wide, making it convenient as a thriller in small pots or a filler in bigger ones.

I have used beefsteak plant just in a shade container, but I feel the coloring is much more intense in sunlight.

Botanical name: Perilla frutescens ‘Magilla’
Water requirement: Average to non
Light requirement: Partial shade to full sunlight

Le jardinet

Design thoughts: Utilize the bold dash of magenta as a springboard to your colour scheme. This foliage-focused container design has it paired with a white caladium (Caladium bicolor) that has striking pink veins and the leathery black leaves of a Calathea. This Calathea cultivar, ‘Dottie’, has an interesting pink stripe around the perimeter, which also plays into the theme perfectly.

6. Diamond Frost

This frothy white blooming annual is not nearly as delicate as it appears. It is demonstrated to be heat tolerant and drought tolerant, it’s a well mounded habit, and it does not require deadheading, therefore this pretty annual is firmly on my favorites list.

Expect Diamond Frost to grow to 12 inches tall and up to 18 inches across. It could be set in the middle or at the border of a container, in which it will mound daintily over the border.

Botanical name: Euphorbia graminea
Water requirement: Average to non
Light requirement: Full sun

Design thoughts: Plant some pretty party favors with white impatiens and Diamond Frost in vibrant tabletop pots. Use these as place settings or set a trio onto a table to decorate a buffet.

Notice: in view of the fungal disease affecting impatiens in many regions of the United States, you may prefer to use this disease-resistant New Guinea impatiens.

More: The Key Formula for Grouping Plants at a Pot

See related

Newly Open Style Updates That a Contemporary Atlanta Home

Town to town, up and down the dial … Janice and Greg Raab’s professions in radio meant a lot of moves — 14 homes in all as 1983, including in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Atlanta. The couple has adopted these relocation chances and fallen in love by taking on the challenges of fixer-uppers. Both have the keen eye to see beyond bad cosmetics to a home’s possible, and they do as much of the job as they can themselves.

And here’s a novelty: They prefer to cover as they proceed. Yes, all these are patient folks who save up for each home endeavor without going into debt. After residing in a traditional home in San Francisco, they fell in love with this modern 1980s home in Atlanta and worked on living room by room as money and time allowed for seven years. The kitchen was Janice’s favorite renovation narrative, so we’ll concentrate on that.

at a Glance
Who resides: Janice and Greg Raab
Location: Atlanta
Size: 5,000 square feet; 5 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms

The home comes with a natural style, with fieldstone, wood and a palette of grays, browns and tans infusing it with a warm look. That aesthetic was kept by the Raabs throughout the renovations in your mind.

The few balanced saving initial attributes and removing those that weren’t working. The fieldstone fireplace, cedar ceiling and black tile floor are first.

“When we moved, the black tile covered the whole first floor and made things really dim,” Janice Raab states. “We thought really hard about how much of it save and how much of it replace with bamboo floors, which lightens up the space”

Raab is also huge fan of George Nelson pendant lighting, and she was thrilled that they worked well with the scale and style of the house. She put a number of them put throughout the first floor.

Before Photo

BEFORE: The first kitchen was outdated, dark and cramped, and it wasn’t a welcoming hangout. The couple commissioned their dear friend, Reed Ericson of Studio R Squared, for design help.

“It had been fantastic to use such a good friend, because we could take as long as we desired and fully change our minds about things, and he just rolled with it,” Raab says.

AFTER: walnut floors, travertine backsplash tiles, amber pendant lighting and an onyx waterfall countertop add organic warmth to the modern, clean-lined kitchen. The cabinet grain runs.

The Raabs balanced splurges and savings throughout the renovation. For example, they splurged on onyx and LEM Piston pub stools, and saved by using an induction scope that did not need an expensive gas line.

They weren’t content with the way the slender hardware seemed with the refrigerator’s heft, thus a helpful oven installer finagled two extra oven handles out of GE to utilize for the fridge, which were a far better match.

Stools: LEM Piston Bar Stools, Design Within Reach; pendant lighting: LBL Cypree Pendant; countertops: walnut, Silestone; cabinets: custom, walnut with wenge stain, Cabico; all appliances: GE Monogram

Sink: Kohler Stage Sink with Integrated Cutting Board and Prep Bowls

A pub replaced an awkward old media desk off the kitchen. The few saved a portion of the house’s original dark tiles, offering a connection between the kitchen and the dining room.

This dining room inside the large, open living room is right off the kitchen. The waterfall counter around the buffet/bookshelf emulates the waterfall at the kitchen. It is crafted of the same cabinet oak using all the wenge stain and onyx counter tops.

The pair travels light, plus they prefer to groom their homes to match varied fashions. The burled ash dining table is one piece that the couple has taken with them over the years from house to house (along with Greg’s beloved vinyl collection — beyond that, there are not many exceptions).

Pendant light: George Nelson Ball Lamp, Design Within Reach; buffet: custom using Cabico cabinets, oak with wenge stain

Studio R Squared designed each the cabinetry, including this huge unit that divides the staircase connecting the dining room and living room.

The inspiration for the massive cabinet came out of a Modern Atlanta home tour. “I had seen a piece like this place on staircase throughout the tour a few years ago and snapped a photo of it,” Raab says.

Just beyond the dining room is the top deck, finish with an option for dining outside. This really is a wrought deck that extends across the whole back of the house. The decks are very private; throughout the seasons once the leaves are filled in, there’s not another house in sight.

One of the first things that the couple did was add fresh stainless steel cable railings on the two decks and the front walkway.

Raab scored the outdoor furniture through Craigslist. The initial set cost approximately $1,200 retail, however she bought all these pieces for $600.

Because of career changes, the couple needed to leave their labor of love only after finishing it, and are not certain of where they’ll land next. While they are unhappy to leave, they look forward to finding another diamond in the rough and slowly but surely bringing it up to its entire potential.

More: See the rest of this Home

See related

A Montreal Townhouse Profits Graphic Appeal

Four decades back, when interior designer Rebecca Mitchell’s business was picking up and she could not keep up with her cottage house on a large lot, she decided to proceed with her two kids to a more straightforward, easy-to-manage townhouse. Even though the space is 200 square feet smaller than her previous house, the vaulted ceilings and vertical split-level open layout make it feel even larger.

Mitchell’s busy design provider puts her facing bright colors and chaotic patterns daily, therefore she decorated her space using a fuss-free black and white color scheme and simple patterns to make a relaxing vibe. Another key to making her soothing refuge was redoing the olive-walled and yellow-tiled kitchen using a clean and crisp modern style; this space quickly became the family’s favorite spot in the house.

at a Glance
Who lives here:
Rebecca Mitchell, son Sam (age 16), daughter Emma (12) and kitty Chloe
Location: West Island area of Montreal
Size: 1,400square feet; 3 bedrooms, two baths

Esther Hershcovich

Mitchell’s playfulness with simple patterns and neutral colors — using just a drop of yellow — adds drama into the family’s living room. The pine torso from Saguenay was her first antique order; the snowy Wedgwood vase is a heirloom from her grandma.

Esther Hershcovich

Esther Hershcovich

Framed photographs from her family’s time living in England hang over a Bauhaus-style sofa. “I love to have all of the memories of our own lives encompassing us,” she says.

A brick wall over the fireplace extends into the cathedral ceilings. Previous owners had upgraded the mantel and marble base. Mitchell enjoys this is a focal point of the house.

Esther Hershcovich

White paint and new hardware refreshed this pine chiffonier.

Esther Hershcovich

A slim window brings light into a dining room.

Esther Hershcovich

Mitchell uses a second entry for a mudroom, which is particularly helpful in the Canadian winters.

She found these chairs in an alleyway prior to preparing to host a large family dinner for which she needed more seating. She painted and reupholstered the seats.

Esther Hershcovich

Symmetrically arranged family photographs adorn a foyer wall. Mitchell spent about $20 Canadian (about U.S.$19) about the frames to complete the budget-friendly installation.

Esther Hershcovich

The tables and chairs in the dining area are from Mad Dogs & Englishmen in England. Mitchell painted the black lamp, which used to be pink. It joins other significant things on the buffet, including a painting by a literary performer.

Bar stools: Pier 1 Imports; buffet: Winners

Esther Hershcovich

Vintage photographs printed on maps hang nearby.

Before Photo

Esther Hershcovich

BEFORE: When Mitchell purchased the house, she removed the cupboard doors and backs in the kitchen to make an open shelving unit between both rooms. But this wasn’t enough. Throughout the recent kitchen renovation, she removed the chimney completely to make more open space.

Esther Hershcovich

AFTER: Drama defines the new kitchen. Mitchell saved money by visiting 3/4-inch-thick quartz countertops rather than the standard 1 1/4 inch. She then splurged on glitzy hardware for those cabinets along with a higher-end faucet.

The backsplash is made from oversize black subway tiles with beveled edges.

Contractor: Gary Sharkey, GKS; backsplash tiles: Importations D’Amico; granite countertops, sink: Stone Co.; hardware: Zone; ceiling fixture: Union Lighting; faucet: Plomberium Pierrefonds; fabric: Shorts Fabric Centre; draperies: custom, Ian Maxwell; cabinets: Ikea

Before Photo

Esther Hershcovich

BEFORE: Mitchell refers to the kitchen design as cottage-y, with olive partitions, fake hardwood laminate flooring and yellow ceramic counters.

Esther Hershcovich

AFTER: “I love that it’s a bit of glamour and works well with the rest of the house,” she says.

Floors: Importation D’Amico

Esther Hershcovich

In Britain it’s common to have the laundry area off the kitchen. Mitchell brought this concept residence. Bifold doors painted the exact same color as the kitchen cabinets hide the washer-dryer units.

Esther Hershcovich

Mitchell gave her daughter carte blanche to decorate her bedroom, which now has posters of her favorite group, 1 Direction.

Esther Hershcovich

Mitchell created the headboard in her bedroom and purchased both side tables at a garage sale for $20 Canadian (about U.S.$19) each.

Esther Hershcovich

Previous owners had transformed two bedrooms into a single, divided by a partition wall. 1 side is currently a home office.

Esther Hershcovich

Mitchell had intended to turn the basement into a family room, but instead let her son have it as a man cave.

Esther Hershcovich

From left, Emma, Rebecca and Sam split for tea into their favorite spot in the house: on the bar stools facing the kitchen.

See more photographs of this home

See related

Go for the Glow: Mother-of-Pearl Shines Around the House

Mother-of-pearl was utilized since ancient times to produce individuals and their homes more beautiful, but today’s production techniques have produced this product even more accessible and economical. “Mother-of-pearl” is the frequent name for iridescent nacre, a mix of minerals secreted by oysters and other mollusks and hauled inside their shells; it coatings and protects them from parasites and foreign items.

Now we can utilize this superb material in our homes in a vast range of products. Mother-of-pearl tiles, background and countertops can adorn a space with the same elegance that a pearl necklace adds into an ensemble. It’s not cheap (mother-of-pearl tile starts at about $30 a square foot), but it may be exactly the splurge you want to set your project apart from the crowd.

Mosaic tile. Available in a vast range of organic colors, mother-of-pearl tile and mosaic blends are produced from the nacre on shells such as capiz, black lip, brown lip, paua and violet oyster.

White mother-of-pearl appears iridescent obviously, but it may be artifically tinted to any (sometimes shocking) colour.

Rina Magen

This is a gorgeous instance of mother-of-pearl on a kitchen backsplash. This casing tile is often thin, unless it is mounted into a thicker substrate, so if it’s combined with another tile, then it’ll have to be built up to look flush.

If you’re not sold on a casing product but love the iridescent appearance, start looking for manufacturers that make iridescent glass mosaics. White iridescent glass may look quite like mother-of-pearl tiles.

Europa Stone

Flooring. What a elegant mix of natural stone and mother-of-pearl! This program is a great example of layering textures within an white-on-white program. Notice how the simple act of producing a border around a well-proportioned floor tile reinforces the grid layout.

Mother-of-pearl may be used for walls, floor surfaces (make sure that you check with the maker) and sometimes outdoor applications.

Melissa Lenox Design

Accents. If you’re craving the glow but do not have the budget for a full iridescent wall, utilize mother-of-pearl mosaic tile to add a bit of sparkle to an accent. Mirror frames, side tables and table lamps may all shine with mother-of-pearl tile.

Jalan Jalan Collection

Inlay. Mother of pearl is a very suitable product to be cut into shapes. The cut shapes, known as tesserae, are often used as inlay on furniture and other decorative home accessories.

Julie Mifsud Interior Design

Sinks. Shown here as a semivessel version, a mother-of-pearl mosaic sink, such as those from LinkaSink, may be cleaned with mild household cleaner or soap and water. The grout can be cleaned using grout cleaner; it should be sealed a couple of times a year for maintenance.

Lisa Silverman/ Decorator Guru

Furnishings. Mother-of-pearl cabinetry faces use shell panels, rather than tile. These panels are laminated shell tiles also come in many different shell types, colours and dimensions.

Nusa Furniture


Nusa Furniture often uses mother-of-pearl in combination with coconut on its own furniture. The dark chocolate of the coarse textured coconut and mother-of-pearl’s creamy iridescence make for a delicious mix on this storage cupboard!

Kendall Wilkinson Design

Wall caps. Maya Romanoff, that specializes in luxurious wall products, supplies a flexible tile that may be implemented like a background. The tile is a lean capiz shell veneer used to backing paper using a topcoat for simple maintenance. York Wallcoverings and Franco Ferrucci offer similar products.

Maya Romanoff’s wallpaper starts at $45 per square foot (plus setup). Candice Olson’s mother-of-pearl wallpaper starts at about $110 per double roll (about 60 feet of background).


IceStone Palette

Countertops. Icestone uses mother-of-pearl as one ingredient in its own counter products. A cementitious base product mixed with recycled glass shards and mother-of-pearl creates beautiful color combinations.

Mother-of-pearl accents bring a great glow to Icestone countertops, enlivening a space in a calm way. Using little pieces of glass doesn’t feel as competitive as in some other products.

From personal experience, I suggest using Icestone just in areas where there’s no danger of staining the surface. I have used Icestone in laundry areas and baths.

Icestone countertops are similar to mid- to high-end granite in price. Permit for about $150 per square foot (including setup) into your budget.

See related

A Chicago Automobile Shop Revs As Much as Some Cool Home

An automobile mechanic built in 1905 does not seem like something which may anchor a bright and fun home. But designer Nicholas Moriarty tapped into the reinforced concrete floors, thick brick walls and 16-foot ceilings to make an industrial area that is filled with comfy color. “It was hard adding in a great deal of character without making the room feel like a scene in Willy Wonka,” Moriarty says. “By that I mean we wanted the room to feel sophisticated and refined, but playful.”

in a Glance
Who lives here:
An early-30s guy in finance
Location: Wicker Park area of Chicago
Size: 2,000 square feet using a 600-square-foot terrace; two bedrooms, two1/2 bathrooms

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Clean lines run through the open-floor layout. “The loft had good bones, but it lacked character,” says Moriarty. “The overall goal was for each piece to create a statement yet still work harmoniously with everything else in the area.”

Pendant: Le Soleil Suspension

Cynthia Lynn Photography

After the homeowner isn’t working at his finance job, he spends all his time working at a music studio. Moriarty embraced his client’s love of music by drawing on inspiration from the British alt-rock and punk rock era. He then added thickness, colour and texture with eye-catching art.

“To balance, I looked toward traditional British tailoring and made certain every bit we placed at the house was well considered and perfectly proportioned,” he says.

Sofa: Brooks Sectional; chairs: Zinc Chair, Room & Board; ottoman: custom design by Michael Richman; ottoman seat: custom design by Bladon Conner

Cynthia Lynn Photography

In winter the homeowner feels comfortable in his living room. Large windows that face west and north allow lots of natural light into the space, a huge help during lengthy Chicago winters.

Pillows: Maharam, Design Within Reach

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Chairs: Dub Dining Chair by Florense, upholstery: Paul Smith for Maharam, Bespoke Stripe in charcoal; dining table: solid walnut, tradition,Bladon Conner Design and NM Interiors

Cynthia Lynn Photography

“Bubbles,” an art piece by Polish artist Krzysztof Wladyka, hangs above a credenza at the dining room. Moriarty sourced the photos in Castell Photographic Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina, and had them custom framed by Wall to Wall Framing.

Credenza: Square sideboard by Florense, Arctic Gray Oak; table lighting: Steven Haulenbeek; sculpture: Richard X. Zawitz

Cynthia Lynn Photography

With a desire to go big with colours, Moriarty bought this wall installation from Chicago artist Connie Noyes. The picture piece spans the entire wall near the entry of this unit.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

In another foyer, Moriarty comprised multiple bits from Chicago’s Las Manos Gallery. The double art pieces, titled “Plate Etchings” by Mark Pease, are laser-cut etchings and aquatint on paper.

Ceramic sculpture (bottom corner): “Metropolis #4” by Mieke Zuiderweg; photographic transfer on salvaged wood: “Brooklyn Bridge” by Bladon Conner

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Moriarty worked with longtime friend Bladon Conner to make this custom seat near the foyer. It’s made from brushed steel and upholstered with a picture fabric designed by Sarah Morris.

Fabric: The Business Unique, Maharam; background: Belgrade at Glacier, Innovations

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Moriarty framed 18 records and hung them on a wall that leads to a guest bedroom.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

The guest bedroom also serves as an office and a music studio.

Shelves: Volani from Bo Concept

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Bryan Morrison out of Nest Construction set up a space-saving Murphy wall bed and habit cupboard. The customized configuration was made by Jesse Furniture at Chicago for the sofa.

Rug: custom design by NM Interiors

Cynthia Lynn Photography

After the automobile repair shop was converted into condos in 2007, a second-floor main bedroom was added to this unit. The distance is also attached to some wraparound outdoor terrace.

Simple roller shades and custom oatmeal-colored curtains help diffuse the ample light which floods into the area.

Bed: Abbyson Living Hamptons,; nightstands: Abbyson Living Hamptons, Overstock; curtains: The Shade Store

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Sofa: Jane Bi-Sectional, Gus Modern; ottomans: reupholstered at Reverberating Stripes by Paul Smith, Maharam; rug: West Elm; flooring lamp: Big Dipper Arc, CB2

Cynthia Lynn Photography

The main bedroom has a split layout that contains a seating area. The next floor is wired for multizone (indoor and outdoor) music, because of the help of Tom Burns of all Hookup Solutions.

The homeowner and Chicago native appreciates his Wicker Park area for its nature and young, entrepreneurial, free-spirited vibe. Residing in Chicago that the vast majority of his lifetime, he welcomes the diversity, culture and quality of life, including summers at Lake Michigan.

Rocking chair: GT Rocking Chair, Gus Modern; art by homeowner

Your turn: Show us your trendy converted residence!

See related

5 Questions to Ask for the Best Room Lighting

Before you upgrade furniture, replace floors or remodel a living area, consider whether your lighting functions. Lighting is a telltale sign of layout quality and one of the most economical methods to upgrade your house without busting your budget. It sets a mood and helps define a fashion. Without it, important architectural details, artwork and focal points fall level and unnoticed. When done right, lighting functions as a closely tuned orchestra, developing a pitch-perfect makeup of light, layers, flow and direction.

If your lighting choreography consists of a single flip of the change, then maybe it is time to light your head.

“Every five to ten years, the lighting trends change,” states Melissa Kilgore, a lighting specialist at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. “Shifting out a few select pieces in the house to reflect what is current will help upgrade the look of your living space.”

Lighting positioning, fixtures and functions will be the three main ingredients to think of when giving your living space a light makeover. Therefore, if you’re wondering whether it is time for an upgrade, ask yourself these questions.

Restoration Hardware

1. Am I Lighting Unusual Places?

As you evaluate the standing of your lighting style, remember that lighting also functions as art that helps define your personality, set the mood and perform practical tasks. Think of adding light in unexpected places, such as a chandelier at the master bathroom. And consider using light in unconventional ways — such as using hanging pendant lights as reading lamps.

Affiniti Architects

Bright thought for sudden lighting: Search for opportunities to install light fixtures in alcoves, tray ceilings and wall sockets to trace interesting lines. Notice the concealed lights at the ceiling alcove over the cylindrical fireplace mantel here.

Mal Corboy Design

Painting with light is one other way to add surprise. Here coloured LED lighting with toe kick lighting underneath the island and cupboards generates striking appeal.

Craig Denis

In this dining room, the coloured LED lights at the tray ceiling and alongside the rock wall include dimension and visual appeal. Notice how the light calls attention to the texture of the rock wall. Rope or strip lighting achieves this effect.

Craig Denis

“Think of lighting as the jewellery of a house, and also the more unexpected locations that you can place paint or lighting light, the further tradition the residence will seem,” says Kilgore.

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

Another example: Emphasize the shape of a cabinet having an undercabinet and in-cabinet lighting. “I think that indirect lighting beneath and over the cabinets must be mandatory in contemporary lighting design,” Kilgore says.

She suggests using tape lighting to achieve a subtle illuminated line of sight. “Xenon lighting is an affordable alternative for indirect lighting and prices less than LED lighting,” she states.

Arnold Schulman Design Group

2. Does My Lighting Have Layers?

A perfectly lit room has three basic layers: overhead lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. This bedroom pulls all those together — the chandelier for overhead, bedside reading lamps as task lighting, and accent lighting over the headboard and artwork.

Cornerstone Architects

Bright thought for layered lighting: Consider the decorative and functional purpose of every light source. By way of example, in this entryway the wall sconces are a decorative touch, table lamps serve as task lighting and a chandelier offers complete light.

Arnold Schulman Design Group

This kitchen features a number of layers of light: The recessed cans provide overhead illumination, the pendant lighting over the island light the workspace and undercabinet area, and above-cabinet accent lighting provides the space a burst of educated fashion.

Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes

3. Can My Lights Dim?

Great lighting should multitask and establish the mood. A dimmer is a cheap ($20 to $25) and essential tool that puts you in control of the quality and quantity of light. You are able to put in a dimming system either as a whole-house lighting control or by adding a wall socket dimmer in every room and lamps with dimmer switches.

“Think of lighting such as a radio. You don’t wish just one volume. Lighting should have the chance to be task lighting and ambient lighting. Dimmers give the light multitasking capabilities,” says Kilgore.

The American Lighting Association (ALA) estimates a dimmer switch conserves $30 annually in utility expenses. Before installing a dimmer, be sure to have bulbs that are darker.

Arnold Schulman Design Group

Bright thought for dimmed lighting: to create the most of your lighting, put in the highest-wattage lightbulb potential, then dim down it to accommodate the mood and lighting needs. Look at putting dimmers on both the overhead lighting and lamp lighting.

“As another bonus, dimming your lights 50 percent can save approximately 40% in power and increase the life of your bulb,” says Kilgore.

Gordana Car Interior Design Studio

4. Can My Fixtures Reflect Present Designs?

One of the fastest methods to upgrade the look of a living space would be to swap ornamental lighting fittings for more up-to-date fashions. The ceiling fan as a light fixture is now a little passé.

Intelligent ideas for current lighting fashions: Consider replacing your ceiling fans with eye catching chandeliers. Keep the overhead light at 150 to 300 g for optimal illumination.

Laura Martin Bovard

Mix and match your own lighting fittings. They don’t have to be from the exact same lighting family or layout. Notice how in this room the celebrity motif overhead — a look that’s trending today — the night table lamps and candle wall sconces combine styles.

alene workman interior design, inc

Crystal remains a favorite alternative for lighting fittings and is used across the style spectrum. Within this contemporary bathroom, the crystal chandelier includes a contemporary presentation, drawing attention to the underlit wave ceiling.

Arnold Schulman Design Group

Lighting choices can also take cues from transitional style, characterized by clean lines and lighter finishes. “People have been studying dark, heavy scrolls for so long that they are wanting something fresh and light,” Kilgore says.

CSN Lighting

Troy Lighting F1285SG Sausalito Five Light Pendant – $558

A sexy look in light fittings now is blended alloy, dulled gold, and foiled silver , as seen here. The end is a favorite with the transitional style since it has an antique yet contemporary look.


Currey & Co.. Bamboo Floor Lamp, Gold Leaf – $598.40

Lighting inspired by the 1970s is making a strong comeback also. This bronze metal floor lamp with a bamboo-recalling layout captures the look.

DKOR Interiors Inc.- Interior Designers Miami, FL

5. Is My Lighting Focused?

Lighting design is all about the tactical positioning of light and matching the ideal light source to its intended purpose. Indirect lighting brings attention, adds layers and texture the sight point.

Bright thought for concentrated light: Pick focal points you want to emphasize, then direct a light source . “Wall sconces are great accent lighting fittings to highlight artwork and bring light to a space at eye level,” says Kilgore. Wall sconces generally cost $50 to $100.

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

If you want the room to mimic daylight, the ALA recommends using a bulb ranked 4,000 Kelvin or higher. (The Kelvin, or K, evaluation describes how visually warm or cool that a light is.) The higher the K rating, the more cooler or bluer the light appears.

The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is the next important number. A higher CRI is best. By way of example, 100 CRI mimics natural light and is ideal for highlighting skin tones and clothes. CFLs and LEDs normally have ratings from the 80s and are usually less flattering light sources.

More about how your lighting affects interior Colours

Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes

A chandelier in the dining room should hang 30 to 36 inches above the dining table. The diameter of the chandelier should be at least one half of the width of the table.

Designing Edge

Recessed can lighting and track lights are ideal for low-voltage direct illumination. They generally charge $50 to $100 each light.

Turn Collaborative

Translucent glass shades on pendant fixtures will decrease warmth in kitchen. Hanging overhead lighting fittings for example pendants should sit 30 to 36 inches over the island work surface.

For flattering kitchen lighting, bulbs using a color output of 2,700 K to get a sightly reddish cast are recommended.

Dream House Studios

Utilize high-K halogens to get a bluer light in task-intensive regions such as places for doing crafts or homework, or paying invoices.

Ernesto Santalla PLLC

The ALA recommends track lighting for eye-intensive tasks as well. The lights could be independently adjusted to pinpoint light for tasks.

Tell us: Have you updated your lighting recently? Please tell us what you learned.

See related

How to Plan the Layout of Your Kitchen

U, I, C, G or L — figuring out what design to use for the own kitchen is almost like learning how to speak a new language. Luckily, ‘s kitchen design guides can help you discover the right translation for your own kitchen remodel, or perhaps help you learn how to create your present design work just a little bit better.

Check out these seven guides to see which design might suit your home and how you prefer to cook.

Steven Miller Design Studio, Inc..

L-Shaped Kitchens

Among today’s more popular kitchen designs, the L shape with a central island is fantastic for today’s multipurpose kitchens. Although this design works best with lots of space, its variations makes it an easy fit for virtually any style.

Read the manual: Suggestions for L-Shaped KItchens

Jason Arnold Interiors

I-Shaped Kitchens

So easy that it is often forgotten, the only galley kitchen (also known as the I-shaped kitchen) is a great solution for small spaces. For open lofts and small flats, this design is frequently the only available alternative. Other folks love this single-wall setup for its affordability and simplicity.

Read the manual: Single-Wall Kitchens Catch the ‘I’

Moroso Construction

U-Shaped Kitchens

Best for busy cooks, the kitchen keeps everything in easy reach. Also called the C-shaped kitchen, this design involves a peninsula. Many times these kitchens also have the refrigerator on a wall outside the U, maintaining it within the work triangle but from any potential counter space.

Read the manual: Suggestions for U-Shaped Kitchens

Contemporary home architects

Galley Kitchens

Most galley kitchens adhere to a very simple and efficient pattern — the sink, prep and stove stand in a single line, together with the prep area equidistant from cleaning and cooking spaces. But, now’s galley can be more flexible for contemporary lifestyles. Including a kitchen table, taking out walls and incorporating seating can make this style work for today’s houses.

Read the manual: A Vote for the Good Old Galley

Soorikian Architecture

Island or Peninsula?

Although some desire an island off the bat, even sometimes a peninsula is a better option — and occasionally you want both. Learn what setup makes the most sense for the kitchen.

Read the manual: Island or even a Peninsula?


Appliance Design

The kitchen work triangle is frequently touted as the supreme design consideration for kitchen designs. But while it is important to reference the work triangle in a kitchen remodel, it isn’t the solution to each design problem. Rather, focus on what works best for you and making certain the path between your work centers — cooking, prep and cleaning — is immediate.

Read the manual: Determining the Right Appliance Layout For The Kitchen

Marlene Wangenheim AKBD, CAPS, Allied Member ASID

Universal Design Kitchen Layouts

The guiding principle of international design is simple — a space ought to be comfortable and easy to use for everybody, regardless of age or ability. This is particularly true in a high-traffic area such as the kitchen. Taking easy things such as counter height and door dimensions and types into consideration may make a dramatic difference in who will be able to access and use your kitchen.

Read the manual: Best Space Planning for Universal Design in the Kitchen

More: ‘s Kitchen

See related

8 Neutral Rooms That Sneak In Color Interest

Among the biggest misconceptions that people have about neutral color schemes is they’re dull, which — in case you do them right — could not be farther from the reality. However, if weaving in texture, comparison, patina and pattern aren’t enough to satisfy your desire for visual interest, a wee bit of color can do the trick.

However, you don’t want to go overboard; that is why you selected a neutral colour in the first place. Check out these eight tips for slipping in a few more colorful hues without upsetting the balance.

Elizabeth Dinkel

You have to look for a moment to find the color in this bedroom, and then you will wonder how you missed it. A fairly china blue print, edged in red, on the window treatments and bed skirt pairs with restrained reddish details in the bedding. Keeping the cloth wallpapers predominantly white preserves the room’s neutral overtones, but those tiny touches of color add a vibrancy that is sensed as much as noticed.


The colours are a bit more obvious in this traditional space — bright novels, hunting artwork, china and an Oriental rug — but not enough to detract from the tone-on-tone sensibility. French vanilla–hued walls, natural flooring and ecru linens preside over the peppier notes and maintain their dominance.

Murphy & Co.. Layout

This living area has been a massive hit , and for good reason. Everything about it feels comfortable and familiar, yet fresh and clean. And these neutrals — vibrant woods contrasted with pale creams and beiges — simply glow together. Still, I really don’t think the space would be as engaging without the apricot throw pillows, which bridge the neutrals and create an irresistible warmth.

J. Hirsch Interior Design, LLC

How many times have you heard it said that the best way to keep a neutral space from atmosphere flat is to coating textures? It is accurate, and this dwelling area demonstrates the idea to beautiful effect, from coarse rope and spooled detailing about the furniture into matte wire and nubby yarn accents. Soft chamois-yellow draperies warm the palette without calling attention to themselves.

Penguin Random House

Art can be among the simplest, most natural ways to vary the colour of a space. This gallery wall works particularly well because of the limited variety — only a couple of colorful pieces anchor the grouping, which otherwise reflects the black, black and brown colors of the room.

Linn Gresham Haute Decor

This space proves you could slip a little color into a neutral plot without disrupting the result. Gentle Wedgwood blue and vibrant orange on the chest bring to life an otherwise toned-down colour. It can be complicated to mix cool and warm colors in a neutral space, but it functions: Orange and blue create natural partners, and they pick up the yellow and grey undertones in the remaining part of the decor.

Applique Artistry

Here is another stroke of orange and barely-there blue. Tiers of rustic and refined woods and pale geometric prints diversify the beautifully nuanced neutrals, which are peppered with darker notes to give additional depth.

Annette English

Even without the comfy fire, this dining space would radiate welcome. The secret? The rough-hewn dining table, with reddish undertones that warm up the brown-on-brown scheme. An abundance of natural light flowing in and bouncing off the mirror amplifies the color variants and makes them feel alive.

More: guides to using neutral colours

See related

Tips for Window Shades Installation

Natural light from the sun is important no doubt, but there are times when the light is just too much. However, you don’t want to close off the blinds because you still need some of it. This is why you must install window shades. Cellular window shades readily available in the market at the moment will give you greater control over the amount of light entering your home.

Installing the shades is easy and even if you are not a window cleaning, the simple tips below will help you.

Mark Bracket Positions

Not all windows are the same. They come in different sizes and designs. Before you start the installation of shades, you must measure the size of your window first. This will help you buy the right shades for the specific type of windows you have at home.

Mark the Screw-Hole Locations

You will need to attach the shades somewhere and this is where the screw holes come in. It’s important to make the holes before placing the shades. Some homeowners often make the mistake of fixing the shades and trying to screw them in place. This is just too much work. Make the screw holes first, place the shades, and then screw.

Attach Mounting Brackets

Each window shade you buy will come with mounting brackets. The brackets are like the foundation that will hold the shades into place. Once the screw holes are made, mount the brackets. Just hold the brackets carefully until they are aligned with the screw holes made on the head jamb. Use two or three pan head screws to fasten the brackets and move to the next step.

Clip the Shade into the Brackets

Before you clip the window shades into the brackets, make sure that the brackets are level. You don’t need to be an experienced window installation to know whether the brackets are level or not. If the brackets are not aligned, fix them before clipping the shades. You will notice at the bottom of the bracing brackets a few small screws called brace screws. Loosen the screws a bit. Attach the shades and tighten the screws.

Test the Shades

Once the window shades are in place it’s time to test them. Move the shades back and forth to see whether there are any issues. The shades should move with ease. Don’t move the shades too vigorously though. If there’s something wrong, moving the shades with a lot of force might damage them. Sometimes the shade may also look shorter than normal. Don’t worry about this. Give it a few days for the fabric to relax and soon enough it will cover the entire window. If you have a lot of windows at home, installing the shades might take a whole day. However, three or four windows will take a few hours.

Installing window shades allows you to control the amount of natural light that enters your home. The shades can also help you increase privacy. The simple window repair DIY guide above will help you make the required installation.

Colour and Sets for Crafty San Francisco Parents

Finding an affordable apartment in San Francisco these days is stressful enough, let alone with a baby on the way. That’s what San Francisco couple Matthew and Sandy Lynn Davis, who together run the diverse arts and crafts company Treatzone, were facing as they scoured the city in search of a house. However, as luck would have it, only one month ahead of his son’s due date, they found a gorgeous Victorian-style flat in the Mission District with just the ideal amount of space. “It is gigantic by San Francisco standards; it’d storage space and a garage,” Sandy says. After they added their colorful artwork and diverse collections, it was the ideal place to start their new family. “It really begun to feel like home when we brought Dylan house from the hospital,” she states.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Matthew and Sandy Lynn Davis, 1-year-old son Dylan and cat Bella
Location: Mission District of San Francisco
Size: 1,500 square feet; 1 bedroom, studio-office

Shannon Malone

The parents’ decorating philosophy is both practical and lively. “Our style is fun, but we try to avoid sacrificing substance for fashion,” Sandy says. “We like things to work equally like they look.”

To pay up an unpleasant-looking fireplace, the couple strategically hung a piece of artwork. “We attempted to figure out ways to pay for the opening which wouldn’t entail covering up the great tilework, and strangely enough that painting seems to function in there,” Sandy says.

The assortment of cat-related items on the mantel initially began with the two figurines on the right. “I have noticed that a few of these resemble our cat, Bella,” she states. Matthew painted the blue painting which is based on a friend’s toy .

Shannon Malone

Both Matthew and Sandy are avid fans, and the living area features a number of their favourite prints by creative friends mixed in with some original artwork. “The living area is one of our family’s favorite places to spend some time, with its abundance of sun and a great deal of room to interact and playwith,” says Sandy. “Dylan likes to stand by the window and watch the cars go by.”

Couch: CB2; ottoman: Missoni Pentagonal Pouf, Goal; coffee table: property sale

Shannon Malone

This lively corner of the living area is devoted to Dylan.

Rug: Goal; armchair: Tullsta, Ikea

Shannon Malone

The living area flows to the couple’s newly completed studio-office through a pocket door, first to the flat.

Shannon Malone

Expedit bookshelves are utilized to corral the couple’s extensive collections across the home, such as their vinyl record set in the workplace.

Both work together in your home on different creative projects and operate their Etsy shop and Treatzone together with the flexibility to watch Dylan play nearby.

Shannon Malone

These 1930s and’40s classic silhouettes hanging in the hall are just another among those couple’s collections, sourced from eBay and flea markets through recent years.

Shannon Malone

They recently splurged on a new dining table and chairs. Behind, the other Expedit shelf arranges keeps books organized.

Dining table: Dylan, CB2; chairs: Baxton Studio

Shannon Malone

“Our main design dilemma has probably been our increasingly mobile son,” says Sandy. “It feels like we are constantly making adjustments to keep him safe and be sure that he has some distances which are only for him” Place between some initial millwork is a cozy reading nook for Dylan.

“We’ve been trying to incorporate his items together with ours,” says Sandy. “We’ve found that Dylan is not as inclined to get into things which are off limits — such as Mom and Dad’s books — he has a lot of his own items at his own level near”

Shannon Malone

The couple babyproofed the table by putting protective corners onto it.

Rug: Ikea

Shannon Malone

When they moved in, the kitchen had dark blue walls, which made an area which already obtained minimal all-natural light darker. They painted the walls a soft yellow to brighten everything up.

Paint: Haystack Yellow, Benjamin Moore

Shannon Malone

In the hallway,the couple creatively hung photographs of Dylan in their classic Eames rocker, shot every month since arrival. He recently celebrated his birthday.

“We’re probably most motivated by famous performers Ray and Charles Eames,” Sandy says. “How their work permeated every part of their lives, along with the playful and thoughtful aspect they attracted to everything they touched. I think Charles Eames previously said,’Take your enjoyment seriously.'”

Shannon Malone

The couple shares the apartment’s only bedroom with Dylan. It is located directly off the kitchen, and large windows let in plenty of sun.

The artwork over the mattress is an original photograph by Sandy. The couple had it blown up and printed on canvas in Photoworks in San Francisco.

Shannon Malone

The homeowners gave Dylan’s corner a lively character with decals from Target. The flat walls came painted a soft purple, and also the couple maintained.

Shannon Malone

Sandy obtained this bedroom batter from a buddy. The mirror is among her favourite recent thrift store finds; it’s from the local Salvation Army.

Shannon Malone

Along with a mix of handmade pieces purchased from eBay and Etsy.

“Always” letters: Goal;”It is OK” wood carving: Curiosity Shoppe (now closed); ceramic keys: Rare Apparatus; blue box: Ikea; nightlights: Bed Bath & Beyond

Shannon Malone

The couple scored this classic Eames rocker on eBay. Dylan already has his very own collections started on the wall shelves.

The couple’s next big project is to set Dylan upward in his own room. “We’re not yet sure if we’ll convert the studio-office to his bedroom or if we’ll move into that room and make the current bedroom all his,” says Sandy. “Either way, we’ll have lots of rearranging to do.”

Dresser, shelving unit: Malm and Expedit, Ikea

See more photographs from this flat | Show us your creative rental

See related