A Design Blog of Feng Shui Designer Sherry Burton Ways

Archive for the ‘Lighting’ Category

Lighten It Up

No room is perfect without the correct lighting. Lighting is everything! Not only does it allow you to be able to see but it also sets the mood of a room and highlights focal points. Knowing the different types of lighting and how to use it is important.


Craftmade Step Pan 11″ Transitional Flush Mount Ceiling Light

Flush mount lights: This is a fixture that hugs the ceiling. It is often found in bathrooms and kitchen because it allows for whole room illumination.


Maxim Lighting Basix Contemporary Semi Flush Mount Ceiling Light          


Semi flush lights: These fixtures normally hang a foot down from the ceiling.


Light Source Tracen Transitional Pendant Light

Pendant lights: Any fixture that suspends from a chain or cord, this also includes chandeliers. These work best over tables, counters and high ceilings; usually this type of lighting is the focal point of a dining room on main entryway.


W.A.C. Lighting Low Voltage Multi Spot Trimless Light

Recessed lights: This is a fixture that is embedded in the ceiling. This type of lighting is ideal for low ceilings and an added plus is that the can be set to beam in different directions.


Nora Lighting Line Voltage Gimbal Ring Track Pack

Track lights: Track lights are adjustable luminaries that can move from left to right on the track. The lamp heads can also be angled to hit specific spots. This is ideal lighting for artwork, and focal point architecture.

Now that you have an idea of the different types of ceiling lights a few things to remember are:

1. Think about your art, the architecture and the furnishing in your home or area that needs the lighting.

2. Plan your lighting in layers; think of the functional lighting first, decorative lighting next and then finally the ambiance lighting these are usually the lights that have dimmers.

3. Your light sources and furniture finishes should compliment each other. If your space is using wood with dark finishes then a luminaire that produces a warmer tone is best.

4.The lighting and wall color shouldn’t fight; choose lighting that compliments the wall color without forcing the color to become overwhelming.

5. Know what area of the room you want to highlight and give that the most light or use lighting that forces the eye in that direction.

The furnishing in a room are important but the lighting is everything! You want to choose lighting that compliments a space well and keeps it feeling comfortable and inviting. For more information or consultations contact Kreative Ways & Solutions, LLC. All lighting shown can be found on http://www.kreativeways.com

Five Ways to Avoid A Home That Screams “Off the Rack”

Interior Design by Sherry Ways of Kreative Ways & Solutions, LLC

What makes a home look decorator quality? Is it the right shades? Is it the perfect fabric on your sofa? What about the right flooring? It doesn’t matter. What? Actually, there’s one principle that’s fundamental to ALL decorator quality homes. It’s detail!

Oftentimes, people overlook the details in their home and don’t realize how important they really are. I can even go so far as to say – the attention you give to carefully planned detail is what separates your home from the everyday look of store bought! Detail is what creates a home with a decorator quality, look and feel. It doesn’t matter what style of furnishings you have – traditional, cottage, beach, casual. . . or even if you don’t have decorator quality furnishings!


Interior Design by Sherry Ways of Kreative Ways & Solutions, LLC

Many people purchase ready-made products such as curtain panels, valances, bedding, table skirts and pillows. But what they don’t realize is by doing so, they’re dulling down their home.

I’ve listed a few things to consider about ready made products –

1. Quality – Store bought fabric items are made FAST – the workmanship and quality is on the low end of the scale. That being said, they’re made to appeal to a mass market, a larger audience, everyone and anyone! The products don’t usually last long and they wear out in no time flat, especially after you’ve laundered them for the very first time. It’s almost as if the stiffener is the thing holding them together! Here’s what’s common – stitching is missing, the hems are crooked, the seams are too small, they’ve skimped on fabric, they hang off-kilter, the corners are sloppy, the thread doesn’t match, they aren’t lined, or if there is lining it’s too short and not hemmed properly.

2. Color – The use of exquisite trims, bandings, borders and beading is virtually non-existent with ready-made. The style is basic. The colors are boring. It’s the same stuff your neighbors have. And it doesn’t provide any of the extra added ‘zip’ that would look great in your home.

3. Repetition – If you find an item you like that has some detail to it, oftentimes it’s the only one like it. When you bring it home to your house, it’s the only item in the room with that detail. This creates a lack of repetition and unity in the room. You’ll want to tie things together and create a well-thought out room. Using only one item with that one detail could be too random.

4. Decorator Details – Pay attention to items like lampshades, trim on window treatments, knobs on the kitchen cabinets, light switches, pillows, live plants, pots, accessories, etc. Think these items through and the detail opportunities they provide. It’s what professional interior designers do to make your home look ‘decorator quality’.

5. Play Hooky – On the other side of the coin, don’t be afraid to remove details to keep things simple, chic and less cluttered. Too much detail in a room can be overwhelming or too matchy-matchy and doesn’t provide a place for your eyes to rest. A carefully planned absence of detail in a room can look absolutely fabulous!
You can learn how to develop an eye for detail. It takes time, but building your ‘attention to detail’ muscle is a skill you can acquire with ease. Who knows, maybe your home could be featured in an upcoming decorator magazine!

To learn more this weekend I will be one of three panelists in the Port of Harlem’s Build/Renovate Your Own Castle taking place on Saturday April 6 th, at the Alexandria Black History Museum.   The event is FREE!  Come learn the secrets of pulling together a beautiful space.  For more information check out  http://www.portofharlem.net/pohpromotions/buildrenovatefive.html

LED Lighting for the Home: A Sustainable Alternative

Lighting can make a space; it can be aesthetic or functional. From lighting up your art to providing reading light, it is a necessary feature in any space. Different shapes, colors, and levels can set the mood, make a room complete, or simply look good. As some of the objects that use up the most amount of energy and electricity in households, it is important to not only pay attention to aesthetics and functionality, but to also make sure that your fixtures are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Various LED Lighting Residential Projects

In the past several years, LED (light-emitting diode) lighting has become more and more popular as manufactures have made its use more versatile. Originally developed in 1962, LED lights were used as indicator bulbs on appliances and electronics. Today, these small lights can be manufactured individually or in components of several on a single strip. The bulbs can be used in commercial and residential fixtures from reading lights to pendants and track lighting. LED’s life expectancy compared to incandescent and condescend bulbs; LED 50,000hrs, CFL 10,000hrs, incandescent 1,200hrs. Although original cost can be more expensive than regular bulbs, LEDs will in time save you money in different ways. Unlike incandescent light bulbs, LED lights do not radiate intense heat. They also use a lot less electricity than both CLF and incandescent bulbs. Watts per bulb; LED 10, CFL 14, incandescent 60. The efficient LED bulbs will save you money over time on electric bills, and while at first they may cost more, in the end, you will be buying less than you would CFL and incandescent.

Decorative LED Pendants

The Livable Basement

We designed a customized entertainment center, spirits section and a wine cellar for this client’s basement as well.


This basement design we did for a client included custom daybeds, sconce lighting, bamboo flooring, custom cabinetry and grasscloth wallcoverings.

Is your basement feeling unused and unappreciated?  Do you need to breathe life into it?  Make it more livable?  Well, maybe it’s time to redesign and turn that underutilized area beneath your home as a livable, inviting space for everyone to enjoy!

The first step in a basement redesign is to thoroughly inspect your space for water damage, mold and mildew or any structural concerns.  Getting a licensed, bonded and insured contractor to inspect your basement is always a wise choice before you begin any remodeling.

Second, make sure that you develop a plan for your space. Determine your intention for the space.  Will it be a man cave; basement apartment; home theater; library or spa? How about a bowling alley?  Let your imagination run wild and then determine the layout design with the help of professional design specialist. Make the room seem wider and longer with the use of horizontal design elements.  Think about what you want to include such as bathrooms, kitchens and play areas for the children.  Budget is also important.  What do you want to spend for the space and what kind of upgrades are you willing to negotiate?

Because of the obvious location of the basement lighting is one of the most important design elements to consider.  It should be more heavily lit than any other space in the home.  Therefore, if it is possible to do so, recessed lighting is best for these areas.  Also, remember to maximize both natural (outdoor daylight) and artificial lighting as much as possible. Open floor plans and large windows, are ideal design elements that can help increase natural lighting in the basement.

Light color palettes or bright wallpaper designs are also wise choices. Using light paint colors will very effectively brighten the gloomiest basements!

Custom built-ins are great for storage of electronic equipment as well as other items.  If you already have an upholstered chair or sofa in your basement, consider a bright slipcover to change the look and add coordinating pillows that pop!

Flooring choices for the basement may range from carpeting to ceramic tile.  Preferably ceramic tile or vinyl surfaces work best.  These hard flooring surfaces can be enhanced by beautiful colorful area rugs.

Remember plan carefully for your basement design.  Do your homework.  Work out your budget and have fun implementing a livable basement design that you and your family will enjoy for years to come!  Contact us today to redo your basement design at 1-888-280-8318 or e-mail interiors@kreativeways.com


A New Kind of Sustainable Lighting- African Basket Lamp Shades

These lampshades were designed by Heath Nash, courtesy of BBC News.

While browsing in my neighborhood library recently I came across a beautiful find… lampshades on pendant lighting made out of African baskets.  I was so thrilled!  I said to myself wow!  You see I was on the original selection team for the library architect who would design two libraries in Southeast, Washington, DC.  One of which would be in the upscale neighborhood of Hillcrest on the other side of Capitol Hill

Since the Francis A. Gregory Library has been built, I finally had a chance to stop and see the wonderful work.  I was inspired to write about the use of sustainable baskets from indigenous cultures as a design element.  As a big fan of African inspired design, I was so taken by the original lighting I saw in the library.

This is a a great phenomenon that is catching on all over in both commercial, retail and home design.  Consider some of the designs I am showcasing here as inspiration for your eco-friendly inspired interior!

The use of woven baskets goes well in retail settings as well.



Photo of interior of Francis A. Gregory Library in Washington, DC. Pendant Lampshades designed using African Baskets. Photo courtesy of Edmund Summer.

Paper Cloud Floats with Wonderful Eco-Friendly Lighting and Accessories

I attended the New York International Gift Fair last summer while hanging out with my hubby in Manhattan for his birthday. I just happened to be in town while the show was just starting and of course as an entrepreneur, I mixed some business with fun!

While at the show, I met this lovely couple, Mathew and Ariana Broerman owners of Paper Cloud I soon learned that they are artists who care about the environment, use eco-friendly materials and print all of their fabrics by hand. The colors and designs I found so different than others in home accessory industry. Plus they are a really cool couple and thought you should meet them!

Let’s float with them:

Matt and Ariana Broerman
photo courtesy of Paper Cloud

1. We think it is great that you create unusual yet casually beautiful accessories. Tell us about how you got started in the business, your artistic background and how that influences your work today?

We graduated from the University of Cincinnati with design degrees in 2003 and took design jobs in Cincinnati. After we got married in 2005 we talked about starting our own business, but the inspiration for Paper Cloud came much earlier. I had been making Christmas cards for friends & family for years. It was something I loved doing—a fun personal project outside of school projects and later my design job. The cards were intricate little pieces of art with textured papers, foils and beading. People would mention that I should sell the cards. So when we talked about starting a business, we naturally thought of turning my hobby into something more.

2. What and/or who inspires your pillow and lighting designs?

Nature has always been the main inspiration for our designs, but how we interpret those initial doodles is inspired by many other sources. Traveling to other countries, going to art exhibits, reading design blogs and magazines all play a part in how we develop our designs and the overall look of Paper Cloud.

photo courtesy of Paper Cloud

3. Tell us about your lighting collection? How are they made? What materials do you use? What makes your lighting different from others?

Our pendant lights are made with 100% linen and backed with a heat-resistant lampshade paper. We start by hand printing our fabric with water-based inks and then trimming it to the appropriate size for the shade. After adhering it to the lampshade paper, we roll it into a cylinder and add the rings to the top and bottom, gluing them in place as we roll the fabric over the edge. What makes our lighting unique is that that all of our pendants are handmade in the US, ensuring high quality products that consumers can feel good about having in their homes. Also, all of our products are environmentally friendly, another thing to feel good about.

photo courtesy of Paper Cloud

4. Tell us about your pillow designs? What materials do you use? What makes these different from other pillow lines?

Our pillows are printed with water-based inks on 100% linen. Because we handprint all our designs, we can offer a variety of designs and colors, so you’re sure to find a great match for your home.

photo courtesy of Paper Cloud

5. Are your pillows easy to clean?

All our pillows have envelope backs for easy removal of the inserts. We recommend spot-treating with a mild detergent and ironing with steam while the fabric is still damp.

6. Where can one find your home accessories? Are there any retailers in the Washington, DC area?

While we don’t currently have our work in any DC stores, all of our products are available on our site.

photo courtesy of Paper Cloud

7. Is there a pillow or lighting design that is your favorite?

One of my old favorites is the Daisy design. And I love our Wood Planks pattern, which is one of our most popular.

8. How do you take a design from idea to finished product? Do you design using sketch book and/or computer? What software programs do you use? Is there specialty software involved in creating your lighting designs?

Everything starts with a sketch! We have folders full of doodles, and we’ll go through them and find good ideas for designs that we’ve forgotten about. Once we decide on and finalize a sketch, we scan it into the computer and refine it in Adobe Illustrator. That’s it for fancy software—the rest is all handiwork and craftsmanship.

9. Do you have favorite websites, blogs or magazines?

We usually check out www.designspongeonline.com, www.surfstation.com, www.grainedit.com. Periodically I’ll pick up Real Simple, which I always enjoy as much for its content as for its design.

10. How do you balance your personal life with your career?

We recently moved our studio from our home into a loft downtown, so that has given us more separation of work/personal time. But really, Paper Cloud has been such a huge part of our lives for the last 5 years that the line has always been blurred. Plus, what we do is fun and fulfilling, so it rarely feels like “work”.

photo courtesy of Paper Cloud

11. Anything new in the works… can we get a hint?

As a matter of fact, in the upcoming months we’ll be adding a line of 100% certified organic cotton fabrics to our lighting and pillows. We’re also thrilled to be adding a line of napkins and placemats in the organic cotton as well. We’ll be adding those to our site soon, and showing everything at this summer’s New York International Gift Fair.

Sounds like great stuff! I will be looking for their cool and eco-friendly designs for my clients. I enjoyed floating on this cloud. How about you?

Authors note- originally I wrote this article for DC Ladies Blog and I am sharing it here.

Hello world!

Welcome to our new blog!  Come here often as we share tips and information about wholistic design, feng shui and sustainable lifestyles.  Press releases about our firm will be found here as well.  Peace!

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