I've been marathon watching Fixer Upper on HGTV
and I'm completely hooked - ready to move to Waco, Texas
and get me some amazing square footage and unbelievable acreage
with towering old black oak trees
and longhorns hanging out in the tall grass...
and some beams on the ceiling....

that clever couple manages to incorporate wood beams into nearly every home they remodel
- really you must watch if you aren't already hooked...

(don't you love how these beams 'almost' disappear into the ceiling - but are still gorgeously there?)

I like her fresh farmhouse style and their cute family....

but back to the ceilings...

think of them as your 5th wall
and make them a feature - 

beams are everywhere right now - have you noticed?
rustic or refined, they add dimension to the ceiling

they lift the eye

and add texture and a little drama
(in a good way...)

this kitchen is to die for, with a ceiling equally killer...

maybe you don't have 10 foot ceilings, so beams won't work for you...
(sadly, thats where I enter the picture..)
you can still make your ceiling sing with style

how wonderful and silvery is this tin ceiling?...
(it could work in the right setting...)

but my personal favorite, after beams, is a planked ceiling

finished off in a semi-gloss white - fresh and clean 

or, why not the best of both worlds - beams AND planks...


things are definitely looking up!

(her first line made me laugh!)

some of us live in dumps...
Hi.  I enjoy your blog so much.  I have a permanent tag for it.  You're very sophisticated when it comes to this and if I ever hit Lotto or anything I'll hire you!
Problem:  I live in an apartment with a minimum of natural light and no sunlight ever.  (although once a year a window across the street on about the 11th floor casts a sun spot on my refrigerator--to be fair.)  It's dark.  Lighting is incandescent light bulbs.
The floors are parquet--a honey/maple color but very dirty and I can't fix it.  Landlord forbids polyurethane and this has taken a toll.  Maybe one day I can hand sand a section at a time, then wax it.
Decor is shabby shabby but all antiques.   Dark woods--mahogany, oak, cherry...  And a beat up dark royal/navy blue couch.

I love color.  I even have Josef Albers book collecting dust there on my night stand.  Where I'm stuck is how I might get a sense of color in here while leaning toward pastels to complement the orange-y floors (swallow them really)  Think no natural light ever.
So if you ever bored out of your mind, or if this is on the tip of your tongue, please respond. 
I'm all eyes.


Dear Cynthia,
I'm honored to be permanent on anyone's tag.  After reading your email, and after the chuckles had died down, I pondered how to solve your 'dark' problem.  More lamps?  Higher wattage?  But perhaps not.  At least not until you have hand sanded/waxed the floor to perfection.

Here are a few visual suggestions for bringing light and color into a dim room:

Mirrors and reflective surfaces:  Even incandescent light can be reflected.

A mirror or collection of mirrors on your wall can brighten things up a little,

as can reflective items, like mercury glass or silver objects or regular glass.

Lamps:  Here you can get the best of both worlds.   

Glass lamps, lighter colored lamp shades, brighter bulbs - and don't you dare believe those people who think one lamp per room is plenty.  I have 4 in my family room, not counting the overhead lighting.

Decorative pillows:  Seriously - pillows can make a big difference.  They can add a lighter pop of color,

add that color you love...

On a royal blue/navy couch - add some lighter, brighter colored, lighter feeling decorative pillows

Curtains:  Curtains are magic in a room.  
They add the finishing touch, bring color to the ceiling, 
add texture and pattern - 
if you don't have curtains to frame your window, you are missing out on a great opportunity to brighten your room...

Rug:   Hate the floor?  Invest in a large area rug.  

Looking to lighten a room?  A lighter rug will brighten the space.  

it will define the space

and create distinctive areas within a room...

Paint:  This is the most obvious and economical solution - if your landlord is of the extremely awesome variety and lets you paint...

Art:  Art on the wall, depending on how it is framed, can lighten a room.  

It is a definite way to add color and a wonderful focal point.

If you incorporate a couple of these ideas, 
your room should be brighter and more colorful!
Good luck!


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