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With the ongoing pandemic caused by COVID-19 many of you are working from home rather than going to the office. Some of you might have an existing work-space at home, that you can use, while others had to create a work space.

This week's post will help you to set up or adjust your work-space to be more functional and comfortable to work in.

1. Work-surface

It is best to have your work-surface set up on a table or desk. Preferably you'd like to choose a surface that is not used for other purposes so you can leave your laptop and other necessary materials set up. For example, a guest bedroom would work great for a home office. If you do not have an extra room for your work-space a dining room table that isn't used for daily meals will work well. If you do not have a desk or table that isn't used for other purposes, consider purchasing a folding table to serve as your temporary work surface.

Remove all unnecessary clutter from your work-surface and ensure that all necessary supplies are close at hand.

2. Light

If possible choose a location in your home that receives daylight and possibly has access to views of the outdoors. Having daylight is crucial to our circadian rhythm. Daylight is also crucial to reduce stress and depression, which is essential in these difficult times. If your window is facing South, East, or West glare can be an issue which needs to be addressed by turning your screen, moving your table/desk, or reduced with window coverings.

And if there is no daylight, ensure that your space has adequate artificial lighting. You may need to consider purchasing a lamp or relocating a lamp to ensure you have sufficient light in your work area.

3. Indoor Air

Working from home brings many challenges as you might not go outside to go to work. Especially at this time of year when it is still cold out having a window close to your work-space allows you to open the window for some fresh air for a couple times a day or longer periods if the weather is nice. Opening a window increases the oxygen level of the interior air which helps you stay focused and alert.

4. Sound

If you don't have the luxury of having a separate room as a home office, noise from other people in the household, children, TV, or radios might be a distraction that is difficult to ignore. You might consider headphones with music that doesn't distract you (music without lyrics) or noise cancelling headphones that simply block noise. Regular headphones with soft music playing works well to drown out other noises.

5. Ergonomics

If you do not have a permanent office at home you likely do not have an appropriate office chair to sit in all day. Try to improve the chair you're using with pillows to be more comfortable and supportive. Set a timer to get up every hour and move around a bit; consider going outside for a minute or doing some stretches.

6. Electricity

If possible plug in your laptop close to your work-space and avoid having cords where you or other persons might be walking through. If you do need an extension cord or need to have the cord where you or other persons might walk tape the cord to the floor with masking tape.

I hope the above pointers help you to adjust your home office to be more functional and comfortable. If you have any questions particular to your space, please feel free to contact me for a free online consultation from April 03, 2020 to April 17, 2020.

Stay tuned for a post on how to create the work-space for children for at home learning.

Stay safe!

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You might ask yourself, "can I afford an interior designer for my renovation, or my new home?" An interior designer can help you with establishing your spacial needs, space planning, hiring contractors, make recommendation for a more environmentally sustainable interior, planning for the future, material selection, finish selection, and so much more. The more accurate question to ask then is, "Can I afford not to hire an interior designer?"

An experienced designer will not only ensure the success of your project, but more importantly help you stay on budget and even save you money.

Following are 7 points on how a designer saves you money:

1. Planning ahead and getting accurate quotes

A designer knows the importance of planning ahead and having a detailed plan and schedule. A designer will create a precise and detailed plan and schedules for your project. The detailed plan enables the designer or yourself to communicate your ideas clearly with contractors and tradespeople which is key to getting accurate quotations for your project. The accurate quotation will aid you in the decision-making process and help you stay on budget.

2. Avoiding unexpected expenses

An experienced designer can anticipate costs before they are evident especially in renovation projects. A good designer will make you aware of possible issues such as old wiring, plumbing that needs to be updated, additional structural elements that might be required, the added cost of moving heating ducts, or a variety of other issues. By being aware of possible issues you avoid being caught by surprise and can prevent your project from going over budget.

3. Material and finish selection

A designer can help you select the materials and finishes that are within your budget and get the look that you desire. A designer can help you stay within your budget and spend your money where it matters most to you and where you get the biggest bang for your bucks. For example, by selecting appropriate finishes the designer can ensure that the finishes are durable and low maintenance saving you costs in the future. Experienced designers know where to get the best prices and have access to materials you are likely unaware of.

4. Maximizing use of available space

This is likely the biggest money safer. A designer can help you maximize the use of your available space. By ensuring the most efficient use of your space you might, for example, build smaller or remodel your existing home to have all the space you might need. Reducing a new built home by only a few square feet can save you thousands. Reducing the size of a home saves not only on the initial investment of building or renovating, but safes you money for years to come by lower maintenance costs, lower heating and lighting costs, and lower property taxes.

5. Saving Time

A designer can save you time in the planning and construction of your project, leaving you more time to work, relax, and spend with your family and friends. The designer will help you plan and schedule everything to minimize the interruptions to your day-to-day activities and complete the project on schedule.

6. Increase the value of your home

A designer knows the real estate market and how to increase the value of your home. They can guide you in spending money where it matters the most and increase the value of your home by more than you are spending on the renovation.

7. Peace of Mind

A designer helps you to plan and prepare. They have experience and expertise in renovations and construction and can help you to get it right the first time. Getting it right the first time will eliminate many issues in the future. They work for you and do everything they can to ensure your vision becomes reality. They assist you to stay on budget.

Indeed, your peace of mind is likely worth more than money could buy!

Hiring an interior designer for your renovation or new home construction is well worth it and saves you money initially and into the future. How much help you require from your interior designer may vary depending on your experience and confidence level and a good designer works to assist you where you need expert knowledge most.

Yes you can afford to hire an interior designer!

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One of the most fun parts of the planning of your new home or renovation is the lighting. Lighting can enhance your interior space, give old finishes and furniture a face-lift, improve functionality, visually enlarge spaces or create intimate spaces, and so much more. Interior lighting consists of a combination of natural lighting through windows and doors and artificial lighting. In this blog we will discuss artificial lighting. Natural lighting was discussed briefly in Windows and Doors and will be discussed further in Window coverings.

There are an abundance of light fixtures available, from industrial inspired bare bulbs to extravagant pendants, plain and decorative wall sconces, and recessed lighting in different styles and sizes. This blog post is not about the light fixtures themselves as tastes and budgets are very diverse; it is about understanding the general types of lighting needed and understanding the specification of bulbs.

There are four general categories of lighting, general lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and decorative lighting.

General lighting provides the light necessary to make make a room functional. General lighting should provide sufficient light for occupants to safely travel around the room and access all storage. General lighting can also be decorative, and double as task lighting with the right controls. Low hanging pendants tend to lower the ceiling visually and recessed lighting visually heightens the ceiling.

Task lighting provides lighting for specific tasks. You might want a bright light at your desk, in the kitchen above the island for food preparation, and above every space where detail tasks are performed. As mentioned above task lighting can be combined with general lighting.

Accent lighting highlights focal points in the room, such as architectural detail, artwork, or furniture. For example, a recessed ceiling could be highlighted by up-lighting and artwork could be highlighted with spotlights. The angle of lighting is crucial to avoid unwanted shadows.

Decorative lighting provides a focal point or decorative element to the room. This is often done by using pendant light fixtures and wall sconces.

You do not need separate light fixtures to provide general, task, and decorative lighting. Think of the light fixture above your dining table; it provides general lighting, task lighting for the table, and likely has a decorative element. Consider what activities you would like to perform in each room and where you would need the most lighting.

Choosing the right bulbs

LED bulbs are the most energy efficient and commonly available bulbs for interior use. Therefore, the following refers mostly to LED bulbs, though the information is applicable to all different bulbs.

Colour temperature:

The color temperature of light creates the atmosphere in a space and is measured in K (Kelvins); the lower the number the warmer the light emitted appears. Bulbs with higher Kelvins appear more blue. Daylight is approximately 5000 K and a candle is about 2000 K. For most interior spaces you would want a 2700 K or 3000 K bulb to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Watts, Lumens and Lux:

The level of light emitted by an incandescent bulb was traditionally measured in Watts, which measured the energy consumption of a bulb. This however is a poor way to compare the light emitted from LED bulbs as they are more efficient at converting electrical energy to light. A more accurate measure of light brightness is Lumens or Lux. Lumen measures light by square foot while Lux measure light by square meter.

Below is a chart with some recommendations for Lumen and Lux by room. The specific illumination depends on the height of the room, location of fixtures, colour and reflectivity of finishes, and personal preferences.

In order to calculate what type of bulbs and the number of bulbs you need to know the square footage of the room.

For example if your bedroom is 200 square feet and you would like to achieve 15 Lumens overall.

200 x 15 = 3000

Assuming you have a pendant light with 3 individual bulbs.

3000 divided by 3 equals 1000. Each bulb would have to emit 1000 Lumens to achieve the desired illumination level. LED bulbs are available with 800 Lumens, which would give you a slightly lower light level than desired. You could choose a different light fixtures with 4 bulbs, or add some wall sconces, or side table lamps to increase the lighting level.

CRI, Colour Rendering Index

Most light bulbs will list the CRI, Color Rendering Index, which measures the ability of the light source to show the colours of objects. 100 CRI is a perfect colour rendering index. Incandescent light bulbs have a near perfect CRI. LED bulbs are usually between 80 and 85. There are LED bulbs available with a CRI of 95. Unless you are an artist or are highlighting an art piece, this is generally not something to be too concerned about.


In order for the lighting to be adjustable and accommodate the different tasks likely to take place in a room, appropriate controls are necessary. Having different switches for different lights in a room is one way to adjust the lighting. You might have a switch for recessed lighting, another switch for a pendant or wall sconces, and yet another for some accent lighting. Dimmer switches are another option to adjust the brightness of the lighting in a room. Motion sensors are a good option for spaces that are used for brief periods such as hallways. They help to conserve energy by turning lights on when needed and off after a brief period without movement.

A smart light switch can be operated from a distance with your phone and is a good idea for people who are often absent from their homes for security reasons.

Send me a message if you have any questions regarding lighting or if you need help to ensure you achieve the lighting effect you're hoping for.

Enjoy selecting your light fixtures!

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