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Interior Lighting - Tips and Ideas

New homeowners often overlook the design aspects related to lighting, even though it does more in terms of setting the mood of a room than most of the other elements. It is, therefore, important to plan the lighting design for your home with the help of a professional when the construction is going on.


Lighting has to be decided on the basis of the purpose for which the room is going to be used. Some of the aspects that you have to take into consideration are:

Will there be a television, computer or other appliances
Will you read a book, newspaper or magazine when you are inside the room
Whether you will be relaxing in the room or doing tasks such as dressing, studying or cooking
Who will be using the room for a major part of the time

If the main residents of the home are likely to be elderly people, then the lighting should be sufficient for their aging eyes.


Both natural light coming into a room and artificial lights provided can have an impact on the mood of a room and its function. You may have to control the lighting to some extent through various means. For example, the carpets and furniture may lose luster if bright afternoon light falls into a room. Babies may find it difficult to sleep in a room that is too bright. You may have to control the natural light if you want watch a projection or flat screen TV.


There are several types of lighting fixtures that can be used. Ceiling fixtures are used to provide general lighting and focus on the central portion of a room. There are ceiling-mounted single lights, track lights, chandeliers, pendant lights and recessed lights. Once fixed, it is difficult to relocate these lights. Pendant lights help to break the monotony of lighting. Further, they do not eat into valuable space. They also double up as task lights.

You can use lamps to not only provide lighting, but also work as decorative objects. These lights are referred to as ambient lights. Some examples are table lamps, plug-in night lights, spot lights, floor lamps and torchieres. Fixtures such as sconces, cove lights, etc., are fixed to the wall.

Accent lighting helps to highlight a painting or any other object. Spot lights or art lamps can be made use of for this purpose.
To carry out activities such as cutting vegetables, cooking food, reading, etc., you have to make use of tasklighting. The lights used for this purpose consist of recessed halogen lights, under-cabinet lights and pendant lights.

Lighting used for decorative purposes includes candles, oil lamps and paper columns.

Factors to be Considered

It is important to use the right kind of bulb with any fixture so that it serves the purpose for which the room is to be used. To give you an example, incandescent bulbs are most often used in lamps. These bulbs are specified in terms of the wattage they consume. In the case of incandescent lamps, 90 percent of the power they consume is radiated as heat. Alternatively, you can use halogen, LED and compact florescent bulbs.

Right Location for Lights

Typically, three levels of lighting are to be provided. Ceiling, recessed and track lighting provide general illumination. For creating drama or mood, you can make use of pendant or wall lights. For decorative effects and for certain tasks such as reading, table or floor lamps can be made use of. Lighting used for enhancing the architecture of the room can be placed anywhere: above a book cabinet, under a plant and over paintings or objects.

Kitchens: A Design for Life

The way we use our kitchens has changed greatly over the past half century to reflect the shifting nature of our work and domestic lives. Creating a kitchen that is fit for purpose has been a concern of kitchen designers and homeowners for years – but how has kitchen design responded to the different purposes we’ve used our kitchens for over the years?

Kitchen designers in the 1950s sought to present their kitchens as standardized, utilitarian visions focused solely on productivity in the preparation and cooking of food. The famous ‘standard kitchen’ – until that point, the extent to which kitchens were furnished with appliances had varied wildly – provided hot and cold tap water, a kitchen sink, a refrigerator and an electric stove.

Even in the 1960s – when new shapes and designs were possible as plastics and other man-made materials became widely adopted – designers focused on the kitchen as a place for cooking.

Although the modern kitchen may retain cooking as its central use, many of the homeowners we spoke to see the kitchen as ‘the heart of [their] home’ – a place for socializing, hosting dinner parties and working from home as much as for food preparation. As an independent kitchen company we’ve found ourselves increasingly designing multi-purpose kitchens.

One of the easiest ways to create a multi-purpose kitchen fit for use in 2013 is a kitchen island. It provides an excellent food preparation area, as well as an ad-hoc bar for the serving of food and drinks. They allow home cooks to interact with guests while preparing food.

Islands can be small or large, and are available in a range of colours and shapes, which can be mixed and matched to create something unique and visually stunning.

U-shaped is another design that is increasingly popular at the moment. With at least three different work surfaces, the shape is ideal for designating different areas for different purposes. For instance, lowering one of these surfaces creates an ideal area to prepare food with younger members of the family.

Many professionals find their kitchen a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the rest of their home, and it is not uncommon for the kitchen to become an ad-hoc workspace. Once again, U-shaped designs are ideal – although if you’re going to be perched on the end of a work surface then you’ll need to make sure that your laptop has access to electrical sockets for when the battery is running down but the emails aren’t! There are a number of recessed, pop-up sockets that are ideal for fitting into a work surface for this purpose.

The kitchen in 2013 is used for different purposes than those of our parents and grandparents. It’s therefore more important than ever to think ahead and be honest about what you may or may not use a kitchen for when planning it. Most kitchens can be adapted after having been built but it is always best – and cheapest – to accommodate this work in the original plan of the kitchen.
Second Nature is a leading independent kitchen company based in the UK. Their expertise has been rewarded with multiple awards from within the kitchen design industry.

Guest Post: Setting The Valentine’s Day Mood

Valentine's Day has always been a good occasion for couples to challenge their imagination and prepare a special romantic dinner at home. This calls for a lot of preparation, shopping and a bit of imagination. Setting the right mood and atmosphere might seem challenging but there are a few ways to seal the deal and have a fantastic romantic dinner that only happens once a year. There are tons of supplies specific to this period of the year available but knowing what to pick makes the difference. Red, white and black are the main themes that will create the right kind of atmosphere for all couples that wish to share their feelings and celebrate Valentine's Day. To make sure that things are right, there are five major tips that everyone should follow.

1. Setting The Table

Not only what you put in the plates is important. A properly arranged dinner table for such a special occasion should focus on red, white and black. Solid black or white dinnerware is very popular. Red glasses can be added to complete the color mix. This combination is not set in stone. Some might appreciate the glamour that black and white patterned dinnerware brings.

2. Flowers

There is no romantic dinner if flowers are not used to decorate the room and the table. Roses are excellent for this occasion and just like with the table preparation, white, red and black are the desired colors. Red roses symbolize love while the white ones are considered to be a symbol of purity. To avoid making it look like a cliché, the flowers should be placed in a tight, single-colored vase, preferably white, wrapped with a black ribbon. The color of the ribbon and the vase can be switched depending on how they fit the overall décor of the room.

3. Candles

Almost all romantic movies with a dinner scene have flowers and candles as part of the romantic décor. Candles might seem like a cliché but their effect cannot be denied. The pale light always deepens the romantic atmosphere in the room. The room lights should be dimmed to intensify the effect of candles. The thing with candles is that all colors work just fine, since there are so many great choices online, in stores and nowadays even in malls. As far as scented candles are concerned, one thing is to be considered - scents should be mild and pleasant, so one should keep this in mind when selecting candles for the occasion. Sometimes, the flowers in the room should be enough.

4. Room Decorations

The table might look great but the room must not be neglected. Glass bowls filled with red candy can be placed here and there. As mentioned above, red should be an overall theme across the house which should be easy to accomplish with some pillows, flowers and vases. However, heart shaped objects should be avoided as they tend to leave the impression of poor taste in terms of decorations and a cliché-istic tendency.

5. Paper Decorations

Paper can be used to make decorations for Valentine's Day. Since everyone loves the old black and white love movies, getting some still scenes of couples and printing them can add a touch of style. Personal photos can also be printed in black and white for the same effect. Additionally, presents can have paper tags with love messages written on them.

On Airport Advertising and Digichive Philippines

Photo courtesy of Inquirer.net
The Philippines is one of the most visited countries in Asia because of its pristine beaches, other tourist hotspots and our cultural heritage. Sure MIAA and most of our local airports with their inadequate facilities and inefficiencies need to improve in order to encourage more tourists to visit the country, but these doesn't necessarily mean that we have the worst airports in the world. In my opinion, here are definitely others who are a lot worse.

Needed Improvements
Like any other airports, MIAA have its shortcomings but since being tagged as the worst airport in 2011, there have been significant and ongoing improvements, especially in its facilities. I think the airport officials and the government took the label as a challenge, which is actually good, since they are now doing rehabilitation and renovations airport-wide. Ongoing constructions include improved toilet facilities, more check-in counters, wider taxiways and plumbing improvements.

Funding Constraints

Constant airport improvements need additional funding, of course. And the airport's operating income is said to be insufficient to fund all the renovations needed. Which is why the present airport management decided to review the advertising contracts which is one of the major source of funding of airports worldwide. And guess what they found out: MIAA receive only 13 Million Pesos yearly for terminals 1, 2 and 3 from a single contractor which is said to be Digichive Philippines.

The Digichive Philippines Issue

According to an article from Inquirer, because MIAA only get a measly 13M income from advertising, which is obviously too little compared to its real worth, they decided to place the advertising contract for re-bidding. As expected, the bidding went higher and in the end won by a different company for P126M. Digichive itself reportedly made a re-bid of P100M a year, a huge leap from its current contract of P13M. But hey, the firm actually do not want to let go of their contract yet, so they filed a case against NAIA and got issued a TRO (courtesy of San Juan RTC) stopping MIAA from awarding the advertising contract to another bidder.

My (Unsolicited) Opinion About This Issue

I agree with the views of the Influential Blogger. Everything is just so hazy and murky on this subject and we need clarification. This Digichive Philippines itself seem to be a secret corporation of sorts, with ingredients that could spark talks of controversies and a lot more issues. And this is actually the first time I heard about them!

In times like this, we acknowledge the need for a transparency and yet we seem to do nothing about it. There should be a clearly-defined rules and regulation on handling advertising contracts and an even clearer documentation on how the revenues are spent.

How interesting annoying. I think we need to delve deeper into the issue and gather more data and information. But this will only happen if MIAA will consent to post the contract they have with Digichive in public. I really hope they do, so this issue can be settled once and for all and the country can move on. Only then we can concentrate and focus on improvement and enhancements our airport desperately needs.

If this doesn't happen, and when all else fails, I only have one suggestion so our airports can achieve a better international reputation: PRIVATIZATION. But this would need a separate post. :)

Mustela Nursing Comfort Balm Review

Mustela 9 Months Nursing Comfort Balm 30ml
The most common problems a new Mom encounter are the pains, aches and discomforts when breastfeeding their little one. This includes tender breasts and sore, cracked nipples which can be very painful. Believe me, when my firstborn Dirk was trying to latch during the first few weeks of breastfeeding (that was 4 years ago), the pain was agonizing and almost made me quit. But of course the Mom in me endured everything for my baby - they say breast milk is the best for babies and I say I am determined to give my children the very best!

I only wish I knew then that there are products specifically formulated for pregnant and breastfeeding Moms like Mustela. This time around, I got luckier and got introduced to Mustela Nursing Comfort Balm from the brand's 9 Months product range, developed to address the changes to a woman's skin during pregnancy and after giving birth.

My Mustela Nursing Comfort Balm Experience

I started applying it on my breasts as early as December 5, 2012, a week before I gave birth to Baby Kassy. During that time, the only change I noticed was that it makes my skin supple. But after 2 days of giving birth, the other benefits of using the product was put to the test. And I wasn't disappointed!

The milk did not come until my second day in the hospital. I woke up with huge, hard and swollen nipples and an excruciating pain. That's when I started to feed Kassy and applied the product to my nipple area after each and every feeding. I rinse it with warm water before every feeding, though I've read in Mustela's website that there is no need to rinse it and that it is safe to be ingested by babies. 

It has a thick formulation but it glides easily on skin, making application easy-breezy. It's also hypoallergenic, fragrance and colorant free!

After 2 days, the swelling is gone and I felt much better. But I noticed that my nipples have cracked a little, though not like my first time with Dirk where my nipples were cracked too much to the point of bleeding. Also with Mustela Nursing Comfort Balm, the cracked skin heals much faster. I still use it up to this day as often as needed. This product indeed is a new Mom's best friend! 

More About Mustela Nursing Comfort Balm
It contains natural ingredients and vitamins that helps soothe, nourish and replenish the nipple area. It has Avocado Peptides and Bisalobol that soothes feelings of discomfort, a proactive complex with Shea Butter that makes skin more supple, and Elastoregulator, Lupeol and Vitamin B5 that moisturizes and softens rough skin to aid in skin renewal.

About Mustela 

For over 60 years, Mustela is proven to be the skin care expert for babies, mother and mothers-to-be. Their products are manufactured by the 6th largest independent laboratory in France named Laboratoires Expanscience and tested under pediatric and dermatological control. All products complies with the European Cosmetic Directive, French Code of Public Health, Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines, and all the 60 other countries where it is distributed. They are prescribed, tested and used by doctors, medical and healthcare professionals, partner of maternities and hospitals all over the world.

Mustela products are formulated with 80% to 98% ingredients of natural origin, hypoallergenic and highly tolerant on eyes and skin. There is absolutely NO harmful ingredients like paraben, phthalate, phenoxyethanol and alcohol.

Mustela Product Ranges:

Mustela Bebe - for normal skin
Mustela Dermo-Pediatrics - for sensitive, atopic skin, eczema, problem skin
Mustela 9 Months - for pregnant and breastfeeding moms
Mustela Sun Protection - sunblock for normal or sensitive skin

Mustela Products Available At:

1.  Ayala Trinoma, 1st level (near Cafe Mary Grace)
2.  Robinson's Manila, 1st Level Midtown Wing (beside Topshop)
3.  Glorietta 4, 3rd level (near Mary Grace)
4.  Megamall A, 2nd level (in front of Esprit)
5.  Shangri-la Mall, 4th level (in front of Mothercare)
6.  The Shops, Greenhills Shopping Center 1st level (in front of Watson's and Mary Grace)
7.  Alabang Town Center, Upper ground floor Connector Mall (in front of K & Company)

Also distributed at the following:

1.  Purebeauty, 2nd Floor, Serendra, BGC and Harbor Point, Subic
2.  All Landmark Department Stores
3.  All Rustan's Department Stores (Shangrila, Makati, Gateway, Alabang and Cebu)
4. NumA Eco Baby Store, E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Quezon City

Mustela Philippines Can Be Reached Via:
Hotline: 0917-8959988