Project Spotlight: Marie Flanigan

Project Spotlight: 
Marie Flanigan's Favorite Aspects of a Room

Architect-turned-decorator Marie Flanigan celebrates the launch of her new Visual Comfort collection with a peek into her latest, and possibly brightest, project to date. Photography by Julie Soefer.

“Lighting is perhaps the single most transformative element in any environment. Its power to illuminate and animate—literally—shapes how we experience our surroundings,” muses Marie Flanigan. To celebrate the launch of her new collection with Visual Comfort, the lighting-obsessed, Houston-based designer exclusively shared one of her most powerful design projects with us. Although Flanigan’s new fixtures were still on the drawing boards when this home was built, her less is more point-of-view is fully illuminated. Paging through the photos makes one wonder: how do her spaces manage to exude strength and serenity simultaneously? The secret is that Flanigan began her career as an architect, but switched over to design when she realized that she couldn’t give up on the finishing details. She thinks and plans on a macro level and then hones in on finishes, furnishings, and lighting at a micro level creating holistically designed havens for clients. Melding modern and classic furnishings, polished marble with bare brick, and the functional with the pretty excites Flanigan, but not as much as the influence that lighting a house offers. “By incorporating recessed lights, pendants, and sconces in a room, you can change the whole atmosphere of the room with just a switch,” she says. Discover 10 more of Flanigan’s brightest ideas for lighting and living. 

Enduring Composition

A young family lives here and they needed bright beautiful spaces that could stand up to wear and tear. I relied on the freshness of mixing natural, raw materials like the brick and marble in the kitchen with the unexpectedness of the rolling barrel arch ceiling. The home’s neutrality gave me the opportunity to create drama with the light fixtures all throughout. 

A Light Touch

Adding sconces on either side of the range hood creates ambient lighting that softens the brick walls. Situated in an open concept floor plan, these decorative sconces also make the kitchen feel less like a kitchen. The large pendants provide task lighting and illuminate the island.  

Squared Away

We extended the barrel vaulted ceiling into the living room for added dimension in the expansive space. Lining up the barrels with the door and windows was key to the serenity of the room. Geometric table lamps enhance the room’s symmetry and movement. 

Stand Tall and Proud

The long and lean, brass floor lamp draws eyes up to the tall planked ceiling and accents the fluted wood surrounding the fireplace in this sunroom.

Mirror, Mirror, Sconce on the Wall

When installing fixtures directly onto reflective surfaces like in this powder room, I select ones with light diffusing shades to avoid overly-bright, hot spots. These alabaster sconces were a beautiful way to achieve this.

Enviable Vanity 

Durability was of the utmost importance in this pool bathroom, but on the flip side, we wanted to ensure the bathroom would be stunning for guests. Marble-clad drawers perfectly matched with the countertop were the answer. The sconce in the corner quietly illuminates.

Hang Time

It’s fun to mix things up and one of our goals for this house was to choose lights with eye-catching silhouettes. Pendants, rather than sconces, draw the eyes up to the tall ceilings in this bathroom. 

New Neutral

Blush is the new neutral, serving as the perfect backdrop for soft whites, natural tones, and warm gold hues. This serene color palette blends well with almost any décor and provides a sense of calm to all who walk through the space.

Double the Lights for Two

Reading wall lamps are wonderful when one person wants to read while the other sleeps. The bedside lamps add depth and interest to the room. 

Playing the Supporting Role

The marble slab wainscoting and metal inlay on the walls are this master bathroom’s showstoppers. I opted for beautifully simple sconces that would compliment the clean lines of the standout design elements.  

Shop the Marie Flanigan Lighting Collection:

Read more on Marie Flanigan's love of light in this month's issue of House Beautiful plus enjoy lighting design tips from Brian Thompson, President of Houston's award-winning Thompson Custom Homes. 


Love our lighting? Let Visual Comfort assist you in selecting the best lighting for your entire project. Contact a showroom near you or shop now at