Shayna Kennedy of Kardiel: “Lighting is everything!”

Lighting is everything! Lighting plays a giant role in creating the proper ambiance for your design. There is a deep rabbit hole to go down when it comes to the types of lighting and bulbs that work best for an individual space. In a nutshell, here are the basics. Task lighting has a “spotlight” effect […]

Thrive Global invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive Global or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

Lighting is everything! Lighting plays a giant role in creating the proper ambiance for your design. There is a deep rabbit hole to go down when it comes to the types of lighting and bulbs that work best for an individual space. In a nutshell, here are the basics. Task lighting has a “spotlight” effect for performing, wait for it…tasks. Accent lighting is a beautiful way to highlight artwork, or feature walls etc. Natural lighting through a window is a given and essential . Ambient lighting is the “general lighting” that we use in our homes. If I can give one piece of advice for spaces that you might use to wind down after a long day, it would be to use or install dimming lights. If you have safe candles, or a nice fire feature, even better. Using low ambient lighting, at least 90 minutes before your head hits the pillow, will make for a more restful night’s sleep and better health in the long run.


As part of my series on the “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shayna Kennedy.

Shayna Kennedy, who had over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, is the lead Customer Service and Sales Manager at Kardiel. In 2012, she received her Associates degree in Interior Design from Scottsdale Community College and began her quest to work for a company with a deep appreciation for design. When she found Kardiel, it became her new home. She’s now an expert in color theory and space planning, and enjoys the psychology behind the placement of the perfect furniture and how it can completely transform the feeling of a room. At Kardiel, she has been able to collaborate with talented designers to create statement pieces inspired by the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, contemporary modern, and Scandinavian designs.


Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I changed my career path no less than three times before I realized that I should go to school to study something I actually enjoyed doing. One day, it dawned on me that, ever since I was a young girl, I have been a chronic furniture rearranger. I have always been amazed and delighted by the way the slightest change can transform a room, and the way you feel inside it. Working for Kardiel, a furniture company borderline-obsessed by Modernism from all eras, seemed like the perfect fit for me.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

The most interesting and exciting thing about this career is being part of a family-owned company, and watching it grow. When I first began at Kardiel in 2014, I loved the small company mentality. Although it still has that feeling, I have watched it grow from what seemed like a “Mom-and-Pop” type of business to a thriving online retailer that has gained incredible notoriety. As an honorary family member, it is very exciting to be a part of it.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Although I have made plenty of mistakes throughout my work history, “funny” is not always the word that comes to mind when I think of them. As a working professional, my most important takeaway when it comes to mistakes is this: take accountability. When you are working with customers or clients, you will earn more respect and trust if they can see you have the guts to say: “I made a mistake”.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

As well as running the customer service and sales division of Kardiel, I recently became a certified Ketogenic Diet Coach, to help myself and others I care about lead a healthier life. This all started with a recent health scare that inspired me to invest in my health by fueling my body with the cleanest and best sources of food I can get my hands on. Changing the way I eat has helped me in every aspect of my life, including my workload. I am not currently charging for coaching services but someday something could come of it. For now, I’m helping out a few friends because I love doing it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” — Aristotle

I have always loved this quote, and I believe that today it is more relevant than ever before. The more thoughts, feelings and opinions I hear from society, the more I find comfort in learning about them, no matter if I agree or disagree. The more I open my ears to other’s views, the more well-rounded I become. I believe that this mantra helps me to stay grounded in my daily personal and professional life.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

This one is easy: it’s hands down my mother. I was lucky enough to have her as a stay-at-home mother for my entire childhood but, when I was a senior in high school, she started to experience financial difficulties and began her search for a job. She ended up landing her dream job working for the FBI in her late 40’s and just recently retired after 24 years with the bureau. She has shown me that it’s never too late to go after what you want in life and with a little hard work anything is possible.

Thank you for that. Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Surround yourself with things you love. You can buy the most expensive or “on-trend” items in the store to fill your shelves but, keep in mind that a price tag will never be as meaningful as a memory, or feeling of something with personal significance. Books you have read are great for decoration and are reminders of your accomplishments. Find a picture frame for a meaningful photo at a thrift store and repurpose it with paint to match your current color scheme. If you have a friend or family member with artistic talent, why not ask them to create something for you. ***Don’t rush it. Enjoy your minimalist, less-is-more space until these meaningful items find their way to you.
  2. “Mise en place” (translates to “everything in its place”). This is actually a cooking term that I learned from my husband who is a chef. I like to apply it to my personal items outside of the kitchen as well. Keeping things organized has been proven to boost serotonin and cognitive skills; especially if you work from home, like me, this is essential. I have found that when I keep organized, it keeps my mind calm and quiet which ultimately helps me to be more efficient at just about everything I do.
  3. Keep permanent items neutral, color your accessories. I personally love color. I like things bold and vibrant but, I also love variety and switching things up quite often to keep my mood fresh. If you feel that you need a bright orange sofa as your flash of color, remember that throws, pillows, rugs, picture frames, and even accent walls are an easier and more cost-effective way to change your space in the future. That being said, if you want your bright orange sofa and know you will never grow tired of it, I’ve got nothing but respect for you.
  4. Give your unused items a new life and a new home. When I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Magical Joy of Tidying, the part that resonated with me the most was her description of that pair of shoes in the back of your closet, collecting dust. How sad, dull, and lonely they look. I couldn’t believe how spot on she was. If these items had feelings, they would be begging you to give them to someone who will provide them with more attention. Treat your items as if they have feelings. You might not want to part with something because of an emotional attachment but, be mindful of the fact that you are doing what is best by letting that item go. You also help the environment as well as your favorite charity organization. I recommend making at least two donation runs a year, even if you donate just one item. It will make you feel great!
  5. Lighting is everything! Lighting plays a giant role in creating the proper ambiance for your design. There is a deep rabbit hole to go down when it comes to the types of lighting and bulbs that work best for an individual space. In a nutshell, here are the basics. Task lighting has a “spotlight” effect for performing, wait for it…tasks. Accent lighting is a beautiful way to highlight artwork, or feature walls etc. Natural lighting through a window is a given and essential . Ambient lighting is the “general lighting” that we use in our homes. If I can give one piece of advice for spaces that you might use to wind down after a long day, it would be to use or install dimming lights. If you have safe candles, or a nice fire feature, even better. Using low ambient lighting, at least 90 minutes before your head hits the pillow, will make for a more restful night’s sleep and better health in the long run.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The new age of e-commerce shopping has many benefits, especially during a global pandemic. However, this quick and convenient mentality has its downsides as well; I see a lot of waste when it comes to returns and items that arrive damaged, or in a less-than-perfect condition. Sadly, oftentimes I see items being sent off to a landfill when it is not quite in perfect condition. I wish there was something that could streamline a donation process; charities could greatly benefit from an item that is not perfect but still usable.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

The person that has brought the most change to my life, and my husband’s,is Shawn Stevenson. He is the host of the podcast “The Model Health Show”. When I lived in the Seattle area, podcasts were a welcomed distraction from traffic. Oftentimes, I would get to work and sit in my car just a little longer because I love the content he, and his guests, deliver . His extensive knowledge about health and fitness, and his commitment to helping people, is very inspiring . I would love to thank him for honestly changing my life.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow me on IG @shaynanagans and @kardiel

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

How to Remain Resilient and Be Successful While Working From Home

by Kimsea Brooks
Best Feng Shui Tips For Successful Romance
Community//

Best Feng Shui Tips For Successful Romance

by Carlo Abarth
Community//

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing Luxury Outdoor Lighting

by Barbara R. Morrow
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.