Established in 2009, The Design Element is located in the heart of the Mankato Design Center. We are a full-service interior design studio specializing in residential and commercial projects. Our unique location allows us the opportunity to help you with all of your building and design needs in one convenient setting. Our goal is to create thoughtful, beautiful interiors that meet our clients' aesthetic, functional, and economic goals while honoring our client's schedules. We help you understand and define your desires, then create a design that accommodates and elaborates on your objectives. Our designers can manage your project from beginning to end and act as your liaison to ensure that your desired goals are met. We want the space to be representative of you and the environment you'd like to reside within. We work with you as a partner and advocate for your project from design concept to finished space.

What you can expect:

Initial Consultation

We will meet with you in our studio to determine the scope of your project, budget, and the best way to proceed

Design Development

We will further develop the style and direction of your project, including but not limited to:

  • Space planning
  • Finish and materials selection
  • Selection of furnishings including: upholstery and accent furniture
  • Window treatment selection/design
  • Lighting selection/design

Design Execution and Supervision

  • Place and track orders
  • Oversee fabrication of custom products
  • Arrange and supervise delivery and installation



Where are you located?

The Design Element and Lights On Madison are located within the Mankato Design Center at 1711 Premier Drive, Mankato, MN 56001. We are next to Kwik Trip off of Augusta Drive and on the west side of Highway 22.

Is Lights on Madison a part of tde?

Lights On Madison is now part of The Design Element. Since we are no longer located on Madison Avenue we thought it was a good time to begin incorporating ourselves with The Design Element. Essentially, we are the lighting element of design within The Design Element.

Can products purchased from tde be returned?

Almost everything at The Design Element is special ordered and therefore is subject to a restocking fee. If anything is purchased from the showroom floor we have a 30 day return policy, which is subject to analysis of the condition of the returned product. To see our full return policy, click here.

How is labor charged?

The Design Element and Lights On Madison does not have their own laborers and therefore is hired out through subcontractors. We have many subcontractors we are more than happy to recommend and can assist in the process of your project, but labor will be billed directly to the customer.

How long does it take to order?

Special orders are primarily dependent on the product and the availability of the product at time of order. We are more than happy to check on the status of the product when ordering and will notify you, the customer, of any back ordered, discontinued, or out-of-stock items.

How do I place a special order?

To place an order at The Design Element or Lights On Madison, we simply charge a 50% down payment and we take cash, check, or a wide range of credit cards. You may also place orders over the phone or via email.

Do you orchestrate lighting plans?

Under the Lights On Madison umbrella (now The Design Element) we hire lighting specialists to look at your blueprint and create a lighting plan just for your space. If you wish to meet with one of the lighting specialists on staff, just call or email to set up an appointment. We ask that you call ahead as some lighting plans can take several hours to complete and we would like to make sure someone is available to assist you.

Do you carry LED lighting? (What is the difference?)

Lights On Madison (now just The Design Element) carries primarily LED lighting. Although, many of our fixtures are not specific to LEDs we carry primarily LED bulbs to sell with the fixtures - making it easier to change any fixture into an LED light! We also still carry - and are able to order - some incandescent/halogen and fluorescent lighting. Call or email to see what we have available!

Are we able to purchase directly from the storefront floor?

Yes. You are able to purchase directly from our showroom floor. Many of the products we have on the floor are the only pieces available so ask one of the showroom staff if we have multiples available in our warehouse.

Do we install products?

The Design Element does not install most products directly, but we do install most window treatments. Products pertaining to the Cabinet Lab are able to have R. Henry Construction install their products; this includes cabinetry, hardware, and countertops.

What is LVT?

LVT refers to Luxury Vinyl Tile. Luxury Vinyl Tile is a type of floor covering that has become a large share of the flooring market. Typically, LVT consists of a polyurethane top-coat, a wear layer (measured in mils), a print layer, a vinyl layer, and a backing. The construction varies from company to company. LVT is an umbrella term for a number of other products that have since evolved from the original concept. LVT can also refer to LVP, which is Luxury Vinyl Plank and refers mainly to wood-look vinyl tiles. Another type of LVT is WPC, which stands for Water-proof Core. Water-proof Core products generally add a "core" layer for sound, comfort, and durability and can be made out of a variety of water-proof substances. WPC can be considered a direct replacement for laminate flooring and, like laminate flooring, is typically easy to install and comes as a floating, click-together product. Not all LVT, LVP, and WPC products can be glued down. Make sure to ask this question before purchase!

What is LVP?

LVP stands for Luxury Vinyl Plank. LVP can be considered a type of LVT, but one that generally refers to a tile that is longer than it is wide. It is often mimicking wood flooring, but that doesn't mean there isn't LVP that looks like ceramic tile. LVP also comes in a WPC form, which stands for Water-proof Core. WPC can be considered a direct replacement for laminate flooring, but more durable and water-proof. LVP can be installed as a glue-down, float, or free-lay but not every product can be installed all three ways. Make sure to ask this question before purchase!

Design Questions

How high do I hang a chandelier?

There is no mathematically correct or incorrect answer to this question! That being said, a good guide to hanging a chandelier over a table is around 32" from the top of the table to the bottom of the chandelier in a space with an 8' ceiling. If the ceiling is higher than 8', add 3" to the height of the chandelier for every foot to the ceiling height. If you are hanging a chandelier in a stairwell, either over an entryway or landing, the center of the chandelier should be at knee-level to the second floor.

How high do I hang a pendant?

Pendant height is similar to chandelier height (32" above surface for 8' ceilings + 3" for every 1' the ceiling increases), but pendants are often over an island under a vaulted ceiling or sink in addition to work surfaces. If your pendant is over the sink it may not be a bad idea to hang it a little higher than normal - maybe 40" above the sink itself. If hanging a pendant is dropping from a much higher vaulted ceiling, having someone onsite hold it up in the space will give a better idea of proportional dimensions.

What is the design element?

The Design Element is an interior design studio and product showroom. We have interior designers on staff that can help you navigate all the products we have to offer and put together the perfect plan for your home project.

How does the The Design Element work?

The Design Element designers do not charge an hourly design fee. The Design Element is compensated through product sales. For this reason we ask that you purchase the majority of your products through The Design Element. The designers will help you select everything you need from the products that the Mankato Design Center has to offer. We will help you to coordinate everything into one cohesive plan whether it is for one room or a whole house, new construction or a remodel.

How does The Design Element fit into the Mankato Design Center?

The Design Element is one of four businesses in the Mankato Design Center. Each business offers a different aspect of home building and renovation. The Design Element offers floorcovering, window treatments, wallcovering, tile, furniture, lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, artwork, and accessories. The designers at The Design Element will help you coordinate all these items with each other as well as with the offerings of the 3 other businesses in the Mankato Design Center.

Do you have to work with all the businesses in the Mankato Design Center on a given project?

You do not have to work with all the businesses in the Mankato Design Center on your project. Not every project will require products or services from every business in the Mankato Design Center. We are also willing to work with contractors or subcontractors of your choosing. However, if asked for a recommendation for product or services that can be provided by one of the other businesses in the Mankato Design Center that would be our preference. The businesses in the Mankato Design Center have worked together for many years and collaborated on many projects. Trust and good working relationships have been established and there is a certain quality of work we have come to expect from each other. Taking advantage of the option to work with all the businesses in the Mankato Design Center on your project will be to your advantage. It makes for a smoother, more integrated process where everything is one place. Simply put, it is more convenient for you.

Can products from The Design Element be returned?

The Design Elements provides products in two different ways; we have in-stock items on our showroom floor and we special order items from or large list of vendors. Any in-stock item purchased from the showroom floor can be returned within 15 days of purchase for a refund. After that an in-store credit can be issued. There are no returns for in-stock items after 30 days. If the item was special ordered specifically for you, it cannot be returned.

How is labor charged?

The Design Element does not employ any floorcovering, wallcovering, tile, or lighting installers. We do have a list of select subcontractors that can provide these services and would be happy to provide you with their names and contact information. Many times, as a courtesy, we will even set it up for you if you purchase your product through us. The subcontractor will charge you directly and you will pay the subcontractor directly. Ultimately, you are the one hiring him/her. We do install window treatments purchased through The Design Element for a fee. Since each window treatment project is varied and often highly customized, the fee will be established on a per bid basis.

Do you do paint consultations?

The designers at The Design Element will be happy to provide you with paint colors as long as it is part of a larger project for which you are purchasing product from The Design Element. We do not sell paint and we do not charge a design fee. Therefore, our compensation for a paint consultation is considered part of the other products purchased.

Do I have to use a designer to purchase from The Design Element?

You do not have to use a designer to purchase from The Design Element. If you know exactly what you want and are comfortable providing us with your measurements and quantities needed, you are certainly free to just place your order, make your purchase, and pick up your product on your own. We will still work to answer any questions that you may have regarding the products you wish to purchase.