Style Illuminated

Our home decorating blog offers interior design tips and lighting ideas for today's home! Enjoy professional interior design advice, home decor ideas and inspiration.

  • Quick and Easy Alfresco Dining

    The season of outdoor living is finally upon us!

    From coast to coast May signifies the start of outdoor indulgences and fun al fresco parties that last long into the night.

    While some may be put off by having to decorate their patio in order to dine outside, it's much easier than you think.

    Here we look at some great inspiration images that will inspire you to create both daytime and nighttime al fresco dining areas.

    Red retro-style outdoor dining set under party lights strung between trees

    One of the best ways to set up an al fresco dining area is to consider that it can and will be used once the sun sets. Since warm nights beckon us outside, it's great if you can have somewhere to dine and linger long into the night.

    Outdoor party lights are reminiscent of your favorite parisian cafe and give the most beautiful glow to any outdoor space. They are fun, cool and casual all at once and require very little in the way of labor and installation.

    To match the playful nature of the party lights, an equally fun dining set is the perfect thing to complete the scene. Opting for a bright red, mid-century inspired set makes the set up feel fresh, cool and unique.

    This al fresco vignette feels like a secret cafe where you and your friends and family can escape and spend the warm summer nights.

    Two outdoor bistro sets, one round, one square, on a patio

    During the hot summer days nothing is better than a cold glass of sangria in your own backyard. Setting up an al fresco dining area, even if you can't light it up, is so useful and will quickly become your favorite chill spot. 

    The outdoor dining vignette above is classic and approachable and is able to adapt to just about any personal style.

    The classic bistro lines of these outdoor patio furniture sets will age very well season after season.

    I love how the table shapes vary, creating the illusion of a small cafe setup which is also easily pushed together to create a larger dining space.

    As you can see, these bistro sets take up such a little amount of room, they are a quick and easy way to create an al fresco dining area just about anywhere - the options are endless!

    Images: Lamps Plus

  • Find a Quiet Spot to Sit on an Outdoor Bench

    One of my favorite spots to create in a yard is a spot with an outdoor bench tucked into a garden full of wildflowers, or nestled up against a backdrop of greenery.

    A bunch of purple flowers on a wooden outdoor bench
    An outdoor bench is a perfect plac for small yards and front patios - as well as for large spaces. They are versatile and easy to incorporate nearly anywhere - and create a charming spot to sit and enjoy nature.

    I have a huge love of simplicity when it comes to charming outdoor benches. Classic lines, clean stylings, and a cushion that makes lingering longer more enjoyable - they are all things to look for when looking for a perfect bench.

    Here are 5 things to consider about outdoor benches - that might help you choose the right one for you.

    1. Weathered Patina

    I am a huge fan of patina - so a bench with a worn and weathered gray finish is one that catches my eye every time. This Gray Acacia Wood Bench is beautiful - and looks like a perfect size for a smaller area.

    A grey Acacia wood outdoor bench in a garden


    2. It's All in the Details

    Details, details, details... it is all in the details. From turned legs to a classic design like the one on the back of this Folding Outdoor Bench - I am all about the details and this bench - is talking to me.

    A folding bench on the edge of a patio

    3. Classic Style

    A metal bench is always a perfect option. Metal benches tend to have a lot of scrolls and cutout details that are absolutely charming - especially with an abundance of plants all around. I love the simple, almost Gothic-style detailing on this Outdoor Antique Steel Bench - so pretty right down to the finials.

    Metal outdoor bench with intricate Gothic-style details4. Vintage Style Porch Swing

    I am in love with vintage style as you probably already know - and what better way to evoke thoughts of evenings wrapped up in warm summer air and a blanket while listening to the crickets chirp away than this X-Back Porch Swing? Classic.Vintage. Charming. I love the idea of them - and if you don't have a porch - you can create a spot in your yard for a swing.
    An outdoor wood swing with lattice detail on the back

    5. Clean Lines

    If you have a more modern than vintage style - and prefer something with a very clean lined appearance - this simple Brushed Aluminum Bench might be perfect for you.

    Modern brushed aluminum outdoor benchNo matter what your style preference is - outdoor benches are always a charming and inviting spot in your garden or yard. I think the detailed wood bench might be my favorite of the ones I shared - which one is yours?

    Images: French Country Cottage; Lamps Plus

  • Modern Mirrors and Accents

    Modern mirrors have come a long way since Versailles and now can impact the look of just not wall mirrors but furniture and home decor. I guess people have realized that casting shimmering light around a room from many perspectives can add glamour from any angle.

    A Glamorous Master Bedroom with Highly Stylish Mirrored Decor

    I loved this image because it captures the corner of a master bedroom outfitted with modern mirrored accents. Stylish decorative mirrors become wall art in a space like this and beautifully balance the elegant mirrored furniture like the desk.

    If you are strapped for space in the bedroom or bathroom, a mirrored desk like this can also do double duty as a highly styled dressing table!

    While I’m crazy for a mirrored lamp, there are times to hold back. Because there are mirrors on the wall and furniture, I would opt for a non-reflective light, such as the ceramic lamp on the desk.

    Balance is always key. Remember, too much of a good thing is probably too much.

    Contemporary Mirrored Lighting and Home Accents from Lamps Plus

    1. This textured silver wall mirror has a subtle relief pattern which makes it perfect for transitional designed spaces.

    2. Foyers beware. This chrome mirror-frost LED wall sconce is uber-contemporary and has the wow factor that is ideal for a modern front hall.

    3. I love the pizzazz of this three stacked rods ceiling light fixture by Possini. It packs design flair but does not take up much room if you have lower ceilings.

    4. The geometric mirrored glass table lamp is thoroughly modern and would be amazing in a living room or master bedroom.

    5. Don’t forget to include mirrored furniture in your home like this stylish rectangle pattern side table which would be very chic in a sophisticated master bedroom or as an occasional table in a highly styled living room.

    What are your thoughts on modern mirrors and accents?

    Image: Lamps Plus

  • Get Your Outdoor Spaces Ready for Summer

    The quest for beautifying outdoor spaces is heightened at this time of year when we’re spending more time outdoors in warm weather, so now is the time to consider replacing or upgrading your outdoor lighting.

    Attractive sconces, pendants, and ceiling fans are an investment, but also one that pays off by adding value to your home.

    Bronze is a finish that dates back centuries but still remains one of the most desirable looks in lighting. Oil rubbed bronze weathers well and offers a desirable contrast to pale tones. When suspended in natural light, the bronze shapes are more readily visible than chrome or white.


    Outdoor bistro set in a bronze finish on a stone patio

    Capture the look of a classic outdoor barn light with the curvaceous Feiss Redding Bronze Barn Light; or illuminate your home with the Nuage Vintage Bronze Sconce, its round shape offers a nice contrast to the angular lines of a rectangular doorway.

    The European-inspired Maxim Dover Outdoor Wall Light reminds one of the Mediterranean while the shapely Quoizel Seaford Wall Light is reminiscent of coastal memories spent on the boardwalk.

    A selection of bronze outdoor sconces from Lamps PlusThe energy-efficient Bellagio Hanging Light is alluring with its hammered glass shape, and the traditional style of the Kichler Mount Vernon LED Pendant makes it one that works in any outdoor space.

    The Kichler Lyndon Pendant is streamlined but has an industrial vibe, suspend it over an outdoor bar or kitchen. Consider the classic Hinkley Barrington Pendant Light with its candelabra and seedy glass for a porch or outdoor dining space.


    Bronze outdoor pendants from Lamps PlusMany outdoor spaces in warmer climates demand air circulation, so look to outdoor ceiling fans for keeping the air flowing. A cool breeze is far better than stagnant air, and if you install an all-weather fan there’s no need to worry about it in cold or warm temperatures, it’s designed to stand the test of time.


    Wicker rocking chairs on front porch under outdoor ceiling fan

    Mimic the look of the Hermitage Forged Outdoor Ceiling Fan pictured above, the caged glass and walnut blades make it a timeless design. The contemporary look of the streamlined Casa Vieja Oil Rubbed Bronze Ceiling Fan will be one that complements any modern covered porch.

    Make a statement with the all-weather blades and opal glass found in the Minka Aire Slipstream Fan. If you have a more compact or narrow space, consider the Emerson Curval Fan in oil-rubbed bronze.


    Outdoor ceiling fans in bronze from Lamps Plus

    Thousands of fixtures in multiple finishes are available at Lamps Plus but you can never go wrong with the beauty of bronze, indoors or out!

    Images: Lamps Plus

  • Front Yard Fixes

    By now everything has thawed and it’s time to honestly assess the front of your house. Did everything survive winter? Do things look shabby? If so, front yard fixes are in order and don’t need to break the bank.

    A Classic Front Walk with Pathway Lights

    I fell in love with this pathway for a few reasons. First, it reminds me of summer in the country and second, it’s the epitome of a casual and elegant landscape design. Nothing says summer like the crunch of gravel under foot. Now, women who favor heels will probably argue, and I don’t blame them, but wispy grass, gravel paths and a white picket gate is the most welcoming summer entrance, ever.

    I also happen to love how this front yard is not too fussy. Simple with just a few natural elements are really all you need. The purist might push back on the lighting but I think chic pathway lights are critical for practical and aesthetic reasons. Naturally you need to find your way in the dark, and why not highlight your beautiful landscaping and hardscaping with subtle LED lights? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

    Modern Exterior Lighting and Accents in Black and White from Lamps Plus

    1. This bold, black LED downlight is ideal flanking front doors and truly pops on white wood, shingles or stucco.

    2. The traditional style black outdoor armchair is timeless on a front stoop or porch or nestled in a gravel patch leading up to your door.

    3. Light your path with this sleek landscape LED black dome path light by Kichler.

    4. I like the cheerful look to the Dann Foley Pacific metallic wicker square outdoor planter. It’s classic and fresh at the same time.

    5. Create a pathway focal point with this bronze landscape light by Hinkley.

    6. You can’t go wrong with garden stools, especially this high-energy white glaze cut-out version.

    Image: Lamps Plus

  • Bright Colorful Spring Interiors

    By this time of year, spring has definitely began to show it's beautiful, colorful face. I personally am a big fan of colorful, eclectic interiors that celebrate and embrace all the colorful options there are in interior design.

    There are so many smart, chic ways to incorporate bright. colorful spring interiors into your own home that are within your personal aesthetic. Let's take a look at some beautiful, inspiration images below.

    Colorful boho-style designed space

    This eclectic living room has a bohemian vibe with subtle nods to vintage and mid century lines. One way to bring a bright, spring feeling to your space is to embrace pattern, especially floral patterns.

    Finding a few beautiful lamp shades that you can swap out at a moment's notice injects life into your room with full gusto. Having solid walls and furniture really lets these fun, floral lamp shades become a playful focal point of the room.

    Light and airy entry/living room with midcentury style light fixture

    If you have a bit more of a contemporary aesthetic, injecting bright spring colors is easy to do with modern, abstract art. There are so many interesting art pieces available to the consumer these days.

    Choose a large wall art piece with lots of color and an abstract subject and it immediately brings your space to life, full of color and brightness.

    Industrial living room with bright pops of color

    To inject color without pattern think about mixing bright bold solids all around your space. This industrial space embraces bright greens, blues and reds beautifully without being overwhelming colorful.

    The base of the room is quite subtle, but the clever addition of the brightly colored upholstered ottoman, accent pillows and area rug as well as the painted accent wall transform this room into a fun, spring-inspired space.

    Neutral grey sofa with traditional crystal chandelier above

    The last living room above, to me, is a mix of all the previous styles. You see colorful, abstract patterns paired with bright solids in a very interesting yet mature and stylish way.

    Bookcases are a great space to inject some color if you are wary of a full commitment as you can mix and match colorful books and collectibles easily.

    How will you inject some bright color into your spring interiors?

  • The Perfect Outdoor Table

    If you have read my blog for any length of time, then you already know that I am *mildly* obsessed with outdoor living. From hosting simple dinners in the garden to enjoying evenings by the fire on the patio - entertaining and relaxing outdoors enjoying the beauty of nature all around is one of my favorite things. 

    Outdoor table setting with different chairs and ruffled cloth and flowers
    And this month, I am excited to be bringing you several posts that are all about outdoor living and getting ready for spring and summer entertaining.

    Today - we are talking about finding the perfect outdoor table. There are so many different styles of  outdoor tables to choose from.

    From a bistro set in warm wood...


    Simple wood bistro table sitting by pool


    to  a classic bistro dining set with detailed metalwork and charming wicker chairs...

    Woven wicker bistro chairs on wood porch
    So how do you choose the best one for your space?

    There are 3 things I consider when deciding on a table for the patio that may help.

    Cross back style chairs at outdoor table

    1. The Look

    I love natural woods, vintage look and old world styling. So something simple and classic, such as this acacia wood outdoor table, speaks to me. Plus - some of the woods will weather to a wonderful soft silvery gray as well - which is beautiful.


    Classic wood patio table and chair set with colorful rug and flowers


    2. Is it Made for Outdoor Use?

    Though I love farmhouse tables out in a field of flowers - the simple fact is outdoor furniture has to be able to stand up to the elements if you plan to leave it outdoors. So make sure that it is made for outdoor use - and that it is sealed. This cast aluminum outdoor furniture set is great for being outdoors.


    Metal patio table and chairs on a stone patio


    3. Does it Fit My Space?

    Sure you can find outdoor tables that will weather well and have a gorgeous look - but if the color and size is wrong - it won't be something you will enjoy. So find something that is your style and that fits your space. I have a huge crush on wicker outdoor furniture - and for outdoor wear and tear - faux wicker is perfect.


    Woven wicker patio chairs and table set
    What ever your favorite style and look is - when searching for the perfect outdoor table keep those three things in mind to make sure that you find one that steals your heart and that will bring you years of enjoyment.

    Images: French Country Cottage; Lamps Plus

  • 5 Ideas to Make Your Outdoor Living Space the Place to Be

    Beautiful summer days are knocking on our door, so it's time to start thinking about what you need to do to design the perfect outdoor living space!

    Here are 5 ideas to help you design an outdoor space to enjoy morning to night.

    Outdoor living area on front porch with outdoor ceiling fan

    1. A Space to Relax

    Whether it's a complete outdoor furniture set or a sitting area you designed a la carte, a place to kick back is a necessity for you to enjoy the lazy, hazy days (and nights) of summer. Today's outdoor furniture ranges from modern to traditional, so there is something for every taste and style.

    Modern faux wicker outdoor sectional and cocktail table overlooking the ocean

    #2 Outdoor Lighting

    Are you looking to continue to enjoy your outdoor living space after the sun sets? Then you need the right outdoor lighting. There are plenty of stylish outdoor lighting options like eye-catching outdoor pendant lights or wall lights designed for the outdoors (or both) to light your outdoor living space.

    Festive party lights look great wrapped around tree trunks, strung overhead from tree branches or tiki torches, or woven through the beams of a pergola. You should also have deck lighting as a safety precaution so you don't trip on stairs or, god forbid, walk off the edge of the deck!

    Veranda with faux wicker outdoor seating and outdoor pendant and outdoor wall lights

    #3 Have Fun with Color

    Visual texture is as important outside as it is in your interiors. Bring color, pattern and texture outdoors with a mix of colorful outdoor decorative pillows and fun patterned indoor/outdoor area rugs.

    Rattan outdoor dining set with ceiling fan and indoor/outdoor area rug

    #4. Take Advantage of ALL Your Outdoor Space

    Don't be afraid of extending your outdoor living space beyond your patio, terrace or deck! Place a weatherproof table and chairs on the grass or in the middle of your garden to make the perfect place to enjoy your morning coffee and newspaper.

    Create a whimsical setting for an outdoor dinner party by moving off the patio into the greenery and string some party lights above to make it feel festive.

    Outdoor dinner party set-up with series of bistro tables, party lights and tiki torches

    #5. Add an Outdoor Fire Pit

    A wood-burning or gas-powered outdoor fire pit definitely draws you in once the sun has set and the temps start to cool down. It's the perfect place to gather around for a lively fireside chat or even roast some marshmallows for s'mores!

    Some fire pits have a built-in table surface so it can double as a cocktail table. By adding a fire pit you can extend your outdoor living season into the fall (or later, depending on your climate.)

    Poolside outdoor sitting area with outdoor fire pit

    Use some or all of these ideas to design an outdoor living space that will make you never want to go inside!

    Images: Lamps Plus

  • Reflecting on Mirrored Furniture

    One of my favorite things in any room is a mirror. They bounce light - from a window or even from the lamp down the hall. They make a room feel bigger with their seemingly endless repetition on reflections- and depending on their style- they add flavor and architectural interest.

    Mirrored console with gold cake stands and lamps
    Large and small mirrors and even eye-catching mirrored furniture is something that any room can benefit from - and since they come in so many styles - it is easy to bring them in and make them work for your space.

    Mirrored furniture is particularly a favorite - it exudes an elegance and classic charm that makes a room feel light and airy. And with so many styles to choose from- it is easy to bring a piece in to any style home or space.

    A few favorites of mine?

    #1. A Cocktail Table

    A cocktail table with a mirrored top? Yes, please.

    I am in love with the elegance that this piece has and how it almost seems to float in the space. This would fit right into traditional & modern rooms.


    Cocktail table with mirrored top and gold metal frame

    #2. Etagere

    Can you imagine this gorgeousness covered with vases and books? A mirrored etagere is always an elegant and refined addition to a room - and I love the gold metal with this one as well.


    Mirrored etagere with gold metal frame


    #3. A Mirrored Screen

    So perfect for using behind a chair or sofa in a living room - or even in a bedroom for a seating area - an antiqued mirrored screen is a charming and vintage style way to enjoy mirrored furniture - and I love the antique styling of this one.


    Room divider with antique mirror and gold frame


    #4. You're So Vain

    Bathroom vanities and even make up stations are a perfect way to add a touch of glam to your space.

    I am in love with the pieces that are modeled after an elegant piece of furniture such as this mirrored bathroom vanity. Such a beautiful way to add reflective beauty to a small space.


    Mirrored bathroom vanity with neoclassical details and black granite top
    #5. Statement piece

    Sometimes you want a bit bigger presence in your room with mirrored furniture. Think large and elegant with something like this armoire with mirrored doors. The mirrors reflect the light all while doing double duty of hiding bits or even a television.


    Distressed wood armoire with mirrored doors
    These are just a few of my favorites - but what about you? Do you have a favorite style or piece of mirrored furniture in your home?

  • Eco-Friendly Decor

    I think most people have become aware about the state of our planet and how we can be more sensitive to recycling, reusing and being more eco-friendly. Eco-friendly decor is a new realm of consciousness that can transcend thinking just about bottles and paper.

    An Eco Friendly Living Room with Natural Accents

    Eco-friendly decor can mean many things. I chose this living room picture because it displays some classic eco-style elements that are both eclectic and cozy.

    Warm, reclaimed wood decor balances beautifully with natural fibers as in the eco-style rug and pillows. The lighting is both metal, which could have come from other metal items like rebar or rods, and ceramic which may have started its life as a jar or pitcher.

    Reusing items in a new way is key to embracing this movement in your eco home decor. Simply trading something you have for something somebody else has is another way to create a smaller carbon footprint. Recycled pendants or turning old jackets into pillows...it’s all a small step to making consumption smaller in scale, yet remain stylish.

    Eco-Conscious Lighting and Home Accents from Lamps Plus

    1. This natural walnut LED wall sconce has a greater life span than the ordinary bulb and has a chic modern look. It’s great for a hallway.

    2. I like the playful recycled mirror set of 2 for a teen bedroom or eclectic style hall or bedroom.

    3. This reclaimed glass chandelier by Veraluz captures the sophistication of a classic Mid Century pendant with jewel tones that sparkle.

    4. I love the Coastal feel of this recycled glass table lamp by Regina Andrew.

    5. Looking for a renewable material source for flooring? I would consider this tan bamboo area rug.

    6. The exotic and spa like vibe of this teak enhanced LED solar lantern is great for a deck, patio or terrace.

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