Style Illuminated

Interior design tips and lighting ideas for today's home! Providing professional interior design advice, home decor ideas and inspiration.

  • Home Library - A Cozy Escape

    Home library with blue velvet sectional sofa

    The beginning of October is filled with cool breezes, turning leaves and shorter days. Early cool evenings are for for spending time in your home library curled up with a good book and a cozy blanket, wasting the night away in another world.

    These wonderful inspiration images from House Beautiful will have you reaching for the contractor's number to transform a room in your home into a magical, library getaway.

    Home library with dark blue, high gloss walls and brass wall sconces

    This beautiful blue home library has all the perfect elements for a literary escape. Dark palette, luxe velvet sofa, subtle lighting and one or two cozy throw blankets perfect for those cool nights.

    With such a monochromatic palette, the pop of pattern on the ceiling adds just the right amount of visual punch and fun to this gorgeous space.

    Built-in bookshelves with brass wall lights and comfortable upholstered accent chairs

    If you don't have space for a dedicated library room, don't be afraid to create one. This unused wall space was cleverly turned into a floor to ceiling bookcase with all the elements of a library only on a small scale.

    Directed lighting, beautiful wall art and comfy upholstered chairs make this once wasted space chic and interesting.

    And on another note: you will see this all throughout the post, don't be afraid to put your seating in front of usable bookshelf space! The layering works to add depth and, in all honesty, when are you grabbing books off those perfectly styled shelves in the first place?

    Contemporary home library and office with midcentury modern-style egg chairs

    This cool masculine library doubles as an office space - something worth considering if you're short on space in your home. The bold black fireplace is so visually strong and the soft lines of the mid century style chairs help to bring in the coziness to the space.

    If you don't have room for wall mounted accent lighting, floor lamps, which provide task lighting, are perfect positioned directly behind the chairs for optimal reading light.

    Home library with built-in bookshelves, wall lights and Eames-style midcentury modern recliner

    As you have probably noticed already, these library rooms are certainly not minimal. While your library space may be organized, don't confuse organized with minimal. These spaces are packed to the brim, ceiling to floor, which is one of the ways they achieve this cozy, inviting look.

    In the case of the above library, if you run out of room, stacking and leaning books and art totally works in spaces like these.

    The clustering of objects enhances the space, so don't be afraid to keep bringing more and more into the room. Just don't find yourself losing your organization! That is key to keeping the look cool, attractive and designed.

    Traditional home library design with burgundy walls, brass wall lights and tufted leather ottoman

    A true old world library, the above makes me want to dive into the image and snuggle up, hibernating through the winter. Warm, rich reds and browns, layered, texture variation and brass accents are the perfect equation for a cozy, inviting space that anyone would want to call home.

    Image Source: House Beautiful

  • Bar Stools Fit for Luxe Living

    If you love luxe living but with a streamlined aesthetic, you’ll love these bar stools.

    Leather and wood are the perfect pair for any masculine-vibe interior, especially when they are paired for a luxe living design trend at the bar.

    Cowhide bar stool in a satin nickel finish

    Luxe living isn’t just about furnishings that look like tiaras, the masculine side of luxe is less fussy, but just as fine. It’s all about luxurious leather, metal, and sumptuous textures. (This Arteriors Calvin barrel-style tufted bar stool is covered in top grain black and white hide leather) 

    So when you read ‘luxe living’ design, you may not be thinking a clean-lined aesthetic. The phrase is probably bombarding your brain with images of refined crystal, velvet, and exotic accents all perfectly and exquisitely detailed.

    It’s true that the popular luxe living design trend blends elegant design lines with rich opulent finishes, and is described as the ultimate style in glamour and romance. But romance is not always the same for females as males, and there’s the masculine, more straightforward but equally as luxurious luxe for the alpha aesthetic.

    Let’s take a walk through luxe bar stools, the perfect seating at the much-cherished design feature in any masculine space.

    1. Hello Francesca, you look more expensive than your less than $180 price tag. The cream faux leather seat and back are interrupted, in a stylishly good way, by an open back. The upward curved lines of the seat meet the curved soft padded backside of this adjustable barstool.

    2. While the Adeline does come in black, the option of the cream faux leather bar stool is a delicious visual treat to me. The bar stool has a bent wood walnut slat back and it’s adjustable.

    3. The Gratto is a faux leather and walnut bar stool that is 29 ¼ inches tall. While the materials chosen are luxe living, the execution delivers a mid-century design has an open-back and a padded seat. Available in chocolate or cream, this bar stool is easy to incorporate into any space.

    4. The sleek curved line that forms the contour on the Braiden bar stool seat add a grace and elegance that won’t not ‘go’ in a modern luxe living home. Its wood detail along the bottom of the white faux leather bar stool seat adds to the sophisticated look.

    5. At first glance the Jayden may look like Francesca’s fraternal twin or cousin. The difference is in the execution of the cream faux leather and wood. The Jayden bar stool has a greater emphasis on the use of wood, and while there are other walnut barstools out there, the curved walnut on the back of this bar stool subtly transitions into graceful armrests.

    There're so many styles of bar stools out there to be found, what's your favorite style?

    - T

    Image source: HGTV

  • Chic Wall Mirrors for Mantels

    Wall mirrors reflect light in a space and are a desirable decorative element in design, and one place a chic wall mirror is always at home is when it's hung above a mantel.

    A shapely mirror hung above a mantel helps to balance the weight of a firebox that traditionally sits closer to the floor and the combination of the two creates a dramatic focal point.

    The four spaces you'll most often find a fireplace are the living room, family room, formal dining room, and master bedroom, yet any space with a fireplace and mantel provides an opportunity to hang unique or decorative wall mirrors.

    A round mirror with its circular shape will balance the angles of a square fireplace. Group a round mirror and a collection of framed works of art (illustrations, paintings, or prints) above a mantel for a timeless display that looks attractive in any season.

    Open and airy living room with round wall mirror above the mantel

    A rectangular mirror stretches higher toward the ceiling to fill the vertical space, choose one that complements the style of your home, an ornate gilded form is a traditional choice, but modern shapes that draw the eye to their frames are available too.

    A rectangular wall mirror with a gilded frame over a mantel in a living room

    There's no rule that dictates which shape a mirror above a mantel should take, choosing one that is arched or shapely adds allure to a mantel with its flowing lines or protruding detail.

    A shapely wall mirror with a wood frame hangs above a mantel with green sea glass bottles and a topiary

    Nine options for mantel top mirrors appear from top left to bottom right below:


    1) take advantage of the clean lines of the simple Harrin Maple wood mirror, 2) bring a layer of texture with the spiraled petals of the flower jute wall mirror, or 3) add glamour with the modern shape of the geometric faceted Sorrento gold mirror.


    4) Intricate squares are an attractive border on the Greek key inspired gold leaf Devoll mirror, 5) add organic appeal with the wood border rustic wall mirror, or 6) embrace the gray trend with the bone inlay Abscissa chevron mirror.


    7) Ebony bone inlay and a curvy top detail make the Vicario wall mirror a true conversation piece, 8) the shapely Arzana bone inlay with its twisted loops is a sophisticated choice, while the 9) beautiful beveled bronze openwork mirror will capture anyone's attention.

    A selection of wall mirrors from Lamps Plus

    Find many more ideas for decorative or shapely wall mirror placement in the Lamps Plus Shop by Room galleries!

    Image sources: my domaine, rue magazine, the inspired room

  • Small Home Office Design

    As a self-employed designer, I can only appreciate a well designed home office. If you work from home, it's very important these days to have an organized, personal space where you can get some serious work done.

    Here we take a look at some different small home office designs from The Clueless Girl that are majorly chic while still incredibly functional.

    Small home office design with inspiration board featuring clothespins

    For a creative person, a creative and fun space is necessary to get the juices flowing. At first glance, this home office nook might not look terribly organized, but take a closer look... Each inspiration image is held up with tidy, mounted clothes pins, and all desk top supplies have their proper home.

    What may seem like haphazard layering is actually a neat and clear way to layer creative ideas and inspire you on a daily basis.

    Feminine home office design in pink and white with acrylic dining room chair as a desk chair

    For the girly girls out there, this feminine small home office nook is perfect for you. Keeping the space all white with pops of pastel pink give the small space depth and dimension, which can sometimes be hard to achieve with such a small space.

    Another great way to trick the eye and play with depth is to use clear acrylic and glass furniture and accessories. Clear acrylic chairs and stylish, lightweight and incredibly comfortable, while modern, glass table lamps offer direct task lighting with little heavy visual impact.

    A closet doubles as a small home office with contemporary glass table lamp

    If you have a true office nook, make the most of it! The wallpaper here is the major focal point and make this closet turned office nook feel special, cool and chic. Minimal accessorizing and competing colors is key for this space, as you want the wallpaper to do all the talking.

    Modern desk with black top and white legs and green glass table lamp

    For some reason, this small home office space seems just perfect to me. There are lots of colors, patterns and ideas going on here, but it remains impossibly simple and stylish.

    Something to note, if you are too messy for a white desk top, you should at least opt for white desk legs. This gives the illusion that you have a floating desk, without all the hassle and headache of wall mounting the desk.

    Small home office design for two with long white desk and midcentury modern white plastic chairs with wood bases

    Finally, if you're not alone at your home office, check out this amazingly stylish small workspace built for two.

    Smaller chairs are necessary for this type of office so each person feels like the have their own personal space. Each 'workspace' is aligned with its own chair, computer, lamp and framed art piece, creating the illusion that they are separate workspaces. And who doesn't love a cushy faux fur seat pad for those long work days?

    These are only a few small home office design solutions and are a great place to start when planning out your home office!

    Image Source: The Clueless Girl

  • Luxe Autumnal Living Room Design

    A Richly Appointed Living Room

    Fall is a perfect time to revisit cozy interiors. Creating luxe autumnal living room design is a combination of warm lighting and luxurious soft furnishings. For some reason I am drawn to Belgian Pearls when the weather begins to cool, and found images that truly capture elegant fall living rooms.

    After long hot summers we are so ready to infuse our rooms with pumpkins and gourds that we forget we need not get kitschy to keep things appropriate for the season. A beautifully placed orange pillow can have a major affect and appeal...skulls with light-up eyes need not apply.

    Traditional Living Room Fireplaces

    If possible, the autumn living room design should focus on the hearth. A roaring fire is so welcoming and is the perfect focal point for showing off other decorative objects and furniture. Comfortable accent chairs next to a fireplace is the ideal location for reading or conversation with guests.

    Living Room Furniture Placement

    Besides sumptuous seating, lighting is critical to the autumn room. As the sun goes down ever earlier, table lamps for reading or general illumination is very important.

    Lamp light is warm and lamps in general create visual interest. I happen to love an earthy table lamp in wood during this season. You may think it too casual, but I think it’s elegant to have competing textures in a room, and shows real style.

    Autumn-Inspired Warm Fall Lighting and Home Decor from Lamps PLus

    1. The Currey and Company Treetop Old Iron Wall Sconce captures the natural essence of autumn.

    2. The classic urn shape of the Uttermost Aurelius Solid Wood Table Lamp keeps the rough hewn material elegant.

    3. Classic fall colors are embodied in the Howard Elliott Sterling Orange Throw Pillow.

    4. The timeless Monterey Khaki Linen Arm Chair would work in just about any corner of the traditional home.

    Photos: Belgian Pearls.

  • Cool Concrete Interior Design

    Modern bedroom with concrete walls and floors

    Are you one of those people who sits around and stares at amazingly chic, concrete interior design and decide you could never have that style in your own home? Well I am here to tell you, you are dead wrong.

    These days there are so many creative and stylish ways to incorporate concrete walls/ceilings/furniture into your own space, the possibilities are endless.

    As you will see below, whatever your aesthetic is, there is a way to get that industrial cool concrete look in just about any space in your home. And while your home may not be as drop dead fabulous as the above master bedroom from HG Sphere, I'm sure you'll be able to find ways to impress.

    Industrial Chic style living room with exposed brick walls and concrete ceiling and floors

    This irresistibly chic living room from Archilovers shows you how malleable concrete interior design can be with other existing hard materials. Wood floors, concrete floors, brick walls and more concrete ceilings make this space almost feel vintage and modern at the same time.

    The concrete is not cold and uninviting but rather welcoming and warm. Keeping the space in 50 shades of grey ;) lets the exposed brick wall and the adorable yellow accent table pop.

    Modern living room with concrete wall niche and drum shade chandelier

    If you like a clean, glam space, this living room from Live Journal is right up your alley.

    Pristine furnishings in luxe materials elevate this space, especially the treatment of the concrete. Stone tiles inset into a niche in the wall and spot-lit make the concrete act more like art than a wall finish, and bring depth, movement, and texture to the space.

    Boho style living room with concrete walls and ceilings

    For all my boho lovers out there, don't fear, you can still style concrete interiors in the most bohemian of ways and total pull it off.

    Architecture Art Design shared this amazing, high ceilinged open space with concrete top to bottom. What brings the boho are the multitude of colors, patterns and styles blended so well together. No one will walk in this space and tell you its too modern.

    Contemporary "bachelor-pad" master bedroom with concrete walls, white floors, platform bed and contemporary table lamp

    I have to admit the above, for me, is the ultimate bachelor master bedroom. Ultralinx shows us a bedroom that is so masculine and cool, yet still cuddle worthy.

    Large concrete walls are offset with an oversized, upholstered headboard, lending a softer side to the concete walls and making them seem current and approachable. And what could be cooler than that ultra-contemporary bedside table lamp.

    Scandinavian style living room with smooth concrete walls and minimalist furniture

    One of my favorite concrete interior inspirations comes from Blog Lovin. This space mixes Scandinavian designs, midcentury elements and vintage pieces to create a collected yet polished look.

    The mix of hard and soft textures softens the smooth concrete walls, and the artwork adds a playful note to the otherwise bare wall.

    Image Sources: fashion landscape, Live Journal, HG Sphere, Ultra Linx, Architecture Art Design, Archilovers

  • Inviting Entryway Design

    Inviting entryway design with large cowhide rug and vintage green glass display

    You know what they say about first impressions.

    Entryway design sets the tone for what’s to come in the rest of the house so it’s important to make sure to make the space both inviting and functional.

    In my 100 year old house, I’m lucky to have a front entrance vestibule that is separated from the foyer by an old French door which gives me not only more space, but more to decorate!

    Some of my must haves for my entryway …

    Entry area with hooks to hang coats and chair to sit on

    Add drama to this pass through area with a bold paint color or fun wallpaper.

    If space allows, a small chair is a great place to remove muddy shoes or sit while sorting the mail.

    Every entry needs a place to hang your coat. A few hooks are all you need if you’re short on space or add a standing coat rack if wall space is limited.

    Entryway with red Chinese console table and mirror above

    Another entry must have is a mirror – the perfect place to do a last minute once over before you head out the door.

    A place to throw your keys when you walk through the door is important and I like to have a small bowl or tray sitting on the table.

    Short open shelves with vintage green glass display and gold wall mirror above

    Inject some personality into your entry by displaying a favorite collection like my thrift store green glass vases.

    A space saving shelving unit makes the perfect display space but I’m on the hunt for a mirrored console table to add a bit of glam to this space.

    What does your entryway design say about you?


    Image Source: Eclectically Vintage

  • Industrial Style Ceiling Fans

    dining area with oil-rubbed bronze industrial style ceiling fan

    When I went to visit my grandmother every summer, I remember the house and the yard and the molasses cookies and the ceiling fan.

    It was white and a little lopsided.

    It had giant blades and a light that you could click on and off.

    And when it spun on high it shook and make this odd high-pitched sound along with a giant click every now and then.

    I decided then and there that when I grew up I was never having ceiling fans in my home.  

    Good thing times and ceiling fans have changed.

    Here's some inventive new options for industrial style ceiling fans.

    Brushed nickel indoor-outdoor ceiling fan

    1.  Brushed Nickel

    For outdoor spaces and industrial-style rooms, this smooth and sleek brushed nickel ceiling fan is perfect.

    The six blades with their contemporary design created a clean contemporary profile.

    The fan also comes with a remote control for easy on/off function.

    galvanized industrial style ceiling fan

    2.  Galvanized Metal Fan with Industrial Style Light Fixture

    This ceiling fan has industrial style written all over it.

    From the galvanized metal blades to the caged industrial light, this fan is full of rustic flair.

    Pair it with farmhouse furnishings and create a space full of personality.

    Oil-rubbed bronze industrial style ceiling fan with dual heads and light in a kitchen

    3.  Rustic Oil Rubbed Bronze Ceiling Fan

    For true industrial flair and design, this dual head oil rubbed bronze ceiling fan is a stylish option.

    Adjustable twin turbo fan heads offer versatility and high-powered performance.

    The fixture also integrates a halogen light that includes a cap for non-light use.

    Unique brushed nickel industrial style ceiling fan

    4.  Dramatic Five Light Ceiling Fan

    Sleek and contemporary, this industrial style ceiling fan with a brushed nickel finish is the perfect combination of style and function.

    Equipped with a 16" fan head that tilts in different directions, this fan blends seamlessly with a variety of decorating styles.

    It also features five lights, brushed nickel styling and comes equipped with a hand-held remote.

    Industrial style ceiling fans are a classic and stylish option to add to any type of room or decor.

    And one thing is for certain.

    This isn't your grandmother's ceiling fan any more.

  • Contemporary Kitchen Seating

    Dark Mid Century Stools at a Bright Marble Kitchen Island

    I love the wide range of contemporary kitchen seating available these days. Not that I’m so old, but it’s fun to have options that didn’t exist a few decades back.

    In days of yore most of us only had a breakfast table surrounded by four basic wood or vinyl did we ever survive? Today, along with breakfast tables, many of us essentially live at the kitchen island which allows us more opportunity for additional seating like stylish counter barstools.

    Rue Magazine and Domino had some fun examples of kitchen seating, chic islands and modern pendant lighting.

    Different Size Counter Height Dining Stools

    Attractive seating is one thing, but functionality is still key when selecting kitchen seats and stools.

    If you or your family does work at the counter or table, you may want to consider chairs with backs or a cushion.

    If the perching spot is simply decorative or to be used as a gathering spot at parties, simple backless stools can look amazing. I love the sexy, sculptural qualities of the two wood versions above.

    No Fuss Kitchen Dining Stools

    If you want flexibility, why not try adjustable stools. That way you can use them at counters, table or taller bars. It’s one way to stay nimble in the ever changing designer world in which we live.

    Another consideration is sight-line. Make sure you chairs and stools don’t block critical views and sight lines, especially if you need to watch children in adjacent rooms. 

    Modern Kitchen Seating and Lighting from Lamps Plus

    1. Try this Micro cone black LED mini pendant from  Sonneman for tight spaces that need additional light.

    2. I like the Asian simplicity of this  saddle counter stool, which can be discreetly tucked under a counter.

    3. The Antwerp white pendant light with nickel details from Jonathan Adler is bold and timeless at the same time.

    4. I still like the classic lines and modern materials of these clear indoor or outdoor chairs (which comes in a set of 2.)

    5. The Mid Century wired dining chair set should be a “go to” chair for modern kitchens.

    6. Sleek lines and common sense functionality define this adjustable black leatherette counter or bar stool.

    This is but a sampling of the contemporary kitchen seating styles available out there, so have some fun exploring the different types available to match to your kitchen decor!

    Photos: Rue Magazine, Domino Magazine.

  • A Living Room with a View

    One thing people sometimes forget to take into consideration when designing their interiors are their exteriors.

    If you are lucky enough to have a home that is surrounded by lush vegetation, a vast lake, crashing waves or tall trees this should be celebrated and incorporated into your design. 

    Often times your living room is on the first or ground floor, but every now and again you get an elevated view with such spectacular visuals that can not be ignored.

    Dwell gives us some amazing living rooms that truly celebrate their exterior surroundings.

    Contemporary living rooms that take advantage of outdoor views

    OK now that you are drunk on amazingly beautiful design inspiration, here are some keys to create the perfect living room with a view:

    1. Minimalism with Furniture

    As you'll notice above, the furniture in a living room that celebrates the exterior views is very minimal. High quality, stylish sofas are paired with vintage-inspired accent chairs and minimal coffee tables to create a palette for the vistas to shine.

    2. Monochromatic Palette

    Whether its lush trees, vast lakes or a barren winter wonderland, your living room furniture and accessories should let the exteriors become the focal point.

    Who needs loud, vibrant art when you look out on the tops of bright green tress. Keeping the palette of your furniture clean and simple truly lets nature's palette come center stage.

    3. Streamlined Architecture

    While the architecture of the home is not always something you have control over, keep in mind that the less going on architecturally, the more the eye forgets its there and can truly see the outside as part of the inside design.

    Large windows uncluttered with decoration and detail simply frame the views you are lucky enough to have.

    4. Unobstructive Lighting

    You will notice in the living rooms above, there is almost no sign of dominant lighting. These rooms rely heavily on the large windows to drench the space with natural light for as many hours a day as possible.

    Even when the sun goes down, the lack of light helps to keep the space exuding that indoor/outdoor feel. Recessed lights or minimalist, well-designed pendant lights are your best bet to complete the space.

    Images: Dwell

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