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.

  • Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Lighting

    The ultimate outdoor lighting guide incorporates three basic lighting types: Ambient, Task and Accent Lighting. Once you are familiar with the basics and how to utilize them, you will have the best lit yard on the block. 

    Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Lighting from Lamps Plus

    Rule 1: Ambient Lighting

    Ambient lighting provides an area with overall outdoor lighting. Also known as general lighting, it radiates a comfortable level of brightness without glare and allows you to see and to walk about safely. This type of lighting can be accomplished with outdoor wall lights and post lights.

    Outdoor Task Lighting

    Rule 2: Task Lighting

    Task lighting is paramount when performing specific tasks. This type of outdoor lighting can be achieved by using pathway lights, deck lighting and outdoor step lights.

    Outdoor Accent Lighting

    Rule 3: Accent Lighting

    Accent lighting adds drama to an outdoor space by creating visual interest. It is used to highlight trees, planting areas and architectural details. This type of lighting is usually provided by spotlights.

    Now you have the knowledge of the three basic types of outdoor lighting; Ambient, Task and Accent Lighting, and are sure to have the best lit yard on the block. 

  • Finding the Perfect Mirror

    As much as I am obsessed with chandeliers- mirrors are a close second. 

    Mirrors do so much for a space. They brighten dark spaces by reflecting light- and flood bright spaces with even more cheer.

    They are often placed where they extend the view of something- for example at the end of a hallway or opposite a window. And they can also make a statement all on their own just with their style.

    French style mirror in bathroom with toile wallpaper

    Today I am sharing a few favorite mirrors and just where I used them in my home.

    Finding the Perfect Mirror: Something Old

    I have a huge crush on vintage mirrors- and I have indulged that obsession many times.

    Some of my favorites are not perfect- in fact, when considering an antique mirror- I look for the imperfections because the speak to me.

    Wall mirrors are some of the most popular styles all around- and I definitely have a few favorites in that category.

    I found a pair of Louis antique mirrors at an antique store in San Diego that I love. 

    Style Tip: get the look with the Pozzilli silver arch wall mirror.

     Pair of antique gold mirrors

    And I have dragged old mirrors out of abandoned buildings at demolition sales. 

     Vintage shabby mirror on wall in living room

    I have also brought home over the top in size and detail mirrors found while junking. Floor mirrors are amazing for adding to a plain wall to reflect your room. You don't need to hang a mirror up to make a beautiful statement.

    This antique mirror is nearly 8' tall- and all by itself with nothing else makes a statement. 

    Style Tip: get the look with the Antico crown top mirror.

    But that mirror in the front? Well, it has a secret.

     Gold and french blue mirrors stacked on floor reflecting a Christmas tree.

    Not everything that has an old style is actually old. That French blue and gold mirror is a brand new reproduction  mirror.

    Finding the Perfect Mirror: Something New 

    Mirrors of today knock my socks off as well. And some of my favorites is a brand new reproductions.

    Reproduction mirrors give you the best of both worlds. They have that style and charm that adds so much to a room, they reflect what you would like them to- and they are easy to find. No running around from tag sale to tag sale hoping to bump into one. 

    A perfect and classic spot for placing a mirror is above a mantel. 

     Wood mirror above fireplace

    This reproduction mirror was a perfect choice for above the fireplace. With a reclaimed wood look- it speaks vintage.

     Close up of gray mirror in bathroom

    With all the details of vintage- reproductions can satisfy your style and charm needs easily and inexpensively while looking absolutely beautiful.

     Gray mirror in bathroom with red toile wallpaper

    Finding the Perfect Mirror: Think Outside the Box

    Or more like outside. This is a new mirror that looks old that is perfectly at home outdoors on the covered patio. Don't forget those outdoor spaces when it comes to accents like mirrors or artwork. Covered porches and patios are extension of living space and deserve a sprinkling of style as well.

     French style gray mirror on fireplace mantel

    The simple style and size of this French inspired mirror is perfect.

    Style Tip: get a the look with the Clary natural wood mirror.

    No matter if you love mirrors that are old or new or a mix of both- adding a mirror to a room adds an instant amount of light and sparkle. And the right mirror can do wonders for the completing the style of your space as well as reflecting beauty.

    What is your favorite type of mirror? 

    Images from French Country Cottage

  • The Perfect Accent Chair

    Is there such a thing as the 'perfect' accent chair?

    One with the right fabric, ideal size and that all important style?

    Cottage style living room with white furniture and accent chair

    It can be a daunting task to choose the right one for your space sometimes- especially in a world of ever changing styles and designs. But I am going to break down how I choose my perfect accent chairs - based on just a couple of things. And my first tip? Stick with something that is classic for you and your style.

    1. Style

    Yes, of course that is the first consideration. With a very traditional cottage style home and a love of vintage, something modern just won't fit in my rooms without looking out of place. Some of my favorite styles are wood frame and French style pieces such as a classic bergere or fauteuil chair. 

    Burlap covered French style chair with aubusson pillow

    2. The right scale

    Have you noticed that so many chairs and sofas of today are those extra deep, extra long, extra room size needed styles? While they are gorgeous and very luxurious for lounging, I need more vintage sized pieces to fit my home and style. 

    French style accent chairs with plates on wall

    Think scale when it comes to your room. If you have a large room - you might be able to get away with one of those 40" deep chairs - but if not, it might look like that chair is taking up way too much real estate. Remember to consider scale when choosing and stick with what works best for your space.

    3. Fabric, leather, wood, oh my.

    Accent chairs are not just simple little chairs any longer. From leather to linen to brocade and tufted accent chairs - the upholstery and details make the chair. I am a huge fan of keeping things simple - and so often, I will gravitate towards linen and less fussy pattern. But I have to admit that some of those accent chairs that have pattern and color are truly accents and make an amazing statement in a room. 

     French style chair with blue stripe and gold table

    The best advice is to think of your overall design. Are you mostly neutral colors and simple styles - or is your room an amazing mix of pattern and color?

    Choose a chair that has a fabric that accents or fits into your room seamlessly. For neutral - you can go with a pop of color or pattern - or keep it simple with linen.

    For bold and beautiful - think a clean velvet for adding another round of color but without adding too much fuss.

    4. Comfort

    Back to scale, fabric and every other consideration - don't buy something just because it looks good- unless you just want to admire it in your room. You need to try the chair out. See how it feels when you sit and make sure that it is as functional as it is beautiful in your room.

    What about you - do you have a tip for choosing the perfect accent chairs?


    Images from French Country Cottage

  • 3 Things to Consider When Choosing an Ottoman or Bench

    Choosing an ottoman or bench for your home seems like it should be simple enough, right?

    But do you know how many styles, sizes, shapes and finishes those benches come in?

    Benches are not just wood picnic style any longer- and ottomans - well they come in dozens of shapes and sizes and styles.

    Fur covered metal bench in traditional room

    They can be accents or a large part of your overall room design. An ottoman or bench is not just a functional piece of furniture anymore - they are style statements. 

    Bold hot pink small bench with gold legs

    And today, I am sharing 3 things to consider if you are shopping for the perfect one to add to your home. 

    1. Style

    Of course, that goes without saying. Style is key when choosing anything for your home. But not just style - but whether you want or need something simple or you want the topper on the cake. Ottoman and benches aren't just for extra seating- they are definitely style makers for your home.

    Think bold. Think unique. Think about something that makes a statement. A recently spotted ottoman at High Point Market caught my eye and ran away with my heart instantly.

     A vintage style bench upholstered in a well worn piece of a rug

    Seriously gorgeous and though it is a small accent piece- it made such a statement with the style alone. 

    2. Size

    Go big or go home may be my motto with chandeliers - but with an ottoman or bench, it has to fit the space. Have you ever walked into a room where you had to navigate around a bulky coffee table? Not ideal.

    You definitely need to fit your space - especially when using an ottoman as a coffee table. Square, rectangular, round- they come in all sizes. Just pay attention to area you have available and plan accordingly to make sure that you are not crowding the walking space.

    Think cozy, but with a dash of breathing room.

     Large square tufted ottoman in living room

    3. Materials

    In a world of 10,000 style choices, the type of ottoman or bench is one more thing to consider. All wood, simple fabric, tufted fabric, acrylic legs, storage style, or maybe one that incorporates tufting on top and a space for books on the bottom. 

     Acrylic leg ottoman with bold yellow fabric

    The choices can be overwhelming sometimes- but no matter what color, finish, etc you decide on - one thing to always remember is to not overlook construction.

    Hardwoods that are kiln dried are going to be top notch in style as well as sturdiness. From there, choose fabrics based on where you will use it. Something water resistant in a living room while you can go with something more plush and elegant in a bedroom. 

    Choosing a bench or ottoman for your home is as easy as thinking about those 3 things - and then going with what speaks to you. They definitely are not those average pieces any longer- and choosing the right style can make your room feel completely different.

    I am loving the vintage styles- do you have a favorite? 

    Images from French Country Cottage

  • 3 Tips for Buying the Perfect Chandelier

    It is no secret that I have a little crush on beautiful chandeliers. And that love is strong and covers several styles and sizes and every room.

    A chandelier is like a beautiful piece of jewelry that adds the perfect finishing touch to an evening gown. It is that one thing that takes the look from beautiful to absolutely gorgeous.

     Cottage kitchen with white cupboards and hardwood floor

    But how do you know what the right chandelier is for you and your space? Is it too big? Too small? Or the wrong style all together? 

    To answer these questions and more, I am sharing 3 tips for choosing the perfect chandelier to make your home shine.

    1. Size Matters

    I tend to go big or go home when it comes to chandeliers- but I have a couple that are on the smaller size as well. And when trying to figure out if big or small or 2 or more are called for- you can use this simple guide.

     Large crystal chandelier in bedroom

    Chandeliers for a  Dining Room: 

    • Your chandelier should be about 12 inches narrower than the dining table surface.
    • The design should also have at least 4 feet of distance from the room walls. Making sure that your chandelier 'floats' with enough breathing around it is key. 

    Chandeliers for a Living Room or Entryway: 

    • For every foot of ceiling height allow 2-3 inches in chandelier height.
    • To find your perfect size- add the length and width of your room and convert the total to inches.
    • For example, a room that's 12-feet x 14-feet would require a design that's around 26-inches wide (12 plus 14 gives you the width of 26). 

    2. Double or nothing

    Sometimes one chandelier is the perfect size above a dining table or island. But sometimes, 2 or even 3 are better than one.

    If you have a long table for example- think length in lighting. You want to make sure to illuminate the center 2/3 of the table.

    A favorite way to get the look and right light is to go with several smaller chandeliers rather than one large chandelier.

    French cottage dining room with large chalkboard on wall

    In our dining room, this 9' long table has two  23" chandeliers which illuminate it perfectly without feeling too heavy. 

    3.  Style your room pretty 

    Whether you go with vintage inspired, modern luxe, industrial or something in between, think about the style of your space and what message you are trying to send with your chandelier choice.

    Is it simple and elegant? Show stopper? Blending in and getting along? There are so many ways that your chandelier can make your room feel different- and the choice is all yours. 

    If your room if full of architectural interest and charm- something elegant, classic and traditional will compliment perfectly.

    If it is spare and modern in design - you can add more bling to make a statement or keep it simple to keep the look. 

     Cottage style kitchen with green stool and white cupboards

    In the small kitchen in our guest cottage, two crystal chandeliers speak vintage charm but don't take center stage- they quietly compliment the overall look.  Basically, just take a moment to think about if your light is the lead or the supporting role in your room and choose accordingly. 

    I hope that these 3 tips  help you choose your perfect chandelier and no matter why style, size or finish you are looking for- Lamps Plus has an incredible selection of chandeliers to inspire you.

    What type of chandelier is your favorite? Are you a go big or go home type? Or a quiet compliment type? Or maybe somewhere in between?

    Images from French Country Cottage


  • Brass & Bronze Wall Lights

    Overhead lights like chandeliers or flush mounts are necessities in most spaces, and a strategically placed lamp is a helpful source of illumination. So often the wall is forgotten as a location for lighting that multitasks and it’s there that you can hang the always versatile wall lamp.

    As an added bonus, rotating or swing arm lamps allow you to alter the direction of the lighting, either up and down or left to right. Some require the light to be hardwired, but many options are available as plugins so there’s no need to hire an electrician.

    Traditional Office with Lights

    Bronze is a finish that will never go out of style and looks especially striking against white walls. A white drum shade paired with a shapely swing arm wall light creates alluring contrast between dark and light on a bronze swing arm wall lamp.

    Bronze Swing Arm Lamp

    Capture the industrial look with the bronze and brass Hobson Wall Sconce or go for a more Old World appeal with the beautiful alabaster shade showcased in the Holkoetter Bronze Swing Arm Wall Lamp. The triangular prism shape of the House of Troy Pinnacle Swing Arm Wall Lamp is reminiscent of a library light. Opt for the elongated shade on display in the Ivory Linen Drum Swing Arm Light as a timeless choice.

    Brass and Bronze Wall Lights

    Brass has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, but it should be noted that brass is just as classic as bronze. Modern shapes make the finish that much more appealing in contemporary and transitional spaces like these brass swing arm wall lights.

    Brass Wall Lights

    The Richford Swing Arm Wall Lamp has a brass finish with marbled glass sphere detail. Reflect on the beauty of brass paired with an acrylic ball with the Kohle Swing Arm Wall Lamp. The classic shape of the opal bell shade found in the Monroe Aged Brass Wall Light features more traditional lines while the George Kovac Wall Lamp has a sleek low profile and round head.

    Brass or bronze, you can’t go wrong with a versatile swing arm wall light. Find dozens of choices and even more finishes in the Lamps Plus Swing Arm Wall Light gallery.

  • Dining Room: Entertaining Ready Tips

    Formal dining rooms seem to be either be those rarely used rooms that are reserved for special occasions- or rooms you use every single day for every day dining. Or maybe yours is somewhere in between. 

    But no matter how often you use your formal dining room-a dining room is a perfect spot to do a little bit of simple seasonal refreshing and maybe even some refreshing with bigger impact. 

    Today I am sharing 3 ideas for sprucing up your dining room to get entertaining ready.

    Two chandeliers above a farmhouse dining table with french doors in the back

    1.  Add seasonal touches

    Dressing your room for the holidays and entertaining involves more than a couple of seasonal touches on the dining room furniture. Think about adding a fun holiday banner or some fresh clippings or garland on the fireplace or wall. 

    A note: I also like to add a couple of clippings to our chandeliers as they have a nice drop below the light bulbs so it is safe to do. But- safety first. If you decide to do that make sure that your fixture is safe to do so with. Greens will dry and become a fire hazard.

    Dining table with fresh greens and citrus fruit as a centerpiece

    2. A simple centerpiece

    I love using fresh clippings for centerpieces- and when it comes to holiday dining where there are likely to be a lot of places at the table- keeping that centerpiece simple is best. And one of the things I love about using greens such as olive or eucalyptus is that they will dry very well and will look good even a few weeks down the road. 

    For this centerpiece- I used a layer of fresh greenery and then add a few oranges and nuts for a festive touch. If you don't have access to fresh clippings there are some very pretty faux florals available. 

    Dining room with two chandeliers

    3. Think outside the light box

    Looking for a quick and easy change that completely changes the look of the room?  Think lighting. Sometimes the lighting is perfect for a space- and other times not so much.But dining room chandeliers are easy to change fortunately- and it is a quick change that you can make without spending a lot of time and expense that comes a huge renovation. 

    Even if you don't want to add more lighting with a second chandelier- simply changing from a ceiling light to a chandelier or even to a elegant new ceiling light can make a huge difference in the look of the room. Lighting is one thing you can do that is inexpensive but that has a huge amount of impact on style and also on how fresh and inviting your room feels.

    What are your favorite tips for refreshing your dining room and getting it ready for entertaining? Leave me a comment below. 

     Images from French Country Cottage. 

  • Bathroom Lighting Ideas & Holiday Tips

    All the holiday hustle and bustle is just around the corner-and so this month I am talking all about ways to get your home ready for guests this holiday season.  And it is much more than putting up your Christmas tree and having enough food in the refrigerator.

    Christmas wreath on door and roses on gold table in bathroom

    It seems that any time that guests are coming- there is a flurry of activity. Freshening the bed linens, extra mopping and cleaning and general fluffing of the house. And an area that is often last on the list to be spruced up is the guest bathroom. 

    I know- it is just a functional type room, but it is an important one and one that can be stylish as well. And doing a couple little things to freshen and update it can make all the difference.

    Christmas clippings around roses on gold table in bathroom

    Seasonal touches such as a wreath on the door or a few clippings of fresh greens add the perfect amount of holiday touch- and for an easy update that requires no demolition and rebuilding- think lighting.

    Bathroom lighting is there to provide the right amount of light for makeup and illuminating the space of course, but lighting is also key in also adding a touch of your style. 

    Do you still have those old dated 1980’s fixtures? A quick swap with gleaming modern or new classic traditional lighting and your space will look completely different and up to date. 

    Marble subway tile on wall and gold table and accents in bathrom

    There are several styles and types of lighting you can choose from- and the placements depend on your bathroom set up as well. My favorite? Sconce lighting that flanks the mirrors. I like the symmetrical look they have- and sconce lights on both sides of the mirror also provide a lot of light.

    We chose large vintage inspired sconce lights for our remodel recently-  you can achieve a similar look by using traditional antique brass bathroom wall lights . And those 4 little light bulbs do wonders for lighting up the entire space while looking pretty and keeping the overall vintage aesthetic of the room.

    Brass sconces in marble bathroom

    In another bathroom- we chose vintage inspired silver sconces with beaded glass shades. This space has room for two sinks- and so a trio of sconces was the perfect look- and the perfect amount of light. 

    A bonus, the beaded shades add just the right amount of sparkle while being transparent enough to allow light to fill the room as well.

    French bathroom with toile and vintage furniture

    So if you have a guest bath that could use a little refresh- updating the bathroom lighting is a perfect way to update the space quickly without getting involved in the mess and expense of a full on renovation. 

    What is your favorite quick refresh tip for changing the look of a bathroom? 

    Images from French Country Cottage

  • Holiday Front Door Tips

    The holidays are coming- and that means that getting your house ready for guests and family and all the fun entertaining that comes with the holidays is probably already on your mind. 

    It seems I always have a list a mile long of projects and refreshes I would like to do. And those little things that are often on the back burner project wise-  like the guest bedroom, the outdated guest bathroom, and the front door are definitely moved up to the front right now.

    I enjoy sharing tips for getting your home holiday ready with just a few steps and no stress allowed. And today it is all about making that first impression with your front door.

    Holiday front door

    Front doors are the first thing guest sees when they arrive at your home. And your front door deserves more than just a Christmas wreath, It deserves a personality and charm all on its own. 

    With a splash of paint and the right porch light -it is easy to make your front door shine.

    1. A fresh coat of paint

    Fresh paint does wonders for anything- and your front door is no different. No matter what color your door is- putting a new coat of paint on will instantly give it a facelift. And if you are daring and want to tackle a bigger project- change the color and create a whole new look to greet guests. 

     Black painted front door with Christmas wreath

    2. Add a wreath and garland

    Dress your front door just as you would a mantel or any other area of your home for the holidays. Simple fresh greens are always perfect-and they smell good on top of looking pretty. But you can also use faux greenery if you prefer and create the same beautiful look that says 'hello'. 

     Front door with Christmas garland and wreath

    I like to use cedar garland and drape it across the top of the door since it has a nice drop and fullness to it-  is also perfect for embellishing with berries, eucalyptus or ornaments if you would like. And then add a wreath and your door will look festive and ready for welcoming guests. For an extra touch, and a little sparkle intertwine some string lights

    3. Update Entry lighting

    Porch and front door lighting is important for several reasons-those porch lights aren't just there to look good. Those lights are great at doing double duty. They look good and help create and define the look over your entry and they also provide much needed light to keep guests safe.

     Front door, lanterns and wreath and garland for Christmas

    If your porch lighting is older- think about updating it with a fresh modern style or brand new traditional style light for a whole new look. 

    What ever your style is, sprucing up your front door with fresh paint, seasonal greens and new lighting is a perfect way to get ready for welcoming guests this holiday season. 

    What are your favorite ways to make a great first impression with your entry and front door?


    Images from French Country Cottage


  • Tips to Get Your Guest Room Ready for the Holidays

    It is almost that magic filled time of year when twinkling trees and all things merry start appearing all around. And it is also the time of year when guests come for a visit. 

    Wreath on door and Christmas tree in bedroom

    So while decking the halls and sprinkling Christmas here and there- don't forget about adding some holiday cheer and getting your guest bedroom ready family and friends.  

    Today, I am sharing tips for creating a charming and cozy guest room. From bedding, holiday scents to the perfect lighting.  

    1. Fresh Bedding

    The first thing you think of when it comes to guest bedrooms is bedding. And a perfect way to get your room ready is with fresh linens. I am a huge fan of crisp white duvets and charming decorative pillows for the holidays- and don't forget to add an extra blanket and throws in case guests get chilly.

    Ornaments and greenery on bench at foot of guest bed

    2. A holiday scent

    Filling the room with a holiday scented candle is an easy way to cozy it up and make it feel much more inviting. Pick up a favorite pine or berry scented candle and light it for a little bit just before guests arrive to fill the room with Christmas cheer and don't forget to make the candle holders as special as the smell. 

    You can also use a holiday scented linen spray to mist the linens or curtains to help add a sprinkling of Christmas scent to the room.

    Ribbons in a hat box on the bed with flowers and a candle on the nightstand

    It is a simple little tip that definitely helps make a guest room feel cozy and fresh.

    3. Holiday lighting

    Bedroom with books on bed

    Of course lighting is key in any room- but especially a guest bedroom. When staying in a new room it is easy to feel disoriented -especially at night. So make sure to have table lamps in easy reach of guests so that if they get up in the middle of the night the room is safe and well lit.

    Brass table lamp on nightstand

    And another lighting tip- that is simple fun and festive to do. Place a Christmas tree in the room.

     Christmas tree in bedroom

    Whether you have the space for a full size tree in the room or a tabletop tree- those twinkling lights are sure to bring smiles and create a charming holiday magic filled stay for your guests.

    So there you have just a couple tips to help get your guest bedroom ready for guests the holidays. Do you have any other tips or secret formulas for creating cozy Christmas guest bedrooms?  I would love to hear them in the comments below.

    Image from French Country Cottage.

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