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.

  • Name That Blog Contest: Win $250 Shopping Spree!

    Good with words? Got mad wit skills?

    Show us what you've got in our "Name That Blog" contest for a chance to win a $250 Lamps Plus online shopping spree.

    We've refreshed our blog here at LampsPlus.com as a place for fresh and creative ideas in home decorating. Our goal is to provide our readers with inspiration, resources and affordable design solutions. Now we need a new name to match our new attitude!

    We're taking submissions now through May 31st. Feel free to submit as many ideas as you wish, but only one idea per day during the submission period.

    Submit your blog name suggestions via:

    Be sure to leave a valid email address or Twitter handle with your entry so we can contact you.

    In case of the same name being submitted, we'll take the first submission, so get your ideas in early!

    We'll put the best user-submitted names up against our own faves for public voting on Facebook from June 2-8. 

    The name with the most votes on June 8th will become the official Lamps Plus blog name.

    The creative genius whose user-submitted name receives the most votes will win the $250 prize and some serious bragging rights, even if it's not chosen as the official name. Ready, set, show off your creative prowess!

    View complete contest rules (PDF file; requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader).

     

    **This contest has officially ended. Thank you for entering.**

    Post Addendum:

    We are pleased to announce that Vicky from Alabama has named our blog! 

     

  • 10 Fun Facts About the Lava Lamp

    A group of three lava lamps in different colors

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the lava lamp, everyone's favorite emblem of the psychedelic 60s, so we thought it only appropriate to share some facts about the lamp that you might not know:

    1. The lava lamp was invented in 1948 by an English accountant named Edward Craven Walker.  He was inspired by an egg timer in a pub made of a cocktail shaker filled with alien-looking liquids bubbling on a stove top. It took Craven Walker 15 years to perfect his design.
    2. The lava lamp was originally called an "Astro Globe," then became known as a Lava Lite (after the company who bought the US manufacturing rights) before being known by the name it is known by now.
    3. No two lava lamps are the same
    4. Craven Walker knew he had "made it" when he heard that Ringo Starr bought one of his lamps.
    5. The lamps were originally intended to be a luxury item before it was picked up by hippies and  the swinging 60s set as a psychedelic accessory.
    6. The lava lamp made its first TV appearance on Dr. Who in the 1960s.
    7. Sales of the lava lamp slumped in the late 1970s, but it experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 90s after the Austin Powers movies were released.
    8. There is a lava lamp on permanent display in the Smithsonian.
    9. The largest lava lamp ever made is four feet tall and holds ten gallons of lava formula.
    10. The most expensive lava lamp ever sold was $15,000.

    Lava Lite's 50th Anniversary lava lamp with orange blobs and purple liquid

    To commemorate the psychedelic novelty lamp, Lava Lite created a special 50th anniversary model that includes a gold base etched with the 50th anniversary logo.

    Now you know some not-so-common facts about the groovy lava lamp -- who knows, it might come in handy one night at trivia night!

  • How Dimmers Save Energy

    Do dimmers really save on energy use?

    Key to answering this question is understanding how dimmers really work.

    Many consumers, and even a few electricians, think that dimmers work by converting unused electricity to heat at the dimmer switch.

    It's true that many old rotary dimmers worked this way; they were rheostats that took the excess energy when dimmed and converted it to heat.

    Today's dimmers use a "Triac Switch". When dimmed, these switches cut the flow of power to a light fixture up to 120 times a second.

    While the circuit is switched on and off many times a second, the human eye and brain doesn't register this flickering. What we see is a constant light output.

    And dimmers do save. Dimming your lights an average of 50 percent can cut your electric use a whopping 40 percent over time and make your bulbs last 20 times longer!

  • Candice Olson: Divine Design

    Candice Olson Photo

    We blogged about the debut of our new line of Candice Olson lighting last week. Candice is a fixture on HGTV with her show Divine Design, and we found these videos from her show online at the HGTV website. You can see the way she uses lighting in her rooms and check out her unique sense of style.

    POST UPDATE: We've got a lot more about Candice Olson and Divine Design. If you liked this, you might enjoy some of our more recent posts. You can find them here: http://www.lampsplus.com/Info-Center/b/blog/archive/tags/candice+olson/default.aspx 

    Happy reading!

     

  • Create a Relaxing Space with a Calming Water Fountain

    Water fountains create such a sense of tranquility, and whenever I'm at a friend’s home or at a cozy restaurant and there is a water fountain I make a mental note at how much I want to start looking at including an LED fountain in our home.

    beautiful stone fountain featuring a sun face that can be lit at night by LED

    This Sun Villa faux stone outdoor fountain has LED lights under the sun face, so it illuminates at night.

    And, yes, I definitely mean more than one fountain, but not in every room. I'm thinking more strategic and less water park. Water fountains for your home are usually most appreciated inside conversational areas, for example a sitting room and outside by a patio, deck or pergola.

    Since home décor water fountains aren't as common as ceiling fans, it can be an ‘eye-squint-tilt-head-sideways’ reaction to try to envision it inside or outside your home.

    Soothing Wall fountains can be thought of as wall art – thinking of a water fountain from this perspective might be the perfect way to get started. Here are a few of my favorite wall water fountains lit with LED lights. I’d love to know what you think, so please go ahead and share your comments or questions in the comments below. –T

    a selection of LED water fountains

    1. The textured Jera Slate and Black Onyx Wall Fountain seamlessly blends into a modern, natural indoor space. This 58-inch tall LED water fall from the Classic Quarry Nojoqui collection combines Jera slate and black onyx finish trim. The water cascades down the stone into a basin of white river rocks. And you don’t have to get up to operate it. Just use the remote control.

    2. The beautiful Galway Lighted Wall Fountain is simple, yet classic. This stone finish wall water fountain has two levels of cascading water, and includes an LED light. With its neutral look, placement can either make this fountain the focal point of a space or gently fade into the background.

    3. I’m always charmed when I see an animal incorporated into home décor, and the classic Regal Lion Lighted Wall Fountain doesn't disappoint. Water cascades from the lion’s mouth in to the little basin and overflows into the lower basin, where it is illuminated by an LED light. And this lion water fountain can live inside or outside, too.

    4.The delightful San Marco Lighted Wall Fountain is a classic-looking LED water fountain. This LED water fountain has three basins for the cascading water. Finished in plum bronze, this water fountain can be placed either inside or outside.

  • 10 Tips for Office Furniture Layouts

    10 Tips for Office Furniture Layouts

    Having an organized office is crucial for career success. It helps focus all the energy in the office and put you in command and control over your career. The way your furniture is positioned creates a stimulated and comfortable working environment that will encourage success.

    Jerome Abecassis of Divano Designs and Brigitte Beltra, Feng Shui Expert, offer their 10 tips for office furniture layouts:

    1. DO place your desk so you can see clearly when sitting behind it. If you sit with your back to the door, you are inviting others to take advantage of you. You are also turning your back to the incoming wealth and blessings for your career.

    2. DO sit with your back against a solid wall or corner - not with a window behind your back. Having a window behind you makes you vulnerable.

    3. DON’T sit in line with the door, as you will be in the path of negative energies.

    4. DO place your computer in the North or West areas of your desk to enhance creativity. Place the computer in the Southeast corner if you use it to generate income.

    5. DON’T have any mirrors in your office as they can reflect negative energies for clients and other people in the room.

    Modern Office Furniture Layout at Home

    6. DO keep the cords of your office equipment well hidden. They eliminate clutter and allow the free flow of energies.

    7. DO place your reference books on the left side of your desk, such as a dictionary, manuals, and any other items you often reach for.

    8. DO keep the back left corner of your desk clean, dust free, and uncluttered. If there is space in the back of your monitor for photos or posters, position family pictures in photo frames or renderings of future projects. Those pictures should face you.

    9. DO place awards, diplomas, and certificates, centered on the wall behind your desk.  

    10. DO have an ergonomical office chair for your posture and back. Your office chair represents your career area. Keep it clean and dusted, with a floor mat that looks fresh and new.

    Thanks Jerome and Brigitte! I'd like to offer one more tip to help your office function at its best. It's not an office furniture layout tip, but it's equally important - invest in a quality desk lamp! Good lighting reduces eye strain and fatigue, and can help create a more productive work environment.

    Image credit: Jasmine Star Photography, Modern Interior.

  • Meghan Carter Contest: Win a Design Consultation, $250 Shopping Spree and a Signed Book

    Megahn Carter

     

    Do you need help discovering your interior design style or guidance on selecting the perfect color for your space? Well, now is your chance to win the perfect Lamps Plus Home Decor Trifecta! Simply enter the Meghan Carter Contest. The winner will receive a personal design consultation with Meghan Carter, author of The Meghan Method, a $250 online Lamps Plus shopping spree to implement Meghan’s advice into your home, and a signed copy of Meghan’s book.

    Enter now through August 16, 2011. Only one entry per day please.

    It is easy to enter! There are three ways-
    • Leave a comment on this blog post explaining why you deserve to have your room redone with help from Meghan (my favs!)


    • Follow Lamps Plus and tweet... " @MeghanCarter I should win the @LampsPlus redo because:” ( Lamps Plus Twitter page)


    • Email us at community@lampsplus.com explaining why you deserve to have your room redone with help from Meghan

    Be sure to leave a valid email address or Twitter handle with your entry so we can contact you.

    View the complete contest rules (PDF file; requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader).

    Connect with Meghan on Facebook to get more decorating tips and helpful home advice.

    Images courtesy of Meghan Carter 

    ** 8-17-11 This contest has officially closed.**

    Post Addendum 9-2-11:
    We are pleased to announce that Lauren W. from Richmond Hill, Georgia, is the winner. She will be getting a Meghan Carter Design Consultation, Signed Book and a $250 Shopping Spree.  Congratulations to Lauren and thank you all for entering!

  • Candice Olson Tells All

    Candice Olson Tells All Photo

    The new TV show from Candice Olson promises something different from the famed designer. According to the show website, Candice's new show will reveal more of the behind-the-scenes design process. "This is Candice unplugged, as she deconstructs the design process and teaches us her rules in a fun, irreverent way." It airs Saturdays on HGTV. More details here. In addition to her show, fresh designs from Candice Olson lighting are also on the way.

    Photo thanks to HGTV.

    Post Update 11/3/2016 - sorry! We don't carry Candice Olson lighting anymore, but we do have many designer styles available at Lamps Plus! 

  • TV Host, Designer & Author Christopher Lowell Shares His Interior Motives and More

    TV host Christopher Lowell Photo

    Christopher Lowell Logo Image

    Emmy Award-winning host and best selling author, Christopher Lowell's mix of practical advice and infectious enthusiasm has made him one of America's most recognized and trusted authorities in the home improvement category. Dubbed the Doctor of Design by U.S News & World Report, Christopher Lowell believes that decorating is a form of empowerment therapy and that his mantra, "You Can Do It" is a way of life. The success of his ever growing multi-media company proves that Christopher Lowell has made a loyal connection to how America wants to live now and in the future.

    Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Christopher a few questions.  This is what transpired.

    What or who has most influenced your own design aesthetic?
    First it was my years in the American theater as a set, lighting and costume designer. It’s a far more high-pressured job then any interior designer has to go through. Then it was what I learned running a successful advertising agency, telling mini-stories in 30 to 60 second commercials. But when we launched our first TV series (Interior Motives with Christopher Lowell- just a few miles away from Lamps Plus' corporate offices) and were able to really connect with millions of viewers who shared their stories with us everyday, that was amazing.

    They taught us ‘who’ they ‘were’ and the lifestyle challenges they faced everyday. It affirmed to us the transformation quality of personal creativity and the fact that when the physical interior changes (our homes) the mental interior (our heads) can change too. Powerful stuff. So it’s really the viewer that motivates us to solve their problems, uncover their hidden creativity and get them to use the home as their personal design incubators to define who they are TODAY.

    So it’s taught me to never indulge my artistic whims, but to work hard to put out there (through product and education) things that today’s households need in the most attractive way possible.

          

     

    What are you obsessed with right now?
    Teaching people how to purge and re-think their homes in a brand new way.  As we move through these shifted economic times, helping them to understand that a well thought-out home that pampers and inspires has little to do with money or square footage, but rather, careful thought. My 7 Layers of Organization book is a vital tool for people who are trying to purge their homes to get ready for the future.

    It is also a topic that I tackle in my web series Ask Christopher, we took a small, rented showcase house and furnished it with only things I felt will endure the test of time—much of which came from mass market versus designer showrooms.  In our second season, rather than moving on to a new showcase house, we decided to stay put and completely redo the home again but using the exact same furnishings.  This time with the mandate that everything had to move to another location in the home. 

    This idea of course was to prove that if you invest in timeless, classic things, re-think your home form a new perspective and are willing to roll up your sleeves and apply careful thought, that you too can have what seems like a brand new home with what you already may own. 

    Paint Swatch

    What is one “trick of the trade” that you implement in your designs?
    A technique I call color sculpting. Using three to four shades of the same color in a single room.  It allows you to bring key walls visually forward and recess walls that seem to close.  It creates space and depth where there often is none.  Then painting your ceiling as well. Once you introduce rich wall color it’s vital that you paint the ceiling so it doesn't look unfinished or like you spread a bed sheet over the top of the room.

    When decorating splurge on….
    Great wall color. Nothing will transform a home or pull its furnishings together better and easier then a great color scheme. If you can afford a professional paint crew, even better…Splurge on anything you deem timeless and classic. If you can ask yourself, “In a decade, will this still be in vogue and will I still love it?” and answer yes. You’re good to go. 

    How important is lighting to your designs?
    Very.  My years as a set and lighting designer in the American theater taught me how vital lighting really is.  Layers of light in a space, gives the room its drama.  It creates shadow and mood, which creates romance and intimacy.
     
    What tip of the trade can you share about lighting?
    Put everything on dimmers, even table lamps.  It allows you to go from tasking to relaxing with a flip of a switch.  You can therefore control the mood of the room as you transition from day to night.

     

    Open Concept Living

    What do you see as the next design trend?
    Open spaces.  Formal rooms are going away in favor of more open communal spaces that are flexible and can reconfigure easily depending on the household activity. This concept has been happening in many boutique hotels and is now moving into the home in a big way.  It’s not that you won’t have the formal dining room table. It’s just that it will no longer be sitting alone in a rarely used room by itself.  Same with formal living rooms—walls are coming down to open up larger flex environments that are casually elegant and put comfort before form.  

    What is your favorite thing at home that you didn’t design?
    That’s a hard one.  I’ve been designing home product for 18 years so almost everything in my home has my logo on it.  But I did inherit an extraordinary collection of 16th and 17th century Majolica dishes and serving pieces that I love in green leaf patterns that are amazing.  I prize them.
     
    What would be your dream project?
    I’ve been fortunate to design almost every kind of structure over the years both commercial and residential including building homes for other clients.  But I’ve never built a custom home for myself—imagine. I’m happy that I didn’t up to now because my needs, interests and goals are so different today then they would have been say, even a few years ago.  Since I’ve moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I’ve fallen in love with the traditional adobe construction and would love to design a home that is traditional adobe on the outside but modern in the inside with movable walls in open spaces with the kitchen being in the center of the largest open space. I’ve continued to refine the plans a million times and I’m sure once it finally goes into construction, knowing me, I’ll film it as a series and a book, too.

    Well Christopher, when it happens rest assured we will be watching!   Thank you for your time.

    Are you are Christopher Lowell fan?  Leave a comment and let us know!

    Images courtesy of Christopher Lowell.

     

  • Fashion + Decor Mood Boards with Olioboard

    Fashion and decor mood boards created with Olioboard

    Decor mood boards have been popular for a while, but thanks to the creative folks at Olioboard, there's now an easy easy to make mood boards with your favorite home decor products on the web! Browse products by brand (including more than 14,000 Lamps Plus products) and drag-and-drop them to create 2-D or 3-D design boards that help you visualise how furniture, lighting, and accessories will look in your home.

    One great feature of Olioboard that I love is the ability to upload your own images. You could take a photo of your room, upload it, and virtually arrange everything in the space before lifting a finger. I imagine this will save much heavy furniture lifting, and unnecessary holes pounded in the walls!

    Olioboard Mood Boards

    Today we're taking part in an "Oliohop" about fashion and decor, and I've created the mood board above after being inspired by this fantastic fashion photo. I love the simple color palette of nude and white, along with mixed metallic finishes and simple, angular shapes.

    Using Olioboard, I browsed their product selection to find pieces that had a similar look and feel to the inspiration outfit. Very quickly, I had pulled together a room design that I know would be successful if implemented in real life.

    There are other blogs taking part in today's Oliohop:  Apartment 34; Material Girls; Selma HammerLife in a Venti Cup; Embrace Your Inner Snob; Design Magnifique; Focal Point; and Pocket Full of Colors. Visit Lamps Plus on Olioboard to find out how to get the look above, and made sure to "hop" on over to each of the blogs above to be inspired by their fashion + decor mood boards!

Home Decorating Blog