Style Illuminated

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

  • Ideas for Decorating with String Lights

    Mirror with String Lights

    String lights are not just for Christmas decorating. They create perfect mood lighting for outdoor summer parties. They can also work well in everyday interiors. What about accenting a floor mirror with string lights?

    Hanging String Lights and Dining Room

    Don't have recessed lighting in your dining room? Hanging string lights from the ceiling can add a touch of whimsy to the space.

    Hanging string lights and entryway

    The lights in the image featured above remind me of a summer block party. They are playful and welcome guests into the urban home.

    Lantern with string lights

    The lantern shown above could be an easy DIY project. Simply find a vintage lantern, purchase a box of string lights, and use the lights to light the lantern. Super simple, but very creative!

    Hanging string lights from the ceiling

    Letting the lights hang straight from the ceiling could be used to create a barrier between spaces or be used to accent a certain wall. 

    String light tree design

    A dreamy kid's bedroom! If you are very creative, you can try your hand at creating a design out of the lights.

    String lights and pool party

    The more common solution: string lights are great for outdoor summer parties. Drape the lights over the pool or a seating area. When the sun goes down the mood turns romantic.

    Below are a few options for Lamps Plus string lights.

    Old Fashioned Metal Moon Lantern String Lights

    Old Fashioned Metal Moon Lantern Party String Lights

    White Paper Lantern String Party Lights

    White Paper Lantern String Party Lights

    Lotus Flower 10-Light String Lights

    Lotus Flower 10-Light String Lights

    Solar 23 Foot Long LED White Rope Lights

    Solar 23 Foot Long LED White Rope Lights

    Can you add any ideas for creative string lighting solutions?

    Images: Lamps Plus, Design Sponge, Seventy Tree, Apartment Therapy, ZsaZsa Bellagio, fffound, Apartment Therapy, We Sleep Here.


  • Divine Design Bedrooms by Candice Olson

    Candice Olson Bedroom Picture

    Found on the HGTV website, 10 divine design bedrooms from designer Candice Olson with amazing before and after transformation photos.

    As always, her blending of ceiling lighting, decorative table lamps and seating is wonderfully elegant.

    You might even find some Candice Olson lighting lurking in a few of the shots!

    Photos thanks to HGTV.


  • A Divine Design Master Bedroom

    Candice Olson Bedroom Design

    Designer Candice Olson tackles a bland master bedroom in this Minneapolis Star Tribune article.

    The room is in a renovated 1926 home. For the wall color, Candice went with a creamy white and a darker blue grey, colors that play well with the dark hardwood flooring.

    A subtle world-traveler theme prevails, with a zebra-striped rug on the floor an exotic tropical ceiling fan overhead, and other tropical home decor accents.

    Zebra Stripe Rug

    Above is a close match for the zebra rug from our rug collection.

    Tropical Rattan Ceiling Fan

    The ceiling fan is pretty blurry! After squinting at it for a bit, I think this fan model is a good match for it: the Casa Vieja Rattan Ceiling Fan.

    I also love the typographical lettering on the wall over the bed. For more typographic decor, see my recent post.

    Photo thanks to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

    Post Update 1-5-11: For more designer starpower, check out our series of designer interviews, where we chat with everyone from David Bromstead to Sandra Espinet!


  • 5 Creative Floral Arrangements

    Floral designers never fail to inspire me. They leave the basic vases behind and opt for interesting and unique ways to display flowers. It is common to find elaborate flower arrangements at weddings, but why not incorporate the same beautiful arrangements into your everyday decor?

    This year my goal is to purchase flowers weekly and bring plant life into my indoor living space. 

    The purple, pink, and white tulip arrangement (above) is a nice accent to traditional or contemporary interiors. The soft colors would also blend in well with neutral furniture pieces.


    If your style is more eclectic and you are up for a DIY project, the bold arrangement featured above would be a great choice. I have never seen a vase wrapped in belts before. It is certain to be a conversation starter at your next party.

    For something a little sexier, the sequin covered vase adds that extra bit of glam. I envision the chic and feminine flower arrangement in a woman's version of a bachelor pad.

    White flowers are classic and never go out of style. Orchids are one of my favorite types of flowers. If your home's decor features Japanese inspired furnishings, the orchid arrangement would be a nice compliment. Orchids also transition well into more modern homes as well.

    The floral arrangement featured above is not your traditional bouquet of roses. The pink roses are a great color for Spring and the newspaper wrapped vase adds a craft element. If your home features hand knitted blankets and textiles, the arrangement could be an extension of your existing handmade style of decor.

    If shopping for fresh flowers is not in the budget, check out the Lamps Plus faux floral products.

    Images: FTD Tulip Bouquets, Family Chic, Eric Buterbaugh Design

  • Industrial Hanging Pendant Lights in the Home

    Kitchen Island Pendant Lights

    Large industrial size pendant light fixtures were normally reserved for restaurants...until now. In the last year or so, I have seen a trend toward incorporating industrial lighting into the home. The scale of the hanging pendant lights is generally larger; therefore, it becomes more of a statement piece and adds drama to the kitchen or another room. I am especially seeing the industrial hanging pendant lights replacing the mini pendant lights over the kitchen island.

    Pendant Lights

    Hanging Pendant Lights

    The hanging pendant lights in the photo above are great if you want to incorporate the industrial look, but want a smaller scale hanging light. The lights can work well in both modern and more traditional spaces.

    Below are a few of my favorite industrial hanging pendant lights.

    Kichler Midnight Chrome Finish Fresnel Lens Pendant Light

    I like that this industrial chic pendant light  has a touch of rustic charm. The look is no-nonsense and has modern clean lines.

    Emery Silver Finish Rod Hung Mini Pendant Chandelier

    This elegant mini pendant chandelier gives a nod to the past with its metal shade it adds a classic Americana styling with a nostalgic flair.

    Kichler Polished Nickel 23" Wide Swivel Ceiling Fixture

    This adjustable rail light has swiveling heads which focus the light in multiple directions. It can be mounted on either the wall or ceiling. With its classic industrial form and polished nickel finish, this rail light offers style and flexibility.

    Images: Lamps Plus, Desire to Inspire, Things That Inspire, Apartment Therapy 


  • A Mod Basement from Candice Olson

    Candice Olson Mod Basement Photo

    Designer Candice Olson turns an icy basement into a stylish contemporary family room. Read about it in the Seattle Times. Find your own "divine design" in our collection of Candice Olson lighting.

    Post Update 12-1-11: If you enjoy reading about Candice Olson you may like our designer interview series, where we talk to top interior designers, including David Bromstead, Sandra Espinet and many others. Let us know what you think!

    Photo thanks to The Seattle Times.


  • A Divine Design Kitchen

    Divine Design Kitchen Photo

    Designer Candice Olson takes on a dated kitchen and gives it a divine makeover. We especially like the pair of antique style chandeliers and ceiling medallions.

    Read about it in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: Divine Design: Kitchen now reflects personal style.

    Photo thanks to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

    Post Update 1-3-12: Want more designer goodness? Try our designer interview series.


  • 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 Adds World Traveller Elegance to a Bedroom

    Candice Olson Bedroom Lighting Photo

    Designer Candice Olson creates a divine design bedroom space for a couple of world travelling newlyweds. As usual, the result is sophisticated and elegant.

    I particularly like the use of crystal in the space to add sparkle. The wooden mantel is accented with crystal sconces, while a vintage looking (but new) crystal chandelier shines above.

    The chandelier is, writes Candice, " a style in keeping with the vintage flavor of the house, but in polished chrome to add modern flair."

    A Candice Olson table lamp and carefully placed recessed lights complete the look. 

    Read all about it in this Seattle Times feature.

    Photo thanks to the Seattle Times.

    Post Update 12-7-11: For more designer talk, check out our exclusive series of designer interviews.


  • Decorating with Books

    A chinese etagere

    Too often people treat their treasured collection of favorite books as a decorating nuisance, but with the right spirit and eye they can become an asset to any room -- one that lends individuality and personality. 

    Take this high style interior (above) with its selection of leather-bound volumes arranged in a Chinese-influenced étagère. It blends perfectly with the chinois chest, the vintage Danish modern chair and table, and a Hoffman sofa from turn-of-the-century Vienna.  What ties them all together is the vintage Deco lamp on the chest, which sits atop a stack of books. 

    Contemporary shelving

    Your personal library becomes a visual focal point of a room. These modern shelves (above) with the books stacked rather than stored on end has all the character of a conceptual art piece and plays beautifully against the two contemporary floor lamps and the vintage Eames lounge chair.  

    The quiet star of the room, though, is the contemporary chandelier, which somehow harmonizes with the architecture of the bookshelf. 

    White walls

    We tend to think that books suggest seriousness but arranged naturally they fit just as well into a whimsical or colorful interior. Take these two white rooms with their mix of animal figures and colorful accessories, like the pink bench and striking lamp on the writing desk. The addition of a library ladder helps blend the books, the accessories and the traditional architectural details. 


    Don't be reluctant to mix  your books up with other decorative home decor objects. At first glance, this wall console has a kind of undergraduate informality. But the combination with modern ceramic pieces and comic decorative items gives it all a light-hearted style. The whole effect is amplified by a very 21st century ceiling fixture, a modernist sofa, and the funky table lamp on the very adult rattan bar cart. It's a room for the young at heart, whatever their age.

    A Library and DiningRoom

    Small spaces, particularly in urban settings, often have to do double duty. Take a lesson from the English and stylish Manhattan apartment dwellers who often turn their dining rooms into libraries. Deep wall colors and a complimentary painted ceiling are the perfect foil for a glittery chandelier and vintage mix-and-match dining seating.  Even is you have to eat alone, what could be better than pulling down a favorite book for company?

    Photos via Nuevo Estilo, Alvhem, Desire to Inspire, Living Agency, Mires Paris.


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