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.

  • 5 Design Tips From Hotels to Transform Your Home

    Hotel room at Aloft

    I love to travel -- maybe it is because I grew up in a military family where we moved all the time.

    For me the trip starts as soon as the ticket is booked or the route is mapped. I start researching the places which might be of interest. I ask for suggestions from friends via social media. However, my favorite part is searching for interesting places to stay. 

    Over the past several years, the larger hotel groups have started off-shoots from their major brand; Aloft Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, Element Hotel and Holiday Inn Express just to name a few. It seems that they have created these to compete with the smaller, upscale boutique hotels.  

    These new brands are delivering a very similar modern, often urban-inspired design with special attention to the guest experience, but at more affordable prices.  I find these rooms filled with great take home ideas. Here are a few of the most memorable: 

    Courtyard's wallpaper wall

    Wallpapering one wall can create a great focal point in a room. A great tip in small spaces, like most hotel rooms, is to enhance the visual height. 

    In this instance at the Courtyard by Marriott, wallpaper was used to accentuate the headboard wall and as a way to tie the room palette together. Sconces free up the table top space.  

    Monochromatic palette at the Element

    Using a monochromatic color palette, the Element Hotel by the Starwood Group created a sophisticated mood.  You can do the same in your space.  I love the way every inch counts -- from the corner sectional and built-in cabinet to the ottomans (which can be used as additional seating). 

    The space is designed for maximal appeal and function. The pendant light helps set more of a homey feel. 

    Headboard inspiration from Holiday Inn Express

    The Holiday Inn Express created a dramatic effect using an oversized headboard.  This  idea would be great  in any bedroom.  The use of swing arm lights is functional and in this case adds a whimsical touch. 

    Placing a small table between the beds provides function and an opportunity to add a touch of color with a table lamp.

    Here are 5 tips that will help you get that hotel inspired look:

    • Keep clutter to a minimum. 
    • Utilize a fun and unexpected color palette.
    • Layer your window treatments – hotels use black-out fabric then layer a drape or sheer in front.  You can do the same, or try sheers under your drapes to create a layered look.
    • Keep bedding to solid neutral colors and add accents with pillows and a throw.
    • Use oversized and dramatic artwork as seen in the top photo from Aloft Hotel.

    Images courtesty of Aloft Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, Element Hotel and Holiday Inn Express respectively. 


  • DIY It! Five Easy Patio Set-Ups


    A simple patio is easy to set up and incredibly rewarding.  No other room can make workday worries melt away like a patio.  It's that special combination of being outdoors and the creature comfort of sitting with drink in hand that make patios the best seat in the house.  These five simple patio set-ups bring outdoor lounging within reach.  With a helpful buddy, each of these looks is achievable in just a day.

    Easy plants:

    Buying outdoor furniture and accessories are easy, but what about the plants?  Black thumbs could stick to easy-to-grow plants like succulents, ivy or small ficus trees.


    Throwing in a daybed makes the patio instantly welcoming, inviting you to nap or sit.  Add the side table and the low maintenance plants highlighted above, and the patio's done!

    If there is already a low wall in your space, an easy way to create seating is placing a bench foam seat cushion on top of the wall.  To create a conversational seating plan, one loveseat or sofa placed perpendicular to the wall will create an L-shaped floor plan.  To create the U-shaped floor plan shown here, place two loveseats or sofas perpendicular to the wall.

    Outdoor dining sets are one of the most space saving strategies for outdoor seating.  This bistro set takes up very little space and seats four people.

    Cabanas are wonderful.  The soft enclosure creates coziness and comfort in an outdoor setting.  This low-cost cabana is made of plumbing fixtures from the hardware store.  For a more refined look, paint with gloss or satin finish paint afterward.  Here are the step-by-step directions from Sunset.

    Tropical vacation themed patios can take you away to another place.  Bamboo furniture is lightweight and easy to transport, so it's easy to pick up pre-owned options around town. A good source for bargains is Craigslist, Penny Saver or your local used furniture store.
    (Image credit:  Sunset.)
  • Tablescape Ideas for Summer Dinner Parties

    Tablescape Design

    I love dinner parties with a group of friends! Preparing the meal and setting the table is a lot of fun. When having guests over it is not enough to just set the table, I love to design a tablescape. There are so many different ways to create a unique presentation. 

    Pink and Black Tablescape

    Flowers are a great accent to any table and can add a touch of color. Be sure to purchase an appropriately sized bouquet to fit the table. The flowers should never overwhelm the table by leaving little space for dishes. Candles set the mood and add a pleasant scent.

    White Tablescape

    I like to set a semi-formal place setting with a table linen, cloth napkins, full set of dinnerware, and two sets of glasses. Even if the dinner is informal, I love the presentation of a complete place setting. Take your time and have fun with your own tablescape design!

    Images: Luxe + Lillies, Weddingbee, The Decorista

  • Adventurous Kids Rooms and Forts

    Kids Room and Red Fort

    Being a kid has to be one of the greatest times in our lives, when play is the most important task of the day. Growing up I loved building forts and creating my own fantasy play area on a Sunday afternoon. Designing a kids room is so much different than designing any other space in the home. 

    Boy's Room and Ship

    In a child's room, you can let your creativity go completely wild. How about a ship mounted to the wall in a boy's room (as featured above)?! I don't have kids yet, but I can imagine the excitement of designing a really imaginative space for a child. 

    Kid's Treehouse Bed

    Even as an adult, I would love to have my bed situated in a treehouse and read ghost stories at night. I love how the room (featured above) is still glamourous with chandelier lighting.

    Kids Room and Teepee

    If building a full-on ship or treehouse is out of the question, incorporating a simple teepee into a child's space can add hours and hours of enjoyment. I don't know what it is about forts, but I just love them!

    What is the most creative element you have included in your child's bedroom?

    Images: The Slow Life, Ohdeedoh, The Party Bunting Store, Ohdeedoh

  • DIY It! Magnetic Flowers for Fabrics and More

    I love good DIY projects that are both fun and functional.  This project involves faux flowers, which are lovely but always make me hesitate because of their maintenance.  Every spring, I'd see beautiful executions of silk flowers on curtains, lamp shades, and tablecloths but always walked away, wondering how they'd be washed or properly dusted. 

    This project from Martha Stewart takes all these concerns away, making faux flowers removable in a snap!  Each flower is fitted with a magnet and its mate, making the flowers removable for cleaning, or for switching up your palette or style for the season.  Now, I can have my cake and eat it too.

    I rate this project:  Easy. 

    How to:

    1. Gather these supplies:  faux flowers, fabric glue, mini magnets and scissors.
    2. Cut off the stems of the flowers.
    3. Use fabric glue to adhere magnets just above the raised center of the flowers.  The larger the flower, the farther off-center you should glue the magnet so that the flower will sit flat.
    4. "Stick" the flowers to any thin surface, like curtains, lamp shades and tablecloths, by placing a second magnet on the reverse side, thereby "sticking" the magnets together. 

    This project would look great on lamp shades.  For the best effect, regardless of the project you choose (tablecloth, curtain or lamp shade), make sure the surface is simple.  A patterned surface could look too busy with faux flowers.  Here are some simple lamp shades from Lamps Plus for this project:

      1. Cream Fabric Drum with Brown Trim Shade.  $64.91
      2. Platinum Grey Dupioni Silk Lamp Shade.  $39.99
      3. Taupe Fabric Drum Lamp Shade.  $29.99
      4. Off White Fabric Drum Shade.  $24.99



            Gerbera daisies are an easy option because they lie flat and come in a variety of colors.  These are from Afloral.

            Happy crafting!

            (Images:  Lamps PlusAfloral, Martha Stewart)


          1. 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 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! 


          2. Company Talk - Trend Spotting with Lamps Plus' Tina Craig


            During a recent weekend outing to Remnants of the Past, a vintage and antique show in Central California, company buyer Tina Craig was struck by an emerging trend. 

            “Items at the show had a very romantic and feminine look. Accents included weathered household items that had a patina of age; bins, baskets, old bottles, containers and so on.”  

            Remnants of the Past Photo

            As a lamp shade buyer, Tina is always on the lookout for new ideas. She finds inspiration in everything -- fashion trends, traveling, local flea markets, even yard sales.

            Of this vintage chic trend, Tina notes, "You might say that this is a reemerging trend. It's using things from the past, an old idea, but with a very targeted range of color and texture. 

            In the photo above, for example, the rosette on the pillows, the use of foreign script, and the weathered wood off the bookshelf are all details that capture the look." 

            As I was writing this I noticed that some fashion designers were adding these flourishes to their clothing lines, too. 


            The group shot of lamp shades seen below is on trend. 

            Notes Tina, "For some time now we've been selling shades in soft shades of white, tans and browns. Many of them have rustic fabric accents or flower embellishments."

            The rosette flower lamp shade seen in the center of the grouping has been a huge hit. 

            French Script Hexagonal Lamp Shade

            Other lamp shades can be used as well. This chandelier clip-on shade has a French script that adds a turn-of-the-century vintage global feel to a room (without having to pay for an expensive trip!)

            Raw Edge Linen Blend Drum Shade

            Raw edges or unconstructed detailing on this shade adds a warm, lived-in feel without having to wait years to achieve it.

            Do you like that weathered wood headboard as much as I do?  Well, these tray boxes can help recreate that mood while providing great storage.

            What’s coming for the Fall for lamp shades? Tina did mention that embellishments and “bling” will play a key factor, so stay tuned!

            Photo sources: Remnants of the Past and Squidoo.


          3. Top Designers Honor Legendary Artists

            One of the West Coast’s leading design districts, Los Angeles’ La Cienega Design Quarter, just celebrated its annual Legends of La Cienega event. 

            The three-day event is estimated to have brought over 10,000 design enthusiasts from around the world and was filled with panel discussions, special exhibits, trunk shows and inspired, and often amusing, window displays. 

            Here’s a look through some of the windows that were created by top designers.   

            Peter Dunham

             “Matisse is one of the artists who touch me most,” says Peter Dunham. Dunham tapped into Matisse’s days in Tangiers, painting scenes of the casbah.

            With his European flair that has been transplanted into the heart of Hollywood, Peter is a rising star in the design world and brings his unique history and palette to each project.

            With celebrities like Jennifer Garner knocking on his design studio door he is certainly on the right track. If you like this look, you might try a Casbah inspired throw. 

            Mary McDonald 

             Drawing inspiration from the legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland’s “Garden in Hell” sitting room, Mary McDonald said, “I've loosely, loosely, re-created Vreeland’s space, but it’s really about the purity of red I’m focusing on.” 

            Through extensive travel in Europe and the Far East, she has created a personal signature that is eclectic, classic and clean while maintaining a strong sense of glamour and sophistication.

            From the refurbishment of Buster Keaton’s legendary villa to the recent completion of The Luxe Summit Hotel in Bel Air, McDonald’s projects captivate the press. 

            Her first lighting collaboration with nationally distributed Robert Abbey Inc. is launching soon and I for one cannot wait.  Here are some more inspirations in red.

             Woodson & Rummerfield

            Franz Kline's best known abstract expressionist paintings are in black and white and that is just what Ron Woodson and Jaime Rummerfield  used as the focal point of their window. 

            As co-owners of the Los Angeles design firm Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design, they are true California style makers, thoughtfully combining Hollywood opulence and sleek modernity into their creations.

            With a client list that includes such A-listers as Christina Aguilera they are one of the most highly sought after firms in the country.  If you are inspired by this window, you should take a look at these art shades

            Thinking outside the window, James Swan drew his inspiration from Banksy, an anonymous English graffiti artist, political activist, film director and painter.

            Swan has crafted classically influenced interiors for the past 20 years. His company has worked across the United States for clients who have included captains of industry, movie studio heads, investment bankers and real estate developers.  

            SPI Design

            Donald Judd was an American minimalist sculptor (a term he disliked). He avoided the classical European ideals and believed that art should not represent anything and that it should stand on its own. 

            He was the inspiration for Sarah Shetter and Alison Palevsky’s (SPI) window.  I find it interesting that they founded their business, SPI, on the idea that modernism can be successfully combined with comfort and livability. It seems that Judd has been inspiring them for a while. Hmm...maybe this lamp was inspired by Judd too. 

            Madeline Stuart

            Madeline Stuart design focuses on the fundamental marriage of integrity and beauty.  Her projects reflect a relationship between architecture and furniture, function and form, client and designer.

            Being inspired by Giorgio Morandi was one of the most impressive Italian painters of his day. He paid great attention to tone, color and composition. Morandi would depict the same familiar bottles and vases again and again in paintings. Doesn't this pitcher looks like the one in picture?  I believe that Stuart’s execution celebrated the art and legend.  

            Sources: La Cienga Design Quarter, One Kings Lane and Maison21.

          4. Lighting from the AIA Spring Home Tours

            Hirshberg Residence from the 2011 AIA Spring Home Tours

            Hirshberg Residence (featured above)

            Last Sunday was AIA Los Angeles' (American Institute of Architects) Spring Home Tours in Santa Monica and Venice. Every year they host two architectural home tours in Spring and two tours in Fall. The AIA Los Angeles tours first started more than 12 years ago touring homes in Hancock Park, Venice, Brentwood, Santa Monica, etc. The common theme among all the homes is featuring unique and progressive designs by Los Angeles architects.

            I toured four very different homes including a home built around the owner's Islamic faith - Mohammed Residence. It included a prayer room and a washing niche to clean your hands and face before entering the prayer room. Another one of the homes, the Hirshberg Residence, featured a basement recording studio.

            Along with studying the architecture and design, I paid particular attention to the selection of light fixtures used in the space. Typically in powder rooms, you find recessed lights or wall sconces. I love the unique hanging pendant in the bathroom featured above.

            Hirshberg Residence from the 2011 AIA Spring Home Tours

            Hirshberg Residence (featured above)

            Mohammed Residence from the 2011 AIA Spring Home Tours

            Mohammed Residence (featured above)

            The Bocci glass pendant chandelier lights were used over the dining room table in two separate residences. I love how the round pendant chandelier really accents the shape of the table below. 

            Hirshberg Residence from the 2011 AIA Spring Home Tours

            Hirshberg Residence (featured above)

            Hirshberg Residence from the 2011 AIA Spring Home Tours

            Hirshberg Residence (featured above)

            I would never have thought to have a floor lamp next to a window, but in the evening it creates a nice reading or lounge area. I love the fixture itself; tripod lamps are one of my favorite types of lamps.

            If you like the look of the Bocci pendant lights, below are a few similar clear glass hanging lights.

            LBL Sophia Clear Glass Monopoint Pendant (featured above, left) and Cheers Seven Globe Satin Nickel Mini Pendant (featured above, right)


            George Kovas Clear Glass 6-Light Pendant Chandelier (featured above, left) and Encircled Crystal 12" Wide Halogen 3-in-1 Pendant (featured above, right)


            Images: Bethany Nauert

          5. DIY Inspiration: Party & Wedding Decorations

            Your wedding will very likely be the biggest party you'll ever throw.  Add a bit of creativity -- and rein in your pocketbook -- by making your own decorations.  You'll be surprised.  Most of the time, it's as easy as buying an ordinary glass vase.

            The key to successful DIY wedding decorations is using items that have these characteristics:

            1. Bold color.
            2. Graphic lines with high contrast.
            3. Whimsical or entertaining.
            4. Large size.
            5. Mood or atmosphere.


            The bold color of fruit in the clear glass vases makes a strong impact.  For this style, the taller the vase, the better!

            These branches work beautifully because of their bold lines and the high contrast created between them, and the white blossoms, vases, and the light colored wall.  If the walls were dark, this look would still work great.  Just make sure to paint the branches a light color, like white, pastel, or even metallic.

            It's wonderful to see old-fashioned embroidery hoops used in a new way.  The paper or fabric mounted in the wooden circles is sheer, making them dual sided.

            This stack of plastic animals is fun, totally unexpected and creative.  This centerpiece works because of the large bell jar.  Without it, the effect would have been chintzy.

            Aah, the classic floral centerpiece.  Its elegance will never go out of style.  I included it here because these flowers are faux!  Yes, fresh flowers are lovely, but they can get expensive.  Don't hesitate in using some well-made paper or fabric flowers.  They are beautiful, classy and can be used repeatedly.  Make sure you use ceramic vases for this project, not clear glass.  (The flowers shown here were made of paper.)

            Candles immediately convey mood and elegance.  This understated look was created using elements from nature, including sand and white rocks.


            (Images:  My DIY Wedding Day, Martha Stewart Weddings.)

          May, 2011