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 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! 


  • 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

  • Five Faves: 2011 San Francisco Decorator Showcase

    It's Spring and time for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2011.  I love viewing showcases because no matter what your budget is, you can always draw inspiration and creativity from them.  With a bit of elbow grease, a budget version can capture the same vibe of an inspiration room.  That said, here are my 5 favorite rooms from this year's showcase.  Thanks to Julia Walsh from Casa Sugar for sharing her sneak peek photos of the event.


    The satin and glossy finishes in this room is what gives it that luxe atmosphere.

    The royal wedding of Prince Edward and Kate Middleton was the inspiration for this dressing room.  Notice the "something blue" of the walls.

    Is this a bathroom or a vacation get-away in your own house?  This bathroom is both beautiful and practical, from the fantastic dark tiled "back splash", to the off-the-floor toilet.  These features make cleaning the bathroom a breeze.

    I love the old world feeling of this room and the restraint shown in the designer's color palette.  Nearly the entire room is neutral except for the raspberry bench seat.

    This master bedroom is bold and sophisticated, with the varying shades of black and white, with orange and green accent colors.  Orange and green is the more handsome alternative to the popular pink and green color combination.



    (Images:  Julia Walsh from Casa Sugar.)

  • Preparing for an Outdoor Evening Party

    Outdoor Entertaining

    Entertaining outdoors is one of my favorite activities, and it's a big part of celebrating the sunny season. As the sun sets, the air remains warm and the outdoors are as inviting as ever.

    Outdoor parties deserve the same amount of thoughtful preparation as those held indoors. Below are a few considerations to keep in mind when throwing an evening party outside.

    Extra Seating: Even though most guests like to stand at parties, it is important to have seating as an option. Outdoor areas should be just as comfortable as indoor spaces. Set up seating arrangements that are conducive to socializing in small groups.

    Tables: A few tables can serve as a place to set drinks, appetizers, and desserts. You can also decorate and accessorize the tables to set a theme for the party. 

    Indirect Mood Lighting: Lighting plays a big part in setting the mood. I love the flickering light from lanterns, string lights, and candles. For more practical reasons, lighting is also essential to being able to see other guests (and the food!).

    Decorate Entertaining Area: Don't forget to add a few decorations and accessories to beautify the outdoor space. Pick up a few decorative outdoor pillows for the seating areas, a bouquet of flowers for the tables, planters for your favorite plants, and other decorative accessories.

    Clean the Yard: If you have any kids' toys in the yard, be sure to stow them away neatly. If you have a dog, make sure to clean up so your guests don't step in any unwanted surprises.

    Have fun entertaining outdoors this year! Any great tips I missed? Leave your ideas in the comments.

    Image: Sweetie Pie Style

  • Bedroom Lighting Interview with Interior Designer Jeff Andrews

    Jeff Andrews Bedroom Design

    You probably know interior designer Jeff Andrews from his projects with celebrity clients such as Ryan Seacrest, Khloe Kardashian, and Michael C. Hall of Dexter. I have been following his work for years and love his unique interpretation of spaces. We were very fortunate to be able to interview Jeff. He shares his inside tips on bedroom lighting below. Right after some more gorgeous pictures!

    Jeff Andrews Bedroom Design

    Jeff Andrews Bedroom Design

    Jeff Andrews Bedroom Design

    Lamps Plus: Do you have a formula for selecting light fixtures for the bedroom?

    Jeff Andrews: The style of the house and design scheme I am developing have a great deal to do with the fixtures I select. I like to consider the light in the room from existing ceiling fixtures, recessed cans, etc. I always take into account the proportions of the room and how much light is needed in every area. 

    Lamps Plus: What are different ways to incorporate bedside lighting?

    Jeff Andrews: Table lamps, swing arm sconces, pendants or some combination of all make for great bedside lighting options. Directional sconces used with table lamps give people a choice between ambient and practical task lighting as well.

    Lamps Plus: What are your thoughts on using a chandelier in the bedroom?

    Jeff Andrews: Love! The style has to complement the overall room scheme - not overpower it. Also, a decorative ceiling fixture should never be the main source of light for a bedroom.

    Lamps Plus: If the bedroom has recessed lights, how do you add drama through other light fixtures?

    Jeff Andrews: Add ambient lighting from several different sources such as table lamps, floor lamps, and sconces. Change the existing trims in the recessed light fixtures to wall washers to accent artwork and other key elements. Also, always make sure all the lighting is on a dimmer so you can control the mood.

    Lamps Plus: How does lighting affect the mood of the bedroom?

    Jeff Andrews: Lighting affects the mood of a bedroom as it does in all is the key to creating ambiance and changing the overall atmosphere of a space. Good lighting can also make you look better. That is a great thing in the bedroom!

    Lamps Plus: When using bedside table lamps, do they have to match?

    Jeff Andrews: Not necessarily, but I prefer it - symmetry and balance help create harmony in a room.

    Lamps Plus: What are your top 5 favorite bedroom light fixtures from the current Lamps Plus catalog?

    Jeff Andrews:

    1. The Possini Euro "floating rectangle LED plug-in wall light" is a nice combination light for those who like to read in bed.

    2. A nice swing-arm wall mounted option is the Possini Euro "chrome plug-in swing arm lamp." Its understated yet elegant design would work well in almost any decor.

    3. The sleek design of the "raindrop chrome finish mini pendant lights" are perfect for a modern interior. I would use two on each side of the bed at staggered heights for an interesting and contemporary look.

    4. The lines of the "bronze finish moderne table lamp" are contemporary and chic, which is the perfect choice for a guest bedroom and the finish looks good with almost anything.

    5. I love the "animal print ceramic urn table lamp" because it combines a classic shape with a texture and color of vintage ceramics.

    Contemporary wall lights

    Possini Euro Floating Rectangle LED Plug-In Wall Light (featured above, left) and Possini Euro Chrome Plug-In Swing Arm Wall Lamp (featured above, right)

    Jeff Andrews' Favorite Contemporary Lighting

    Raindrop Chrome Finish Mini Pendant Light (featured above, left) and Bronze Finish Moderne Table Lamp (featured above, right)

    Animal Print Table Lamp

    Animal Print Ceramic Urn Table Lamp (featured above)


    Images: Grey Crawford, Edward Duarte, Lamps Plus

  • DIY It: Wood Grain Everywhere!

    DIY projects using wood grain are highly gratifying.  It's always attractive, blends easily into existing decor, and is very versatile.  Print these images at home and run wild with them.  

    Try these quick fun projects:  

    • Use cover or writing stock to create cards and stationery.  
    • For coasters, use heavy-duty card stock.  Cut your coasters either round or square, wood knots or wood grain, for different looks.  
    • Use a sheet of wood grain printed paper instead of matte board to frame photos in metal frames (wooden frames would be redundant).  Or simply frame prints of different wood grains and hang as wall decor.  

    What other projects can you think of?  We want to know!

    Here are six  easy images for you to print at home and incorporate into your own DIY project!  (Featured above.)

    Top Row:

    1.  Light Wood Grain Wallpaper from Sky Wallpaper.

    2.  Wood Grain Texture 3 from Isaac Gube.

    3.  Close up of Front Door from Faux Real by Steve.

    Bottom Row:

    4.  Wood Grain 26 from Juutin-Stock.

    5.  Weathered Wood Grain Texture from Photos Public Domain.

    6.  Wood Grain from Cassuccino.


    If you're more Consumer than you are DIYer, here are four of my favorite wood grain products from Lamps Plus.

    Knot Grey Indoor Outdoor Rug.  $392.91

    The Copenhagen 12" Wide Wall Clock.  $49.91

    Holbrook End Table.  $499.91

    Lights Up! Faux Bois Light Lamp Shade.  $99.91


    (Images:  As linked.)

  • Summer Inspiration: Sarah's Summer House

    Sarah's Summer House Logo 

    Having worked in Design Television for over a decade, I have a sincere appreciation for “old school” design shows -- you know, the ones that educated as well as entertained.  

    Someone that I have admired for several years is Sarah Richardson.  She has that girl-next-door likeability and is able to easily communicate and explain her process.  She and her design associate, Tommy Smythe, make great “old school” Design Television. 

    Just in time for our summer inspiration, HGTV is bringing us a new series where Sarah and Tommy are renovating Sarah’s summer house -- hence, the title of the show.  

    The first episode was jam-packed with tips from mixing patterned fabrics to white-washing knotty pine walls.  It even included a little drama when Sarah selected two different window styles for the exterior of the cottage. 

    It is truly special to see a designer engaging the audience in her real process -- mistakes and all.  Sarah and Tommy will entertain and, yes, educate too.  Here are a few of the rooms from Sarah’s Summer Cottage.   

    Sarah's Cottage Dining Room 

    The dining room is a wash of subtle sun-drenched colors which accentuate the stone fireplace as the room’s focal point.  The candelabra chandelier can be raised and lowered through the use of a pulley which is attached to the ceiling. 

    Here are a few of my candle chandelier picks that have a similar look. Click on the image for more information.



    A few more tips from the show.

    Sarah's Cottage Sitting Room

    In this bedroom, the colors mimic the lake. From aqua blues to algae greens, they emulate the tranquil setting.  The room has the feel that it has evolved over time. 

    One of the elements that creates this feeling is the bedside task lamp.  Its vintage look and weathered patina exudes the feeling that it has been in the family for a while. 

    Sarah's Cottage Bedroom

    Here are a few task lamps that have vintage appeal -- like the one in the bedroom. All you have to do is click on the image for more information.


    Sarah’s Summer Cottage airs on HGTV, Saturdays at 8:00 pm.

    Inspiration images courtesy of


  • Clawfoot Tubs Add Architectural Character

    Glamorous Bathroom with Clawfoot Tub

    When designing a home, I look for elements that give the space architectural character and its own unique style. I love the character of clawfoot tubs in a bathroom. My dream bathroom would definitely include a clawfoot tub. This type of tub is used as a soaking tub, but can also be used as a shower.

    Painted Green Clawfoot Tub

    The fun of purchasing a clawfoot tub is also selecting a matching tub filler. There are various options to fit many different styles.

    Contemporary Bathroom with Clawfoot Tub

    Kids Bathroom with Clawfoot Tub

    Clawfoot tubs can be purchased new or older tubs can be restored. Restoring old tubs adds that much more character. I found a how-to guide online for restoring clawfoot tubs.

    Red Bathroom with Painted Clawfoot Tub

    I never knew that you could paint the exterior of the tub until I saw the featured images. The bright colors make the bathroom playful and fun. A painted tub would be great in a kid's bathroom.

    Images: The Selby, Desire to Inspire, Design Sponge, Cherry Blossoms

May, 2011