Interior design tips and lighting ideas for today's home! Providing professional interior design advice, home decor ideas and inspiration.
Ask our team of design experts
LAMPS PLUS Blog Policies
Sitting out on the porch drinking lemonade on a warm evening is why I love summer. More homes used to be designed to utilize the porch. Recently, relaxing on the front porch has become popular again. Homeowners are taking note and designing the porch space.
Enclosed porches are great if you live in an area where bugs are a problem at night. Using sheer white drapery to enclose the porch adds texture and a chic element to the design.
To soften up the look of the porch, include throw pillows, blankets, outdoor lighting and a rug. As long as you select furnishings suitable for the outdoor elements, you can make the space feel as comfortable as the indoor living areas.
I love the design of the porch featured in the image above. The neutral color scheme with a sky blue gives it a classic look. Don't forgot that the porch area serves as the first impression for guests visiting your home. Take extra care to make the space comfortable and inviting.
The porch area may serve different purposes for different people. Some may use the area just to relax and read a book in the evening, while others may use it as a place for casual outdoor dining. To use the porch as a place for a quick meal, simply pick up a bistro table and a few chairs.
Images: Live Creating Yourself, The Handmade Home, Artessen, Design Sponge, A Life's Design
Design influences can come from just about anywhere. If you have hit a brick wall on design ideas I suggest you go to the movies.
Capturing Hollywood Style for yourself is one way to update your home and make you feel like a star in one fell swoop. If you ask me, that’s good value in a rough economy.
You need not ask which movies I love to watch for endless design ideas because I am never at a loss to chat about that topic. Although I’m mad for offering up these design inspirations, it frustrates me because they are hard to capture in pictures - you really need to watch the movies to truly catch the nuance of Hollywood interiors.
By far, my favorite is Auntie Mame from 1958. In two hours you are witness to more interior design switch-outs than a Cher concert. Above is a snap of her foyer on Beekman Place.
Mame’s apartment morphs from traditional lighting and decor to Danish Modern without missing a beat. Notice how the set designers toss in a great Calder-esque mobile? I love how as Mame ages she becomes ever-more experimental. A great life lesson.
An early image of her bedroom reveals a harmonious mix of styles. Eclectic like herself, the room sports Chippendale-style chairs, Asian-designed nightstand and a fantastic French center table. You can literally feel the energy of the person who occupies the room.
Another gem is Indiscreet from 1958. Ingrid Bergman’s London apartment is always a treat to study. It’s so saturated with color yet never becomes jarring. The dynamic mix of the traditional architectural and neutral furniture allow the brightly matted art to sing.
On a more contemporary note, and with a nod to summer, we can’t forget the movies of Nancy Meyer. From The Holiday to It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give, the interiors in her movies are like old friends, easy and comfortable. They are made for today’s living and remain chic inspiration for everybody. Like the kitchen in It’s Complicated, it is a showcase on how we live today but with an elevated sense of style and beautiful kitchen lighting.
The living room in Something’s Gotta Give is a classic and easy to replicate. The summery Hamptons interior features simple slip-covered furniture and a cool color scheme of blues. It’s really not complicated and should be inspiration to us all. I suppose the ultimate takeaway is that movie plots are fine, but movie interiors are divine.
Photos courtesy of Designwonderland.com, Styleathome.com, Deluxa.com, roomstoraveabout.com
I was recently hired to design the interior of a modern family home, which included a nursery. The soon-to-be mom expressed a few of her wishes for the space: a non-theme room, transitions well into the toddler stage, and a unique space.
When we think of putting together a children's space (especially a nursery), we usually imagine pale colors or neutrals. However, don't be afraid to incorporate bold colors. By using brighter colors in the space, it will create a lot of interest and it will be easier to transition into the toddler years.
There are many different crib options, but the crib I am drawn to the most is the loft crib. The crib featured in the image above makes a statement and its scale commands the space. It is fun to switch the decor up a bit and go for the unexpected.
Creating a modern and timeless nursery can be accomplished by adding classic furniture pieces to the design. I love how a Windsor chair rocker is used instead of the traditional upholstered rocking chair. Another chair that has been used in children's spaces is the Eames molded plastic armchair with a rocker base. What a great way to teach your child about the history of design and different furniture styles.
Wall decals are an inexpensive way to create a pattern or design on the wall. Nature inspired decals are a great alternative to children's theme wallpaper.
Easy DIY pom poms add texture and interest to a nursery. They serve as your child's own art installation. They can be made in any color or style to fit a girl's or boy's room. Hang them over the crib or in the center of the room. Have fun creating your own design!
What are some of your ideas for creating a modern nursery?
Images: Nursery Ideas + Inspiration, Apartment Therapy, The Boo and The Boy, WeeDecor, Project Nursery
Let me just clarify there will be no blatant mention of Snooki, JWoww, The Situation or any of the other cast members of the show in this post. Okay, maybe just at the beginning. Anyway, this post is about the other Jersey Shore, the original, the one where you go to soak up the rays, relax with friends and of course discuss realty TV.
Here are five great furnishings ideas that could have been inspired by the “Original” Jersey Shore.
1. The edges of this graceful mirror remind me of the shape of waves.
2. This white stylish and sophisticated sofa is reminescent of white cap waves and clouds.
3. The ocean and sky can be seen in this fun and stylish area rug.
4. Clear as the Jersey sky (at least in our inspiration photo) this stunning modern glass coffee table is a great choice.
5. A great translation from the beach grass on the Jersey Shore, this eye-catching green glass table lamp will add a natural spin to your home decor.
There you have it, five ideas from the "Original" Jersey Shore.
Top photo from Google Images
It has been so hot recently that all I can do is dream of lazy days on the water. As long as I am dreaming, let’s go big with inspiring yacht interiors to tempt even the very rich. Boats are great fun, but give me the big guns. Coolers filled with beer and windless afternoons on the Mississippi are not what I had in mind. I’m thinking martinis on the bridge surrounded by polished wood and heavy leather furniture.
I think some people think that yacht interiors are site specific and that they don’t translate to the average home. I disagree. I think we can borrow wonderful design ideas from the floating homes of the super rich. Just think, you can now decorate like a shipping tycoon and not worry about the transport costs and gas to send your yacht to the Riviera each summer. Look at how much money I just saved you. I did say I was dreaming, right? Simple touches like a rich wood veneer on a bar or simple contemporary barstools can turn even the most modest basement bar into something special. All you need is imagination.
The uber-wealthy create spaces on yachts that reflect the same type of style found in their homes. Notice how comfortable these rooms look? No longer are yacht interiors full of cliche nautical touches and stark whites. Rather, warm woods and soft furnishings abound.
If you are thinking of creating a similar look at home, take note of the solid furniture with blocky features. Floating homes need to be practical. Furniture cannot slip and slide around with the waves so heavier construction is usually the order of the day. So, think about block arms that have heavier padding.
Color schemes on yachts tend to be neutral. I think there is a link between the relaxed nature of the ocean and the natural elements inherent to a traditional boat. Classic woods such as teak have been used for ages on yachts and will always work with creams, browns and tans. When it comes to dreaming big on open seas remember that beige will never be boring. So whether you call the harbor in St. Tropez or a split level in Sacramento home, infuse your spaces with a touch of heavenly yacht interior chic.
Photos courtesy of DeviantART.com, Luxuo.com, Windwardassociates.com, Liveyachting.com, Boat-and-yachts.blogspot.com
Designer Stacy Garcia is respected for her inventive use of color and remarkable patterns. One of her style icons is Lady Gaga and her dream project includes an Airstream trailer. Her signature designs and in-depth knowledge of color and trends are informed by a long and rich history of working first-hand with engravers, mill colorists, loom technicians and major lifestyle and hospitality brands. Not long ago I was able to ask Stacy a few questions.
You work with so many colors, do you have a favorite?I never met a color I didn’t like but my favorite color combination right now is lavender and grey or black. That color combination is also featured on my new posh lavender giclee paley black table lamp.
What do you see as the next design trend?We are going to see a sense of optimism and hopefulness in design. After the recession, people are ready to start living again and enjoy some luxury while still appreciating the little things in life.
What would be your dream project? I have always wanted to design the inside of an Airstream trailer. It would be a fun challenge to work with the retro style and curves of the space.
Where and how do you find inspiration?I draw inspiration from everyday life and looking into what makes the people around me tick. I dive into the psychological aspects of what drives passion and motivates an individual. Traveling is always an inspirational journey as well.
What is one “trick of the trade” that you implement in your designs?Have fun and enjoy the creative process. Accessories like lamp shades and throw pillows are a great way to try on color without making a commitment. I always say if I wouldn’t use it in my home than I wouldn’t use it in my designs.
Who are your style icons?Dorothy Draper is about as iconic as it gets for me design wise, but I have to say Lady Gaga has caught my attention and I think she is impacting all sectors of pop culture including design.
At the end of the day, design is about wanting to feel connected, Stacy notes. It’s a form of communication — a language. If you are part of a tribe of people, you feel more connected. I’m inspired by the designers, manufacturers and individuals with whom I work; and I hope to empower others to have the confidence to make their own connections and creations — in design, and in life.
All of us design-minded people can experience hospitality-inspired lighting at home. Stacy Garcia’s giclée-style lamp shades feature her signature patterns and custom designs and are available at Lamps Plus.
Resources: Stacy Garcia Inc., Victorinox
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.
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.
I like that this industrial chic pendant light has a touch of rustic charm. The look is no-nonsense and has modern clean lines.
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.
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
When designing the home, sometimes the bathrooms get forgotten about or they are not as stylized as the other living spaces. We spend a good amount of time in the bathroom getting ready for our day in the morning and showering in the evening. I love to create a bathroom that is both indulgent and well designed with elements like bright bathroom lighting.
1. Unconventional Vanities: A vanity can become a piece of furniture when switching out the standard utilitarian vanity cabinetry. Don't be afraid to use a smaller cabinet from the living room or dining room in the bathroom. The more unique the piece the better.
2. Chalkboard Walls: Instead of leaving the walls blank, you can add a playful element by painting the walls with a chalkboard paint. Write your favorite quotes, to-do list, or notes to yourself on the wall. This is especially appropriate for a kid's bathroom. They can multi-task by practicing their math problems while brushing their teeth.
3. Incorporating Color: Don't forget to add a pop of color in an overall neutral or white bathroom. The color adds interest and another dimension to the space.
4. Wallpaper: I like using wallpaper in bathrooms. It is an easy way to incorporate color and pattern into the space. It can also add glamour and drama to the bathroom.
5. Round Mirrors: I have seen a recent trend toward using framed bathroom mirrors instead of the countertop-to-ceiling standard (frameless) mirror. Depending on what type of mirror you select, you can really set the style and mood for the space.
Images: Blueprint Bliss, Hammers High Heels, Desire to Inspire, Decor Pad, Two Ellie
If I see another French-inspired outdoor table setting I may scream. Unless of course I am actually in Provence. Here’s the thing, I love France, truly, but trying to recreate it in a suburban American yard is not really a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I do love outdoor dining when conditions are just right. A clear sky, slight breeze and no bugs are a really good start. The reality is that those conditions rarely converge, so unless I am invited out, I tend to maybe have one al fresco evening per summer. I’m not a total curmudgeon, however I also believe outdoor dining is a tad romanticized. People spend a fortune on plastic bits and bobs that are maybe used a few times a year. I think you should own pieces that you can use all year, indoor and out. Let your guests feel like you have not skimped on entertaining them even though you may be eating hot dogs and chips. Here are some must-have elements for the elegant outdoors:
Ikat napkins are hot. While they are trendy, they are still a classic design. Make sure to buy cotton napkins, not paper. The colorful patterns are quite forgiving with stains, are cheerful in summer and spring. If you get a richer toned napkin they can be used all year.
I love a rattan charger. They are casual enough for an outdoor dining table, but are totally amazing indoors in the fall. Because they are neutral they can work with cream and white dishes and compliment browns and orange in the fall. Plus, you can’t beat the texture.
Same goes for ceramic bamboo dishes. From serving nuts and dip to chips and olives at the bar, make them a part of your everyday entertaining.
Do I need to sing the praises of bamboo flatware? Probably not, but they look great outdoors and in moderation in the house during the year.
Finally, don’t even think about a red, plastic cup to serve your chilled rose. I love cobalt glasses. Not only to they pick up on the summery sun and sky, but they are perfect for Christmas. Yes, you heard me, Christmas. Pair them with plaids or paisley in the winter and crack open the egg nog.
Photos courtesy of Santabarbarachic.com, Elegance2003.com, Celebrityweddings.us, Poshtots.com, Etsy.com, Veranda.com.
There is no doubt that Television Host and HGTV Design Star winner, Emily Henderson knows the secrets to styling a room but did you know she had to learn how to hang drapery rods for her new television series Secrets From a Stylist? Recently, Emily made time to chat and share her back ground, some design secrets on lighting and even shared her secret “go to / never-fail” paint colors. Plus, there is a special surprise at the end regarding one of Emily’s favorite Lamps Plus items.
How has your life changed since being on Design Star?
I have a whole new life. It’s incredible in every way. I run this amazing team of people who help me every week redesign a room. I get my hair and makeup done every day. Life is so crazy but I’m addicted to it.
Was there a specific set of events that lead you to success or was it luck (after your hard work, of course)?
I was always determined to be a successful human being. I was always persistent and worked hard. But it wasn't until I stopped caring what people thought that I was open enough to really put myself out there. I didn't want to admit to myself and the world that I was special or talented or whatever because I didn't want them to think I thought I was special. Then I stopped caring what they thought, and boom, all this awesome stuff happened -- but I try every day not to take it, or myself, too seriously.
What do you think of the new season of Design Star and the contestants? Do you have a favorite?
I have four favorites so far: Karl, Mark, Tyler and J. It’s half their personality and half their taste. Editor’s note: J was eliminated on last week’s show.
How do you choose lighting for a room?
I'm a big mixer of styles. After deciding what styles I want, I think about what types of lighting I need: chandeliers, pendants, sconces, table lamps, tasks or standing lamps. I try to bring a chandelier in each room and at least two table lamps and one standing lamp. I rarely have them all match. I like to shake it up.
What is one common mistake or misconception you see clients have regarding lighting?
Not enough of it. No one has enough table lamps. I can't live without them. I like a standing task lamp near my sofa for reading. Other than that, I have 3-4 table lamps strewn about and I can't wait for sunset when I get to turn them all on and feel all cozy and warm.
What is your “go to, never-fail, and always-works-in-any-room” paint color?
Grey and Navy. I would say white but if you don't have a lot of natural light then white will just look dead. A warm grey is easy to mix anything with and a dramatic dark navy makes any room more sophisticated.
How has the transition been from being a room stylist to a full blown designer?
I've learned a lot. In magazine styling, we rig everything (you don't actually hang drapery rods). I had to learn how to actually make things functional. Emotionally it’s been amazing because I have a real person as a client who in the end is very happy with the outcome.
Since you shoot your show sometimes months ahead of time, how do you predict or research what will be on-trend when they air?
I'm addicted to magazines and blogs and frankly trends last a lot longer than you think. I try not to do anything that is crazy trendy. Ultimately the main styles stick around for years and years – it’s just the accessories and patterns which change a lot.
Want a chance to win one of Emily’s favorite lights from Lamps Plus? Leave a comment on Style by Emily Henderson. However, if you Follow Lamps Plus on Twitter and retweet this giveaway to your friends, you will recieve an extra entry. Don't forget to come back and comment to tell us you retweeted this exciting giveaway.
Resources: Style by Emily Henderson, HGTV