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.

     

  • 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 

     

  • Modern Nursery Ideas for Little Girls or Boys

    Nursery with bold colors

    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.

    Nursery with loft bed

    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.

    Nursery with classic furniture

    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.

    Nursery with wall decals

    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. 

    Nursery with pom poms

    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

  • Casual Dining: Breakfast Nook Inspiration

    Breakfast Nook Photo

    Dining rooms are getting used less frequently and a lot of the meals are now being eaten in the kitchen either at the island, breakfast nook, or a casual dining table in the kitchen. I have always liked the look of a built-in nook with bench seating. It becomes a more permanent fixture and part of the kitchen design. 

    A bench and table create a nook

    Another great feature about breakfast nooks is that it can be a space saver as seen in the first image. If you have an unused corner in the kitchen, then you may have just enough space for a small bench and cafe table. 

    Chair added to nook

    The breakfast nook can also include more than bench seating. Adding a stylish dining chair or two on the other side of the table gives it a more formal feel. 

    Built-ins benches

    Aren't you dying over this built-in seating area! The loose cushions and pillows make it comfortable for long romantic dinners.

    Graphic letttering

    What breakfast nook is your favorite?

    Images: Desire to Inspire, Lonny Magazine, Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge

     

  • 5 Porches that Inspire

    Porch that Inspires with Cafe Tables

    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.

    Porch that Inspires with white drapery

    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.

    Comfortable Porch that Inspires

    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.

    Classic Porch that Inspires

    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.

    Porch that Inspires and Dining Area

    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

  • 5 Ways to Design a Unique Bathroom

    Unique bathroom and custom vanity

    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.

    Unique bathroom and chalkboard walls

    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.

    Unique bathroom and incorporating color

    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.

    Unique bathroom and wallpaper

    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.

    Unique bathroom and round bathroom mirror

    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

  • Inspirational Bright White Contemporary Kitchens

    Modern White Kitchen

    There is something to be said for an all white kitchen or bathroom. White is often associated with cleanliness, so it makes since to use it in both spaces. When I moved to Southern California from the Midwest I noticed a big difference in the style of kitchen cabinetry in homes. In Southern California, it is very common to find painted white cabinetry versus stained wood cabinetry. Even though the space consists of mostly white, the different textures add interest. In the main image the matte finish of the cabinetry compared to the glossy finish of the subway tile is a nice contrast. 

    Jen Ramos of Made By Girl and White Kitchen

    When designing a white kitchen, adding any other color or even black makes the color stand out and become significant. Adding color can be approached in two different ways. You can select a neutral or pale color that is noticeable, yet blends in with the white color scheme or you could incorporate a much more saturated color that is a strong contrast to the white.

    Contemporary White Kitchen and Chandelier

    White Kitchen and Marble Backsplash

    Subway tile seems to be a common choice when designing an all white kitchen. However, I love the marble backsplash featured in the inspiring kitchen above. The dark hardware breaks up the white and adds interest. 

    White Kitchen with Subway Tile

    Images: Apartment Therapy, Vintage Chic, Inspiration for Decoration, Simplified Bee, The House That A-M Built

  • HGTV Design Star Winner, Emily Henderson, Shares Her Design Secrets

    Emily Henderson Photo

    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. 

    HGTV Design Star Photo

    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.

    Style by Emily Henderson

    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.

    Emily Henderson Design

    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.

    Robert Abbey Delta Schiaparelli Pink High Table Lamp

    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

     

  • New Season of Bravo's Flipping Out and Tour of Jeff's Client Project

    Jeff Lewis and Flipping Out

    Get ready...Jeff Lewis is back! Don't be afraid to admit that you missed him (just a little bit). The new season of Bravo TV's Flipping Out brings new changes. Jeff traded his life as a house flipper for a career as an interior designer. Working with and reporting to clients brings a whole new set of challenges for Jeff. He is forced to restrain a few of his opinions to keep the paychecks coming.

    One of Jeff's client projects in the season premier, is a smaller scale kitchen and overall renovation. The client, Marlo, gets pushed over the edge when deadlines are missed and the contractors are moving too slow. Jeff teaches his assistant how to "man up" and get the contractors to respect her. The project ends on a good note when Jeff delivers his signature design. Jeff may be a handful at times, but you can't deny his eye for creating a contemporary and comfortable home.

    Take a photo tour through Marlo's home below. What do you think of the new season of Bravo's Flipping Out?

    Jeff Lewis and Flipping Out

    First impressions are essential.  New stylish outdoor lighting, adding stone work to concrete steps and brick work make a big difference. 

     

    Jeff Lewis and Flipping Out

    Love the way this modern tufted headboard is the focus of this bedroom.

     

    Jeff Lewis and Flipping Out

    Jeff and his team are very detailed oriented.  Notice how the arm of the modern sofa is similiar to the pattern in the wallpaper.

     

    Jeff Lewis and Flipping Out

    This is a great example of how keeping a neutral background and adding pops of color works.  The image above the fireplace adds that pop of color and draws the eye in.

     

    Jeff Lewis and Flipping Out

    This kitchen is like a stage.  It provides a great backdrop to whomever and whatever is going on in the space, all the while being very stylish, sleek and subtle.

     

    Jeff Lewis and Flipping Out

    Fashionable slipcovered dining chairs add softness and emits a more casual feeling.  They can also extend the life of dining chairs by covering up stains, worn fabric...

     

    Jeff Lewis and Flipping Out

    Love this sleek, modern, curated look?  It takes a lot of restraint to make it all happen.  Here are a few tips to recreate it in your home:

    • Don't over accessorize.  Be select and purposeful.
    • Use subtle, neutral colors as your background.
    • Add pops of color through drapes and large pictures.
    • Select an unexpected item like this zebra pattern rug.  This adds to the curated "it took me a while to create this look" feel.

     

    Jeff Lewis and Flipping Out

    Will you be watching? New episodes air on Wednesdays 9/8c.

    Images: Bravo

     

  • Outdoor Dining Musts

     

    Outdoor Dining

    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 Design Fabric

    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.

    Rattan Charger

    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.

    Outdoor Picnic

    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.

    Bamboo Flatware

    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.

    Cobalt Blue Glasses

    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.

July, 2011