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.
LAMPS PLUS Blog Policies
I want to introduce you to one of the most fabulous and talented woman I know...she does it all. Jeanine Hays is the founder of AphroChic. She is a blogger, product designer, and now an author. I have been following her AphroChic blog for years. On her blog, she features stylish interiors that carry a vibrant and lived in aesthetic. Join our conversation below where we discuss modern soulful style, her inspirations, and what's next for the multi-talented blogger/designer.
LAMPS PLUS: How would you define modern soulful style?
JEANINE HAYS: I have always been a fan of modern design. When I started the blog, the desire was to feature modern interiors that were distinctive - that reflected on culture, diversity, and that really reflected the life, personality, and history of the person who lived there. That's what modern, soulful, style is all about - modern homes with soul and personal touch that tells a story.
LAMPS PLUS: How have you incorporated soulful style into your own home?
JEANINE HAYS: In my own home there are a lof of soulful touches. There are pieces that mean a lot to me. I am currently curating an art wall in my living room and am starting with pieces from designers whose work I have covered on the blog. Everyone I've ever written about, their art has really touched me, and many times I find it reflective of some part of me. You'll find a bit of my personal style everywhere at home. That's what makes it a home and what I love about it.
LAMPS PLUS: Where do you find your inspiration?
JEANINE HAYS: I am really inspired by the city that I live in. There is such a soulful vibe in Philadelphia. It's a very laidback place with a musical and artistic spirit. It's hard to turn a corner and not be inspired by something you see or hear in this city. I'm also inspired by culture. Whenever I travel, I try to learn something new about the place that I'm visiting. Learning about the way people live is very inspiring.
LAMPS PLUS: Right now, I am obsessed with...
JEANINE HAYS: Rugs. In trying to find a new rug for my living room, I discovered how difficult it was to find one that really fits my personal style. There's a lot of contemporary designs out there, but so many rugs are "safe" and don't offer an interesting design.
LAMPS PLUS: What is your current color crush? How does that color make you feel?
JEANINE HAYS: On the moodboard in my office, I've been exploring orange and navy blue. It's such a beautiful palette and perfect for fall. I think it feels warm. Blue can be such a cool shade, but with a nice burnt orange tone next to it, it feels toasty and warm.
LAMPS PLUS: Who is your favorite designer?
JEANINE HAYS: Ilse Crawford. Her interiors continue to inspire me. I love her use of color, texture, and unique finishes in a space. She can even take a commercial environment, like a restaurant, and make it feel cozy and warm. She definitely understands soulful design.
LAMPS PLUS: What type of content can readers find on the AphroChic blog?
JEANINE HAYS: The blog is all about the things I love - modern homes, interesting products from around the globe, work by up-and-coming artists, and interviews with designers who inspire. It's a real treasure trove of beautiful, modern design with soul.
LAMPS PLUS: What is your advice for turning a house into a warm and welcoming home?
JEANINE HAYS: To be warm and welcoming, your home must showcase who you are. There are a few things that it should include such as art. Art is so personal; it takes your walls from blank slates to something visualy interesting. Even a few prints from your favorite artist will help to warm your space. Color is also important. Think beyond the typical beige or white walls and decorate your home in a color that you love, that makes you feel happy, and that will make you smile every time you come home. Finally, bring in items that tell your story - those can be pieces from recent travels or family heirlooms. Don't just fill your home with anything, but with things that you will love over time and that have meaning to you.
LAMPS PLUS: What Lamps Plus table lamp are you currently craving?
JEANINE HAYS: I love the Robert Abbey Delta Schiaparelli Table Lamp in pink. It's that perfect grapefruit pink that is such a fun hue. It looks like a piece of really fun jewelry.
LAMPS PLUS: I hear you are in the process of putting together your very first book! What else do you have up your sleeve?
JEANINE HAYS: It's mostly about the book right now. It's a huge project, where we are featuring homes from all around the country that feature modern, soulful style in action. Right now my team and I are in the midst of photoshoots in New York and then we are on to Philly, D.C., Los Angeles, and Boston. It's one of the greatest projects I've ever had the opportunity to work on. It's fantastic to be able to crystalize the AphroChic design philosophy into a book format. We're also working on an e-book component as well, so we're working on some special content for those who love to read books on their iPad or Kindle. But even with all of that going on, don't be suprised if you see a new AphroChic product line debuting in 2012.
Be sure to venture over to AphroChic to check out the blog, product line, and upcoming events.
Images: Courtesy of AphroChic
When you’re choosing bedside lighting, give form and function equal weight. Selecting a good reading light—and who doesn’t want one of those—doesn’t mean taking something discordantly industrial into your home’s most personal space, so long as you’re careful to pick a lamp with the right shade and material.
Vintage scones and hanging pendants can create the relaxing mood you’ll appreciate, while traditional table lamps and salvaged pieces lend the air of romance nobody wants to do without. Why not try something unexpected, like a mini chandelier, or ultra functional, like an adjustable architect's lamp? They offer creative solutions for bedside lighting.
We usually think of “task lighting” as something for the kitchen counter or home office, but your bedroom lighting has jobs to do, too—and creating beauty is one of them. It wasn’t all that long ago that choosing a serviceable reading light for your night table meant importing something designed for a drafting table or the office desk. In recent years, designers have adapted the oh-so-functional pharmacy lamps and vintage-inspired gooseneck lights with a variety of materials, shades and elegant configurations.
They bring the best of both worlds to a bedside table. Don’t be afraid to set a mood with table lamps and wall pieces that let you set just the mood you want in a room of your own.
Photos via Red and Lonny Magazine.
When I first heard about the design style, granny chic, I was hesitant to explore it. Now, I am in love with the style, which focuses on botanicals and soft colors. Think an updated, more youthful version of your grandmother's Americana cottage. It reminds me of home cooking, sunflower bouquets, and knitted blankets. The aesthetic is very warm, welcoming, and handmade.
Granny Chic Elements:
Left to Right: Masterpiece Collection Olive Ash Burl Accent Table, Butterfly Decoupage Metal Tray, Flower Botanical Shade, Blue and White Porcelain Hexagonal Gourd Table Lamp
The burl accent table would look great in the kitchen as a place to show off cookbooks and a bowl of fruit. The butterfly tray can be incorporated into the dining room or living room decor.
Adding granny chic style to your decor can be as easy as replacing a lamp shade with the botanical shade. The blue and white porcelain table lamp sets the tone for granny chic style in the bedroom. Mix the table lamp with other granny chic decor items such as a quilt and knitted throws.
Image: SF Girl By Bay
I think many people look at the draped table as a cop-out. To quote Elle Woods, “I Object!” Now, I hardly condone taking an old sheet and tossing it over a fiberboard table round and calling it a day. Rather, by dressing up the draped table you can have a stunning show stopper that looks custom and totally intentional. This hallway draped table is super chic. You can literally buy a folding table at a big box store and have a cover like this made. The box pleating is clean and crisp and the contrasting border a must for making this piece pop. The subtle nod to empire style works without being de trop.
This draped side table is a modern classic. The simple round shape will never go out of style and the glass topper will ensure that the fabric stays clean. By using fabric to drape the table you give yourself flexibility. You can change the look of the room inexpensively by simply using different fabrics. I also love the pop of orange.
Did somebody mention using a hot orange lamp to add interest?
I could live in this bedroom. It cozy, moody, eclectic and ticks all the right boxes. There is a big, comfortable bed, ample shelves for books, reading lights, and a variety of chairs for both work and relaxation. I love the use of the draped table here as both a desk and room divider. The mossy brown/green fabric is decidedly masculine yet remains true to the romantic soft furnishings that abound.
This mica-topped lamp adds that certain masculine vibe to any desk.
Another draped desk option is this crisp white version. The oval shad makes this desk a little more custom and unique. Additionally, the trimmed pleats and custom glass topper introduce design touches that are far from run-of-the-mill. The simple white lamp keeps the aesthetic light and bright.
Feeling romantic with a light dusting of country? This patchwork draped table is not for everybody but works within the context of country elegance. The monochromatic color scheme allows this topper to not scream Holly Hobby.
For a true 180, take a look at this Asian-inspired draped dining table. The clean, square design works beautifully with the room. Notice the peek-a-boo green fabric in the pleats? Genius. The balance of traditional and modern are truly harmonious here and the modern lines of the table allows the contemporary chandelier to work in a room with classic crown moldings.
Want one for yourself?
Draped tables also look great as a bedside table. The simple pleating here keeps the table neat, while the silk fabric keeps is feminine.
It’s clear that draped tables can look great in most every room and in most every application, even the bathroom. This bathroom vanity exudes an updated version of 1930s glamour. I suppose the point I am trying to make is that draped tables can be a wonderful addition to home decor, just don’t let me see on old trunk underneath the fortuny fabric!
Photos courtesy of thesummerhouse, jeannettes.typepad.com, traditionalhome.com, housebeautiful.com.
Halloween is almost here and I am ready to get my scary on! Since I am in the Halloween spirit, now couldn't be a better time to share some of my favorite dark and moody black kitchens. They are more stylish than scary and are beautiful year round.
Besides painting the kitchen walls and cabinetry black, there are other ways to incoporate black accents into the kitchen. I love the black and white pattern on the floor tiles, which adds an interesting design to the space as well. The black and white checkered kitchen towel is another less permanent solution to adding black to your kitchen.
If going all black scares you, incorporate a different color or white backspace. The midnight black cabinetry still creates a dark and moody aesthetic and a great contrast when paired with the white subway tile.
The kitchen above takes a big risk withs its all black color scheme. Even the hanging pans complement the color scheme. I would love to create contrast in the kitchen featured above by displaying vibrant fruit and vegetables.
Incorporating pops of color into a black kitchen creates a fun and playful aesthetic. The combination of black, white, and a touch of color set the tone for a modern space. I could move right into this home with its stunning kitchen!
One of the latest trends in kitchen design is using table lamps as accent lighting. Sticking with the dark and moody theme, I rounded up a few of my favorite black table lamps for the kitchen.
From left to right:
Flynn Mercury Black Reactive Glass Table Lamp
Lite Source Ebony Black Ceramic Table Lamp
Robert Abbey Delta 22 1/2" High Table Lamp
Thumprints Moondust Table Lamp
Images: Design Traveller, Down and Out Chic, Desire to Inspire, Sweet Home Style, Fieldborg
Our friend, Trina, over at La La Lovely has provided us with some great ideas for Halloween Decorating with kids. Thanks, Trina!
There is one little holiday that is often overlooked when it comes to decorating, . . . Halloween. Maybe it is because it usually evokes thoughts and images that all point in the direction of … tacky! As much as decorating for Halloween may seem like a waste of time to adults, its no waste to kids because they love this holiday.
Trick or treat, smell my feet; give me something good to eat. Just being able to say, “smell my feet,” to your grown up neighbors is reason enough for kids to love this holiday.
Usually, traditional Halloween décor fares on the side of creepy, gross, plastic and not so fantastic. But, it just doesn’t have to be. Since this is a holiday adored by children why not include them in the decorating process?
I’ve scouted out a few “creepy,” kid friendly, ideas that will turn your home into a simple and stylish Halloween haven.
One small idea can have a lot of scare. I love the idea and look of things going a bit batty. A few cut outs of bats and your front porch is instantly spookified. These bats would also look scary on a wall inside your home. Kids can easily participate by wielding their scissors and cutting out paper bats (a bat template can be found here).
Little people like decorating with little things. And sometimes, it is the little things that have a very big impact. I like the idea of sprucing up barren branches. If you already have some branches all you need to do is pick up some fake ravens and then let your children place them strategically. If you don’t already have a branch display, all you need is an urn, some moss and a branch (which your kids will be happy to collect outside). You can also spray paint the branch black for extra effect.
If Halloween is all about the candy, and kids are all for the candy, then why not let the decorations be all about the candy? Yes, you can always dump orange colored candy into big glass jars and set them on your counter tops, but why not go a different route? Create your very own little cabinet of curiosities to include all kinds of eerie candies and foods. Find jars that look a bit more scientific, create labels and have the kids help come up with scary and gross descriptions of the jars creepy contents.
While most Halloween decorations are dark, this one is all about the light. These milk jug ghost lanterns are sure to be a favorite of kids. Save your milk jugs, get our your black markers, grab a few strands of party lights and say Boo.
This idea is spooktacular. Kids always love doodling on pictures. You can either create a little gallery wall with old portraits found at flea markets or even use any current family portraits. Add goggly eyes and other little extras that make photos look old and creepy. Visitors will feel all eyes are on them and have a good laugh at the updated pictures.
There are so many great ideas out there but these are tops on my list this year. They make the cut because they are simple and stylish and most of all fun and very doable for both kids and busy parents. So . . . spookify your home, eat candy and if you’re really feeling a little crazy scare yourself into dressing up in costume this year!
Images courtesy of Martha Stewart, The Happy Home, Better Homes + Gardens, Family Fun
I know this may come as a shock, but I rather enjoy a beautiful, expensive looking home. As a result, shopping is a key component to making your house come to life. The trick is to make this an easy task and knowing how to create a high-end design, close to home. That said, I challenged myself to recreate the room above with products as close as a click away from Lamps Plus. There are several things that make this room feel luxe and expensive yet still casual. This room is successful because of the layering and varied textures.
Fancy rooms no longer need old fashioned oriental carpets to feel rich. A classic sisal carpet does the trick and is a great base to layer the other objects.
The walls have a time-honored stripe in pale blue and white. That can easily be done with simple paint. The stars however come in the mixing of mirror, painting, prints and ceramic vases on brackets. Remember that the symmetrical order of things keeps the wall pleasing to the eye. The starbust mirror adds luxury and sparkle.
The blue and white vases add interest and look like family heirlooms-a must if you want your room to look like it has evolved over time.
Grounding the wall is an oil painting of a landscape. This too looks old and something that Grandma left you that had been in her family since the 18th century.
Like the painting, some of the darker furniture adds weight to the space. The French-Style side table has a beautiful scalloped apron and is the perfect surface to display lamps and objects.
The lamps are timeless. Basic celadon ceramic lamps will last a lifetime and never go out of style.
I love the punch of color used on the sofa. The coral/orange colored pillows are a great pop on a neutral sofa. No need to find an intricate patterned sofa as you can use a basic cream or white sofa to create a similar look.
Like the side table and painting, the black coffee table grounds the lower portion of the room and is great because it’s large enough to display books, flowers, and candles. You can always doctor a basic black table with some gold paint accents for a touch of elegance. As you can see, creating a high end design that looks like it took a lifetime can be achieved for a lot less and as far away as your computer.
Photos courtesy of thepeakofchic.blogspot.com.
Maggie Morgan is an Interior Decorator in Seattle, Washington. Since childhood she’s been rearranging rooms, styling bookshelves, and obsessing over fabrics (she had a very thoughtfully decorated dollhouse!). Since starting the Maggie Rose design blog in 2008, she began decorating rooms for readers who became clients. In 2011 she launched Maggie Rose Interiors full-time. Recently she made some time to chat. This is what transpired-
What is the best design advice you ever received?
William Morris said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
When decorating, what item(s) should you invest or splurge on?
Definitely invest in a great sofa for the room you spend the most time in, preferably with clean, simple lines and a neutral fabric. And great drapes can make a room.
What would be your dream project?
A client who loves to entertain and wants guests to say “WOW” when they walk in the room. Freedom to be creative. And any project that requires lots of fabrics (my weakness!).
How important is lighting to your design?
Extremely so. I’ll bring in several table lamps and lighting sources. Rooms look better with many sources of soft (under 60 watt) lighting rather than one or two sources of harsh light.
What is one “trick of the trade” that you implement in your designs?
I group decorative objects in threes. Usually with staggering heights to create a triangle. It’s a great way to display a small collection without it feeling cluttered.
What is your favorite style?
Is that how your home is decorated? Traditional with a twist. Love classic furniture shapes that never go out of style paired with modern pieces and textiles from around the world. I’m getting there with my own place , but that’s the vision!
What do you see as the next design trend?
I think mid century modern design will continue to be popular for a while, but I think a return to post-modernism may be after that. Trends are cyclical after all! Or maybe it’s something we’ve never seen before! I think red will make a comeback next year though.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure that might surprise people?
I like to sing along with a lot of Kanye West’s latest album. Best in the car!
Can you tell us about your goals or any projects in the works that you are excited about?
I have some fun things in store for Spring, but my lips are sealed! Currently working on a bachelor pad that has a ton of potential to be amazing.
Well Maggie when you are ready to unseal your lips, let us know. Thanks for your time!
Resources: Maggie Rose Interiors and Lonny Magazine
Author Meghan Carter explains how to use overhead lighting to make you and your home look beautiful. Whether it be in your kitchen or bedroom, overhead lighting can make your home look heavenly or horrendous. Check Meghan's quick fixes, filmed at Lamps Plus to solve common lighting mistakes with chandeliers, pendant lights and more!
For more ideas and information on Meghan Carter check out our interview from earlier this year where she discusses The Meghan Method, her new book guide that lays out a step-by-step guide to decorating your home.
Thanks to Meghan Carter for the video!
Looking for videos? Check out our other blog posts with videos.
A light and bright Swedish-style interior doesn’t necessarily have to be about minimalism or, for that matter, be dominated by contemporary design. In this case white walls and a similarly painted floor become a kind of jewel box for a traditional chair with comfy throw and pillow alongside an equally traditional arrangement of pictures and a topiary, which adds that important natural touch the Scandinavians relish.
Candles are a lovely counterpoint to the contemporary floor light and hanging fixture, while in the kitchen a modernist, though not minimalist sensibility holds sway. A molded plastic and steel dining room chair, a reproduction industrial light pendant and a wood and metal table work beautifully with each other because each is so cleanly and confidently designed.
Swedish style needn’t be rooted in the contemporary and, in fact, the bright neutrality of white walls and modernist lighting lifts vintage pieces out of the fusty category and into hip. The Arne Jacobsen-style chair is perfect foil for the very traditional writing desk. The contemporary rug, along with the very now desk, floor and ceiling lights play beautifully beside the boldly graphic wallpaper.
A traditional chair in a painted entry way isn’t just a place to change out of snowy boots and furs, but a lovely recapitulation of the woman of the house’s personal style. Very Swedish. A colorful retro pendant light and an acrylic pendant chandelier would add an extra bit of pizazz to this decor.
Swedish design is all about a sense of light and space for people who live in a climate that shrouds many months of the year in cold and darkness. The brilliance of its success has made it a style for all seasons and places. Take this elegantly dramatic essay in black and white.
It has the crispness and sense of calm you’d expect from that color combination, but what counts are the touches that keep it from being merely theatrical—the things that connect it to history and the natural world, like the polished wood floors, the vintage drop-leaf table and the traditional gold-framed mirror. The striking black swivel chair plays beautifully against a fanciful chandelier. It as much about mixing as it is editing. . .and, most of all, making sure everything is displayed in the right light.
The great things about this all-white Swedish interior, with it pristine walls and floor, is how easily it makes a place for rich colors, particularly the boldly graphic sort. In this case, posters provide the grace note to a rigorous sofa and pair of chairs, whose impact is further modulated by the elegant contemporary wooden chair and the vintage pine trunk. The cowhide rug and black pillows lend a note of drama.
The purity of the white lounge chair and matching ottoman and clear, blown glass fixture is redeemed from the cold by the richness of the giclee painting.
Interior Photos by Alvhem Makleri.