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.

  • How to Entertain Like an A-Lister

     Wondering how to entertain like an A-Lister this holiday season? As a designer to the stars, I can tell you that the secret is having personality! A-Listers stand out. So figure out what's unique about you and your style and create your own A-List design. You'll wind up with a space you love that your guests can't stop talking about.

    Kurtwood Smith's Dining Room

    My client Kurtwood Smith (That 70's Show, Medium, 24) loves hosting gatherings for friends and family with his wife Joan. They wanted their Dining Room to be one of a kind but also wanted to preserve the architectural lines of their historic Spanish home. I had the original curved ceiling covered in gold-leafing and the effect is magical. The room glows and combined with treasured art and furnishings, it totally reflects the Smiths' personality. If you have such a room, use a hanging chandelier to reflect light off the ceiling to create a warm glow. For a lower cost option, experiment with zero VOC paints or funky wallpaper. Wallpaper from the Walnut brand is a favorite of mine.

    Crystal and Amber Candle Holder Set

    You can also capture some of that glow with high-style crystal candle holders or the lotus candle holder pictured up top. Amber has so much more personality than plain crystal and I'm loving these for holiday tabletops and mantels.

    Mirrored End Table

    The holidays wouldn't feel complete without lots of sparkle and if you're contemplating how to entertain like an A-Lister, look no further. This glittery, mirrored end table is evocative of the vintage tables I used in Jessica Alba's Living Room, a nod to old Hollywood glamour. Not only that, it's almost identical to one I just purchased at auction that belonged to none other than rock 'n roll guitar great Slash! Add a fabulous tray to serve party treats and cocktails.

    Black Dining Table

    This sleek black dining table will make you feel like an A-Lister without the A-List price tag and I love that you can dress it up or down. Pair it with dark green or blue accents to create the perfect tone for a holiday meal. Add silver and sparkles for a festive New Year's Eve celebration. 

    Twig and Leaf Candelabra

    Whether I'm entertaining like an A-Lister or entertaining actual A-Listers, I always express my personality by bringing a bit of the outdoors in. This charming twig and leaf candelabra lends a rustic elegance that's the perfect centerpiece for my holiday table. To personalize it even more, I add leaves, twigs or greens I've snipped from the Christmas tree around the base. So to survive and thrive this holiday season, find what moves you, fulfill your vision and remember to have fun.  Pretty soon, people will be asking you for tips on how to entertain like an A-lister!


  • Pillows with Designer Details


    Simple, square pillows are a dime a dozen. And while they're a great design staple, decorative pillows that feature designer details like trims and  tassels add that special finishing touch to a room - think of it as adding the perfect piece of jewelry to top off an outfit. Want to know how designers achieve that richly layered look with pillows? Here are a few insider tips on using trim and fabric details to transform your pillows from frumpy to fabulous.

    Bullion fringe is a traditional trim that looks a little like small twisted ropes, often found adorning the bottom perimeter of a sofa or ottoman. Although regular bullion trim usually ranges in length from 6" to 12", shorter mini bullion trim (as shown above) makes a great addition to the ends of a small kidney cushion!

    The mini bullion combined with the patchwork fabric panels of a black zebra and cheetah-print pillow create an interesting modern look. The second pillow features a graphic print fabric with lipcord trim around the perimeter. Lipcord is a clean and contemporary look - the "lip" attached to the cord gets sewn into the seams of the pillows for a tidy finish.


    Plush fringe trims have a more traditional feel - tassel fringe looks just as elegant around the edge of a pillow as it does running down the leading edge of a pair of curtains. Brush fringe has a thick, lush look that has an unfussy elegance.


    Flat woven tapes and cute buttons aren't just for gussying up clothing - they look just as at home when beautifying pillows! This graphic embroidered fabric tape adds a strong visual impact on this square pillow, and also breaks up boring grey when wrapped around a bolster pillow. Black buttons create a tufted detail and add the finishing touch.


    If pillows with designer details aren't your thing, the fabric itself can be worked in unusual ways to produce beautifully textured details! Strips of gently pleated fabric wrapped around itself in a spiral pattern creates a stunning ruffled rosette pillow, while overlapping layers of wool felt create the illusion of flourishing flowers.

    Keep your eyes open for interesting details when pillow shopping - a little fringe, trim, or ruffle can really be the icing on your decorating cake!

    For more, check out our Decorating with Pillows tips article for more ideas and inspiration.


  • In Awe of the All Black Room


    Chic Dining Room Designs

    I am in awe of the all black room. It’s gutsy, bold and if done right, beautiful. No, I am not going goth. It’s just that I wish I had the courage to paint a room all black because they are so incredibly sexy. I was inspired to muse on the matter after reading one of our fellow bloggers post on designing with black and white. Black and white accessories are a mainstay in design and are probably found in every home from Maine to California, but how many of us are willing to pull a full Mary Shelley and go embrace our inner twilight?

    Fireplace Ideas

    It seems strange that all women want a little black dress and that a well-balanced room should always have something black to ground the space, so why do we hesitate when it comes to black walls? The limestone fireplace, light carpet, decorative mirror and crisp white sconces balance the darkness in this room.

    Contemporary Wall Scone

    A linear sconce, like this sleek design from the George Kovacs lighting collection, would be ideal for a dark wall.

    Clubby Living Room Ideas

    White crown moulding and gold accents make this room more regal than a room ready to radiate darkness.

    Black Living Room Design

    A large picture window and light floors counterbalance the black walls. Don’t forget that reflected light will make a room shine. A large mirror and a glimmering chandelier makes all the difference.

    Combined Library and Dining Rooms

    Another application where a chandelier is not only decorative, but essential.

    Modern Kitchen Design

    Hot. This is the sexiest kitchen ever. The black lacquer cabinets and walls are totally daring and totally sophisticated. Again, the large windows, white floor, mirrored backsplash and stainless steel make the space harmonious.

    Black and White Contemporary Kitchen

    Here is a more pop-version of the black kitchen. Not city sophisticated, but still fun. The modern kitchen lighting adds to the dramatic punch.

    White Plastic Dining Chair

    A great white chair to brighten any dining space.

    Baby Room Ideas

    Who said a baby’s room had to be pink? This will definitely get the notice of funkier moms and dads. See the pattern emerge? Hint...white floors. And love that Ugly Doll.

    City Bathroom Design

    This is the classic New York City bathroom. In a city where everything is smaller, taking a risk can be easier than in larger suburban houses. This bathroom has a clubby, almost Ralph Lauren feel. The urban bathroom is usually smaller, so if you make a mistake it is easily rectified at little cost. Perhaps you will use much more primer than usual, but it’s still a pretty easy fix.

    Black Ceramic Lamp

    Will I learn from my own post and think about painting a room black. Hopefully these images show how glamorous a black room can be. However, in case you get cold feet, there are always an array of stylish black table lamps that can move you in the right direction.

    Photos Courtesy of vignettedesign.blogspot, elledecor, vanessaandvalentine, apartmentintervention, hookedonhouses.


  • HGTV's David Bromstad, Host of Color Splash, Shares His Inspirations

    HGTV's David Bromstad Shares His Inspirations

    I am a huge fan of David Bromstad and HGTV's Color Splash! Imagine my excitement when I received the opportunity to interview David for our Monday designer interview series. His designs are fun, colorful, and include David's original art tailored to each design. David shares his inspirations, his favorite color palette, and lighting tips below.

    LAMPS PLUS: Where do you find inspirations for your designs?

    DAVID BROMSTAD: I find inspiration everywhere. I am inspired by other artists, designers, and nature.

    HGTV Designer David Bromstad and Inspirations 

    LAMPS PLUS: Who is your design icon?

    DAVID BROMSTAD: Philippe Starck because his designs are fabulous, light hearted, and happy.

    Designer David Bromstad and Black, White, Green, and Pink Living Room

    LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite color palette?

    DAVID BROMSTAD: Black and white with a pop of color - simple, clean, classic.

    David Bromstad Blue and Yellow Living Room Design

    LAMPS PLUS: How does decorative wall art influence the overall design?

    DAVID BROMSTAD: It works the other way around. My environment influences the art I create. I first select the color scheme and design for the space, then I produce the art last to help bring the room together.

    LAMPS PLUS: Right now, I am obsessed with...

    DAVID BROMSTAD: Faux animal heads. However, it can be any type of animal, I love them all. They look very sculptural mounted to the wall.

    HGTV's David Bromstad and Bedroom Design

    LAMPS PLUS: What is the most common decorating mistake people make?

    DAVID BROMSTAD: Not trying. People get overwhelmed with designing their space, so they give up before even starting.

    LAMPS PLUS: How do you use lighting to make an impact in your designs?

    DAVID BROMSTAD: Light is essential to showing off your amazing space. I believe in illuminating your entire home and minimizing dark corners and shadows. Lighting also sets the mood in a room.

    LAMPS PLUS: What type of art looks best illuminated with picture lights?

    DAVID BROMSTAD: Picture lights are great for showing off any type of art - both traditional and contemporary. When artwork is illuminated it becomes the feature of the room.

    LAMPS PLUS: What are your favorite two table lamps from Lamps Plus?


    Eloise White Wire Table Lamp at Lamps Plus

    Eloise White Wire Table Lamp (no longer available)

    Frederick Cooper Ivory Eden Table Lamp at Lamps Plus

    Frederick Cooper Ivory Eden Table Lamp

    LAMPS PLUS: It is hard to keep up with you because every time I check in you are involved in another fun and interesting project. What are you currently working on?

    DAVID BROMSTAD: I start filming a new series for HGTV in December. It is a design competition show, which I will be hosting, judging, and mentoring designers. You can also find me mentoring designers on HGTV's Design Star. I will be showing my line of artwork with Penny Lane Publishing at Miami's Art Basel this December 1-3, 2011. I also just launched a bedding and bath collection. Whew - that's it for now!

    LAMPS PLUS: Thanks, David!

    Images: Courtesy of HGTV (Portfolio Images)


  • Ten Essentials for a Vintage Christmas

    Vintage Christmas Ornaments Photo

    If there’s ever a time that even the freest and most contemporary spirit yearns for that sense of connection that tradition provides, it’s around the Christmas holidays. That needn’t mean surrounding yourself with Dickensian kitsch or faux tokens of the rural childhood you never really had. Traditions grow out of our own personal history, so why not incorporate bits of that and create a holiday look from our own childhood memories into your home decor this season. Here are ten essentials for a vintage Christmas:

    Vintage ornaments, sequin bobbles, old records, aluminum christmas trees and other vintage holiday treasures.

     A trip to a flea market or thrift store can yield both the wonderfully reflective old mercury glass ornaments you recall on your parents’ tree, as well as some of the records they played on “the stereo” while they decorated it. (If you don’t have a retro turntable, now’s the time to invest in one.) Incorporate all that glitters beautifully now—and in your recollections—and don’t be afraid of those bright colors. Why not go all the way and pick up one of those wonderful old aluminum trees to strike a perfect mid-century note.

    Plastic Reindeer, flocked candles, retro greeting cards, plastic elves and other vintage holiday items.

    A holiday season decorated with a sense of personal tradition can’t exclude whimsy, because some part of us always is a child at this time of year. The little toys and figurines that delighted your younger self make light-hearted, but affecting decorations now. Old paper ornaments, found or reconstructed, lend a touch of fragile elegance to trees and wreaths, while candles of any embellished sort are a must for the right atmosphere. If you can find vintage Christmas cards, they make evocative graphic elements on shelves or mantles. And what would the holidays be without an elf or two? 


    Photo Credits:  Dior Inspired, Heather Bullard, Kracken Crafts, Moxie-Girl, Georgia Peachez, Raining Rita, Pretty Pyrex, In My Jammies, Elisandra Seven Star, Hannele K.


  • Trend Watch: Wood Lighting

    Trend Watch: Wood Lighting

    Happy Black Friday!  Isn't this is the time of year when you just crave being cozy? 

    Think rich textures, wood-burning fireplaces, and knitted blankets. There are are a lot of home decor products that fall under the category of cozy - pillows, throws, and bedding, to name a few. But what about lighting?

    Do you ever really have the desire to curl up and read a good book - under a cold, chrome fluorescent pendant light? 

    I've been really inspired by natural materials in lighting lately - namely wood. Rough wood textures, smooth bark, and elegant veneers have a warmth and natural beauty that's hard to ignore. Here's a round up of some lovely wood lighting fixtures (totally on-trend this winter) that have caught my eye as of late:

    Polished wood ceiling pendant

    Highly polished wood is so elegant, and contrasts beautifully with frosted glass and polished metals. Opt for woods with dark stain finishes, like walnut and mahogany, for that high-end, "luxury ski chalet in Vermont" look. 

    Wood branch lamps

    Playing up the natural form of branches and twigs is another modern twist on rustic wood lighting. The tripod base on this floor lamp has the feel of a tree bough with branches growing from it, and the playful resin base of this table lamp looks like a casually gathered bunch of twigs.

    Wood veneer lampshades

    Wood lampshades have such a warmth and sophistication about them, especially when the grain of the wood takes center stage. If a gorgeous real wood veneer lampshade is a little outside your budget, look for custom-made, giclee printed lamp shades for a dash of style that will do the trick!

    For more inspiration and ideas check out these past post on faux bois and wood grain style.


  • Happy Thanksgiving - From Our Table to Yours

     Thanksgiving Turkey Table Design

    Thanksgiving is much more than a highly caloric meal and chance to see family. To me, it’s a gastronomic symbol of my favorite season of the year. I suppose it’s genetic as my mother is a huge fan of the fall. She does toil over our annual Thanksgiving meal, but like me, she comes alive and embraces everything autumn has to offer. Before you judge, I have been known to help prepare the stuffing and we usually end up laughing when breaking down and carving the sincere apologies to all vegetarian readers. Because my family is now city folk there are no more turkey bowls to attend or games of tag. I imagine I should be thankful that we live vertically as my age and body have no business playing football at Thanksgiving or any time of the year for that matter. 

    Nature Walk

    Beyond all the hard labor in the kitchen, Thanksgiving is a marker and gives importance to the season. It’s a mood, something in the air. Maybe it’s a brisk walk with a pumpkin latte or treating myself to a new cashmere sweater. I can’t accurately put it into words, ironic, right? 

    Front Stoop Ideas for Fall

    The colors of fall are gloriously unique and so specific. Things aren’t simply a blanket of green as in summer or white as in winter and the anticipation of the holidays are still exciting. I have lived back east where one is spoiled with the vibrant surroundings of October and November, where a pumpkin patch is actually in a field and where you can pick apples directly off a tree.

    Fall Ideas for Fireplace Mantles

    Trust me, I’m not one of those “in my day, life was simpler...” The truth is that I love modernity and today’s pace, it’s just that autumn allows us to be a little old fashioned for a few weeks each year.

    Fall Clothing Ideas for Men

    I love that in a world where mobile phones are obsolete in a year and that we couldn’t possibly suffer through commercials thanks to our DVR, that the simplicity of putting on a tweed jacket, carving a pumpkin or seeing a street awash in red and yellow leaves still brings me joy. 

    Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

    Embrace your inner small town soul.

    Fall Foliage

    Rejoice in the season.

    Fall Front Door Decorating Tips

    Make everybody feel welcome. So from myself and all of us at Lamps Plus, Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    Photos courtesy of muffyaldrich, marthastewart, decoratingyourway, thestir.


  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals from Lamps Plus

    The LAMPS PLUS Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are here!

    For great offers, keep track of the deals by visiting the Lamps Plus Facebook, page, take a look at  the great deals in our Lamps Plus online sale pages, or score one=of-a-kind super deals at Lamps Plus Open Box (all the designs are been opened, but are brand new and undamaged. 

    Visiting a store?  Make sure to take a look at our coupons and FREE stuff page.

    Best wishes from all of us at Lamps Plus for a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!


  • Last-Minute Thanksgiving DIY Decor Ideas

    Thanksgiving mantel DIY decorations

    So, remember that time when you forgot that there was a big holiday celebration coming up and you didn't plan any decorations for your home to entertain the 20+ family members that will be showing up later this evening and now you're totally panicking? 

    If that time is TODAY, never fear! Here are some quick and easy last-minute Thanksgiving DIY decor ideas (using supplies that just might be on-hand) to add a little autumnal pep to your home before the big turkey carving tomorrow. 

    If you have: mini pumpkins or gourds, then try: using mini pumpkins as placecard holders; lightly spraying an assortment of small gourds with gold paint; or carving out a spot in a small pumpkin for a sweet votive candle.

    Thanksgiving DIY pumpkin decorations

    If you have: lentils, seeds, or popping corn, then try: filling a clear vessel (a hurricane lantern or tall vase works well) with lentils and seeds; arranging a layer of unpopped corn in the bottom of a clear votive holder and setting a candle on top.

    Thanksgiving DIY with seeds and lentils

    If you have: a backyard, then try: collecting thin twigs and small stones to arrange in a shallow dish; or gathering colorful leaves and arranging them in a rustic container.

    Thanksgiving DIY ideas with natural materials

    If you have: a printer, then try: free printable posters, napkin rings, or cupcake toppers.

    Thanksgiving free decorating printables

    Now that you've got this year covered (phew!), maybe it's time to make a note to shop early for Thanksgiving home decor next year! Incorporating the colors of fall into your home creates a warm and inviting atmosphere - try swapping out your summery decorative pillows for rich orange ones; draping a colorful throw over a side chair; or adding the soft glow of a table lamp with a glossy orange base. 

    Happy Thanksgiving, and happy decorating!


    Image credits: Choose to ThriveCatch My Party, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, My Heart's Desire, Sunset, Real Simple, Craftily Ever After, and Hostess


  • A Thanksgiving Treat - Cupcakes from Auntie Em's

    Chef Terri Wahl

    With Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays just around the corner I wanted to introduce you to Chef Terri Wahl of Auntie Em's Kitchen and her special cupcake recipe.

    Terri started catering for music videos, film and television productions fourteen years ago with the idea that a well-fed crew was a happy crew. Her American comfort food recipes are collected from travels all over the country, from the best out-of-the-way cooking shacks of the South, to the seafood markets of the Northwest and everywhere in between. Are you getting hungry yet?  Well, let's venture into Auntie Em's Kitchen and see what Terri has been cooking up.

    Auntie Em's Kitchen

    Terri used to play guitar in an all female punk rock band. Now, she sells 250 cupcakes per day (over 700 on weekends and holidays), in 4 flavors: coconut, dark chocolate, carrot cake, and, the most popular, red velvet cupcake. That fills up a lof of trays and of course stomachs. Terri’s cupcakes have won accolades from the LA Times and others. You may have seen her on the Food Network's shows Throwdown with Bobby Flay or more recently on Sugar High with Duff Goldman.

    Cupcakes for sale

    Right about now, you are probably wondering why we are talking about food on a design blog, right?  Well, the way food is presented takes a creative use of table top decor and in a future post I follow Terri on an amazing event that she catered...and she provides some very interesting insights on how we can make our food presentation look amazing.

    For now, we offer as a special Thanksgiving treat Terri's famous red velvet cupcake recipe. Enjoy! 

    Red Velvet Cupcakes Photo

    This recipe will take about 2hours and make about 16 cupcakes.

    This is what you’ll need for the cupcakes:
    • 15 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
    • 13 ounces granulated sugar
    • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red food coloring
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons vinegar (white or apple cider can both work)
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/8 cup water

    For the cupcakes:
    Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
    Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.
    In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix oil, sugar, and buttermilk until combined. Add eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla and water and mix well. Add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix on low, scraping down sides occasionally, and mix until just combined. Be sure not to over mix, or the batter will come out tough.
    Line a 16-cup cupcake pan with paper liners, scoop the batter into the liners and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

    For the yummy cream cheese frosting you’ll need:
    • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1 pound butter, room temperature
    • 2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    Whip the butter and cream cheese together in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until creamed. Gradually add powdered sugar to the mixture and scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
    The frosting can be used right away, or stored in the refrigerator up to a week.
    Frost cooled cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.

     For your covenience and recipe file, here is a printable version, Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe.


November, 2011