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
For the last few years, HGTV designers have been sharing holiday decorating for Christmas in their one-hour special, Celebrity Holiday Homes. This year luxury interior designer Sandra Espinet was paired with CSI Miami's Eva La Rue. Sandra wanted to create a very special and imaginative design for Eva's home. Her theme for the holiday design - Santa's workshop. I asked Sandra to share a few tips on fun ways to bring the holiday festivities into your own home this Christmas.
1. Decorating with Candy Canes: "A very inexpensive way to decorate a Christmas table is by using candy canes. They are beautiful, graphic, and completely festive. Candy canes can also be used as decorations on your tree. Collect clear glass containers and jars from around your house and fill them with candy canes. You can also put them around the rim of a wide vase and fill with another festively wrapped treat."
3. Decorating with Holiday Ornaments: "Hang holiday ornaments from your chandelier or from door knobs and window latches. I chose oblong tear-shaped red decorations to adorn the iron chandelier in Eva La Rue's dining room. They matched the ret "Vietri" dishes that I used on the table. You can hang lightweight ornaments from many of your light fixtures."
4. Designing the Tablescape: "One of the easiest things you can do for your guests is to set a beautiful table. It's a memorable way to serve the dinner you spent so much time cooking. Here I used holiday red dishes with simple ribbon bows and pine cones tied to the white linen napkins."
5. Invite Santa: "For kids, nothing says Christmas more than Santa! Recruit a family member or friend to dress up in costume and make the kids go wild. Eva La Rue's daughter was filled with laughter when she saw Santa and it was one of the best moments of the day."
MORE INFO: Watch HGTV's Celebrity Holiday Homes this Sunday, December 4th at 8:00PM EST/PST (check your local listing) for more holiday decorating design tips. For more design tips more Sandra Espinet, see her designer interview.
Images: Courtesy of Sandra Espinet
As 2011 draws to a close, I know we're all eager to move forward into a new year with new home decor trends. But before the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, let's take a look back at what trends have impacted our home this year and will continue to influence our design decisions in 2012!
Striped Walls. Whether subtly tone on tone or bold and graphic, striped walls made a big design statement this year. With a little patience (and a handy level!) this is one trend that's easy to DIY.
Gallery Walls. Instead of featuring one large painting, collage-style groupings of small framed pieces are an affordable and on-trend alternative. Mixing and matching art, mirrors, and photographs creates a richly layered look.
Green Design. Both practical and beautiful, green design has been a trend for years and will only continue to be! Recycled materials, re-purposed items, and earth-friendly products are a stylish way to reduce waste and help out mother nature.
Mid-Century modern. The clean lines and chic styling of the 1950's and 1960's is back! Classic Eames chairs, Noguchi coffee tables, Sputnik lights, and Saarinen tables have made their way back into our hearts and homes.
Reclaimed wood. Charming and rustic, reclaimed wood has transitioned from furniture to walls and floors. The weathered texture and relaxed look makes this a trend that's sure to stay.
Mixed metals. Once taboo (gold and silver together - gasp!), mixing metals creates a luxe and opulent look that has a worldly and well-travelled charm.
Patterned wallpaper. 2011 was a year to have fun with walls! High end design houses brought back patterned wallpaper with a modern twist - think gorgeous faux bois prints, fun large-scale patterns, and papers with tasteful metallic accents.
Black walls. Not just for nightclubs, dark walls have made a bold and dramatic interior statement this year. This look works best where low, intimate lighting is appropriate, like a dining room or small guest powder room. (Read more about the trend of black walls here!)
Chevron patterns. Whether on walls, floors, fabric, or furniture, the graphic chevron pattern is a versatile print with retro appeal.
Vintage Interiors. Continuing the green design trend, vintage furniture and housewares have made a huge comeback. Hunting around thrift stores and scouring garage sales for secondhand treasures isn't just for broke college students anymore! Vintage style is an easy and affordable look to incorporate into modern decor.
What was your favorite design trend this past year? What are you excited to see coming to the world of interior design in 2012?
Image credits: Lonny Mag, House and Home, Re-Nest, Vinewood House, Vosgesparis, The Decorista, Design*Sponge, Freshome, Decorista Daydreams, Danielle Thompson.
Orange you happy to hear the news? (Sorry, couldn't resist a little pun.) Pantone has just announced Tangerine Tango as the 2012 Color of the Year!
This warm and vibrant shade, full of optimism and energy, is set to make a big impact in the world of interior design. "There's the element of encouragement with orange", says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "It's building on the ideas of courage and action, that we want to move on to better things. I think it would be a disservice to go with a relaxed, soothing color now".
A little orange goes a long way, and touches of orange are easy to incorporate into home decor. Be bold and add a pair of tangerine lamps in your living room; drape an orange throw over an armchair; swap out a neutral rug for a brightly colored shag; or toss a pair of orange printed pillows on your sofa. Eiseman suggests pairing tangerine tango with green and with distressed wood finishes.
For artists, designers, and color enthusiasts, the official Pantone tangerine tango color code is 17-1463 TCX or 17-1463 TPX. RGB colors are 221 (R), 65 (G), and 36 (B), and CMYK colors are 0 (C), 82 (M), 80 (Y), 0 (K). For more info, see the official 2012 Pantone Color of the Year page.
What do you think of the color of the year for 2012, Tangerine Tango? Love it or hate it? How will you be incorporating it into your own home?
PS. Take a look at Pantone's past two colors of the year to see the changing direction of color trends.
Do you keep a list of your most wanted furniture and home decor pieces? You know what I mean - those items that you're secretly wishing for? Or maybe not-so-secretly dropping hints about wanting? Whether it's a folder filled with magazine tear sheets, an inspiration board on Pinterest, or a mental list, we all have furniture, lighting, and accessories that we've come across that we'd love to see in our homes. As a designer, there are a few furniture and decor staples that I'm always drawn to. Here are my most wanted pieces:
Animal print pillows: cowhide is classic, and neutral animal tones like cream, brown, and black work with just about every design style and era.
Transparent dining chairs: surprisingly comfortable and stylishly modern, a set of transparent acrylic chairs offers practical seating but doesn't add any visual "weight" to a room like dark wood chairs can. Pair them with the unexpected, like a traditional dining table, for maximum impact.
A tailored sofa: posh and classic, a tailored sofa exudes grown-up style. The contrasting black piping on this gray velvet sofa offers a playful contrast to the formal diamond tufting.
A mid-century inspired dining table: a contemporary interpretation of the classic Saarinen Tulip Table, this glossy white dining table beauty has a classic shape that pleases both modern and mid-century loving folks.
A stylish console table: a multifunction piece like a console table can act as a catch-all for keys in an entry; as an area to display family photos in a living room; or as a desk in a small studio. This modern faux shagreen accent table is not your grandmother's stuffy hallway console!
A sparkling chandelier: like a sparkling bauble on your finger (or perhaps gleaming chrome on a car, if that's more your speed!) a chandelier is a design essential for adding the final polish to a room.
What's on your wishlist? What are your most wanted furniture and home decor items? Share in the comments and let's inspire one another!
We are really excited to share our interview with the founder of architecture and design blog freshome. Freshome features some of the most stunning new design products and innovative architectural and interior projects of the world. Since Micle is surrounded by beautiful designs everyday (via images on the web) we were intrigued to know his favorite designer and which furniture piece you should splurge on. Keep reading for decorating tips from Micle...
LAMPS PLUS: What is the best design advice you ever received?
MICLE MIHAI-CRISTIAN: The KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Sometimes when we try to improve something we try to add more than what is needed, but sometimes as Leonardo Davinci says, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
LAMPS PLUS: When decorating, what item(s) should you invest in or splurge on?
MICLE MIHAI-CRISTIAN: Purchase quality pieces that improve with age and only invest in what you really love.
LAMPS PLUS: How important is lighting to a design?
MICLE MIHAI-CRISTIAN: Lighting can make all the difference between mundane and dramatic. Even the simplest architecture takes on a magnificent appearance with properly placed lighting fixtures.
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite style? Is your home decorated in your favorite style?
MICLE MIHAI-CRISTIAN: Modern/contemporary. Yes, my house is modern.
LAMPS PLUS: What do you see as the next design trend?
MICLE MIHAI-CRISTIAN: Furniture is getting smaller and becoming more realistic and practical in scale and size.
LAMPS PLUS: What designers do you most admire?
MICLE MIHAI-CRISTIAN: The first designer that comes to mind is Ralph Lauren.
LAMPS PLUS: What has most influenced your own design aesthetic?
MICLE MIHAI-CRISTIAN: This new world called...internet, where you can see designs that you didn't even think were possible.
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite furniture piece?
MICLE MIHAI-CRISTIAN: My bed because it helps me recharge my batteries.
Images: Courtesy of Freshome
Coastal chic decor celebrates the elements of coastal life with an upscale flair. The look is refinded, simple, clean and contemporary. If you enjoy the peaceful feel of the seaside, you will love this décor! Here is how to Get The Look: Coastal Chic in 5 Steps.
1: Color PaletteThe Coastal Chic look is dominated with blues and greens found in the ocean.
2: Walls and FloorsFloors are smooth surfaces of tile or refined wood. Walls are painted in lighter shades of the sea, like blue, green or sea foam. Coastal Chic wall art consists of elements of sea life.
3: Lighting Lamps and chandeliers have an upscale contemporary design with strong used of glass, crystal and chrome. The design can be freely mixed by using a common finish.
4: Furniture & FabricsAchieve the Coastal Chic look by using modern furniture with straight clean lines. This will allow the accessories and lighting to take center stage adding drama to the room. Faux metallic leathers and snake skin wrap chairs and console tables add a dimension of luxury.
5: AccessoriesShells, coral and other sea life are recreated in modern materials with novel finishes.
Want more? Other Get the Look for more Inspirations and Ideas.
Let’s play a game. Let’s pretend we have gobs of dough and can winter in Palm Beach. Because it’s make-believe, we also happen to have an insanely chic home. Have I set the stage? It may sound like a wild and totally unrealistic dream, but Palm Beach style is so fun, so cheerful and sometimes much needed during a long, cold winter. A Palm Beach Interior Design Story can come true for you, minus the actual mansion, if you follow a few design rules and incorporate a few classic, resort design touches.
While there are a multitude of styles found in Palm Beach, from classic, heavy Spanish-inspired Mediterranean to Mid Century Modern, I tend to lean towards the playful, traditional beach prep look. To achieve the look think about a few basic rules. Think about bold color tempered with white as well as shells. As the foyer above shows, pops of bold color coupled with shell shaped lamps are a joyous welcome to sun to surf.
Even though the walls here are creamy there is bold white trim and chairs to keep the room fresh. Sisal rugs are also a necessity. Simple, unpretentious and feels summery on bare feet. Notice the coral and shell fabric on the two armchairs? Great gourd-shaped lamps dot the room and reinforce the color scheme. Ceramic table lamps always work in traditional rooms such as this.
You can’t go wrong with a sisal or jute rug as the foundation to a beach-inspired room.
Thought you might like to see some of the elements working again in this blue living room.
On first glance this dining room may look formal, but it’s really not. Bold color on the walls, chairs and painted table lighten the mood. White is incorporated in the curtains and again we see the sisal rug. By the way, did you notice how I have been using images that hint at the 2012 Pantone color of the year, Tangerine Tango? More of that to come.
I almost to forgot to mention the always present palm leaf motif. This wallpaper is amazing. Again we see pops of color and crisp whites. Can’t you just feel the cool terrazzo floor on a balmy South Florida day?
Pop. This spicy yellow ceramic lamp is a good first step towards adding bold color to your home.
This bedroom is stylish and fun. Although the walls are dark and sexy, the white bedding, dressers and accents make everything sharp and in focus. One additional element that is classic Palm Beach decor is the use of bamboo. The bench and mirror frames add that natural element. How about a show-stopping chandelier? This shell encrusted chandelier is a great focal point. This style lighting fixture is unique and I daresay specific. If it’s not your thing, any similar-sized light would work, perhaps in all white.
Accessories like this orange pillow are a good way to work in hot colors in a bedroom or living space.
This bamboo table is light and airy and could be used as a bedside table, end table in a living room, or bar cart on a veranda. Versatile and timeless.
I just had to include this, didn’t I?
Photos courtesy of house of turquoise, boglestreet, House Beautiful.
Luxury interior designer Jennifer Dyer has made a name for herself designing beautiful homes in Los Angeles and beyond. She shops multiple high and low sources to pull together a unique mix of furnishings. No two of her projects are alike. She is able to design for multiple design styles making each project special.
LAMPS PLUS: How would you describe your style?
JENNIFER DYER: Traditional with an eclectic twist. However, when it comes to lighting, I like to make a statement. It's an easy way to add a punch to your space.
LAMPS PLUS: Where do you find inspiration for your projects?
JENNIFER DYER: I find inspiration through fashion and travel. Every Spring and Fall, Vogue comes out with a special publication that highlights what debuted on the runways of New York and Paris. I always buy the magazine to look at textures and colors that are popular. Usually, colors you see on the runway will transfer to home fabrics within 6-9 months. Travel is always an inspiration because I think Europe and Australia specifically are way ahead of the US in design trends.
LAMPS PLUS: What do you love most about designing homes in Los Angeles?
JENNIFER DYER: I love the casual elegance of homes in Los Angeles. People live comfortably here yet they are still very stylish. Clients understand the necessary mixing of objects and furniture both old and new.
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite color? How does that color make you feel?
JENNIFER DYER: That is a hard question to answer. It changes a lot. A few years ago I would have said black. Last year I would have said blue. Now I am really into red and coral. They make me feel alive and vibrant.
LAMPS PLUS: Right now, I am obsessed with...
JENNIFER DYER: Fendi color block handbags and Silk Ethos rugs from ABC Carpet and Home.
LAMPS PLUS: How do you involve your clients in the design process?
JENNIFER DYER: It's their space to begin with so I remind myself that I am designing for them and not myself. I show them images from magazines and ask them to chose things they like. Based on their choices, I select furniture, colors, and a scheme that are presented in design meetings. I give them enough choices to make a decision, but not enough to confuse them.
LAMPS PLUS: What is the most common decorating mistake people make?
JENNIFER DYER: This is a twofold answer: first, people are always too concerned about things matching. Matching doesn't equal a better design and some of the best design schemes are unexpected combinations of furniture, lighting, and colors. Second, if you are hiring a designer, people have to trust in that designer. People often second guess the decisions their designer is making, but they hired them in the first place for their expertise. People must remember when only half the room is installed they can't make a judgement on how it looks because it's not finished yet.
LAMPS PLUS: How important is lighting in your designs?
JENNIFER DYER: Lighting sets the whole mood of your space. It's probably one of the most important elements in design. I always make sure to put my overhead fixtures on dimmers and a max of 60 watt bulbs in my lamps. Think of floor and table lamps like a piece of furniture and select ones that are just as beautiful as the pillows you are placing on your sofa or the art you are hanging on your walls.
LAMPS PLUS: What is the ideal combination of light fixtures for lighting a bedroom?
JENNIFER DYER: Personally, I have 3 lamps and a chandelier in my bedroom. Ideally, I wish I also had halogen high hats over my bed as reading lights. I always hang a chandelier in bedrooms if my clients let me. It creates a sexy and calming ambiance that you want in a bedroom. I usually do not match my lamps because I use the need for bedside lamps as another reason to be creative in design. It also makes it easier for me to move lamps around to a different space if I get tired of looking at the same thing or if I move to a new home.
LAMPS PLUS: What are your two favorite living room floor lamps from Lamps Plus?
Kathy Ireland Essentials Spinal Floor Lamp: I think this is a great lamp that would look wonderful in a Spanish Mediterranean design scheme.
Robert Abbey Doughnut Floor Lamp in Antique Brass: I love this lamp. I have used it for a client in the past. It's the perfect mix of glam and modern and can be easily used in a bedroom, living room, or office.
Images: Courtesy of Jennifer Dyer
No doubt most of us crave a little peace after the hectic holidays. While we still have New Years to look forward to, it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about the coming year and ways to create more balance in our lives. To some, balance may be the amount of time we spend with family relative to work, or personal “me” time to the demands of everyday life. Of course if you ask me, I see the need for balance in home design.
Symmetrical design is about harmony and balance. Symmetry is essentially creating mirror images, two of a kind. It doesn’t necessarily mean items must be exact, but pairs of things, balanced, is the hallmark of symmetrical design. The living room above captures this aesthetic perfectly. Matching table lamps, pillows and decorative items on the fireplace mantle creates this balance.
Here is a more sophisticated version of the symmetrical living room. While there are matching gourd-shaped ceramic lamps, pillows and leopard upholstered chairs, the side tables are not exact matches. While one is a chest of drawers and the other more of a writing table, they still “read” as balanced because of the other matching decorative objects.
This Regency-Style room displays harmony and balance in both a living and dining space. In the dining room the two head chairs are upholstered in the same bold fabric, acting as matching book ends within the space, while matching brass lamps and two matching chairs balance the seating area. Symmetry makes it easy on your eyes to focus and take-in the design of a room.
Brass table lamps like these can create a similar feel is used in pairs.
This small space uses thinly designed furniture and floor lamps to create the appearance of more room. Again, matching chairs, pillows and lighting create sophisticated balance in this jewel-box of a room.
This contemporary bedroom is all simplicity and symmetry. It’s pleasing to the eye because of its ease. You could split this room in half and have mirror images. From the lighting fixtures and mirrors to the closets and air vents, everything falls nicely into place.
One might think that because kitchens don’t have pillows, curtains and table lamps that creating symmetry would be difficult. Au contraire mon ami, this kitchen uses matching pendant lights, appliances, accessories and cabinetry to achieve balance.
Like the end table that were not exactly matching in the living room above, a similar trick is used here with the stainless steel appliances. While the double ovens don’t match the microwave and coffee maker they do balance each other because of their finish.
This kitchen displays the same sense of symmetry. Notice the matching ceiling lights, cabinetry and matching barstools? By matching barstools to the oven and stove opposite the island, balance has been achieved from all perspectives. So as you enter the final stretch of 2011 think about how you can reach peace and harmony in life as well as in your home.
Photos courtesy of Desiretoinspire.net.
What, doesn’t everybody have a ballroom to devote solely to oversized Christmas ornaments? Of course not, but everybody can amazing holiday decor and lighting. Lighting your home for the holidays does not mean putting on a light show, but it should create a mood. Whether warm and cozy or bright and cheerful, don’t neglect one of the key elements to good design.
Icicle lights are a classic for good reason. Icicles not only provide great bang for the buck, but they cover a large area and always appear cheerful. A few simple wreaths and a flood light hidden behind a pot on the steps highlights the front door are all it takes. This cottage is in festive form and for seemingly little effort.
Another simply elegant choice for the facade of a holiday house. This house reads warm and welcoming in the Colonial manner. While pared-down, almost Puritanical garland adorns the columns, it’s the clever use of simple lighting that makes it work. A single light in each window, single strands of string lights on the railing and the hanging light fixture become the focal point. Again, super chic for little money.
For that Christmas in Connecticut look, think about a traditional cut glass lighting fixture.
Notice a theme? I think I have become a traditional minimalist and didn’t realize it.
I assume if you didn’t have the ballroom, you certainly had a barn. Maybe in another life.
This foyer uses existing lighting to make a statement. Crystal chandeliers will reflect light all over the hall creating holiday sparkle which enhances the garland decorations.
Here is an example of a chandelier that is elegant, reflective in quality and would be a shining and smashing addition to the holiday home.
If you choose to create a warm and cozy environment, use old world brass table lamps and dimmers. I would avoid harsh recessed lighting. This room happens to be dark, so shiny, brass lighting works as a counter to the swags and carpet. The scone shades are dark to tame the light, the brass lamp has a solid brass shade and the hanging light fixture is also in classic brass.
If you entertain, I suggest candlestick lamps on bars and buffets. They will provide light but take up very little room, allowing you surface space for food and drinks. Who wants to wrestle with a giant lamp when spiked egg nog beckons.
Simple and slender. The long and lean candlestick lamp suits the sideboard.
Speaking of dinner...if happy holidays is literal in your home, this casual form of lighting works well. It’s not serious, in fact, it’s downright playful and pretty. It’s amazing how many uses there are for the icicles.
Don’t forget to use picture lights if you want to feature special paintings. I love the simple garland detail, but it’s the picture light that draws you in to even notice the holiday display.
I think this is fabulous. Who said red and green are the only way to celebrate. By using colors you already love on a traditional wreath form, you will have captured the holiday spirit in your own and very unique way.
This unique ceramic cockatoo lamp can be dressed-up to suit your personal style and Christmas color-scheme.
In case you blow a fuse with all of these helpful hints, there is nothing like a little candlelight to make the season warm and bright.
Photos Courtesy of elledecor, marthastewart, tartanscot, house of turquoise, new york social diary, hitdecors.org.