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.
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Using room dividers that rule is one of my favorite ways to create designer vignettes in homes big and small. A room divider can help carve out distinct areas in a tiny apartment, but it’s also a smart solution for making a big space feel cozier and more user-friendly.
The "window walls" I designed in this Mulholland mansion's chic Dining Room were crafted from over 3,000 small pieces of recycled wood. The result is a room that feels private but lets in natural light, stunning views and the “essence” of the rest of the home.
To recreate the look in your own space, skip the custom carpentry and check out this Double Happiness Wood Room Divider. Arrange the four panels in a configuration that works for you, or display it flat against a wall as an eye-catching art piece.
I'm in love with this color! And this vibrant, turquoise-hued spider web screen will create the feeling of a separate space while still allowing light to stream through.
This black and white room divider is modern, graphic, and brings a bit of the outdoors in - my favorite design element! The four panels offer extra width and the solid construction would allow for total privacy for a bedroom nook.
Room dividers that rule don't have to stretch towards the ceiling. This hip zebra wood bar cabinet could be pushed against a wall to display classic shakers and bottles, but you could also set it perpendicular to a wall to create a sense of two separate spaces. During parties, play bartender and stand behind it to serve your guests their speciality cocktails.
Think outside the box. Room dividers that rule can also come from above! Group four of these wonderful crystal pendant lights in a row to cordon off a section of a room and lend a magic glow. These would be perfect to transition from the living room into an office, or to separate a kitchen from the dining area. Remember, you want the lights to hang low enough to create a natural divide, but not so low that someone might hit their head!
You can even achieve the look of a room divider without a single new piece of furniture by using paint. Create the sense of a separate space by painting adjacent walls (or even the same wall) contrasting colors or a light and dark version of a favorite shade.
My eco-friendly, do-it-yourself paint kit Wall Makeup can help you mix up ideal custom colors and save money without wasting tester cans of paint. So grab a few friends, pick up some brushes or rollers and get creative to make a statement that sets off your space!
Images: Kari Whitman
If you think about how much time you spend in bed and how much you can really do from your bedroom, it makes sense to take great care when designing your bedside table. From reading and working on your computer to lazy Sunday mornings with the paper and coffee, your nightstand needs to be great. I’m sure some people think all that’s required boils down to a tabletop for a lamp and alarm clock. I weep for you if this is the case. Of course I could live in my bed and thus require a giant nightstand with surface space for books, laptops, magazines, pictures, watches and a candle. Oh, I’m not finished... I also have a drawer for glasses, crossword puzzle books, and who knows what else. The bottom line? I essentially have a u-haul next to my bed. Enough about me. Feast your eyes on nine great nightstands.
The crisp and uncluttered nightstand remains mostly white except for the graphic ceramic table lamp. It’s very important to have proper lighting by your bed for reading and tasks. Even if you prefer a clean modern bedroom, don’t forget little luxuries like flowers and a wee tray to contain smaller objects.
The exotic bedside allows your imagination to run wild. Make sure everything tells a story and is fascinating on its own. This night stand was formally an Oriental box on a stand, but is the perfect surface for the over-the-top pineapple lamp.
The Hollywood Hipster nightstand has real energy. I love the infusion of mid-century elements. The nightstand has enough surface space and much interior storage, which is so important in bedrooms. Playful patterns compliment the pure geometry of the nightstand, glass globe lamp, chair and giant ruler.
I love this glass globe table lamp. Try to infuse your own version of Hollywood Hipster into your own bedroom.
The glamour bedside table oozes with Jean Harlow and Joan Crawford style. The antiqued mirrored night stand reflects the warm glow of the true boudoir. Again, great surface space and interior storage. The clear lamp has a feminine shape that offsets the lines of the table but works beautifully with the curves found in the tufted chair.
The small space needs to think vertically. This tight bedside maximizes surface space by using a tiered table to ensure enough storage. Wisely, they installed swing-arm lamps to free-up space and create interest. Remember, lighting may be a basic need for a nightstand but it can also be used to create a design focal point.
The romantic nightstand is super feminine. The mirrored nightstand is hand painted in a delicate Chinoiserie pattern. The elegant design is reinforced with the romantic roses in a silver vase and curved lines of the ceramic table lamp and ever-so-delicate concave shade.
This masculine nightstand has a rough hewn sensibility. A subtle mix of texture and shape with an almost Neo Hemingway attention to travel and adventure. The table sports a textured finish and very contemporary chrome table top tilt light. The sleek finish of the light is a great contrast to the warm woods of the headboard.
Have a favorite macho man at home? This chrome finished pharmacy light is perfect for the ultimate man’s man. It would also look great on an office or even a dorm room.
The breezy island look of this nightstand comes from the draped fabric that adorns the bedside table. This look can be achieved simply and for little money. You could essentially use any table and simply drape it to match your decor. They have used a tray to create a stable surface for their table lamp, candle, Kleenex and flowers. A simple and stylish solution.
Short on money? The flea market style bedside table can be as cute and funky as you wish. The retro nightstand is quirky and seems to be all that the homeowner needs. Due to the small scale of the table the accessories have been pared-down to fit. A smaller lamp with replacement shade, a small clock and small books round out the vignette.
Photos courtesy of Rue, Chinoiserie Chic, Zhush, Katiedid
Luxe, opulent, over the top, and commanding attention. This year, lighting is moving from a supporting role to a star player in the design world! One distinct design trend spotted at Toronto's Interior Design Show is ostentatious lighting, and I love this shift towards lighting becoming the design centerpiece and spotlight in a room. Here's how dictionary.com defines ostentatious:
os·ten·ta·tious[os-ten-tey-shuhs] adjective1.characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others: an ostentatious dresser.2.(of actions, manner, qualities exhibited, etc.) intended to attract notice: Lady Bountiful's ostentatious charity.
Here's a round-up of some of my favorite large chandeliers and pendant lights that definitely intend to attract notice:
Bold geometric lines in glossy polished nickel and sleek fluted crystal accents are a modern take on a traditional chandelier. At 39" wide. this graphic modern stunner is not for the faint of heart.
This faceted beauty has the look of leaded Tiffany glass, re-interpreted in a modern and on-trend way. Imagine it suspended above a traditional wood dining table - the juxtaposition of styles will definitely bring the wow factor.
Reminiscent of an armillary sphere, this globe fixture's 36" wide chrome finish frame encloses twelve frosted glass cubes. This fixture would look amazing suspended in a grand foyer or above a sweeping staircase.
Organic spots of color are artistically applied to over forty clear glass globes, evoking the style of Murano Millefiori glass. This unusual pop of color elevates this contemporary chrome and glass fixture to a theatrical new level.
Graceful overlapping layers with the look of sheets of ice create an extravagant pendant chandelier. Although delicate in design, its impressive 34" wide size is bold and conspicuous.
The glittering disco-era is re-imagined in this breathtaking crystal pendant light. If this 24" wide version isn't enough drama for you, don't worry - it's also available as a grandiose 36" wide crystal pendant light.
Which is your favorite of these bold and beautiful chandeliers? Will you be rocking an attention-getting light fixture in your own home this year?
The holidays are just a memory and spring is too far off to give off more than a glimmer of hope. Winter is a long time going this time of year and days blend into a bland repetition of unending routine. There’s no better time to inject a little drama - the good kind - into your life and there’s no better way to do it than with a good injection of black and white. They’re the drama queens of the decorative palette and together, they’re a virtual opera of punch. Too often, we associate black and white color schemes with polished minimalist or the cold chic of certain Italian interiors, but they’re marvelously flexible actors, suited to many moods and styles - though always dramatic.
Take this stylish dining area (above) for example. It holds a number of lessons in black and white. One is that this is a color combination that picks up impact along with scale. The over-sized graphic pieces together authors’ names in a fascinating and dramatic presence, while a black hanging lamp and chairs play effortlessly against the rustic gate leg table. The floor hasn’t been neglected, though this time it’s been given a coat of white that brightens the whole space.
We all have a tendency to think of black and white as just two stark colors, but both have a range of hues that invite experimentation and often produce surprisingly textured results. In this loft-like sleeping space, for instance, the rough wash on the wall actually combines both our primary colors and yields an invitingly restful result. A gray floor lamp and blue gray linens add depth to the picture, while the black contemporary side chair and delicately functional side tables give the whole thing just the right touch of punch. It’s all there to see in black and white.
A bedroom is one of the easiest - and least expensive - places to get the benefit of black and white. All that’s required are a contemporary bedside lamp (this one does double duty as a functional reading light) and a couple of accent pieces like the stool that also stands in for a nightstand. White linens are the dramatic and inviting counterpoint. A coverlet in a complimentary tone helps pull everything together. Instant makeover.
In this sitting room setting, a black wall going toward gray perfectly sets off a traditionally hung collection of vintage prints and portraits while an ebony wash adds a stylish touch to a plank floor. (Hint: that’s a low cost alternative to refinishing or replacing a wooden floor.) A black lamp sits dramatically on a dark mahogany pedestal table and, suddenly, a worn leather chair has soul.
Black and white adapt perfectly to rustic or distressed decorating schemes and, in this example, beautifully enhance the weathered door that has found new life as an intriguing coffee table. Similarly, a nubby throw brings a touch of cozy into the picture, while a black and white print in a black and white frame creates a dramatic presence. A vintage lamp and a selection of contemporary accessories, like the polished stool, help pull it all into comfortable togetherness. Who knew drama could be so homey?
Photos via Xote
I know it’s cliche but it is Valentine’s Day. What if I promised not to post images of red roses, boxes of candy and puppies with red bows? Regardless of the day, red is an amazing color and can easily be worked into your wardrobe as well as your home. Today is all about inspiration, a few fun ways to improve your mood and redcorate your home with color and to show you how red interiors can razzle dazzle. Red, be mine!
Just because they are cute.
White doors are great, but a spicy red door is unique. When used in a traditional space like this, I am reminded of a timeless red jacket from a classic English hunt. I know it may seem avant garde but it’s truly timeless. The faux marble trim and base moldings make the door pop more than if the trim were pure white.
A punch of red with the use of curtains or this shelf is a great way to add energy to any space.
You can also update old outdoor furniture with a rich coat of red paint. Turn some old teak into a fiery spot for a romantic smooch.
A saturated red like these chairs always looks good against a crisp white background. You can achieve this designer look with an old table by painting the legs a deep lacquered red. I would avoid painting the tabletop. The glass top helps to keep the room from looking like a fire truck.
This contemporary red swivel counter stool would look great in both traditional or contemporary kitchens and is a soft place to land.
The red drum ceiling lights of this kitchen adds warmth to this modern kitchen. Always remember, you are in control of your space. If you want to introduce color but are not totally confident, take baby steps with accessories and lighting before you go “all out.”
I like how they kept the counter stools white to balance the red dining chairs. Too much of one thing can look over-the-top. Again, the white walls and dark floors temper the red pagoda-style chairs and red ceiling lights.
This bright red pendant shade is a good first step redecorating in red.
Don’t overlook the details.
Another simple way to decorate with red. Most of the room remains white while punches of red in the cheerful table lamps and bench add visual energy. It’s a minor commitment with a big and bold effect. Happy Valentine’s Day and remember red is not only for hearts and bon bons.
Photos courtesy of Chinoiserie Chic, Desire to Inspire, agri-supply.co.uk
I think every home should exhibit a nod to nature and natural elements. Natural materials add texture and warmth to a home which translates to comfort. Touching something organic is instantly familiar and visually important to most spaces. Whether you introduce more greenery to a space or natural linen fabrics, every element counts and should be celebrated. To me, some of the most important natural materials come from world travel and the way other cultures embrace a more holistic approach to design.
As a culture we are obsessed with fabulous kitchens. Yes, I am guilty of it too, however this kitchen is a perfect example of how little we really need regarding the mod-cons (modern conveniences). Rough hewn wood counters, tables and sink surround are a humble companion to the natural marble counter above the dishwasher. I love the well-worn natural wood cutting boards propped up as if art, though fully functional.
Natural wood lamps (similar to the lamp above) echo the organic designs and are beautiful when perfectly complimented by a natural, no-fuss shade.
Just because it’s made from bare wood, doesn’t mean it can be over-the-top gorgeous, like this ornate, carved wood French table. I adore the fact that by simply looking at the table I can immediately know how it will feel to the touch.
From France to eclectic England with the introduction of natural stone-fired pottery and family heirlooms, every inch of this space is filled with nature. From the simply painted wood walls to the traditional woven cloth. Talk about no-fuss! I love that there is no fear of keeping up with the neighbors...if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Natural can also mean luxury. Worn furniture can be comfortable and cozy, but it’s a necessity. You can introduce nature elements that are fully top-drawer. Cashmere throws and beautiful embroidered linens totally count when designing a home.
Natural design elements can also look contemporary. This sleek, natural woven flush-mount ceiling light is thoroughly modern, but introduces warm wood and rattan texture to virtually any room in the house.
Let’s discuss the influence of Indian design when it comes to natural materials. While I am a huge fan of muted colors when it comes to linens and bedding, India offers some of the most richly, highly saturated colors in the world. This bedroom is serene and simple, but it’s the type of room you want to peruse slowly and touch every surface.
Replacement shades are a good way to change the look of a space and introduce natural materials.
This room exhibits a tribal/colonial approach to natural objects and fibers. Bold patterns made from organic thread adds visual interest. Grounded by a woven sisal rug and accent tables in glorious natural wood balance beautifully. The multitude of patterns is not jarring because they are all in the same, eclectic, global traveler vein.
This organic wood-top table is cute, functional and itching to introduce a natural spark to your home.
While this Indian interior may not be totally practical to your way of life, elements can be borrowed to make your home more interesting. A woven daybed or reclaimed wood table may be just enough to keep things interesting and make you move in the direction of embracing nature as the source of all things domestic.
Photos courtesy of Belgian Pearls, An Indian Summer, Eclectic Revisited
Today, I am really excited to interview interior designer, Lesley Myrick. Lesley is also an incredible collage artist and I have had the pleasure of getting to know her in the office over the last few months. Lesley's collage art is so inspirational that I wanted to ask her a few questions about incorporating personal art in your home.
LAMPS PLUS: When did you know you wanted to be an interior designer/graphic artist?
LESLEY MYRICK: I knew I wanted to be an interior designer for just about as long as I can remember. When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I decided that I wanted to rearrange the furniture in my bedroom. Of course, I was too small to push it around on my own, so thankfully my very supportive dad stepped in and did the heavy lifting for me. From then on, my love of design, decorating, space planning, and organizing only grew. By ninth grade I was choosing my classes based on an art and design emphasis and pursuing a diploma in interior design was the next step.
On the flip side, I didn't know I wanted to be a graphic artist until it just sort of...happened! In my early twenties I started playing around with mixed media and collage art and fell in love with the process. I also began blogging and out of necessity I started tinkering around with web design and web graphics to customize my blog. Friends and acquaintances began approaching me to design logos, album artwork, wedding invitations, web graphics, and custom artwork, and the "art and design" side of my business was born. I've always been the "creative type" and I think this avenue is just a natural extension of the talents I feel so blessed to have been given.
LAMPS PLUS: You first started your design career in Canada. How is the design style different in Canada versus the United States?
LESLEY MYRICK: I can't speak for all of Canada and the United States, but I've worked in both Toronto and Los Angeles and there are definitely differences in their design worlds. Interior design in Toronto is a little more refined - chic, sophisticated, tailored, and classic. Los Angeles certainly has that too, but I've found that there's more of a desire here for something different - designs that are quirky, creative, and eclectic.
LAMPS PLUS: I love your collage art! What inspires each piece?
LESLEY MYRICK: Well, thanks! I'm constantly on the lookout for interesting materials to use in my collages - scrapbook paper, vintage books, maps, magazine clippings, found ephemera and the materials I've collected definitely inspire the design. I also love words, quotes, and typefaces, so a great quote or fantastic font can spark an idea for an art piece.
LAMPS PLUS: What are a few tips for how to incorporate collage art into your home?
LESLEY MYRICK: Since creating collage is all about layering, I loved the layered, collected look for displaying it. Grouping frames in a gallery style display is perfect - a cluster of small frames gives the illusion of a larger piece of art and it's a great way to mix art and family photos in a relaxed way. I also love simple displays that have charm - above my sofa I've tacked up a length of twine that I casually clip artwork to.
LAMPS PLUS: What are some ways to add personal art to your home when you are uh...not artistically talented?
LESLEY MYRICK: The appeal of collage art is that it's simple and you never have to start from a blank canvas, you're taking existing elements and rearranging them to create something new and beautiful. Keep your eyes open for pretty textures and surfaces and play around with layering two or three of them. For exmple, a vintage book page with a cutout shape from a colorful magazine page glued on top is elegantly simple, but rich in texture. Trust your gut. Go with what feels good. And then frame it - you just made art, baby!
LAMPS PLUS: When designing a space do you select the artwork or furnishings first?
LESLEY MYRICK: I always select the furnishings first. Once the big pieces are in place, it allows you to see where wall art will fit best, as well as lighting, and home accessories. I usually have an idea of what artwork I'd like to use and where, but I don't start pounding nails into the wall until I know the main furniture pieces are in place and the space is functioning and flowing well. (Although admittedly, I'm impatient and sometimes just want to hang something up to feel a sense of accomplishment!)
LAMPS PLUS: What do you love most about the Giclee lamps?
LESLEY MYRICK: I love that you can mix and match different shades and bases to create a look that really "clicks" for you. The paley white base on the Silver Baroque Giclee Paley White Table Lamp is my favorite - the glossy candlestick style is so chic and looks expensive!
LAMPS PLUS: Because you are constantly perusing the Lamps Plus catalog, you have had the chance to see a wide variety of our products. What are 3 cool light fixtures that you just love?
LESLEY MYRICK: We've got some modern lighting with fabulous design lines. I love the fact that these fixtures have such beautiful curves and angles that they're stunning in simple white - no color or embellishment needed. Even though I adore color and pattern, I have a weakness for the classic elegance of black and white.
Eloise White Wire Table Lamp
Robert Abbey Delta Lily Table Lamp
Tetra Collection Tiffany Style 4-Light Large Chandelier
Images: Lesley Myrick
Purple and lavender can be tricky to use when choosing to use the color in your home. If you immediately conjure up images of Doris Day movies or your long-gone grandmother’s bedroom, I pity you, because lavender can be insanely chic. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Pillow Talk and lavender, if used sparingly and properly.
Lavender is primarily a feminine color, but not always, and can add visual excitement with very little effort. The delicate purple bird found in the Chinoiserie wallpaper is used as a jumping off point to introduce the purple ceramic table lamp, pale lavender upholstered chair cushions and painting. Although this room reads “colorful” it is primarily a neutral space.
All it takes is one bold beautiful table lamp to set the tone for a designer-inspired space.
Here is a more contemporary interior using lavender as a highly successful accent color. I think it’s very stylish to pair the lavender covered antique French chair with the other blocky, geometric pieces of furniture. Notice how the chair becomes a true focal point, yet the space remains soothing?
This traditional library is intended to be cozy and warm. By upholstering in darker shades of purple and lavender velvet the room takes on a clubby and more masculine vibe. Another trick to de-feminize the color in this room was to introduce the worn, brown leather sofa, dark walls and a warm ceiling light in brass.
Making lavender appear more tropical is easy. By using gauzy, lavender linen for the curtains, this room exhibits a more casual feel. Remember the “tooth” or “feel” of your fabric will usually dictate how the room will appear.
This foyer is a study in bright and breezy. However, without the deeper, purple patterned area rug to ground the space, you may feel that you have approached the pearly gates a tad too soon!
I could write volumes about how much I love this silk and seagrass lavender wallpaper. The soft and gentle tones of this paper make it soothing to the eye. Mind you, anything darker, in my opinion, would be vulgar. Black lamp shades and mirror grounds the space and gives the eye a place to rest. Because the walls and sofa are solid it was smart to introduce lavender in patterns for the pillows and chairs.
A lavender replacement lamp shade is a great way to revive an old lamp and create a more soothing tone to most rooms.
This eclectic bedroom is very fun and creatively designed. Hanging light fixtures add an exotic tone as they free-up space on the nightstands. Lavender accent pillows warm up the pale headboard and walls without becoming overbearing. If a trip to the lavender fields of France is not on the books for this year, lavender at home may be the way to go.
Photos courtesy of Oliveaux, Cinoiserie Chic, Zhush
Nothing warms up and personalizes your home decorating like a good dose of the unexpected - like hanging chandeliers in unusual places. It offers that little pop of surprise that elevates a room and hints that the person who put it together has taste and sensibility rather than just an eye for codified style. Lighting is one of the easiest ways to introduce the unexpected into your home décor and the right fixture in the unconventional place can be daring, whimsical or even romantic. Take the chandelier, for example. There’s virtually nothing that says tradition and stuffy convention quite like an elaborate crystal or decorative iron fixture hanging from the ceiling - and nothing that gives you quite the same pop when you pry it from its routine context.
A contemporary kitchen with the requisite stainless steel appliances and island bar suddenly takes on a happy touch of old world elegance when lit with a black-beaded chandelier. The unexpected impact is that introducing a touch of elegance somehow warms the space and brings its clean contemporary lines into sharper focus. Who knew?
A hanging crystal chandelier really comes into its own when paired with an graceful standing tub and the crispness of a euro-styled bath. Add a dimmer switch and suddenly all that pristine white and gleaming nickel takes on the soft glow of romance.
A chandelier (hung out of reach) over a baby’s crib? Why not. It’s hard to imagine that a tot wouldn’t be delighted staring at that elegant glitter. One of the things this example points out is how the impact of the hanging fixture is magnified by sympathetic pairings - in this case, a couple of wonderfully rococo chairs. If this baby doesn’t grow up with an appreciation of unconventionally stylish design, it’s certainly not mom or dad’s fault!
A beaded crystal draped chandelier ought to look absurd in a stable’s box stall. . .and yet. This example may be over the top, but it’s rich in what it suggests about the chandelier’s power to imply a certain formal beauty and a sense of humor.
If there was ever a stunning example of just how versatile an elaborately traditional chandelier can be, it’s this public art piece by Werner Reiterer with a sly sense of humor. Let’s face it, wouldn’t all our streets be better and more romantically evocative places to stroll and daydream if they were lit with such fixtures? Here’s to the romantic flexibility of formal chandeliers once freed from the foyer or dining room.
Photo credits: Dominio Magazine, Nate Berkus decor, Annie Schlechter "Room for Children" Rizzoli, ChandiDesign, Werner Reiterer
Jeff Andrews: Kitchen + Bath Design
It's that time of year again when interior designers and product designers submit their best projects for California Home+Design's annual awards. The award categories include residential projects, commercial projects, kitchen + bath design, showhouse design, sustainable architecture, landscape design, and sustainable and new product design.
The big winner this year was celebrity interior designer Jeff Andrews (known for designing the homes of Ryan Secrest and Khloe Kardashian). He took home two awards - residential interior design (more than 3,000 sq. ft.) and kitchen + bath design. His stunning kitchen design is on the cover of this month's issue. Check out the lighting in the Jeff Andrews kitchen design! I love the new trend of using modern pendant lights and chandeliers in kitchens.
Jeff Andrews: Residential Interior Design (more than 3,000 sq. ft.)
San Francisco interior designer, Jeff Jeffers, took home the Residential Interior Design (less than 3,000 sq. ft.) award. I can definitely see why his style is a favorite. I love his eclectic mix of artwork in the dining room (featured below) that creates a cozy space for entertaining guests.
Jay Jeffers: Residential Interior Design (less than 3,000 sq. ft.)
Residential architecture was one of the categories of the California Home+Design's awards. The very talented Zoltan Pali, who is known for designing large modern homes in the Hollywood Hills, won the Residential Architecture (more than 3,000 sq. ft.) award. I remembered this particular project (featured below) from a past AIA home tour. I personally toured the home and can tell you that it is pretty amazing in person!
Zoltan Pali: Residential Architecture (more than 3,000 sq. ft.)
Want to see even more winners from this year's California Home+ Design awards? Head over to California Home+Design to see the complete list of this year's winners.
Images: Grey Crawford, Tim Street-Porter, Joe Fletcher, Bruce Damonte