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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Vintage window frames have such charm and character... and also the potential to be transformed and repurposed into some pretty practical and functional pieces! I love the rustic and weathered look that an old window brings to a contemporary space and I've found some fabulous DIY ideas for making an old window into something new. (Please note: old window frames may be finished in lead paint, so be cautious when working with them!)
Above: simple and chic, an antique window with glass is set on a pair of bourgeois crates for a utilitarian coffee table with serious style.
Cardboard pieces cut to size replace the glass in this old paneled window to create large scale wall art. Patterned wallpaper pieces (you could use inexpensive scrapbook paper too) are attached with spray adhesive.
Wire mesh stapled to the back of a vintage window creates the perfect place to hang pairs of earrings, while small s-hooks attached to the frame allow necklaces to be hung tangle-free. This jewelry display makes a big impact in a bedroom without breaking the bank.
Perfect for apartment dwellers, this DIY laundry drying rack is a simple window frame attached securely to the wall with hinges.
This salvaged window gets a new life with the addition of a barn board shelf and some chalkboard paint to become a sweet family message center. (Adding decorative hooks to the underside of the shelf would make a great place to store your keys!)
What's your favorite way to transform an old window frame into something new?
Images: Eldrids, CraftyNest, The Borrowed Abode, Melinda Dame Christensen on Pinterest, Post Road Vintage.
Budgets can be a tricky thing. We are bombarded daily with images in magazines and online of homes that we dream about, pine after and covet. The problem is that most of us don’t have the means to engage a designer or to realize our entire wish list. Now, while I can do some crafty things around the house, the sky is not the limit on my skill, however, the “insider” tips in this post are not so difficult to recreate. With any makeover, your’s should begin at the front door. This Regency-Style house has a decidedly 1960s vibe, so instead of fighting it and spending money to make it modern, the owners have embraced the style (which is totally a hot look in Los Angeles these days). A fresh coat of glossy paint on the doors, centered hardware (which is the hottest look in hardware), and replacement outdoor sconces are all you need! The homeowners were wise to make sure the wall lights mimic the vertical lines of the narrow side windows and front doors.
When in doubt, drape it! Some people think draping is a cop-out. I think if you can’t afford cabinetry, new doors and expensive furniture, fabric is your friend. I have always been able to find the money in a budget to use real doors on closets, but there is no shame if you can’t, plus using fabric will introduce texture and possibly pattern into your home. When it comes to inherited sinks that you can’t replace, I think a pop of color under the sink is a fine solution. The same goes with closets, tables and desks. When it comes to installing fabric under the sink, all you need is some Velcro to make the magic happen and voila, you have now covered up the cleaning supplies...and you thought I wasn’t handy.
If a full kitchen renovation is not in the budget, installing simple, open shelves might be the prefect budget-friendly solution. Here is the thing, don’t feel like you are settling because they can look fantastic! The only drawback is that you will need to have super cute dishes and glassware.
If you can’t afford a full bathroom remodel, consider updated ceiling lights. Vintage can be great until it becomes grungy. I love these simple and inexpensive bare bulbs. The trick is to spruce up the cord. Try covering the wire with cute thread or the really chic beads seen above. Make sure the materials you use are approved (UL or otherwise) for your lighting situation.
Most designers use flea markets and thrift stores when designing interiors. It’s a sure way to find one-of-a-kind items and save money. Usually we will recover and refinish what we buy, but sometimes it’s a home run out of the gate like the gold upholstered desk chair above. The retro chair works because the room has gold table lamps and a funky gold wall sculpture. The other pictures show you how you can create a gallery wall with one trip to the thrift store, or find chairs that can be instantly updated through paint and new fabric.
When in doubt, paint it. A coat of fresh white paint will always look clean and fresh, whether inside or out; it’s timeless and cleansing. Instead of spending money on expensive runners or new floors consider “renovating” the floors with a painted pattern to add interest, which means you won’t add interest on your credit card.
Photos courtesy of Boglestreet, Decorno, Manhattan Nest, Domino, EST Magazine, Decor 8, Atlanta Homes Magazine
Interior designer Jennifer Hsu recently designed a nursery for her first baby. I fell in love with her clean, classic and refreshing design. Often nursery designs center too much on a theme and the design can become quickly dated after the child enters toddler years. Jennifer offers a few tips for designing a classic nursery that will function and look beautiful for many years.
LAMPS PLUS: How would you define your style?
JENNIFER HSU: My style is really a mix of modern and classic. I love to incorporate classic architectural details and mix in furniture pieces with clean lines, or vice versa. I also like to use rustic pieces with more refined furnishings. It is that balance between the old and the new that conveys a sense of history and a lived-in feel to a refined and polished space.
LAMPS PLUS: What inspires your design?
JENNIFER HSU: I majored in painting at art school; therefore, art and art history has always influenced my design aesthetic. I draw inspiration from the colors, textures, lines, and the sense of scale from all types of art mediums. As a result, I have a keen sense of color combinations that play a big role in my design process.
LAMPS PLUS: What are a few tips for designing a classic baby nursery?
JENNIFER HSU: A classic baby nursery is something that is timeless and not a lot of fuss. It is a soothing and calming place to be. To achieve a classic aesthetic, I prefer to use furniture with clean lines that are thoughtfully designed, but not overly designed. I select color palettes that are fresh and soothing and juxtapose them with some fun accent colors. I also like to bring in some traditional architectural elements and mix it up with modern furniture pieces.
LAMPS PLUS: Children's room designs change so often. What is your advice for designing a nursery that will last through toddler years?
JENNIFER HSU: My biggest advice for this is to go with a design you will enjoy and that works with you and your baby from day to day and don't concern yourself with trends. Use furniture that will grow with your child, like a crib that will become a toddler bed. Select furniture that can be multi-purposed, like a dresser that doubles as a changing table. This way you can get a lot more use out of the furniture well into the toddler years. Also, don't focus too much on a theme; children change what they like very often. Keep the background neutral and clean so adapting design changes from a baby nursery to a todder's room is that much easier.
LAMPS PLUS: How do you maximize storage in a baby's room?
JENNIFER HSU: Selecting kids furniture that has more than one purpose is a great way to maximize space. A crib that has a changing station that can be placed right on top or a crib with storage space underneath the mattress are great options. Another option is a dresser that can be used as a changing table. There are also many options in the market for folding or portable furniture that is easy to store when not in use. You can also maximize storage and save floor space by utilizing the wall space, like hanging the laundry bag on a wall hook instead of buying a floor hamper. Use wall mount shelves to put away books and toys. Organize the closet so you can store as many toys, diapers, and clothes as possible. Custom, built-in furniture is a clever way to make the most of every nook and cranny in a home. I love incorporating them because their custom nature has the ability to offer endless style and configuration options tailored to any space. Most importantly, only buy items and furniture you truly need.
LAMPS PLUS: What is your advice for incorporating artwork into a nursery?
JENNIFER HSU: I think it is very important to incorporate artwork into any space and especially into a nursery. Artwork doesn't have to be expensive; it could be as simple as a photocopy of a page from a favorite children's book or a shadow box containing items from their first days in the hospital. Your child's participation by painting their little hands and feet and stamping them onto a canvas is even more special. Whatever it is, it should be personal and speak to you and your child. Bringing artwork into the nursery also adds that extra layer of design and perhaps an unexpected splash of color to the space.
LAMPS PLUS: What are your favorite light fixtures for a nursery?
JENNIFER HSU: Although I like a grown-up looking nursery, I realize it is for a baby and should not lose that sense of fun and whimsy. Light fixtures are a perfect accent to bring those elements in. I like the Possine Euro Design Dandelion Chandelier - it is modern, light, and very whimisical. The Jonathan Adler Giraffe Wall Sconce will look so cute either next to a window, dresser, or above the side tables once the baby has transitioned to a big boy or girl's bed. I also like the Uttermost Burleson Natural Twine Pendant Light because of its classic shape wrapped in neutral burlap. The pendant will work with a lot of nursery styles.
Possini Euro Design Dandelion Chandelier
Jonathan Adler Giraffe Wall Sconce
Uttermost Burleson Natural Twine 3-Light Pendant Light
Images: Jessica Comingore
Knowing how to balance indoor lighting can be tricky. Unless you are a vampire, most people love light in its many forms which means sunlight during the day and ample artificial light at night. While a combination of both is usually ideal, there are times when natural light is ideal and times when artificial light is critical. Here are some images to help you visualize the best way to approach lighting.
Natural light is perfect for art studios. Visiting an artist’s studio will reveal their love of natural and northern light. While painting at night will require artificial light, there is nothing more true than using daylight for creating a masterpiece.
Another time natural light might be preferable is in a summer cottage. I hope that when you intend to get away from it all it means you will not be burning the midnight oil. This summer house bedroom relies on natural light to bathe the room with ocean and sky. There is a light for reading, and a barely visible sconce for evening, but this is the type of room that prefers to embrace natures rays for illumination.
There are times, however, when artificial light is a necessity, especially when you are dealing with internal rooms like kitchens and bathrooms. Small urban kitchens tend to be small and windowless. As a result, it’s important to have a great kitchen lighting scheme. Under cabinet lights are necessary for tasks, and bright ceiling lights and recessed lights are important to light the entire space. The bright cabinetry also helps in keeping the space upbeat.
This bedroom is generally dark and the built-in bunk beds require that artificial light be installed for reading. I love the cozy atmosphere the wall lights make within the little boy caves.
Another time artificial light is necessary is where longer winters and less sunlight prevail. This Swedish living room is kept bright not only through white walls and light floors but through the sparkling crystal chandelier and spot lights.
Most of us are not artists or live in Sweden which means we probably fall somewhere in between wanting and needing pure natural light and artificial light. I couldn’t love this kitchen more. It’s totally chic but it’s even more interesting because of the way they address the lighting. The large windows let in natural light by day but they have installed dual accordion ceiling lights and the oversized industrial pendants for when it becomes dark. Remember, at night, windows become large black holes, so it’s important to install lighting to compensate.
This kitchen balances natural and artificial light beautifully. The skylight is great for daytime cooking and baking, while the abundant recessed lights keep the room bright for evening.
This bathroom balances natural and artificial light just like the kitchen above. If you have an internal bathroom, installing a skylight is a wonderful way to let in sunlight. They have also wisely placed a mirror on the back wall to reflect sunlight as well as the artificial light. Another designer trick that many of these rooms use to keep things bright is a fresh coat of white paint...works every time.
Photos courtesy of The Zhush, House of Turquoise, Katiedid.
I caught up with talented interior designer Shirry Dolgin and she shared 10 tips for designing a living room. The living room is often the center of the home and where you entertain guests and gather as a family. See below for Shirry's expert advice for creating a beautiful and functional living room design.
LAMPS PLUS: What is the first step in developing a design concept for a living room?
SHIRRY DOLGIN: The first thing I would recommend is to nail down the furniture floor plan. This is vital in ensuring the room will function properly. Try to make at least one focal point, have enough seating, and make sure there is good traffic flow around the furniture pieces.
LAMPS PLUS: What are a few tips for adding personality to the living room design?
SHIRRY DOLGIN: One of the easiest ways to add personality is by installing a unique lighting fixture. If you think about it, the lighting in a room can really dictate the personality. Something like an arc lamp gives a throw back to the 1970s, while a crystal chandelier offers a completely different feel.
LAMPS PLUS: How is the living room unique from other rooms in the home?
SHIRRY DOLGIN: The reason the living room is unique from the rest of the home is because it's a public space in the home, unlike the bedrooms, where the family lives and people are entertained. So therefore, it needs to feel inviting and it has to serve many purposes. Think about the number of activities you do in a living room; everything from watching TV, to playing board games with your family, or hosting sporting events. So all these activities need to be considered when designing this space. In the living room featured, I seperated the living room into 3 zones which include the main sofa area, a dining nook, and a reading corner.
LAMPS PLUS: Is there a rule of thumb for selecting the right size area rug?
SHIRRY DOLGIN: I would say that the rule of thumb is the area rug needs to be large enough to at least fit under the front legs of all the furniture sitting on it. If you think your thinking of buying a rug and trying to choose between two sizes, go for the larger one!
LAMPS PLUS: How do you decide on the type of seating options?
SHIRRY DOLGIN: This really is a matter of the size of the room and how people move around the space. Placing two sofas in a room requires a lot of square footage because you still want to be able to move around them. The nice thing about using one sofa and two chairs is that it gives you the opportunity of introducing another fabric and furniture style in the space.
LAMPS PLUS: What are some tips for creating intimate lighting in the living room?
SHIRRY DOLGIN: I feel it's important to think of lighting in different heights and at different times of the day. General recessed lighting is great, but it's so important to having lighting at eye level to create different moods in a room. This is why sconces and lamps are fantastic for lighting a space. Try using pairs of lamps or sconces to create a focal point at one end of a room and incorporate a mirror that to reflect the light back.
Another great tip is to add under cabinet lights below a buffet or credenza. If you have a piece of furniture like a buffet which sits on legs, then you can simply install a strip LED light to achieve a nice glow from under the piece of furniture. This is perfect if you want a dim light in a hallway for those late night trips to the kitchen.
LAMPS PLUS: I love that you used a ceiling fan in your design! What are your favorite modern ceiling fans from Lamps Plus?
SHIRRY DOLGIN: These are my 3 favorite ceiling fans on Lamps Plus right now...
36" Casa Vieja Revolve Ceiling Fan
54" Casablanca Stealth Brushed Nickel Ceiling Fan
60" Edge Possini Euro Design Ceiling Fan
Images: Erika Bierman
A weary greeting from your very jet-lagged design blogger. I am just back from a quick trip to Belgium and Amsterdam where I was amazed around every corner and canal. International Design can be a vast topic so I simply wanted to share some of my images and ideas that I have captured of my time in amazing Amsterdam. Needless to say, I was lucky with clear weather so I was able to zip around the city with dry feet and a ready camera. Amsterdam is beautiful and if you can avoid being hit by the thousands of bike riders, it’s a glorious place to meander. While I found endless inspiration from the funky little shops and creatively dressed Dutch, I wanted to take real inspiration from the outwardly visible city and the history it imparts.
The flower market is insane. There is an endless row of merchants selling flowers, and countless amounts of flower bulbs. Such spring joy in the middle of March! If you can believe, bunches of 50 tulips were selling for what amounts to $9. Sign me up.
The Dutch were and are masters of living in small spaces. The trick, I think, is to open your house to as much light as possible. The windows in Amsterdam are enormous not only in 17th Century homes, but on the houseboats alike.
As I strolled around the city, I started to realize a common design theme or thread on many of the houses...red. Perhaps it’s because the city’s coat of arms has red in the background? I certainly know it’s not because of the famous Red Light District.
Bold and not ashamed who knows it.
Adorning a rather uneven and ancient home.
Although the red is subtle, it’s even on the clock on top of this church.
What I also love is that even though you are surrounded by so much history, the Dutch are innovative, creative and love modern design. This modern, geometric table lamp speaks to me in that way. The pop of red reminds me of Amsterdam, while the shape and Faux Boise drum shade expresses a need for something fresh and modern.
Traditionalists will love this expressive red ceramic table lamp. Again, the pop of red looks great and evokes Amsterdam’s playful side.
I was amazed by this enormous drum-shaped outdoor light fixture. Thoroughly antique, it’s scale was to be marveled. There is no missing this house in dense fog on a canal.
Here is another great example of how the Dutch marry the old and new. This shop had a covered entrance in which they placed these giant globe-shaped ceiling lights. The lighting was so crisp and modern against the building that was hundreds of years old. I can’t say enough about how much I loved this city and the playful spirit they bring to design. I have learned to not take design so seriously and that there is a big and fabulous world to explore.
Photos courtesy of this blogger
If there weren't a tree hanging overhead, it would be easy to assume this luxurious space was indoors. That's the key to creating stunning outdoor rooms - designing an area that's every bit as comfortable and stylish as if it were inside. I designed this outdoor room for my client, a Prince, to take in the incredible views from his Mulholland retreat.
A fire pit not only creates a warm and wonderful focal point for your outdoor room, it also allows you to continue to enjoy the space on cooler evenings and even into fall and winter. If a real fire pit isn't an option, gather lots of candles of all different sizes to achieve a similar effect. An outdoor candelabra is another solution - just make sure you place it far from trees and bushes.
A rug is the perfect way to define your space and establish the feeling of an actual room. It's also a simple way to cover up dying grass or an ugly concrete slab! If you have an old rug handy, throw it down and get to work. Otherwise, there are a multitude of options in outdoor rugs. I love the way this Knot Grey Indoor Outdoor Rug combines nature with a modern print.
You can change your whole backyard and turn your trees into works of art just with lighting! An outdoor hanging light instantly illuminates your space and lends the feeling of being indoors. To achieve big impact, don't focus on lighting your yard, focus on hitting your trees with light. Landscape lighting can make your trees dance and create an ooooh la la look.
These twig LED lights are so cool and create a lot of vibe. Tuck them into a planter or use them to construct a perimeter for your outdoor room. Stringing rope lights through your trees, bushes, or as a canopy also adds major wow.
Creating outdoor rooms doesn't necessarily have to be expensive. If you have an old bench, table, or chairs cluttering up the garage, pull them out and give them a fresh, colorful coat of paint. Then protect them from the elements with a non-toxic marine varnish. Since it's made for boats, it's definitely water and weatherproof. Add more color and your own personal design vibe with fun outdoor fabrics - Sunbrella is one of my favorites. Then sit back and enjoy an outdoor room that's all your own!
Images: Kari Whitman Interiors
Do we ever really think much about our desk lamps? Well, we should. As I write this post I’m taking a moment to silently thank my trusty desk lamp that gets me through the day and throughout the darkness of night. Desk lamps are essential and are very versatile. Investing in a good desk lamp is naturally important for your workspace, but can always be used in a pinch on a bar, nightstand or side table. Because the scale of a desk lamp is generally small they are very portable. Many of us have been hearing about LED lighting for some time now but still have no clue about what it means and how they work. In a nutshell, LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes. LED lights offer high efficiency and long service life. Below are 10 Stylish new LED desk lamps that fit every style and budget.
For The Traditionalist:
Kichler LED Bronze Adjustable Balance Arm Desk Lamp
For The Stealth Student:
Koncept Gen 3 Z-Bar Daylight LED Modern Desk Lamp Silver
For The Architect:
Reach Steel Adjustable LED Desk Lamp
For the Preppy:
Lite Source Light Blue Flat Head LED Desk Lamp
For The Musician:
Black and Brass 19" Wide LED Piano Lamp
For The Artist:
Gen 2 Z Bar Red Finish Warm White LED Desk Lamp
For Your Inner-Celebrity :
Tube Shade Steel Finish LED Desk Lamp
For Your Little Girl:
Little Monster Pink Bendable LED Desk Lamp
For The World Traveler:
Flip Battery-Powered LED Desk and Travel Light
For The Surface Challenged:
Mondoluz Pelle Chromium LED Swing Arm Wall Lamp
Images: Lamps Plus
Spring is the beginning of remodeling projects. Kitchen and bathrooms are generally very popular rooms to start the remodel process. As you put together your kitchen inspiration and wish list boards, don't forget just how important lighting is in the design. As I peruse through our online lighting catalog, I picked out my favorite industrial kitchen lighting picks for Spring updates.
I love the look of an industrial kitchen! Residential designers are taking a cue from restaurant designs and incorporating the same industrial look into homes. Industrial light fixture sets the kitchen lighting apart from the lighting in the rest of the house. What are your favorite industrial kitchen light fixtures?
Kichler Saddler Olde Bronze Opal Glass Mini Pendant
Retro Industrial Outdoor Ceiling Light
Hinkley Reef Collection Outdoor Hanging Light
Image: From Greenwich
I’m no survivalist, but I must admit that I’m really getting into nature and specifically organic materials in lighting. I think we have become so conditioned to look at lighting as something crafted in metals or ceramic that we forget to see how amazing woods, rattan and cork can look as a lighting source in our homes. From baskets to tree-inspired, designing green has a bright future when it comes to floor lamps and other home lighting.
I am going to clobber you with three great and moderately different visions of the basketweave ceiling light. The first, a darker, more open weave version is stunning against the crisp white walls. It has a sculptural quality that, though rustic, compliments the contemporary interior and adds much needed texture. I love the single bulb and wish I could catch a glimpse of the amazing reflection of the basket pattern on the walls at night!
This second style has a craftier feel. The more natural color is better suited to the more muted tones in the space, such as the warm wood floors and taupe painted beams. The haphazard way the paper has been applied to the ceiling light has an almost decoupage feel and naturally softens the glow of the light when illuminated.
Will I date myself if I tell you this room reminds me of the totally 1980s movie, Summer Lovers? While the movie takes place in Greece, this organic hanging ceiling light plays the starring role in this simplistic design which has a decidedly Greek feel. The variety of materials and new designs in modern ceiling lights never cease to amaze me.
Organic lighting doesn’t need to look rough. This mechanical wood floor lamp is divine. It marries natural materials with contemporary styling. Additionally, the warm wood tones help to soften the stark walls and floor.
Another option is to take the floor lamp in a more freeform direction. This twig-shaped tripod version would be ideal for lodges and cabins. It works beautifully in this home because everything is eclectic and nature abounds as stone walls, woven carpets and linen sofas.
I know, right? Amazing. Not only does this Linden tripod floor lamp exude natural beauty but it’s so stylish. The Mid-Century form is completely modern yet pays homage to classic design.
Don’t laugh but I had a cork wall in my bedroom growing up. Yes, I did hang my Pink Floyd posters there and knowing it was probably only a phase, my mother didn’t say a word. Look at cork now! These lamps are beyond cool. Natural, organic and so fun to study. I think they would look amazing in a beach style house.
This jute wrapped table lamp is the ultimate in organic lighting style. Can we discuss the Lucite base? It adds a pop of sophistication to this natural beauty. Honestly, I think this lamp could go just about anywhere and look good.
I admit, this accordion-style, adjustable swing arm lamp is a bit kooky, crunchy and granola, but it makes me smile. Grow a beard and you will get it...unless of course you are a woman.
Elevating organic to elegance. This wood beaded chandelier is composed of mostly natural elements but reinterprets a classic French Empire Style chandelier. Dressing down never looked so chic.
Just keeping you on your toes with this natural wool wrapped light fixture. Totally unique, very tactile and oozing an organic aesthetic.
Images: If The Lamp Shade Fits, The Designer Pad