Style Illuminated

Interior design tips and lighting ideas for today's home! Providing professional interior design advice, home decor ideas and inspiration.

  • New Uses for Old Window Frames

    Vintage window frame coffee table

    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.

    Vintage window frame wall art

    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.

     Vintage window frame jewelry holder

    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.

    Vintage window frame laundry drying rack

    Perfect for apartment dwellers, this DIY laundry drying rack is a simple window frame attached securely to the wall with hinges.

     Vintage window frame memo center

    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

  • Storage Solutions: Amazing Mudroom Designs

    Amazing Mudroom Designs

    The OCD in me loves any type of storage, so give me a back hall and some hooks and watch the birth of an amazing mudroom design. Granted, storage solutions can come in many forms, but amazing mudrooms feed the soul like no other space. I think it’s because mudrooms are designed with future generations in mind. These spaces are all about young ones learning how to tie shoe laces, store boots and hang up cute yellow slickers. No need to have massive square footage to create a functional mudroom. In fact, as long as you have a few feet of wall space, you can create a tricked-out mudroom worthy of Martha Stewart.   

    Mudroom Ideas

    I think there are a few basic rules to follow to design a successful mudroom. Obviously, you want to have the space just off an outside door. A solid surface floor is best for dealing with wet and muddy shoes. It’s not called a mudroom for nothing! So please, no carpet. 

    Hall Storage

    Great mudrooms also need bright ceiling lights, baskets and seating. Making sure you can find everything you and your kids need is very important. This traditional glass globe is a fabulous choice. I happen to love schoolhouse lighting in traditional mudrooms like this. Baskets are a cute and decorative way to stay organized. Less often used items like scarves, gloves and sporting equipment can be popped up on shelves for use down the road. 

    Oil Rubbed Bronze Ceiling Lights

    Here is a great oil-rubbed bronze style schoolhouse light fixture. Can’t you just see this in a crisp white mudroom with bead-board walls and a stone floor. Beyond cute!

    Mudrooms for Animals

    Families may not only have messy kids, but messy dogs as well. Here is a large scale mudroom that also allows for family pets. Note that convenient hooks are found in most of these mudrooms. It’s great to have a closet, but it’s very convenient to have hooks for easy access for coats. Although this space is fully functional, they have not forgotten some elegant touches such as the lantern style ceiling light.

    Mudroom Design Requirements

    Notice most of the necessary mudroom elements working in harmony? How great that they included a small shower in the corner. Not only does it keep boots clean, but can be used on dirty dogs as well!

    Storage Benches

    This all-in-one free standing storage bench incorporates almost everything you would need to create a gorgeous mudroom.

    Decorating Mudrooms

    Gown-ups and empty nesters can also benefit from a mudroom. This room is stunning. Attention to elegant finishings like the curtains, wallpaper and bench make the storage unit look more like an antique than a functional space for coats, hats and shoes. Can’t you just picture yourself coming in from a morning ride?

    Adult Mudroom Design

    The funky, adult mudroom cannot be ignored. Once the kids are gone and you embrace your creative side, this could fit the bill. Regardless of the size and aesthetic of your home, an amazing mudroom can benefit everybody and if used properly can keep the rest of your house neat and clean.

    Photos courtesy of House and Home, The inspired Room

  • 10 Tips for Designing a Living Room with Shirry Dolgin

    Neutral and Blue Living Room Design

    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.

    Shirry Dolgin and Interior Designer

    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.

    California Home and Living Room Design

    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.

    Natural and Blue Living Room Design

    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!

    Modern Fireplace and Contemporary Living Room Design

    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.

    Contemporary Living Room and Arc Lamp

    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 

  • Designers Pick their Favorite Table Lamps for Spring

    Top Table Lamps for Spring and Interior Designers

    To celebrate the (almost) Spring season, we asked 5 very talented interior designers to select their favorite table lamps for Spring. I LOVE all their picks. Incorporating a new table lamp into your decor is a really easy way to freshen up your home for Spring. Keep reading to find out what are the designers' lighting hot picks...

    Jonathan Adler Meurice Brass Table Lamp at Lamps Plus

    Vanessa De Vargas: "When I think of Spring, I think of the outdoors and spending more time doing outdoor activities - so what is more perfect than bringing the outdoors in with a bamboo lamp like the Jonathan Adler Meurice Brass Table Lamp. Gold bamboo is so elegant, but still has a classic look. Pair these on a console in an entryway or use them on top of your bedside tables. These will never go out of style!

    Jonathan Adler Capri Gourd Table Lamp at Lamps Plus

    Karen & Guy Vidal from Design Vidal: "The Jonathan Adler Capri Gourd Lamp is our Spring select because it reminds us of brightly colored Easter eggs and daffodils! It's a happy burst of sunshine."

     Blue Calliope Giclee Paley White Table Lamp at Lamps Plus

    Jenika Kurtz: "I love the Blue Calliope Giclee Paley White Table Lamp for Spring because it is light and fun. I can definitely see this sitting on a nightstand in a bright and clean room with the sunlight shining in."

    Arteriors Home Gordon Ivory Crackle Porcelain Table Lamp at Lamps Plus

    Betsy Burnham: "I like everything about the Arteriors Home Gordon Ivory Crackle Porcelain Table Lamp: the shape, which is a modern take on a classic double gourd style; the color, which is an extremely usable cool beige; and the shade, which is tailored and crisp. Equally great in the living room of a beach house, with lots of white, pale gray, linen upholstery, glass and rope elements, as in the bedroom of a chic urban apartment, with pale blue-gray walls, a clean lined upholstered headboard, and classic white percale sheets."

    Arteriors Home Mercury Frost Glass Table Lamp at Lamps Plus

    Kishani Perera: "I love the simple sophistication of the Arteriors Home Mercury Frost Glass Table Lamp. The richness of the antique brass base in contrast to the creamy patina of the mercury glass gives this piece a casual yet chic appeal. Its style and shape is not only versatile, but beautiful as well!"

    Images: Vanessa De Vargas, Karen & Guy Vidal, Jenika Kurtz, Betsy Burnham, Kishani Perera

  • Make a Statement in your Bathroom with Chandeliers

    Transitional Style Bathroom

    I suppose bathrooms could be considered utilitarian spaces...if you were a total bore. Think about it, we use our bathrooms all the time. So, should we leave them desolate and dull or spaces to remember? I opt for the latter and in doing so have a few ideas for brightening them up. I totally understand that bathroom renovations can be costly and for such a small space, can seem unimportant. An easy way to improve the look of your bathroom is to install a bathroom chandelier. Depending upon your ceiling height, you can select a light fixture that is big or small, or even a fabulous flush mount. Regardless of space, it’s simply something to consider.

    Traditional Bathroom Design

    A small scale crystal chandelier can set a romantic tone. To keep current, try to find a chandelier surrounded by a simple drum shade like this particular fixture. Granted the ceilings are tall in this space, but it will still work in a standard height room.

    Small Chandeliers

    Here is a beautiful small scale drum shade crystal chandelier. Whether it’s placed over your bathtub or in a jewel-box powder room, it will add just enough sparkle to keep the space lively.

    Rustic Bathroom Decor

    Chandeliers, although formal, can be dressed down. By selecting a ceiling light without crystals, you can instantly keep some romance without the glitz. This bathroom remains minimalist yet still feminine with a touch of luxury.

    White Bathroom Ideas

    I doubt you could get more classic than this master bathroom. Subway tile, check. Timeless nickel faucets, check. Schoolhouse style sconces, check. Chandelier? Yes, the perfect light source for over the alcove housing the super soaker tub. Of course it would have been very easy to have installed recessed lighting in the tub area and call it a day, but the addition of the small scale glass chandelier, introduces a little dose of luxury.  

    Designer Bathrooms

    While this bathroom is essentially traditional in style, the updated color scheme in pale gray and white are extremely modern. The scalloped drum ceiling light reinforces the crisp, modern aesthetic of the cooler colors while compliments the feminine curves of the tub surround.  

    Drum Style Shade Lights

    It’s really easy to achieve an updated look even in a traditional bathroom. This simply styled drum shade chandelier would look smashing in a clean white bathroom or could introduce some cool modernity into a colorful bath. Either way, you can’t go wrong. 

    Powder Room Decorating Ideas

    While white may be the standard bearer for baths, there isn’t a law to prevent you from showing off your individuality and colorful side. This purple blown glass ceiling fixture is totally unique. I love the pop of purple in the already visually stimulating bath. While good taste is always the goal, there is no set rule on how you achieve it, so have fun.

    Decorating with Pink

    If budget constraints are weighing you down, fear not. A simple globe-shaped paper fixture may be just what you need to add interest to your bathroom ceiling. It was smart to keep it white as it’s a pale room. Though traditional to it’s core, there is a Colonial Island feel to the space which dictates casual elegance.

    Photos courtesy of The Zhush, Decorno, Vanrozeboom, If The Lamp Shade Fits

  • Our Favorite Industrial Kitchen Lighting Picks for Spring Updates

    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

  • Interior Design Inspiration from Spring Fashion

    Spring fashion influences interior design

    I love the way fashion influences interior design, and vice versa. Back in December, I used a cozy and stylish winter outfit as the inspiration for a living room design, and now that spring is in the air it's time to take a lighter and brighter outfit and translate it into a lighter and brighter space! So how do we take a spring outfit and translate it to a bedroom design?

    Bedroom design board from spring fashion

    Pictured: Corbett Vertigo 2-Light Silver Pendant ChandelierPink Faux Roses in Glass ContainerRobert Abbey Mary McDonald Santorini Stripes Accent Lamp; Mirrored Silver and Black Round End Table; Wood Rose Shantung Tufted Bed; Platinum Shag Taupe Area Rug.

    By exploring what makes the outfit work - the colors, the tailoring, the textures, and the pattern. The sophisticated and feminine color palette of tan, white, navy, and soft rose inspired the colors used in the space. The chic tailored shape of the dress is mirrored in the clean lines of the end table. The stunning chandelier captures the lavishly layered look of her champagne gold and silver toned bangles. Finally, the bold navy and white stripes- a daring and unexpected contrast - are echoed in the stunning lamp, designed by interior designer Mary McDonald.

    Inspiration image courtesy of Atlantic-Pacific

  • Creating Stunning Outdoor Rooms

    Outdoor Room

    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.

    Outdoor Seating

    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.

    Outdoor Rug

    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.

    Outdoor Light

    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.

    Twig Lights

    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.

    Outdoor Bench

    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

  • Roundup: 10 Stylish New LED Desk Lamps

    Office Design Ideas

    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:

    Bronze Colored Desk Lamps

    Kichler LED Bronze Adjustable Balance Arm Desk Lamp


    For The Stealth Student:

    Modern LED Desk Lamp

    Koncept Gen 3 Z-Bar Daylight LED Modern Desk Lamp Silver

    For The Architect:

    Modern Desk Lamps

    Reach Steel Adjustable LED Desk Lamp


    For the Preppy:

    Colorful LED Desk Lamps

    Lite Source Light Blue Flat Head LED Desk Lamp


    For The Musician:

    Piano Lights

    Black and Brass 19" Wide LED Piano Lamp


    For The Artist:

    Red LED Desk Lamps

    Gen 2 Z Bar Red Finish Warm White LED Desk Lamp


    For Your Inner-Celebrity :

    Steel Finish LED Desk Lamps

    Tube Shade Steel Finish LED Desk Lamp


    For Your Little Girl:

    Kids Desk Lamps

    Little Monster Pink Bendable LED Desk Lamp


    For The World Traveler:

    Battery-Powered Travel Lights

    Flip Battery-Powered LED Desk and Travel Light


    For The Surface Challenged:

    LED Swing Arm Lights

    Mondoluz Pelle Chromium LED Swing Arm Wall Lamp

     Images: Lamps Plus

  • Indoor Lighting

    Paper Lanterns

    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. 

    Artist Studio

    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.

    Coastal Bedroom

    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. 

    White Kitchen

    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.

    Boys Bedrooms

    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.

    Swedish Interiors

    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.    

    Kitchen Design

    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.

    Traditional Kitchen

    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.

    Classic Bathroom Design

    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 every time.

    Photos courtesy of The Zhush, House of Turquoise, Katiedid.


March, 2012