Style Illuminated

Our home decorating blog offers interior design tips and lighting ideas for today's home! Enjoy professional interior design advice, home decor ideas and inspiration.

  • 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

  • Organic Materials in Lighting

    Rustic Interior Design

    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.

    Dining Room Design

    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!  

    Modern Dining Room Decor

    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.   

    Mediterranean Design

    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.

    Loft Interiors

    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.

    Artistic Interiors

    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.

    Linden Tripod Floor Lamp at Lamps Plus

    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.

    Beach 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.

    Jute Covered Table Lamp at Lamps Plus

    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.

    Bedroom Lighting

    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.

    Dining Room Chandeliers

    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.

    Original Ceiling Lights

    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

  • 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 

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Designer Secrets: The Budget Remodel

    Regency Style Houses

    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.         


    Country Kitchen Design

    Laundry Rooms

    Home Office Ideas

    Closet Design Ideas

    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.    


    Kitchen Remodel Ideas

    Colorful Kitchens

    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.


    Bathroom Renovations

    Unique Light Fixtures

    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.     


    Flea Market Decorating

    Chair Reupholstery

    Vintage Flea Market Finds 

    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.


    Painted Floor Designs

    Staircase Design and Decoration 

    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

  • International Design: Amazing Amsterdam

    Amsterdam City Scene

    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.

    Dutch Flower Market

    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.

    Amsterdam City Pictures

    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.  

    Dutch Architecture

    As I strolled around the city, I started to realize a common design theme or thread on many of the 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.  

    Dutch Architecture and Window Design

    Bold and not ashamed who knows it.

    Dutch Residential Architecture

    Adorning a rather uneven and ancient home.

    Amsterdam City View

    Although the red is subtle, it’s even on the clock on top of this church.

    Modern Table Lamps

    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.

    Red Ceramic Table Lamps

    Traditionalists will love this expressive red ceramic table lamp. Again, the pop of red looks great and evokes Amsterdam’s playful side.

    Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

    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.

    Modern Ceiling Lights

    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

  • 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

  • Spring Cleaning Tips from 1918

    Vintage spring cleaning tips

    As of yesterday, it's officially SPRING! (Yes, feel free to cheer!) With springtime comes sunshine, warm air...and of course, spring cleaning for your home. Nowadays we have a vast array of cleaning supplies and solutions available to us - Swiffer, Febreeze, and specialized products like Crystal Kleene chandelier cleaner; a special sponge for cleaning lamp shades; and a handy, key-activated chandelier lift to lower and clean your chandelier. No doubt, using the right cleaner or tool is especially important for priceless antiques, crystal chandeliers, fabric shades and the like. But what did our ancestors use to clean house? 

    I'm a collector of vintage books, and I came across a farmer's day planner from 1918 that was packed with all kinds of useful tidbits, including an entire page dedicated to "Cleaning Various Substances." Here are a few techniques that generations past have used to make their homes spotless. (Please note: before using any of these tips, please test them to ensure they won't do damage to your belongings! We wouldn't want you to damage Granny's favorite pillow or that antique clock that's been in your family for generations.) 

    • Rust from Steel: Take half ounce of emery powder mixed with one ounce of soap and rub well. 
    • Fruit Spots from Cottons: Apply cold soap, then touch the spot with a hair pencil or feather dipped in chlorate of soda, then dip immediately in cold water.
    • Grease from Silks: Take a lump of megnesia, rub it wet on the spot, let it dry, then brush the powder off.
    • Iron Rust: May be removed from white goods by sour milk.
    • Oil Marks on Wall Paper: Apply paste of cold water and pipe clay, leave it on all night, brush off in morning.
    • Paint Spots from Clothing: Saturate with equal parts turpentine and spirits of ammonia.
    • Furniture, for Finger Marks: Rub with a soft rag and sweet oil.
    • Window Glass: Paint can be removed by a strong solution of soda.

    Hmm. Can't say that I have many of those supplies on hand to clean my own apartment (emery powder? pipe clay? chlorate of soda?), but it sure is interesting to see the evolution of home cleaning. What is the most unusual cleaning tip you've come across? Share in the comments!

    Image courtesy of Lesley Myrick

March, 2012