Interior design tips and lighting ideas for today's home! Providing professional interior design advice, home decor ideas and inspiration.
Ask our team of design experts
LAMPS PLUS Blog Policies
Help me welcome our new traveling blogger, Allison! She will be visiting many different countries over the next few months and documenting the best designs from each location. Today she is interviewing the owner of the Oasis Club House in Buenos Aires. Take it away Allison...
When I found out I would be returning to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with my husband for work, I could not pass up the opportunity to catch up with my friend, and founder of Oasis Collections, Parker Stanberry. We chatted about everything from designing South American vacation properties to the ultra chic, members only Oasis Club House.
LAMPS PLUS: What brought you to Argentina in the first place?
PARKER STANBERRY: I had been in New York for 8 years and I felt I should go live internationally at some point in my life. I was planning on staying for 6 months, like a lot of people say when they first come down here…
LAMPS PLUS: How did the conception of a design-centric vacation rental agency come about?
PARKER STANBERRY: Along with investors, we purchased about 15 units and restored and decorated those units. After a few years of exploring the market, I began to reach out to existing property owners to create a network of individually owned properties that were exceptionally designed. We thought there was a market for a boutique hotel chain-like portfolio of rental properties around South America.
LAMPS PLUS: How would you characterize your design aesthetic?
PARKER STANBERRY: I think I could characterize my aesthetic as taking a cue from the uses of the property, what was it before, and what it has going for it. If there is a place that has exposed brick walls and is on the darker side, and it is never going to feel bright and modern, then go with that. I never come into a place and say this is exactly what I want, it's about working with what is there.
LAMPS PLUS: What would you say would be your design "calling card"?
PARKER STANBERRY: I like to include one bright pop of color, either through a painted wall or a large piece of art. I generally like to keep the furniture and the flooring in a muted, neutral palette so I bring character through the accent color.
LAMPS PLUS: What was the biggest design challenge with the Club House?
PARKER STANBERRY: We had to completely remodel the outdoor space. It was a gently rolling grass backyard, so, along with LA based designer Jon Padgett, we added in multiple levels to create more separation between the areas. We built the pool so that you could see across the top when seated below. We added in the tile flooring and steps, built the bar, carved out the shelving for the back bar, built the parilla (a staple in Argentina, it means barbecue) and built outdoor bathrooms from a storage room.
LAMPS PLUS: I notice a pop of burgundy around the Club House. What was the inspiration behind that color choice?
PARKER STANBERRY: A lot of times white and dark colors, like black or blue, are standard so we wanted to do something a little different. We used burgundy on the bar stools and the sofas on the terrace are in a burgundy velvet. The terrace is a transitional room, it is an outside space but the furniture is typically indoor furniture, so we used the burgundy to tie the spaces all together.
LAMPS PLUS: I love how you converted the garage into a warm and comfortable bar, will you tell me a little bit about the renovation of this space?
PARKER STANBERRY: The other big project aside from the outdoor space was the garage, which we use as our wintertime bar area. We had to build out the floor, ceiling and walls and we covered the walls in velvet curtains. We found the bar at the Mercado de Pulgas (Flea Market) and customized it to the space.
LAMPS PLUS: I notice the lighting of the converted garage bar is different from the rest of the house.
PARKER STANBERRY: We chose to have the space dimly lit, with recessed lighting around the edges and drum pendants over the pool table. We further accented the dimly lit space by picking out vintage furniture and accents and mixing them with custom pieces.
LAMPS PLUS: Why did you choose to decorate the Club House in the style that you did?
PARKER STANBERRY: One of the things I don't like about design in Buenos Aires is the idea that anything "high end" needs to be ultra modern and minimalist. Since the club house used to be a home, we wanted a more comfortable, vintage feel with polish.
LAMPS PLUS: How did you address lighting in the Club House?
PARKER STANBERRY: There is a different feel in the Club House than in a home. You are going for softer, mood lighting. We have all the lights on dimmer, so we can turn them down at night and outside we utilize candlelight and hanging string lights. We added all the hanging lights and floor lamps inside, but the track spotlights were already here. The owners of the property hang their Warhol series here, so they had the lights installed to accent the paintings. We are also working with a couple of local art galleries to have rotating paintings featured as well. It's a great way to incorporate local artists into the design.
Keep an eye out for Oasis Collections properties coming to Miami and New York within the next few months. If you have vacation plans in the future, it is an excellent, ultra design-conscious alternative to a hotel.
Images courtesy of Adrien de Bontin, Esteban Lobo, Oasis Collections
Between my love for art and design books and my husband's ever-growing collection of grad school reading material, it's safe to say that we have a lot of books. With the variety of shapes, sizes, and colors of books we've collected, it's easy for our humble white bookshelf to look cluttered. However, thanks to a few tips and tricks, we've transformed it into a stylish space where we can enjoy and appreciate our collection. Here are my top 8 tips on styling a bookshelf:
1. Group books by color. This is the number one piece of advice I can offer! Arranging books by color helps things flow, creates visual harmony, and just looks great. (Bonus points if you take it one step further by arranging those colorful stacks in rainbow order.)
2. Get organized with bookends. Contain your books in style with bookends. Not only do they keep your stacks of tomes orderly, they're also a great way to infuse your bookshelf with a little personal style (whether that be your penchant for puppies, your adoration of architecture, or your soft spot for sports).
3. Leave space. A little breathing room on a shelf is a good thing. Don't cram your shelves too full, unless you're going for the "eccentric librarian" look.
4. Remove dust jackets. Dust jackets on hardcovers are designed to protect the books while on display in the store. Once the book is yours, you're free to take that cover off and appreciate the chic hardbound book beneath.
5. Go horizontal. Mixing vertical rows with horizontal stacks adds visual interest and a dose of personality. These horizontal stacks also provide a great platform to accessorize on.
6. Personalize it! Bookshelves don't have to hold just books! My collection of vintage cameras is showcased. I sometimes display rings and necklaces. I love the look of white ceramic vessels among the busy titles. Treat your bookshelf as a display, as a vignette, and make it lovely to look at. (Bonus: use spray adhesive to attach wallpaper to the inside back of the shelf - it makes even a plain white bookshelf look special.)
7. Don't forget the top. That underappreciated shelf on top is just dying for a little attention. Although it won't be the first thing that people see, it's a great place to highlight a little something special.
8. Change it up. Have fun! Move things around. Swap out accessories. Treat your bookshelf as an ever-evolving work of art and appreciate how your mundane reading material brings a solid dose of personal style to your space.
Images courtesy of Lesley Myrick
Tabletop decoration is much more that tossing a book and a candle on table and hoping for the best. Yes, I know that the art of tabletop design is not as important as curing world hunger, but if you want your home to look designer-done, take note. The two major elements to keep in mind when designing a perfect tabletop are balance and texture. I have decided to only feature console, coffee, and end tables, as dining tables are usually left bare unless entertaining.
Console tables are the most fun to merchandise. First, they are usually placed up against a wall so items have a backdrop and anchor. Second, unlike night stands, they have more surface space to adorn. Time to shop! Here is an example of great balance, texture and interest. The brass table lamp anchors the left side and is balanced by decorative items in stone, coral, silver and ceramic. Generally a variety is best unless you are displaying a collection. In that case it’s fantastic to have a table full of one material such as glass, silver or ceramics.
I can’t get enough of this entryway chest. It’s seriously my favorite. Take note of the various heights, materials and textures. Stacked books are a great way to add height and texture. The painting is much needed as a selection of small objects would look lost without a visual backdrop. Also, it’s ok to have lampshades cover part of a painting’s canvas, truly. I take that back, if you have an original Picasso or Renoir, you should maybe think twice about covering any inch of it...just my 10 cents.
Symmetry is another way to deal with a longer console table. A pair of clear glass table lamps flank the painting and balance the table decoration. Check out the varying sizes of picture frames and even smaller decorative items that are placed in front for interest and depth. Nothing quite covers the item placed behind - it’s more about creating a slight layered affect.
Here is a similar design. Look at the fantastic finishes and textures: burled wood, stone, mother-of-pearl and leather... divine.
End tables are also another place to display treasures. If your table is in a corner or against a wall, like with the console tables, place your lighting toward the back to add height and to illuminate the items on the table. How amazing is the even smaller clear table layered in front?
Coffee tables are front and center so don’t forget to apply the same rules. Be mindful of people conversing across the space so only place taller items in areas that won’t block views.
This coffee table displays a variety of items but they are all low slung for the reasons I explained above. I think they have done an amazing job of balancing the brass tones from table to table and even on to the contemporary wall sconces. No reason that the texture of an item on a table can’t be repeated throughout a space.
Night stands are another surface to think about. I know that we all have necessities like clocks, glasses, watches and books, but why not make all of them look chic? If I don’t have or use a swing arm wall sconce, I love using an adjustable table lamp. Whether you read in bed, work on a laptop, or needlepoint, task lighting is very important at night.
I like to call this image, balance and harmony. It’s layered, textured and well-balanced. Perhaps it should be titled, “Perfection.”
Photos courtesy of Katiedid, Bogle Street
We were absolutely delighted last week when we saw our Pewter Candle Light Pedestal Lamp featured in the tiny lamps roundup in House Beautiful! They are perfect for illuminating snug spaces and are flat-out adorable. Now these teensy weensy lights are making headway in the most unsuspecting places, including kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities.
Bringing a mini table lamp into the kitchen can serve many purposes. Not only is it a more decorative and non-permanent solution to under-cabinet lighting, but it also evokes feelings of warmth and comfort, which is exactly how the kitchen should feel.
This stunning miniature crystal lamp brings a romantic, feminine quality to this bathroom vanity while softening the look of the distressed vintage wall cabinet.
Tiny table lamps can also be quite playful when paired with a stack of books like in the image above. Where are some interesting places you would use a tiny lamp?
Images: Apartment Therapy, House of Turquoise, Shambolic
Tufting is a design element that may have a place in your home when you next think about redecorating or adding a new piece of furniture to the mix. Using tufted furniture is a way to add visual interest to furniture that may otherwise look like a giant sea of fabric. Tufting also keeps upholstered furniture from looking lumpy over time. Heaven knows I could use some tufting on my old carcass! Tufting is no longer the darling of stuffy old men’s clubs or Grandma’s dainty dressing table stool. Tufting can be very modern, as I will show, and has been revived by the interest in Mid-Century designers such as Mies van der Rohe.
This contemporary living room is awash in soothing and bold colors done in an interesting color-blocking design. While crisp, geometric shapes seem to dictate the placement of color, the sofa cushion and back would have seemed dull and too large a shape without the use of tufting.
Sticking with a monochromatic color palette can also make the traditional art of tufting seem modern, fresh and new again. Contemporary lighting fixtures like this also ensures that the room looks up-to-date.
While I do love a clean and modern look, you know after reading my posts that I am a sucker for traditional preppy design as well. Here is a traditional dining room that introduces a cheerful color scheme and elegant tufted upholstered chairs. Tufting will actually keep the chair back more comfortable for you while seated for long periods of time.
Chairs of all kinds can be tufted...hurray. They can be a folly like this excessively styled and large-scaled wing back chairs, or as basic and everyday as your kitchen bar stools.
Headboards are a popular tufted item too. Here is my issue with tufted headboards...I wish DIY shows would stop telling people they are easy to make at home. They’re not, and I’ve tried. You need to be really handy to make them look good. Naturally I would have somebody do it for me because I have no faith in my abilities. If you want it to look professional, hire a professional. This deep cobalt headboard is HOT.
Here is another version, but much more soothing in tone. Notice how both bedrooms have gourd-shaped ceramic lamps...love.
Next to headboards, benches can look amazing when tufted. Similar to some sofas and chairs, benches can loose their shape without tufting. This contemporary bench is so chic and modern. The tapered leg makes it feel slightly 1950s and would look perfect with a sputnik chandelier.
This tufted bench is totally feminine and works perfectly in this soothing boudoir. The Lucite legs makes it feel ethereal and the fabric makes it restful. Naturally when you plop down to take off your Louboutin shoes you need something beautiful for the tush, and I think this tufted bench delivers.
Photos courtesy of The Zhush, Bogle Street, Vogue, Atlanta Homes Magazine, Frank Roop Photography
Designing your office can be one of the most important rooms you can design, since most of us spend a good amount of our time in an office environment. I am so excited to introduce Vanessa De Vargas of Turquoise who shares office design tips in today's Monday designer interview. She is such a talented designer with an incredible eye for color, texture, and materials.
LAMPS PLUS: How would you define your style?
VANESSA DE VARGAS: A mix of vintage and modern
LAMPS PLUS: What inspires your design?
VANESSA DE VARGAS: Fashion and textiles, movies, and old vintage home decorating books
LAMPS PLUS: I love all your office designs! How is designing an office different from designing other spaces?
VANESSA DE VARGAS: Actually it's very similar since most offices are very personal. Most of my clients spend alot of time in their offices, so they want it to feel like an extension of their home.
LAMPS PLUS: What are the lighting requirements in an office?
VANESSA DE VARGAS: Overhead, task, and reading lights
LAMPS PLUS: How do you balance function and aesthetics in a workspace?
VANESSA DE VARGAS: Function always comes first, then finding the right decorative pieces that fit its purpose
LAMPS PLUS: What are a few tips for selecting the right desk chair?
VANESSA DE VARGAS: Does it adjust, do the arms get in the way? Does it have a cushion?
LAMPS PLUS: What is your advice for putting together a space plan for an office when it is a shared space and requires two desks and workspaces?
VANESSA DE VARGAS: Put tham back to back or push them against the wall to create as much room as you can in the space.
LAMPS PLUS: What are your two favorite desk lamps from Lamps Plus?
VANESSA DE VARGAS: The Robert Abbey brass desk lamp and the Seeri double shade table lamp
Robert Abbey Alvin Antique Brass Book Desk Lamp
Seeri Double Shade Table Lamp
Thank you Vanessa!
Images: Courtesy of Vanessa De Vargas
The days of yawn-inducing mirrors for the bathroom are over! With so many unique mirror options available, it is almost effortless to revitalize your bathroom vanity area without breaking the bank. This phenomenal concept in the photo above, by California-based interior designer Faith Blakeney, relies primarily on flea market hand mirrors and velcro, and can be shuffled around as often as your mood changes. With such a small investment making a dramatic impact, you won't feel guilty splurging on a couple of modern wall sconces and hanging mirrors to complete the look.
Rather than fill your blank wall space with canvas or art prints, (which can mold and warp from the humidity) why not opt for an eclectic collection of romantic mirrors that double as artwork! Can you imagine seeing the reflection of that breathtaking chandelier in all those mirrors?
Mirrors don't have to be limited to eye-level in the bathroom. Try accenting your bathroom furniture and fixtures with mirrored tiles for a chic and glamourous look.
Don't forget about your kid's bathroom... look at the way this oversized vintage mirror brings this otherwise snoring bathroom to life. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to incorporate that bursting peach hue into my decor!
For the truly daring, go ahead and nix the mirror altogether. Opt for an inspirational message board instead! Not ready to ditch your reflection just yet? A glass writing pen lets you leave yourself a love note any day of the week without the committment.
You might think that it takes a major, gut-wrenching home renovation to create a dream bathroom with an oversized window like the photo above, but guess again! A large, oversized window-style mirror can give you the look you desire - without breaking through your walls (and wallet!)
These are some of my favorite mirrors from Lamps Plus. Which are your faves?
Left: Greenbriar Hardwood 35" Round Wall Mirror, Right: Ivory and Gold Mosaic 32" Round Wall Mirror
Left: Uttermost Perching Birds Small 39 1/4" High Wall Mirror, Right: Howard Elliott Courtney 39" High Rectangular Hanging Mirror
Left: Uttermost Spring Branches 49" Round Wall Mirror, Right: Uttermost St. Stephan Distressed Wood 48" High Wall Mirror
Left: Uttermost Ablenay Hand Forged Frame 37" High Mirror, Right: Howard Elliott Orleans 47" High Arched Wall Mirror
Images: Design Sponge, After Dinner Design, The Lettered Cottage, 6th Street Design School, My Revelment, Mark Williams Design Associates
I’m all for a cozy cottage, but please don’t make me look at “distressed” furniture and tiny floral print bed skirts! There is a way to keep cottages quaint, but modern. The unconventional contemporary cottage is easy to achieve and I promise it will still retain a casual and comfortable feel with natural elements and a down home charm. Frankly, it’s all in the repurposing of familiar textures and design. The image above is a great example. This cottage kitchen has warm wood walls and counters, a rustic bench and rough metal wall light, but hung on the wall is contemporary artwork instead of the traditional floral print you might usually see in a cottage getaway.
This sunroom is still traditional but introduces bold, geometric patterns versus the old fashioned “sweet” country prints usually found in a sunroom. Additionally, the color black has been ushered in as a primary color. Using black paint is a modern way to update wicker. Black is also used on the shutters and remote control classic ceiling fan instead of the very predictable country white.
A modern approach to an old classic like gingham, is to blow it up big! This room still has a cottage feel but it’s fresh and modern. Graphic pattern, like the red rug above is seen here in the bold blue wall treatment and the other geometric elements like the bent beechwood bistro dining chairs.
Here is another example of a new way to view the cottage dining room. I love the modern approach to the classic Windsor chairs and the Mid-Century design touches like the ceiling light bring the room into a modern state of mind. The chairs are thoroughly forward-thinking in the lower back design and simple legs. The contemporary wool rug wall hanging is the perfect counterpoint to the white walls.
This contemporary cottage kitchen uses classic materials, but in new ways. Old school marble counters are fashioned into a crisp island and classic brass, as seen throughout the room like in the kitchen pendant, has been forged in a crisp design for the drawer pulls. This juxtaposition of materials and design make the space warm yet young in feel.
Ye olde brass bed just got a face lift, or at least a shot of Botox! If you like the look of a brass bed why not consider a new finish such as chrome as seen here.
I bet you never thought about a trundle bed in a cottage. Cute right? I love how they have used classic wood paneling, but in a contemporary color scheme and laid on the horizontal, not the expected vertical scheme. Small touches that shake things up a bit.
So simple, but so effective. Who knew simple plywood and swing arm desk lamps could create such a modern and playful cottage boys' room.
Here are cottage materials used in an almost “downtown” design. This modern use of timber as a wall treatment is beautiful, or at least I think so. Again, we see natural materials used in a new way. Brass fixtures are wall mounted and spill into a carved granite bowl on top of a slab of wood with an exposed bark apron. It’s as if a walk in the woods has become a Tribeca-Style loft - genius.
Photos courtesy of House and Home
If you're a home decorating enthusiast or a DIY aficionado, chances are that you're familiar with the visual bookmarking site Pinterest. It's not only a great place to bookmark, or "pin" photos and images you like (perhaps of cats doing funny things, or cupcake recipes you're dying to try), but it can also be a practical place for visually planning and organizing your decor ideas. As an interior designer and avid pinner, here are my top tips for using Pinterest to organize your decorating projects:
Gather inspiration images that capture the general look and feel you want for your space(s). Start broad, and pin whatever you're attracted to. After a while you should notice patterns emerging that will help you define your style. (For example, the Interior Interest board above by design blogger and HGTV personality Erin Loechner has a consistent theme of white walls, light colored woods, and graphic black accents. Yours might not be so clear, so look carefully for themes and elements that tie your images together.
Create a separate pinboard for each room. Define each space that you want to decorate, and create a new pinboard for each one. This will help keep your ideas clear and separate, since your baby's room will probably have a much different look than your formal dining room.
Pin directly from the source. I can't emphasize the importance of this enough! When you're visiting a store's website, click through to a specific product page so that you're also capturing the direct link of the item you're after - this ensures that you have a link back to the original product when it comes time to purchase. Knowing where to find the product you've pinned will avoid the headache of searching for hours for "that cool end table I found that day on that one site". Make sure that the URL for that specific project is in your browser's URL bar (see below) - not just the URL of the website's homepage or product sort page. (Also, install Pinterest's Pin It bookmarklet in your web browser to make pinning super easy!)
Make notes on your pins to keep your ideas organized. Pinterest allows you to add a description on your pins, and a comment on everything you re-pin - use this space not only to tag your pins with helpful search information for other pinners (ie. "blue lamp") but also to make notes or reminders for yourself. For example, "This blue and white table lamp is perfect for the dining room sideboard! Buy 2" or, "Get 4 of these white photo frames and group them above the sofa".
Follow pinboards of stores, interior designers, and magazines that fit with the vibe you're after. You might discover products and ideas that you wouldn't have otherwise found on your own. On the Lamps Plus Pinterest page, we pin inspiring interiors, some of our favorite products, interviews with interior designers, and current design trends to inspire and encourage your decorating projects.
Take advantage of Pinterest's search and sort features.Type your keywords into the search bar to find specifically what you're looking for (like "modern chair", above), or use the drop-down menu at the top of the page (it's the little down arrow next to the word "Everything" on the Pinterest homepage) to sort pins into categories like Home Decor, Art, Design, etc.
Don't be afraid to edit your boards. Don't like that sofa you pinned anymore? Delete it! (Or if you're on the fence about it, perhaps move it to a new board titled "Alternative Options".) Keep your boards clean and uncluttered, with only necessary pins to avoid the dreaded "re-decorating overwhelm". This will help keep your focused when making decorating decisions.
Readers - what are your tips for using Pinterest to organize your decorating projects?
Images via Lamps Plus, Erin Loechner, and Lesley Myrick on Pinterest
Who wouldn’t want more wealth, relaxation, healing and harmony in their life? If that’s your goal, you may want to consider incorporating Feng Shui design ideas in your home. Of course if you have the budget you may wish to hire a Feng Shui master to do a complete inspection of your home and offer ways in which you can improve the “chi,” or energy, in your home. Otherwise, there are some simple design touches and colors that can be implemented to begin changing the flow of your home’s energy and with it, your own prosperity and inner harmony.
Have the color red at your front door. Whether you paint the entire door red or have a smaller touch of red like this wind chime, it’s a critical place to use the color. Because “Feng Shui” means wind/water, a wind chime would be a great design idea that introduces one of the earthly elements. Red is not only welcoming, but brings energy, fortune and luck in Feng Shui teachings.
Here is a color chart that breaks down what some of the colors mean in general terms. It’s an easy first step to understanding how color affects your mood and your life.
One of the most basic teachings is to declutter your space. Relaxation is difficult to achieve if your home is messy and cluttered. Additionally it’s important to understand how shapes can define a room. Most Feng Shui masters will tell you to avoid sharp lines, edges and corners. They will not allow the energy to properly flow through a space like curves and circles.
Gold-colored round mirrors are a great Feng Shui item. The shape works with the general principles and mirrors can draw in beneficial chi.
This living room is light, clutter-free, has round seating in yellow which promotes health. Another Feng Shui design trick is to always place your sofas against a wall.
This bright yellow round ceramic table lamp is an easy way to dip your toe into Feng Shui stylishly.
The Feng Shui home office is clutter free, incorporates many round shapes, has a living plant (an earth element) as well as light. Even if you didn’t follow Feng Shui, common sense dictates that this would be an inspiring place to work.
The Feng Shui bedroom should be calming, have two night stands, have a bed placed where it can be approached on both sides and not in the direct line of the door. Also, the room should have several levels of lighting that can be dimmed.
This bathroom is painted the family friendly Feng Shui green. Notice the curves and circles, mirrors, and live plant all in harmony with water which is the primary element in a bathroom.
Yes, it is an earthy Feng Shui green, but this curved green table lamp looks cute even if it didn’t promote Feng Shui teachings.
I had to include this bathroom because everything is covered in this room, from wood, plants, light, to curved elements and mirrors. The fabulous Asian aesthetic only makes it feel more authentic. While this bathroom goes all out, you can certainly start small and see how you like the changes. Again, the first thing you should do is clean house and what better time of the year to do that than spring.
Photos courtesy of Feng Shui and Beyond, Feng Shui Dana, Everyday Health, The Nest