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.

  • How to Hang Pictures & Wall Art Like a Pro

    Hanging Pictures and Wall Art

    So, you have viewed the vast array of pictures and hand painted wall art and selected the perfect piece. Now you need to know how-to hang the picture or wall art on the wall. 

    Ever wonder how the pros seem to hang pictures or wall art the very first time and without making the wall look like swiss cheese?  Well, worry know longer. This video will show you how-to pictures or wall art like a pro.


    To get started, gather your supplies.  For this project you will need:

    Picture or Wall Art
    Craft Paper (I have even used left over holiday paper)
    Writing Instrustment (Pen, Pencil)
    Ruler or Tape Measure
    Painters Tape
    Hanging Supplies (Picture Hook, Nail)

    Follow these easy steps:

    Wall Art on Top of Paper

    A great way to test the placement of the picture or wall art before putting hammer to nail is by laying everything out on a table or on the floor.

    Outline Tracing

    Trace around the picture or wall art and mark the hanging points.

    Tape Paper On Wall 

    Then, tape the paper to the wall and hammer in the nail.

    Remove the paper, and voila! Now you know how-to hang your favoite picture or wall art like a pro.

    For more how-to ideas, tips and inspiration, visit the Lamps Plus YouTube channel.

  • Escape: Beach Inspired Rooms

    Cheryl Maeder Photography

    Getting away from it all doesn’t mean you have to leave home, especially if you want to create beach inspired rooms. Too often people are far too literal when designing with a theme in mind, so please don’t toss a few seahorse prints on the mantle and think you have created a beachside getaway... yikes. I was totally enraptured with the beach photographs by Cheryl Maeder, who captures the essence of what a day at the beach is really about: color, shapes and mood. I thought it would be an interesting idea to find rooms that mirror her images.

    Coastal Dining Room Design

    This dining room captures the serene and uncluttered feeling from the beach scene above, pale blues and pale sandy colors keep it simple. Matchstick window treatments, a natural wood table and wicker style parsons dining room chairs maintain a link to nature. Genius how the drum ceiling light is in a pale, sky blue.

    Coastal Interior Design

    Here is a living room that combines the sandy tones of the beach with the pale blues of the sky. Notice how the designer has mixed up the use of a hanging curtain at the French door and uses a contrasting roman shade on the double-hung window? Don’t be afraid to add variety. Cute tripod table lamp!

    Sunroom Interior Design

    A serene corner of this sunroom captures the feel of a deserted, pale and sandy beach.       

    Blue Master Bedrooms

    This bedroom also echoes the serenity of a relaxing and pristine beach. Remember to keep the color scheme watered-down, just shy of pastel. Even a remote control ceiling fan has an easy-going, island feel.

    Cheryl Maeder Photography and Beach Photographs

    The bold colors of this image feels more like an island beach, but can easily be adapted to interior design without looking too Caribbean-kitsch.

    Blue Painted Furniture

    Look Ma, no papier mache birds! Bold ocean colors without looking cheesy. No doubt that after a trip to the flea market to find the right chest or buffet, coupled with a few coats of paint could result in something similar. 

    Stylish Home Offices

    Seriously? The bold blue desk is so chic. I love this home office. Please try this at home!

    Beach House Interiors

    This coastal living room screams beach. Am I insane, but I actually think this fish tank works in the room, and I never think they do. The nod to the great outdoors is also accomplished by using the large-scale, lantern-style ceiling light.   

    Decorating with Blue

    A tale of two blues. Does this capture the photograph or what? Simple, beachy and yet the space remains elegant.

    Beach Photography

    This final image captures a busy day at the beach, which from a distance is a cacophony of color dotting the landscape. Not serene, but joyful.

    Summer House Guest Rooms

    The summer getaway bunkhouse captures the mood of the busy beach. Vibrant color and pattern punctuate the simple pale cream walls and watery blue of the floor. The tongue and groove wood, bunk beds and retro metal ceiling fan are a nod to lazy summer days and summer camp. Summer escapes, why must they ever end?

    Images: House of Turquoise and Cheryl Maeder Photography

  • Historic Architecture of a Bustling South American City

    Architecture south america neoclassical

    Many people who have not traveled to South America do not know what to expect when they arrive in Buenos Aires. The massive city has an immensely European feel and an incredible energy. Many say it is the New York or Paris of South America. It is a stunning city, made only more so by the beautifully maintained historic architecture and interior home decor. A great number of buildings have been preserved, restored and repurposed which adds to the charm of Buenos Aires and gives us glimpse back in time to the origins of this metropolitan city. There are so many great design styles that make up the city's diverse style. Play close attention to the indoor wall lights and other lighting fixtures as a clue to the design style of the various historical buildings in the city.

    architecture construction buenos aires argentina

    The most formative years of construction in Buenos Aires were between the 1880s and 1920s, when many immigrants were coming to live in this newly established, wealthy and rapidly growing city. Three dominant architectural styles emerged during this time: Neoclassical, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Each style is clearly depicted throughout the construction, iron work and detailing of the buildings. These architectural styles reflect the utopian ambitions of the designers as well as their immigrant heritage. They now serve as a marker of the thriving, cultural melting pot that was and still is Buenos Aires.

    Neoclassical architecture is very hard to miss as you wander the streets of Buenos Aires. With strong Italian and French influences, neoclassical construction is very dominant throughout the city. Classical Greek architectural markers are strewn across these buildings: think columns, goddesses and classical ornamental detailing such as laurels, wreaths and cartouches. From large-scale government buildings to neighborhood homes, you can still see many well maintained examples of this impressive architectural style.

    Neoclassical residence buenos aires argentina architecture

    Neocalssical architecture argentina back buenos aires

    architecture buenos aires moulding detail neoclassical

    Lighting home decor neoclassical buenos aires

    1. Imperial Iris Bookends  2. Mary McDonald Josephine Brass Crystal Black Shade Table Lamp  3. Murray Feiss Bellini Collection Wall Sconce  4. Carving with Gold Paint Four Panel Screen Room Divider (Items no longer available.)

    Art Nouveau was prominent in all major cities at the turn of the century, including Buenos Aires. Curving, asymmetrical lines, feminine figures and nature inspired motifs dominated this style, a rejection of the rigidity of the neoclassical aesthetic. There are some beautiful examples of art nouveau construction across the city. From designs imprinted into the facade of a building to the intricate ironwork, this immensely detailed architectural style remains beautifully displayed throughout Buenos Aires.

    art nouveau cement detail buenos aires argentina

    art nouveau architecture iron work buenos aires argentina

    art nouveau nature iron work buenos aires argentina

    art nouveau home decor lighting argentina

    1. Metal 3-Bud Vase Holder  2. Flower Flute Double Necked Accent Lamp  3. Metropolitan Amber Murano Glass Wall Sconce  4. Momeni Nouveau Area Rug (Items no longer available.)

    Art Deco was an extremely popular architectural style in Buenos Aires, as its world debut in France correlated with the construction boom in Buenos Aires. All the aesthetic signifiers of the art deco period are beautifully preserved in the architecture in Buenos Aires such as intricate geometric shapes, hard running lines and influences from archeological discoveries of Ancient Egyptian style and design. Can you believe that you can even see examples of Art Deco styling in ceiling fans with lights (see below).

    art deco argentina construction buenos aires

    art deco iron door buenos aires argentina

    art deco building santa fe boulevard buenos aires

    art deco home decor lighting argentina

    1. Bronze Finish Fan Fire Screen (no longer available)  2. Period Arts Paris Bronze Ceiling Fan with Light Kit (no longer available) 3. Kathy Ireland Espresso Deco Trophy Floor Lamp  4. Set of Two Art Deco Lady Candleholders

    All Images: Allison Rosenberg

  • Get The Look: Modern Monochromatic Rooms

    Modern Room Design

    Modern monochromatic rooms don’t need to be cold and sterile. I think this decorative play between an older room and modern furnishings is beautiful. One way this type of room stays comfortable is that it is filled with soft furnishings and curved lines. Avoiding sharp corners and edges makes a room soothing and feminine. The color scheme makes it more masculine and zen-like. While we can help you achieve a similar look, naturally, it’s your job to find the right room!   

    Decorating in Older Homes

    This is a similar room, with some variation. The room has a much more ornate ceiling which makes the contrast between the room and furnishings even more noticeable. One way you can “cheat” this look would be to have ornate and very large chandeliers in lieu of an ornate ceiling.

    Chrome Floor Lamps

    Both rooms use a large scale chrome floor lamp. Having chrome lighting offsets the plush furnishings and flooring. A nice contrast, don’t you think? Also, it mimics the lines of the curved seating.

    Round White Tables

    Both rooms also have a mid-century influenced, white round tables. Whether they are dining or side tables, they reinforce the overall design.

    Swivel Chairs

    This white swivel chair envelopes you like a space-age wing back chair. The timeless Mid-Century design is very “of the moment.”

    White Slipper Chairs

    This is a more basic white slipper chair. It’s not as stylized as the swivel chair above, but does replicate and is reminiscent of the room above.

    Small Accent Tables

    Small Ottomans

    A wonderful and inexpensive way to fill a space along these monochromatic rooms is through the use and placement of small round tables and ottomans.     

    Kitchen Barstools

    There are ways in which you can infuse modern white elements in your home assuming you don’t want to commit to an entire room like the one above. What about white kitchen bar stools?

    White Ceiling Fans

    Or, how about updating your ceiling with modern white ceiling fans with lights?

    Regardless of how you go about doing it, the modern white room can still be a place of rest and relaxation.

    Images: EclecChic

  • Happy Memorial Day from Lamps Plus!

    Outdoor Decor and Memorial Day

    How will you be celebrating Memorial Day this year? Hopefully with cool drinks, yummy food, and great friends and family. Below are 5 tips for throwing a Memorial Day party.

    • Outdoor Ceiling Fans: Keep cool with outdoor ceiling fans. Summer is right around the corner, so the days and evenings can get pretty hot.
    • Bright Outdoor Pillows: Have last season's pillows faded over time. Picking up a few new pillows can really add life to your outdoor decor.
    • Outdoor Lighting: Nothing sets the mood more than outdoor lighting. String lights, patio and porch lights are great outdoor options.
    • Decorative Vases: If you are setting an outdoor dining table, don't forget about the flowers.
    • Table linens: A quick fix to cover up a worn table is with a new table linen.

    Image: The Entertaining House

  • Inside the Homes of Design Bloggers

    Inside the Homes of Design Bloggers and a Bloomsbury Life

    I have a long list of design blogs that I read everyday that offer tips and inspiration for designing your home. I am always curious to get an inside look into the homes of design bloggers. Do they incorporate their own design advice, what is their style, and how do they live?

    Some bloggers use their blog as a creative outlet, but have other careers while others make a career out of blogging. So... don't be shocked if you see a huge home owned by a blogger (and run home to start your own blog) because their home may be financed by another career or spouce.

    The house featured above is the home of Lisa Borgnes from A Bloomsbury Life blog. Check out this stunning staircase topped off with a beautiful chandelier and cherry blossom wallpaper. I am blown away!

    LA in Bloom blog and Green Home Office

    Who couldn't work from home with an office like this! Heather Taylor co-owns an art gallery and blogs about her daily inspirations on LA in Bloom.

    Inside the Homes of Design Bloggers and Mint Loves Social Club blog

    I love it when a loft feels like a home - comfortable and warm! Natalie and her husband live in a loft in Downtown Los Angeles. She currently works for a fashion company in licensing, but she can't ignore her passion for interiors. Her blog, Mint Loves Social Club, documents everything from florant arrangements, beautiful events (they love to throw huge themed parties at their loft) to home inspiration and decor.

    Light blue dining room design and maison21

    Christian May is the interior designer behind the design blog maison21. If you missed your favorite design event, there is a good chance Christian covered it on his blog (he is very social when it comes to industry events). Being an interior designer, his blog is heavily focused on interior decor (which is why I love his blog). Christian's own home definitely reflects his fun and playful vibe on maison21. Case in point, check out the backs on his contemporary dining room chairs!  I also love how the large chandelier really commands the space.

    Hope you enjoyed the sneak peak inside the homes of a few of my favorite design bloggers!

    Images: Christian May

  • Beautifully Renovated Apartment in San Telmo, Argentina

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment San Telmo

    I had the pleasure to tour a beautifully renovated, turn of the century apartment in the San Telmo area of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Owner Stephen Woods moved to Argentina from the UK almost ten years ago with a background in historical property renovation. He now lives in this gorgeous apartment with his girlfriend Eloisa and their daughter Katia. The renovations lasted approximately four months with meticulous planning ahead of time, including making silicone molds of the original rosette moulding detail and reproducing and installing them around the apartment. Stephen focused on maintaining the integrity of the apartment and honoring the era in which it was built, yet upgrading the space to be livable in this day and age.

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment and Living Room

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment and Fireplace

    The apartment is hidden at the back of a spacious, French-style Neoclassical building, built in 1904, in San Telmo, Buenos Aires' notorious antiques and art district. With the exception of the two back rooms, the apartment has impressively high ceilings, measuring a little over 13 feet in the hallway and 11.5 feet in the rooms. The sitting room and piano room make up the two common areas of the apartment. These spaces are decorated with the period of the apartment in mind, yet with a designer's eye as well. The doors and windows were all fitted with antique hardware and the antique-style radiators were installed to solve the problem of the lack of central heating. These two rooms are accessorized beautifully with antiques and artwork from varying periods of the 20th century that play off each other beautifully. Antique siphons are a cultural touch, as these are hugely popular across the flea markets in the city.

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment and Grand Piano

    Grand Piano in Argentina Apartment

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment and Living Room Accessories

    The layout of the apartment remains exactly as it was built, no walls were knocked out or added, however the functions of each room were changed to work best for their family. The original kitchen was located at the back of the apartment, along with the maid's quarters. They were quite small and not centrally located, so Stephen decided to transform them into his daughter’s bedroom and an in-home office. He took up the floorboards from the front bedroom and turned this space into the kitchen. Stephen wanted the kitchen to function in the modern world yet still tie-in with the period-style of the apartment. He found an antique carpenters table at a flea market and sized the stainless countertops to fit its dimensions. Well designed wall light fixtures and ceiling lights are also what defines the period design; the chandelier and sconces were also found at a local flea market.  

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment and Modern Kitchen

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment and Kitchen Design

    The hallway features a large, stained glass window or "ventanal" as it is called in Argentina. The frame is original to the apartment, but Stephen found antique glass to set in the frame. Light blue is a very common color to be featured in stained glass windows in Argentina as a patriotic touch and the corner pieces of the ventanal are typically a different color to the boarder of the window. The window openings are characteristic of the original frame, with a hook and chain mechanism to hold the windows at an angle. A classic chandelier defines the hallway with high ceilings. The chandelier that hangs in the hallway is an antique, again found in a flea market in Buenos Aires, that Stephen had deconstructed from one chandelier with eight arms to two matching chandeliers of four arms. An extra large chandelier would have also looked fantastic with the tall ceilings. The mosaic flooring is characteristic of the period, but was laid during the renovation.

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment and Hallways

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment and Floor-to-Ceiling Windows

    The closet off the bathroom was originally the maid’s "prep" area and was open. Stephen found 100-year old pine wood and had custom doors made to close off the space and create a storage closet and laundry room. Facing the closet is the original wall-mounted lighting outlet, but to accentuate the height of the space, Stephen added a hook to the ceiling and hung an antique chandelier. The bathroom is outfitted with antique fixtures found at a demolition warehouse in Argentina. The matte dark grey color of the wainscoting and fixtures was a unifying design decision. The radiators were made in that color and finish, so Stephen decided to use that color for select hard surfaces throughout the apartment.

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment and Bathroom

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment and Powder Bathroom

    The back part of the apartment consists of their daughter’s bedroom and Stephen's office. The marble staircase had to be removed and re-polished, possibly the most arduous process of the entire renovation, and the original pine stairs had to be stripped of their awkward shade of green paint. The plaster ceiling from both rooms was removed to show the original brick and oxidized beams, a very common ceiling treatment and look in Buenos Aires.  

    Argentina Historical Restored Apartment and Office Design

    Stephen’s advice to anyone looking to restore a historic property is to not get caught up with making everything 100% historically accurate, but to have a coherence and unity throughout the property that speaks the language of the period. The attention to detail has lent itself to a beautifully restored, historic apartment. With another upcoming restoration project in the city, I can not wait to see what Stephen will create.

    All Images: Allison Rosenberg

  • Design Inspiration from Rome

    The Colosseum

    Ah Roma, *sigh.* The Eternal City is home to not only the Colosseum, Forum, Vatican, and Trevi Fountain, but also home to great shopping, food and design. Design inspiration from Rome will totally surprise you. You may think that a city steeped in such history would be home to over-the-top and fussy design. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of traditional interiors in Rome, but many more Romans want modern design within their ancient walls. Think of it this way... people with straight hair always want curly, people with curly hair always want straight. Make sense?

    If you grew up in a crumbling albeit charming apartment, chances are that you would probably want all the mod cons if given the chance. That said, everything Italians do from a design standpoint looks divine - catch the Mother Church reference? As they say about Italy, and thankfully: style over substance. Luckily for us, we can gather inspiration and know that everything we do here in the States will probably look good, work and take less time than in Italy... the most bureaucratic country in the world.

    Modern Italian Dining Rooms

    Talk about a design influence. This Colosseum-inspired dining table could not get any more literal. The sleek dining room chairs pull out from under the tabletop. Oh the glory of Rome. Having such imposing dining room tables calls for very large chandeliers.     

    Blogger at Rest

    Yours truly with an American friend who lives in Rome. Here we are enjoying lunch near the Tiber. Of course the consumption of massive amounts of food is always required on a trip to Rome.

    Italian Kitchen Design

    Speaking of food, Italian kitchens, when renovated, are amazing. Italians are on the forefront of cutting edge industrial design. Here is a perfect example. This uber modern kitchen is to die for. Everything in its place, sleek and yet still warm, like the Italian spirit. Can we discuss kitchen bar stools for a minute? A perfect place to perch for pasta.  

    Kitchen Barstools

    Metallic Silver Scooper Adjustable Bar or Counter Stool (No longer available.)

    Yes, I know, I aim to please. The kitchen bar stools you never thought you would find. 

    Bloggers in Rome

    I know I look crazy, but that is what serious jet lag will do. I do have a point to this picture of me in my hotel room overlooking the Pantheon. Rome is filled with ancient buildings, columns and porticos. There is a way to celebrate this history yet be true to modern design.

    Italian Hotel Rooms

    Here is what I mean. I’m crazy for this cool wallpaper that is clearly made from a photograph of classical architecture. You can always check online to see if you can get images you have taken on holiday blown up to mount either on a canvas or on a wall. Also, great lighting fixtures goes without saying.

    Ancient Roman Fresco

    Ouch. Ancient Roman seating, no thanks. Notice how she needed some comfort in the form of an ancient pillow?

    Italian Interior Design

    This is what I’m talking about. This room is stunning. I love the old beams and pure modern interiors. The curved dining room chairs are form fitting and are the perfect counterpoint to the structure. I need that inset uplighting immediately. 

    Ancient Roman Baths

    There are not enough scrubbing bubbles in the world to get this ancient bath ready for my arrival. Although, historically it’s major.

    Italian Styled Bathrooms

    Leave it to the Italians to turn this organic, almost catacomb space into the coolest bathroom, ever. The fluid space is very sensual. I like how the indoor wall lights add the perfect glow. Mamma Mia, I need a dose of Rome, pronto!

    Images: Interior Design Pro, idesignarch, Tommaso Ziffer, Art-n-Sewl

  • Lighting Tips with House Flipper Steve Jones

    Steve Jones of Bettershelter

    Steve Jones of bettershelter is a well known house flipper in Los Angeles. He finds a house that is a "hot mess" (as he calls it) and completely rehabs the home while staying on a tight budget. His method for investing in homes is simple - buy it for a good price, renovate it on a budget, and sell it for a reasonable price. As long as he can keep the cost down on all levels of the project, everyone wins (his design team and the future buyer). 

    Steve has developed a bettershelter look over the years and many potential buyers stalk his properties that most often end up in a bidding war. Keep reading for inside tips from the designer himself...

    Eclectic and Vintage Living Room Design

    LAMPS PLUS: How would you define your style in 3 words?

    STEVE JONES: Modern Vintage Surf

    LAMPS PLUS: You get a lot of flack for being a house flipper in a down market. However, your renovation and design expertise actually helps the local community.

    STEVE JONES: We buy many homes that would not qualify for a typical home mortgage because they are in such terrible shape. Our homes improve communities and neighborhoods and nearby home prices. Who would not want that? We try to preserve the authenticity and integrity of the homes that we renovate; we strive to fit in rather than stand out. McMansions these are not!

    Bettershelter and Dining Room Design

    LAMPS PLUS: Many of your homes utilize wall light fixtures and chandeliers versus recessed lights as the primary light source. Why do you prefer to use a more focused light versus overall lighting?

    STEVE JONES: I like indirect lighting as opposed to recessed can lights; the light is much more flattering on a person's face. I also like dimmers for the same reason.

    LAMPS PLUS: You have a fantastic outdoor area for your own home. What are 3 basic tips for outdoor lighting?

    STEVE JONES: I use old school colored bulbs - I prefer blue and green bulbs. I like to project the light up through the trees and branches; the effect is magical. I use solar light stakes for my pathways; they are easy and effective.

    LAMPS PLUS: What is on your current Lamps Plus wish list?

    Astro and Schoolhouse Ceiling Lights

    Crystorama Astro Bronze Ceiling Light Fixture (left), Hudson Valley Petersburg Nickel Semi-Flush Ceiling Mount (right)

    Thanks Steve! 

  • Keeping the Integrity of a Historic Home with Design Vidal

    Restoring an Historic Home and Design Vidal

    Karen Vidal of Design Vidal has extensively renovated a large number of historic homes in Los Angeles. She falls in love with the charm of older homes from the orginal doors to the period wall sconces. Karen makes keeping the integrity of the home a priority when she develops her design concept.

    LAMPS PLUS: What architectural elements and details do you like to restore when keeping with the integrity of a historical home?

    DESIGN VIDAL: Windows are a surprisingly big deal in a historical home; if I am lucky enough and the house has its original windows I will spend the time to fix them. If some sashes are damaged I have a shop that can make a new sash to match. If windows have been changed, for example all of the old casements have been replaced by louvers, I will take them out and restore the original casement window look with new casements. Seeing windows that don't match the style of the house is very jarring.

    LAMPS PLUS: Do you usually try to restore the original hardwood floors in an older home?

    DESIGN VIDAL: Wood floors are another element that I like to restore. I have a great floor guy that can stitch in a repair seamlessly. Quite often in a kitchen remodel, once we remove the layers of linoleum, we will choose to refinish what was commonly used as a sub-floor in older homes, which is the old douglas fir planks. This gives a beautiful look and utilizes a material that is already in place.

    Thanks Karen! And... if you love the porch lights featured in the image above, be sure to check out our wide selection of patio and porch lights.

May, 2012