Christian May Shares Lighting Tips and his Favorite Products

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Christian May and Decorating with Outdoor Lights

Christian May is a very talented interior designer and owns the popular design blog, maison21. He has designed stunning homes for clients and today he is giving an insight to his style and sharing lighting tips for decorating with outdoor area. Also, want to know what Christian's favorite Lamps Plus products are? Keep reading to find out more...

LAMPS PLUS: What is your design style?

CHRISTIAN MAY: Eclectic, modern, and happy. I like to mix different periods and styles, as well as mix bold color and strong patterns for a personal, uplifting brand of decor.  

Bright and Modern Palm Springs Home

LAMPS PLUS: What current trend do you love and what trend do you wish would go away?

CHRISTIAN MAY: I love that interior design is becoming more like fashion - mixing interesting yet seemingly unrelated pieces at varying price points for a unique, one of a kind look. Nothing is worse than a soulless, matchy-matchy room without personality. Quirky is good!

The trend I would be glad to see go away is greige on greige rooms - give me some color!  

Pink Dining Room

LAMPS PLUS: Color definitely defines a room. What colors are on your wish list for summer?

CHRISTIAN MAY: I recently styled a window display replicating a living room inspired by the colors of summer - the bright yellow of the summer sun reflecting off a refreshing blue swimming pool. Even at night it is cheery and summery.  

Legends of La Cienega Window Display

LAMPS PLUS: What are 3 easy tips for decorating the backyard with outdoor lighting fixtures?


1. Use lots of light sources, all at low wattages. Nothing is more romantic than puddles of light scattered about the yard and nothing is a bigger buzzkill than a ten thousand watt floodlight pointed straight at your face - it's like the inquisition!

2. Layer your lighting - pendants or string lights overhead for ambient lighting, directed "task" lighting to illuminate tables or conversation areas, accent lighting like uplights to illuminate special features like a tree or architectural detail, and downlights and bollards to light walkways and steps, both for aesthetics and safety.

3. Keep your outdoor lighting styles cohesive, while I advocate mixing it up on the interior of your home, outside it's best to keep your lighting all one style, perferably one that relates to the architectural style of your home. Modern lights rarely look good on a traditional home and vice-versa, so avoid getting tricky unless you are working with a professional.

LAMPS PLUS: What are your favorite Lamps Plus contemporary wall lights

Contemporary Wall Lights

Holtkoetter Up-Down Polished Brass Wall Sconce (left), George Kovacs Plug-In Swing Arm Wall Lamp (right, no longer available)

Holtkoetter Wall Sconce: Minimal, yet entirely glamorous. Just showed this to a client to use in a dark hallway alcove, where the up and down light cast by the fixture will be welcome.

George Kovacs Wall Lamp: Classic, modern, and the finish makes it slightly masculine. Great bedside sconce to read by. 

 Modern Wall Lights

Brass with Black Drum Shade Plug-In Swing Arm Wall Lamp (left), Cassini Collection Murano Glass 3-Light Xenon Wall Sconce (right)

Black Drum Shade Lamp: Classique swing arm. Love the black and gold combo.

Cassini Wall Sconce: Inspired by Mid-Century modern murano designs, I love the slightly feminine floral reference. I'd use this in a modern powder room.

Thank you Christian!

Images: Courtesy of Christian May, John Ellis

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  • thanks, marcia! what fun!

  • That Christian can design, can't he?  

    Thank you for sharing this interview with our friend, Christian.

    Happy Tuesday.



  • Question for Christian - when he's working with a raw room space, what's the first design element he starts working with? Love the post - thank you!

  • hey sassygurl-

    great question! i happen to have a blog post devoted to that very subject:

  • Thank you Christian for sharing this. its really useful especially the led light bulbs are very reliable because these are very efficient as compares to old conventional lights.

Christian May Shares Lighting Tips and his Favorite Products