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.

  • Christian May Shares Lighting Tips and his Favorite Products

    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

  • Luxury Beach Hotel Decor

    Beach Hotel Decor

    I usually never want to leave a beach hotel, unless of course it’s spring break in Daytona Beach. All kidding aside, I love a luxury beach hotel, especially one with super-chic decor. True, hotel decor can be sterile, but when done right it can inspire you to want it in your own home. The key thing to remember is to keep it fresh. No need to be literal with anchor pillows and starfish prints to make something look beach-like.

    Luxury Hotel Rooms

    This room in the Tides Beach Club in Kennebunkport, Maine, evokes the ocean in a crisp and modern way. Ocean colors are paired with acid green, white and yellow. A nod to classic beach cottages can be found in the bead-board wall, although painted in deep blue, not the expected white. 

    Bamboo Chairs

    This faux bamboo chair has a decidedly tropical and beach flair. Remember, while the deep rich tones will certainly work, don’t be afraid to paint!

    Beach Inspired Hotel Rooms

    Here is another room from the Tides Beach Club. This minty fresh room is dynamite and shows elegant beach hotel decor at its best. The look is soft and feminine, but the addition of a few rustic elements like the coral table lamps and wicker chairs add much needed texture. 

    Hotel Room Decor

    This cozy nook at the Tides Beach Club shows how you can arrange an awkward corner to its best advantage. A pair of upholstered chairs in a seam foam fabric is anchored by the table floor lamp - a true space saver in tights spots.

    White Ceramic Lamps

    A consistent theme has been the use of white accents. This white ceramic lamp is the essence of understated luxury and is a decor basic for most homes.

    Luxury Hotel Bathroom Design

    Hotel decor can also mean luxury beach bathrooms. There is usually a heavy use of white and ocean blues and chic indoor wall lights. Don’t hate me for loving the foil wallpaper.

    Luxury Beach Hotel Outdoor Design

    Because the beach truly means embracing the outdoors, don’t forget that outdoor home design can be inspired by outdoor hotel decor. If you spend a great deal of time outside, why not invest in it? As you can see, modern bar stools look great inside and out.

    My overall advice? Make a trip to the beach last 365 days of the year.

    Images: Casa Sugar

  • Outdoor Design: Container Gardens

    Container Gardens

    Whether you are limited on outdoor space or not, container gardens can be beautiful as well as become the main feature of your outdoor design scheme. The hot new look is to plant globe-shaped boxwood in containers. The up-lit containers above show what a dramatic design containers can achieve. This would be a great look on the walkway to a door or lining the back wall of a small yard or deck. 

    Country French Outdoor Design

    Here are more globe-shaped boxwood clustered together in terra cotta containers. Unlike the clean contemporary design in the first image, this picture shows the boxwood displayed in a more rustic, French country approach with outdoor wall lights highlighting the greenery.

    Backyard Garden Design

    Containers can also compliment large yards. This outdoor design has two square containers flanking a bench and pushed up against what looks like a garage. I love that by using containers the homeowner has been able to break up the wide expanse of white with a pop of shaped, green boxwood...very clever.

    Teak Wood Planter

    This teak wood outdoor planter is just the ticket when it comes to planning a container garden. The design works for both traditional and contemporary designs. While I love natural teak, you could paint it to match any outdoor decor.

    Outdoor Cabana Design

    Containers are a great solution to frame a space and create borders. This sumptuous cabana has containers defining the entrance and keeps people from falling off the ledge. Who knew gardening could save lives, amazing!  

    Outdoor Terrace Decoration

    I love how the round boxwood reinforces the circular motion of the brick terrace. Also, look at how container gardening infuses the hardscape terrace with natural greens and soft textures. The traditional space also has old-world outdoor light fixtures so that the terrace can be used at night.

    Outdoor Lighting

    This elegant wrought iron and glass outdoor sconce has an extra metal reflector which will throw even more light onto a patio or walkway.     

    Northern European House Design

    It doesn’t get more charming than this! Symmetrical outdoor design is king with this charming Danish house. Containers with more of my favorite boxwood welcomes visitors and frames the front door. Although there is a lawn and small alley of trees, the containers still pop.

    Outdoor Pool Design

    Pool decks can be enlivened with plants in containers. A few well placed plants can soften concrete and create a resort-like feel. If you plan to use containers in this type of symmetrical application, make sure they match. Conversely, it’s fine if they don’t match in a more casual, rustic environment like an informal country house. 

    French Country Pool Design

    Can you think of anything more divine than a lazy afternoon by this pool? While sublime, it would be took stark without the overall thought to the outdoor design which includes potted plants. If you copy this look, remember that when you water the plants the water will pour out and could stain the coping and deck, so take care.

    Tabletop Container Gardens

    Obviously not everybody has a pool, yard, or even patio. Placing smaller potted plants on tables are a small way to create a mini yard on even the smallest terrace or balcony. Don’t think you can be confined by space because there is always a way to make a garden grow.

    Images: Oliveaux, Bogle Street

  • Casual Dining Room Pendant Lights

    Casual Dining Room Lights

    Just like us, dining room pendant lights come in many shapes and sizes. While many people still prefer a more traditional light in the dining room, I’m here to show you that casual lighting can look just as chic. The open plan kitchen and dining room of the image above reads casual... don’t be fooled. The large scale contemporary glass globe light actually evokes the idea of a more traditional, large chandelier because of the multilevel affect of the many globes.  

    Rustic Dining Rooms

    Single globes can look just as snappy. This dining room is quirky and casual, right down to the simple wooden dining chairs that offer a Mid-Century feel. The simple round dining room light balances the geometric squares of the table, chairs and rug.

    Pendant Dining Room Lights

    Fall in love with the simple glass globe, I did. This clear glass pendant light is similar to the one used above and would compliment dining rooms, kitchen nooks, and even clustered over an island. 

    Casual Dining Room Decor

    Could there be a more fun dining space? Paging a Sandra Dee surfing movie... Seriously, the globe lights are organic in feel and the surfboard table ingenious. Sometimes it pays to think outside the box. If you are not wed to the idea of traditional dining room chairs, have you ever thought about bar stools?

    White Kitchen Bar Stools

    Crisp, white kitchen bar stools (like the ones featured above) could one day replace dining rooms chairs, if dining room chairs aren’t careful!

    Images: Decor 8, House of Turquoise

  • Aqua Blue Hues in Home Decor

    Aqua blue hues in home decor and lighting from Lamps Plus

    Aqua hues are always fresh, fun, and lively. I love the versatility of aqua in decorating - it can change to warm or cool depending on the colors surrounding it. Here's a roundup of some of my favorite aqua blue contemporary table lamps, light fixtures, and home decor:

    1. Swag Style Blue Ikat Giclee Shade Plug-In Chandelier. 2. Aqua Retro Round 9 1/2" Wide Wall Clock. 3. LBL Mason Steel Blue and Satin Nickel Pendant Light. 4. Robert Abbey Delta Egg Blue 22 1/2" High Table Lamp. 5. Turquoise Blue Spider Web Room Screen. 6. Brushed Blue Genie Touch Desk Lamp. 7. Sky Blue Glaze Ceramic Decorative Accent. 8. Bathing Beauty Blue Suit Figurine. (We apologize that some items are no longer available.)

    Aqua lends a relaxed look to interiors, and manages to lend a charming and playful vibe to everyday objects. (Case in point - how fun is that faceted Robert Abbey table lamp?) So, color do you use aqua tones at home?

  • Renovation Ideas - Bettershelter Traditional Bungalow: Part 1

    Bettershelter Traditional Bungalow

    Steve Jones of bettershelter recently purchased a traditional bungalow that was in major despair. When I saw it for the first time the floors were barely in place and electric wires were hanging from the ceiling. It was very dark, dirty, and hard to envision someone living in the home at some point. What has happened to this cute home? This is where someone like master house flipper Steve Jones comes in. He walks in, sees the vision, and falls in love with its potential!

    Often we just see the finished product of major home renovations, but I am going to take you through the entire construction process from start to finish. Steve Jones is going to be offering remodel tips, while sharing pictures of the "during," with a final reveal at the end. Be sure to keep checking back in to the Renovation Ideas series to follow the remodel of bettershelter's traditional bungalow.

     bettershelter home and Steve Jones

    LAMPS PLUS: The bungalow was in really bad shape when you purchased it. What hooked you on this particular house to see the vision beyond its neglected state?

    STEVE JONES: We really believe in the location; it is a block from Spaulding Square, a charming neighborhood. The area is very pedestrian friendly; you can walk to so many restaurants and see all sorts of people walking their dogs and everyone seems to know each other! It is a very tight knit community. The style of the home would be considered "traditional;" we will restore it with that aesthetic in mind.

    Traditional Living Room Remodel

    LAMPS PLUS: For home buyers considering properties that require a little or a lot of TLC, what is your advice for tackling DIY projects?

    STEVE JONES: First create a budget and a calendar; those will determine everything else! Put together a wish list and prioritize your list; at some point your money will run out and you won't be able to do everything, hopefully you will have taken care of the important stuff!

    If you have any friends in the construction/rehab world, drag them to your home and ask "what would you do if you were me?" Get as many opinions as you can, you will learn from all of them and at some point you start your project! Bring in a trained professional if you do not have the experience.

    bettershelter bungalow remodel

    LAMPS PLUS: For someone renovating a home over time, where do you start and what is your advice for living in the home during construction?

    STEVE JONES: Living in a home during construction is VERY stressful. I would highly advice against it. Having said that, if you must, secure an area in the home with plastic and blankets. Store as much as you can off site. Grin and bear it. Pretend you are camping! That is kind of the experience, except instead of the beautiful trees and nature you will be surrounded by 2x4s and bundles of insulation. Not glamorous.

    Bathroom Remodel

    LAMPS PLUS: What are your big plans for the traditional bungalow?

    STEVE JONES: We have created a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom with an open floor plan and plenty of light along with cathedral ceilings in most of the home. The style will be a traditional Cape Cod with a modern bettershelter touch. The outdoor spaces are always important to us and we have plans to make the whole property enclosed and private, like a little oasis in the city. The home came with many mature trees and we are keeping those!

    bettershelter home and backyard

    LAMPS PLUS: What type of light fixtures will make up the lighting scheme?

    STEVE JONES: We like fixtures that are period appropriate! The house will be as if you had the coolest aunt who was very modern and world wise and had lived in the home for a long time and had kept it up impeccably. The fixtures will reflect that sensibility!

    LAMPS PLUS: What Lamps Plus lighting options do you love for a traditional bungalow home?

    STEVE JONES: Traditional wall lights and ceiling lights like the ones below...

    Traditional Bungalow and Ceiling Lights

    Hudson Valley Winfield Nickel Ceiling Light (left), Hudson Valley Haverhill Polished Nickel Pendant (right)

    Traditional Bungalow and Wall Lights

    Hudson Valley Exeter Old Bronze Swing Arm Light (left; no longer available), Hudson Valley Adjustable Polished Nickel Wall Sconce (right)

    For more tips from Steve Jones, check out Steve Jones' designer interview.  


  • Summer Entertaining: Party Decor Basics

    Summer Entertaining and Party Decor

    Is there anything more fun than summer entertaining? Cool drinks and sun-kissed skin are part of the picture, but I’m here to offer up the party decor basics so that the party lives up to your expectations. I love the glamorous setup above. Not only did they decorate their yard as if it’s a room in the house, even down to the table lamps and credenza, but  they have used it as a focal point for the buffet. Did somebody mention food?  Well, it’s one of the basics.


    Poolside Entertaining

    If you ask me, food is very important to summer entertaining. This summer try to make an effort in creating a coherent look to the food you serve. I don’t mean, kitschy theme stuff, rather, make the food make sense. For example, this pool party buffet looks stunning because everything is coordinated. The serving items all match and the desserts are displayed neatly and seem to be based on lemon.

    Arranging Summer Buffets

    Another example of unified party decor is this rustic buffet. All the display and serving items are similar which create a comprehensive look. I never thought about using desk drawers to create different level for a display, but it is amazing. Multiple layers and levels also make a buffet pleasing to the eye.

    Distressed Wood Trays

    Serving drinks and food on trays is a design basic. This set of rustic trays would look fabulous on a country theme table or at a BBQ. Even piled high with napkins or bar items, trays are always in style and are truly functional.


    Outdoor Party Lighting

    Lighting is key when it comes to party decor. Whether you take advantage of your existing outdoor light fixtures or introduce special lights such as stringed fairy lights or paper lanterns, make sure there is enough so that your guests can see the bar, buffet, and walkways.

    Summer Entertaining on Decks

    String lights even make drinks at dusk a special occasion. The bohemian decor of this deck feels so relaxed. 

    Casual Summer Dining

    Can’t get to Greece this year? Why not paint the ocean on some board and improvise? The rattan string lights echo the natural materials of the table and chairs and are the perfect source of light for the summer dining table.

    White Paper String Lights

    White paper string party lights make every party enchanting. From pool decks and in trees to the underside of umbrellas and cabanas, they add just the right amount of mood lighting.


    Outdoor Party Decor

    I love these brightly painted folding chairs. Not only would they be easy to make on your own, but they would be really fun at any outdoor party. Make sure you have ample seating for summer entertaining whether for dining or lounging.

    Cabana Decor

    Speaking of lounging, this most be one of the most comfortable outdoor spaces for entertaining I’ve seen in a long time. Not only is there a place to relax, but it’s near the outdoor grill and bar.


    Decorating with Flowers

    It may be a luxury, but flowers are a decor favorite for summer parties. A great way to stretch your dollar would be, like in the image above, to fill hurricanes with colored sand or rocks to match the flowers you have chosen. 

    Backyard Summer Decor

    Even if you place a simple bunch on a side table or bar, flowers will add elegance and sophistication to your next summer fete. By the way, did you notice the cute trays?

    Images: B Festive, Rue, House of Fifty

  • International Travel Inspirations and Global Decor

    modern global decor

    It is no secret that global decor has been making serious headway this season. Thankfully, you don't have to endure jet lag and customs screenings to get an authentic, internationally inspired look for your home. All it takes is a little pattern, color, and texture to get you on your way! Large crystal chandeliers with wrought iron details, candles, and ornate ceiling medallions, like in the image above, always provide an old-world, European feel to your space! 

    Latin American global decor

    Let's go south of the border. To achieve a modern, Latin American feel, try bringing in colorful accent pieces, such as woven baskets and floor runners with ikat and kilim patterns. The rustic wood coffee table cart has a slightly industrial feel, and is an effortless choice for finishing off the space. Also, opt for some foliage, like a chic succulent garden!

    Moroccan decor

    Bright hues, bold patterns, and rustic textures... OH MY! Moroccan inspired global decor is all the rage right now, thanks to its compelling presence across the major interior design shows this Spring. The simplest way to bring this trend into your home is by adding a new rug or collection of throw pillows to your space.

    Moroccan rug

    Surya Rugs Centennial Ivory CNT-1051 Area Rug

    Moroccan pillow

    Carino Paprika Down 18" Square Throw Pillow

    Moroccan lantern

    Medium Pocono Candle Lantern

    Above are some of my favorite Moroccan inspired home accents from Lamps Plus. I'm not sure I can live without that rug! How 'bout you?

    Moroccan wall design

    Not ready to bombard your space with that much detail? I absolutely LOVE the way these simple wall decals incorporate the Moroccan look with minimal commitment. Super chic!

    Asian inspired decor

    Asian inspired decor is a timeless trend that is also still going strong, but I love the way Elle Decor updated the look in this modern kitchen by balancing the Asian accents with a little bit of country aesthetic.

    What is your favorite travel inspired trend?

    Images: TradHome, Allt I Hemmet, Stylelist Home, A Place For Us, Elle Decor

  • An Interview with Interior Designer Tamara Kaye-Honey

    Interior designer Tamara Kaye-Honey from House of Honey

    Interior designer Tamara Kaye-Honey is an icon in the design world. Recently named one of Traditional Home's 10 NewTrad Designers, her work is popping up all over publications like Rue, Canadian House and Home, House Beautiful, and California Home and Design. I chatted with Tamara, owner of Pasadena's House of Honey, about her signature style, her design icons, and her love for collecting art.

    LAMPS PLUS: Your signature style has been coined “The New Vintage” – an artful mix of old and new. What is your favorite design style?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: I think a mix of styles makes for a personal and soulful space. I like to reinvent vintage pieces with pops of color and patterns to help create an original interior. My home has become a sort of testing lab for new ideas and concepts. Art and accessories are constantly revolving; I tell my family not to get too attached to any one piece. I do though of course have many things that have such a personal meaning that they will never end up with a client or at the shop.

    Interior design by House of Honey and living room

    LAMPS PLUS: How is your own home decorated?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: The furnishings in my home are a mix of vintage modern from when we lived in NYC, some new contemporary pieces like the Droog milkbottle chandelier in the kitchen, antiques purchased at numerous auctions and estate sales, as well as some vintage treasures found on many a Palm Springs outings (like dining room chairs). Most pieces I reinvent with new fabrics/a few coats of paint or new hardware.

    It's so fun to give an old piece a fresh look, a new start! I have an obsession with vintage Murano, Venini and Vistosi glass lighting and have spent countless hours online trying to deal with Italian dealers working prices and shipping. It is always a gamble when a box shows up at our doorstep from Italy as we never know if the glass will be intact or shattered, which has happened more than a few times. I have been collecting vintage big eye Margaret Keane inspired portraits for years and my daughter's room reflects this passion now.

    Interior design by House of Honey and red bedroom

    LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite thing at home that you didn't design?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: The breakfast table in the kitchen is a vintage Herman Miller conference table. I love all the scratches and stains, they are sort of like wrinkles on a face - it just reflects a well lived life.

    LAMPS PLUS: What designers do you most admire?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: Oh so many. John Dickinson for his simplicity and humorous designs. Dorothy Draper for boldness and bravery with color. Davis Hicks for his fierce use of pattern. Christian Liager for his restraint and sophistication. Piero Fornasetti for his originality and wit. Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne for such surreal and beautiful creations. I could go on...

    Interior design by House of Honey and living room design

    LAMPS PLUS: Although your designs are influenced by the past, you have a knack for giving them a modern edge and skillfully incorporating current trends. What do you see as the next design trend?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: I think any current design trend come from recreating and reinterpreting the past. I also think design trends are being influenced by the resurgence of handmade designs. We are in a time where the craft is becoming increasingly important. I think this trend for sustainable, local, handmade will continue for a while. It’s a reflection of our socioeconomic situation which also affects trends. You can still create luxury with simplicity, it just takes more thought!

    LAMPS PLUS: What is one “trick of the trade” that you implement in your designs?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: Art is crucial to all my designs. Be it a bathroom or kitchen, I think both vintage and contemporary art helps create a timeless and  unique space. I think everyone should start an art collection, no matter the budget or age. My son has started collecting vintage ship paintings from flea markets and thrift shops. They are inspiring and energizing and of course soulful.

    Interior design by House of Honey and bedroom design

    LAMPS PLUS: What is the best design advice you ever received?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: Be persistent and take any opportunity you are given. And of course listen to your heart, only you know what is right.

    LAMPS PLUS: In your home decor shop and design studio, House of Honey, you sell an eclectic mix of vintage and antique furniture, accessories, and decorative objects that you often re-invent to give them new life. When decorating, what do you suggest your clients splurge on?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: I think investing in key pieces is important. Be it a sofa, dining table or bed; a piece that will be with you indefinitely and can be passed on in your family. Accessories and decorative pieces can be changed up seasonally.

    Interior design by House of Honey and bathroom design

    LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite guilty pleasure that might surprise people?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: Taking staycations with my husband every few months at different boutique hotels in  the LA area. It's great for our marriage and oh so fun exploring new hotel designs. We’re basically working our way through all the tablet hotels in the area. Next up: Ventana Inn and Spa in Big Sur.

    LAMPS PLUS: What are you obsessed with right now?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: Anything unexpected makes me happy. There are loads of cutting edge, old and new designs that I’m constantly learning about. Any furniture that is hoofed, tied or has some sort feet, fascinates me. Meret Oppenheim's Table with Bird's Feet (1939) is my favorite and I am over the moon to have recently acquired one for my personal collection.

    Interior design by House of Honey and black bathroom

    LAMPS PLUS: How important is lighting to your design?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: Lighting is the most important element. I often start a room with a beautiful chandelier or pendant light. I pride myself of great lighting design. There are no rules about scale with lighting, in my eyes. An oversized chandelier in a small space is a welcomed surprise.

    Lighting from Lamps Plus chosen by Tamara Honey

    LAMPS PLUS: What are your favorite lights from Lamps Plus?

    TAMARA KAYE-HONEY: I often use pieces from the Jonathan Adler Parker Collection in brass. They are well priced, playful and timeless. I  also love to use the Robert Abbey Anemone Ceiling Light in a hallway; so fun! For built-ins and bookcases, the Robert Abbey Ant Bee Plug-In Swing Arm Wall Lamp is a winner.

    Thanks Tamara! To view more of Tamara's work, please check out her website, House of Honey. And if you're local to the Los Angeles area, stop by her gorgeous shop and say hello!

    Image credits: House of Honey

  • Decorating Outdoor Spaces Around a View

    Decorating Outdoor Spaces

    So much of summer revolves around outdoor living that it’s worth a peek at how you can maximize decorating outdoor spaces around a view. Now, I totally get that not everybody has a killer view, but it never hurts to dream big. My feeling is that great views come in four varieties: Ocean, Rolling Hills, Lake and Poolside. Regardless of the view, you need to address how you will use the space and then decorate accordingly. One key element to keep in mind is that summer is all about relaxation, comfort and entertaining, so make sure the space reflects that notion of hospitality.


    Front Porch Decorating

    Ocean views are usually spectacular and can be mesmerizing. This outdoor room is a dream. How can you not love this giant pillow-crazy swinging sofa? Everything takes advantage of the surrounds with an element of comfort. A great way to keep things cool on a hot summer day is to install outdoor ceiling fans like the one here.

    Outdoor Ceiling Fans

    This Minka Aire ceiling fan keeps things cool and comfortable day and night.

    Outdoor Deck Design

    If all you have is a narrow deck, a row of lounge chairs is perfect. Not only can you soak up the sun, but it’s a comfortable place to gather at night if you install outdoor heaters that you can see at the top of the glass doors. Another way to maximize the view is to use a clear glass railing - it keeps the view unobstructed as well as creates a wind barrier.

    Outdoor Dining

    If you crave a more traditional, New England-style approach to designing for a view, keep the architecture classic, like this railing, and use preppy colors. No fuss furniture and many cocktails are the way to roll. 

    Terraces for Rocky Coasts

    Rugged coastlines like in the Mediterranean are unfussy in a different way. Sun-kissed terraces tend to mimic the rocky coast and are monochromatic. Muted colors and casual linens are perfect in this environment. If this is the style you like, let things weather naturally and become sun-bleached. 


    Outdoor Dining Room

    A sea of green is another gorgeous view to behold. This vista is the closest thing to the basic backyard, and can be dressed up for summer. This stunning terrace is set up for al fresco dining and is super elegant. I love outdoor hanging lighting, which in this case, echoes the topiary on the table. This look is timeless and the chairs are so inviting because of the thick cushions. Remember, if you are going to dine for a while make sure the chairs have some cushion for the tush!

    Outdoor Hanging Lights

    This round, Campanile Collection outdoor hanging light will illuminate dining as well as seating areas on porches, terraces and decks.

    Outdoor Dining Rooms

    I assume you have an old ruin of a castle in France or Italy, right? Well, if you do and you have this view, make sure gobs of friends can enjoy the vista over some chilled rose. A slightly enclosed space like this means you can use the good china and glasses. Just because it's summer doesn’t mean you have to serve on paper and plastic. A little elegance will show your guests that you care and that you assume they can behave like grown-ups. 


    Lakeside Terraces

    The summer lake view has always been a favorite of mine. Not because I had to bathe in one at camp in Northern Wisconsin as a child, but because I have overcome that scarring time of my life and can now appreciate the simplicity of the humble lake’s grandeur. This outdoor room is decorated with a sectional sofa to maximize the lake view. An outdoor ceiling fan keeps things cool and cozy cushions and pillows keep it all soft.


    Poolside Furniture

    Ok, pool and ocean... no doubt these people must also have a private plane. Do you think they are happy? Regardless, it’s the most perfect way to enjoy the view. Elegant wood outdoor furniture and an accent table for trashy magazines and a drink makes for a heavenly summer day.

    Formal Outdoor Terraces

    This more formal terrace maximizes the narrow space with open, fretwork outdoor furniture that doesn’t take up too much room and is paced in such a way as to maximize the pretty view. Outdoor lighting and wall lights are essential in a space like this to keep guests from stumbling after dark.

    Images: Oliveaux, House of Turquoise

June, 2012