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.
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It’s strange to think that by using reclaimed materials you can create totally modern kitchen decor. Move over Laura Ingalls, kitchen decor can be both modern and warm at the same time if you know how to combine rough-hewn wood with age and patina with crisp modern surfaces and lighting.
I think this room is stunning and simple to achieve. The room is essentially an unadorned white box with modern, square lines with interesting lighting. Wide-plank reclaimed wood clads the rectangular island in a horizontal direction that literally turns an old material on it’s side making it fresh and modern. The open shelving also uses reclaimed wood for a chunky yet still minimalist aesthetic. Functional kitchen bar stools in metal balances the natural materials while an old world dining room chandelier carries the metal theme through to the dining room.
Another way to modernize and balance the reclaimed materials is with what appears to be a concrete counter and geometric tiles up the back wall. Except for the simple run of under-counter cabinets and appliances there is very little additional expense.
The hot new look is to use old-world style lighting fixtures in contemporary rooms. That is done successfully here with bare bulbs over the shelves and turn-of-the-last century style metal shade pendants. Because they remain simple in form they “read” contemporary. The old school mini pendant light above is just the right amount of old! It references the past just enough to add charm to a modern kitchen.
This black Windsor chair is similar to the one above. The black matte finish looks great against a contemporary white wall and like the pendant above, allows you to reference the past while still keeping a safe distance from the wagon trains of ole and a jaunt through Donner Pass. I think reclaimed materials in modern kitchen decor is here to stay. The best of both worlds, simply put, is the best.
Image credits: The Zhush.
UPDATE #2: We're pleased to announce the winners of our Pinterest contest: Jacqueline Taylor Griffin (French Market); Dawn Shelton (Hollywood Luxe); Quincey Shelton (Global Style); Joyce Moore (City Chic); and Renee Scott (Natural Inspirations). Thanks to all who entered and voted!
UPDATE #1: The contest entry period has now expired. Congrats to all the finalists in the Lamps Plus Pinterest contest. Head on over to the Pinterest contest board to see all the finalists and help us chose the winners by voting for your favorites. Remember the finalists' boards with the most repins will win. Good luck to all!
Now is a chance to show off your design skills and put together an inspiration board reflecting your style in our Pinterest contest. Are you more of a naturalist or do you find yourself leaning toward global influenced design? Let us know!
We are giving away a total of five $500 online shopping sprees. Below are the details of how to enter.
We will select the boards with the most creative flair as FINALISTS. The WINNERS will be chosen by YOU. So Find Your Favorite Style and Start Pinning It to Win It!
For more information about the design styles, check out our Hot Trends Pinterest board. Need an invite to Pinterest? Send your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject Pinterest Contest Invite) and we will try to invite you. To learn more about Pinterest and how to get started, check out the Pinterest About page.
Note: Contest open to US residents only. Residents of Rhode Island are unable to enter the contest. Read our complete contest rules here.
After spending some time in the majestic landscape of Reykjavik, Iceland, and the surrounding countryside I felt inspired by Iceland, rejuvenated, relaxed and ready to bring some Icelandic inspiration home. From the bright hues of the local wild flower and the Blue Lagoon to the stark, volcanic coastline and open plains, to the near 24 hours of sunlight during summer, there are many ways in which you can incorporate the beauty of Iceland in your own home.
Fontella Square Hand Sewn Felt Rose Pillow
Nootka, the local wildflower in Iceland, was introduced to the region in 1945 as a means to bringing nutrients back to the volcanic soil. While some are critics of the flower due to its inedibility, it has become an icon for the country side. Its beautiful shade of purple inspires local artists and designers to incorporate the bright color in their designs.
During the summer in Iceland, the sun never sets, but rather coasts across the skyline all through the night creating a beautiful dusk lighting that lasts until dawn. Implementing outdoor lighting can bring this "bright at night" feeling to your own home.
Uttermost Reena Blue Glass Table Lamp
One of Iceland's most famous sights is the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa in a lava field that is rich in minerals and nutrients. Visitors can come to the spa and bathe in the waters, which are famous for beautifying your skin and even curing some skin diseases such as psoriasis. While it would be ideal to have your own little Blue Lagoon in your home, you can bring home the beautiful icy, electric blue hue.
Since Iceland is an island, there are miles and miles of vast and open coastline. Unlike the beaches of Southern California where I am from, the coast in Iceland reminds me of New England with overgrown reeds and stone beaches. It is this laid back beach environment that can easily be translated to home decor with beautiful accessories, ceiling light fixtures, and wall lights.
Eco Botanico Nickel Wall Sconce
When you drive inland, the mossy, volcanic landscape can take your breath away. The lack of inhabitants has allowed the land to remain untouched for the most part, yet with excellent infrastructure, tourists and travelers can drive through the region and experience all the beauty.
While in Iceland, the overall feeling was one of open calm and beauty. While I was only able to see a small part of the large island, being only in and around Reykjavik in the South West region, I would highly recommend a visit to anyone who loves adventure, nature and serenity. And if that hasn't quite gotten you to visit, the local Icelandic lobster is the best I have ever eaten!
Images: Allison Rosenberg
Behold one of the most perfect objects, the contemporary white table lamp. Simple in color and form, able to “work” in almost every interior and while not only stunning, always functional. Summer has something to do with my latest obsession with white and because it’s after Memorial Day white rules my interplanetary color chart. Fine, I know nothing about astrology, but I do love white chic living room lamps.
Cute, right? This Virgil low white shade accent lamp reminds me of the one above in that super-modern space. This type of contemporary white lamp is more about ambiance and mood. This is not a good choice for working at a desk, but a great choice to impress your friends. Loving the retro pull cord.
The design of the Eloise White Wire Table Lamp is rooted in a traditional ceramic form, but wholly modern with the use of a unique material. I love it, but just don’t let Joan Crawford know you are beginning to like wire.
A similar shape but made of white covered resin is this Michelle White Table Lamp. I get a cool Jetsons reaction to this lamp. I love this contemporary look for a bedroom or living room.
The Robert Abbey Simple White Boom Desk Lamp packs a real punch. Styled like a full size floor lamp, this little guy is a gorgeous addition to desks as well as night stands giving you the ability to raise, lower and direct light just where you need it.
For a white lamp with artistic flair, why not the Possini White Coral Oval Shade Table Lamp? Just when you think this lamp is an elegant classic, it surprises you with the intricate coral design incorporated at the top making it more of a one-of-a-kind statement. Regardless of shape and size, a contemporary white table lamp or task lamp is always a fresh and functional focal point.
Recreating a coastal bedroom is easy. Start with bare feet and a relaxed attitude. The beauty of seaside looking rooms is that they can be so affordable to create. Simple white paint on the walls and flea market accent pieces painted sunny colors is a perfect foundation.
As you can see from this room, it’s all about the perfect accent pieces and the right colors that create the mood. Summer and coastal bedrooms in particular may seem sparse at first, but touches of luxury are surprisingly still in play. Sumptuous bedding and decorative accent pillows balance the wood floors and walls.
Below are 3 easy steps to recreate the coastal look of the bedroom featured above.
1. Add Accent Pillows: This blue haze ruffled accent pillow captures the sea beautifully. The swirling fabric reminds me of the wild surf and color. Whether you perch it on a bench, bed or chair, it is the right type of accent for a coastal bedroom. Just want to make sure you “caught” the perch/ocean reference. You’re right, I should stick to design, not comedy.
2. White Table Lamps: This bedroom does not seem like an homage to kitsch nautical design. Simplicity is still the driving force. No fuss white lamps keeps everything calm. This Haeger Pottery white fluted ceramic table lamp would do the trick. The white lamps also allow the colorful objects like the small, blue decorative wall mirror to pop.
3. Organic and Natural Materials: Finally, coastal bedrooms need some form of an organic, decorative element. Be it a bowl of shells or in this case, a natural sea fan. While the rustic shelf above the bed acts as the perfect display for a collection, placing a single fan or coral on a table would be just as chic.
Image: Coastal Living
I can’t get enough of photographer Karyn Millet's work. While she is brilliant with any subject matter, she has been very successful at photographing interiors for some of the best shelter magazines around. I was lucky enough to sit down with her, dish on what she loves, get a handful of interior lighting and photography tips, and get a glimpse into her own home.
LAMPS PLUS: How is your own home decorated?
KARYN MILLET: I've started with a color theme for each room - beige and baby blue for the dining room, grey and tangerine color scheme for the living room, and blue and white for the master bedroom. I like to tell stories through "color" rather than specific styles that might limit your imagination.
LAMPS PLUS: What designers do you most admire?
KARYN MILLET: For me, it doesn't get any better than Nancy Lancaster. So ahead of her times. I often hear her voice in my head about adding a little zebra into a room, letting the drapes slightly puddle, etc.
LAMPS PLUS: What is one “trick of the trade” that you have learned photographing interiors?
KARYN MILLET: Move furniture if it's not working. My photo crew carries furniture moving disks that let us easily push furniture around on either carpet of hard floors. I got them out at home just yesterday and starting pushing all my heavy living room furniture around the room effortlessly into an entirely new layout. Let's see if it doesn't change again soon!
LAMPS PLUS: What is the best design advice you ever received?
KARYN MILLET: Don't simply look at a room from a standing position, sit down. Typically, that's how you'll be experiencing it in real life and it's important to try out vantage points personally so you don't end up with having a conversation with a friend while the whole time you're thinking (while sitting), "why did I put that picture there?"
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite guilty pleasure that might surprise people?
KARYN MILLET: Reading in bed in the morning, even on a week day! I'm currently reading Nancy Mitford's biography on Madame de Pompadour and it's fun to wake up and be taken to Versailles in the morning!
LAMPS PLUS: What are you obsessed with right now?
KARYN MILLET: My great, great uncle Francis Davis Millet. He was an amazing artist who perished on the Titanic 100 years ago. I'm about to go to Broadway, England, where he lived with his wife Lily. I'm staying in a country house hotel that used to be his studio. The Tate Museum is also getting one of his pieces out of storage for me to privately view. Yes, I'm pretty much obsessed. His artistry and heroism are borderline epic and I can't get enough!
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite type of interior photoshoot?
KARYN MILLET: I like to shoot houses with magical natural light. Typically these have high ceilings and are south facing with beautiful windows. It's not so much the view outside (no matter how beautiful), but the light that is being "painted" into the room that makes my camera sing.
LAMPS PLUS: How did you get started?
KARYN MILLET: After several years in PR and publishing I wanted to do something creative and honestly, photography "found me." I took some classes at the local college and then started shooting. I'd been on 100s of photoshoots in the past but never thought I could ever be the one creating the photos. It was truly a liberating feeling to be able to find and capture amazing moments.
LAMPS PLUS: How important is lighting in an interior?
KARYN MILLET: Lighting and composition go hand in hand. It's critical and it's best to wait for the right light than take a picture when it's too overwhelming. Interestingly enough, the less light the better for interiors. It gives you an opportunity to have a longer exposure so the light can gently sink into the shot.
LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite chic living room lamp from Lamps Plus?
KARYN MILLET: My favorite table lamp is the Brushed Steel Open Window Table Lamp.
Brushed Steel Open Window Table Lamp
LAMPS PLUS: When should you splurge?
KARYN MILLET: After you've made your mortgage payment and you've got several future payments in the bank … oh, and on your birthday for sure!
LAMPS PLUS: What is your dream photo shoot?
KARYN MILLET: Versailles with zero people. Just me and my camera.
LAMPS PLUS: Has there ever been a time when an interior has inspired you personally? An unexpected interior that has shifted your aesthetic?
KARYN MILLET: Yes, nearly every shoot! I shoot for so many incredible designers and I tend to fall in love with whatever I'm shooting for them. It leads to my pondering changes in my own home's look time and time again!
Images: Karyn Millet
A coffee and sit down with Icelandic designer Helga Guðrún, owner of Stáss Design and one of four companies in the artistic collective Netagerðin, to learn about Iceland opened my eyes to everything design and architecture in Reykjavik, Iceland. We talked about everything from Reykjavik's turf house beginnings to the cities love of modern, new products with traditional influences.
At first glance, Reykjavik seems like a New England coastal town. I was interested to learn that up until the early 1900's most of the home and buildings in Reykjavik were turf buildings, made out of stone and turf material like matted grasses. The first permanent stone structure was their parliament building, built in 1881, and the oldest areas of the city only date back to the 1930's.
Icelandic people love new design; they always want to be up-to-date, sometimes even to a fault. In the 1990's and early 2000's, as the country's economy thrived, there was a craze to remodel and update. Sadly, as they did this, they would tear out and tear down the old designs and literally throw out old furniture and home decor. When the economy crashed in 2008, people in Reykjavik modified the way in which they remodeled their homes and became much less frivolous about their previous possessions.
Places such as Netagerðin have tried to incorporate Icelandic antiques as well as local materials and traditions into their design. Their shop was once a warehouse in the 1960's that was shut down for years before they bought it. When they opened the doors, it was filled with vintage ceramics, furniture and appliances, some of which Helga incorporated in the design of the attached restaurant, Forrétta. The modern sleek mini-pendant lights mixes it up and gives the design a modern look. And note the nod to Bjork in the form of the stork pouf...
Helga went on to tell me that all the artists in the collective at Netagerðin focus on using local materials, local traditions and traditional Icelandic patterns in their design. She tells me that there is always a story behind the product that ties in with the country. One significant design inspiration in Iceland has always been the sea as the country, especially Reykjavik, is surrounded by it and it is such a big part of their history.
Until recently, Helga tells me, there were not any monumental structures in the city. Thankfully the construction of the Harpa concert hall survived the economic crash and is now a gorgeous structure on the edge of the coast. It was a collaboration between design firms Henning Larsen Architects and Batteríið Architects and artist Ólafur Elíasson to create a beautiful, interesting, monumental space. Harpa was awarded the World Architecture Award in 2011. The building is a cultural icon reflecting the sea and the city, and glows like a jewel box through the summer nights as the sun coasts along the horizon.
Another significant building in the city center is the Hallgrímskirkja church. The style of the building is supposed to resemble the lava flows of the Icelandic landscape. Taking over 38 years to build and only being completed in 1986, the church stands as the tallest building in Reykjavik. It is beautiful to see how it is illuminated in the midnight light during the summer.
Icelandic design in Reykjavik is still quite young, but I have a feeling that it will soon be a city to watch in the design world.
Images: Allison Rosenberg, Harpa Press
I have my favorite home design blogs (besides our own blog of course). I am constantly venturing around the web to see what other people are inspired by and what projects designers are currently working on. Each blog on my list is very different than the next with its own unique voice. So... let's talk about the list!
My Marrakesh: Yes yes yes! For everyone and anyone that is obsessed with Moroccan inspirations, then this is the place you need to be. The author of the blog, Maryam, lives in Marrakesh and owns a stylish boutique guest house and is the author of the inspirational picture book, Marrakesh by Design. I visit her blog (often) for decorative accent pillow and rug ideas from Morocco.
Stylelist Home: Stylelist Home is AOL's design blog. It is the "something for everyone" blog with house tours, craft projects, entertaining tips, etc. I love visiting their blog for trending design topics. I also write for AOL Stylelist Home, so of course it had to make the list.
aBLOOMSBURYlife: aBLOOMSBURYlife is the end result of a stylish mom, who is also an embroidery artist, is passionate about interior design, and loves to travel the Globe. Her own personal home is quite amazing and she often shares new projects around the house. Her blog is a one woman shop, so I love the personal/diary-like tone of the content.
maison21: Christian May (interior designer and blogger behind maison21) is the most social person I know! If you want to know what is happening at ALL the design events in Los Angeles, check into the maison21 blog often. There isn't a design event invitation that he doesn't turn down. So I love to stay home and check in on his blog for the party recap!
the Real Estalker: If you must have your celebrity gossip in the world of real estate and design, this is the place for you! I have been quite addicted to the Real Estalker for many years. It reports on celebrity real estate purchases and homes on the market. I love the voyeuristic nature of seeing how celebrities really live. Bring on the over the top chandeliers, bold color choices, and overall luxury living!
When it comes to lighting coastal style great rooms, variety is the key. Because “coastal” has a relaxed connotation, let your room look like it has evolved over time, through many generations and through many summers. Also, because the typical great room must function on many levels, think of lighting the space in terms of zones. In the “work zone” there are kitchen recessed lights for general illumination, individual wall lights over each window and classic schoolhouse lights over the bar. Speaking of the bar, how cute are the red, casual bar height stools? If wet bathing suits or messy kids are the norm in your house, forget about fancy fabric!
I like the idea of using these schoolhouse brushed nickel ceiling lights in a kitchen. They lend an air of authenticity and age to any space, plus they offer enough light for casual dining.
Speaking of dining, and heaven knows I’m always ready to eat, this dining space is another success story in coastal style design. The woven dining chairs look as though they could have been brought in from the porch, but still manage to be chic as does the lantern style lighting fixture. I’ve always said if you love a fixture, don’t be afraid to use outdoor lighting indoors.
The Rue de Royal hanging light will introduce an antique style flair to the coastal style great room because it looks like the kind of fixture you can find at an off the beaten path antique store. Making a room look like it’s been around for generations is easier than you think, it’s all about where you look to find items that inspire.
Photo: House of Turquoise
When we think of a beach color scheme, we typically think of white and blue hues. However, a few weeks ago I was hanging out at the beach when the sun set, which inspired a new unexpected color combination - bright orange and deep blue. Decorating with orange and blue can create an eclectic color scheme. I rounded up a handful of contemporary table lamps as an example of how to incorporate this look.
(Top Row: Sedona Mosaic Fiberglass Table Lamp, Possini Euro Design Blue Art Glass Table Lamp, Lamp Works Fluted Recycled Orange Glass Table Lamp)
(Bottom Row: Blue Bubble Glass Jug Table Lamp, Lights Up! Devo Oval Carrot Table Lamp, Haeger Potteries Blue Ceramic Egg Table Lamp)
You can use both hues in the same room for a more dramatic effect or you can sprinkle the colors throughout the home for a subtle look. I am really drawn to the orange glass table lamps for bedside lighting. They would look great paired with blue accents such as drapery or accessories. Or... how about the blue table lamps on a living room side table paired with orange decorative accent pillows or an orange throw.
What do you think about this unexpected coastal color combination?