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.

  • Kitchen Decor: Using Reclaimed Materials

    Kitchen Decor Using Reclaimed Materials

    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.

    Mini Pendant Lights

    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.

    Windsor Style Dining Chairs

    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.


  • 5 Contemporary Table Lamps Under $50

    Contemporary table lamps under $50

    Looking for a deal on lighting? I rounded up 5 contemporary table lamps under $50. The lamps are perfect to replace an old and outdated lamp. Or... need extra accent lighting in a kid's room or home office? For a budget-friendly price, you surely won't have buyer's remorse the next day!

    Natural Wood Finish Table Lamp

    Flexell 600 Natural Finish Wood Table Lamp

    1. The wood shade table lamp doubles as a work of art. The shade is made of wood slats and is flexible to be twisted and turned to create your own shape. Both kids and adults will love this lamp!

    Stripe Ceramic Table Lamp

    Random Stripe Two-Tone Ceramic Table Lamp

    2. A simple design yet still very elegant, the stripe ceramic table lamp is great for a classic living room or neutral tone bedroom. The stripes add just enough pattern to add interest to any room.

    Clear Base Table Lamp

    Stacked Glass Globe Table Lamp

    3. Clear lamp bases are a hot trend right now! They are a fun material and break up the typical materials you find in a room.

    Bamboo Printed Shade Table Lamp

    Contemporary Bamboo Printed Acrylic Shade Table Lamp

    4. Going for a natural look in your design! The contemporary bamboo printed lamp really makes it feel like you are bringing in a touch of the outdoors.

    Brushed Steel Table Lamp

    Double Globe Brushed Steel Table Lamp

    5. Glam it up with the brushed steel table lamp! The reflective surface is a fun accent in any style decor. I would love to see the lamp being used as bedside lighting.

    What is your favorite budget contemporary table lamp?

  • Top 5 Favorite Home Design Blogs

    5 Favorite Home Design Blogs

    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!

    Image: Inslee

  • Best of Summer Picnic Decor

    Summer Picnic Decor

    Isn't the best part of the summer being able to have a picnic and picking out summer picnic decor! It is so nice to get outside and enjoy lunch by the beach or at your favorite park. When planning the perfect picnic, you have checked the food and drinks off your list, but don't forget about the entertaining decor essentials that really makes it special.

    Entertaining decor essentials

    (Top Row: Picnic Time Leaf Bamboo Cheese Board Set with Tools, Chesapeake Bay Thyme Verbena Candle)

    (Bottom Row: Galvanized Tin Coal Scuttle Vase, Picnic Time Moka Kabrio Wicker Picnic Basket Set)

    First, did you remember the picnic basket to carry napkins, silverware, glasses, and plates? Eating and entertaining outdoors is the perfect opportunity to break out a cheese board with your favorite crackers and a variety of cheeses. Of course if the lunch is meant to be romantic, then a vase for flowers and a candle really seal the deal. Another few suggestions include outdoor decorative pillows and a cozy throw blanket.

    What are you bringing to your next picnic?

    Image: The Inside Story

  • Get The Look: Coastal Kids Room

    Coastal Kids Room

    You don’t need to live by the sea to achieve a cute coastal kids room. When I say coastal I suppose I really mean relaxed and inspired by nature. There are no real rules; however, I would base the colors on nature and make sure to include some white to keep the space fresh. Because kids love multiple shapes, colors, patterns and textures, make sure you know to balance the sensory overload. This room does it beautifully.

    Wide, almost nautical curtains balance smaller details of a colorful area rug, while a smaller pattern found in decorative accent pillows add interest against solid walls painted the color of a coastal sky. I love the juxtaposition between the over-the-top chandelier with the pop of solid chartreuse green in the table lamps. It’s the kind of room that will keep active kids interested and save you from having to redecorate when they get bored. The entire space is grounded with a neutral sandy colored carpet that harkens back to a day sur la playa.

    White Chandeliers

    This white carriage chandelier is similar to the one in the room and is fresh coastal feeling because it’s painted out in white.

    Green Ceramic Table Lamps

    Just like in the room above, this green ceramic table lamp would be really cute against pale blue. I also love that the shades have a natural rattan, textured look versus the more standard basic white. A deeper colored shade will cast a warmer glow.

    Mirrored Chests

    Whether it stores toys for younger kids or books and computer equipment for teens, this white mirror circle fretwork chest is a cheerful addition to the coastal kids room.

    Image: House and Home

  • Our Favorite Candice Olson Lighting Picks

    Candice Olson Lighting

    (Top Row: Candice Olson Margo 6-Light Large Modern Chandelier, Candice Olson Basie Gold Table Lamp)

    (Bottom Row: Candice Olson Logan Table Lamp, Candice Olson Sahara Wall Sconce)


    Have you been following Candice Olson since her first Divine Design TV show days and love Candice Olson lighting? Us too! We are fortunate to carry a great selection of Candice Olson lighting products, everything from table lamps to wall sconces. What we love about her design aesthetic is that almost every design and product has a major glam and bling factor.

    We are swooning over the large modern chandelier! It says to guests, "Hi, I am kinda fabulous and I throw great dinner parties!" Oh and don't get us started about how much we are loving gold as a finish right now. The Candice Olson Basie Gold table lamp makes a huge statement in any room. The satin nickel and black shade table lamp can go glam and masculine at the same time which is great for couples who need to come to a compromise. Looking to incorporate some different materials into your design scheme. We are loving the sahara wall sconce with abalone shells and a chrome finish.

    What Candice Olson lighting product is your favorite?

    Image: Candice Olson

  • Lighting Coastal Style Great Rooms

    Coastal Style Great Rooms

    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!    

    Schoolhouse Lighting

    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.

    Outdoor Lantern Lighting

    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

  • Yahoo! Inspired Purple Baby Nursery Decor

    Yahoo! Inspired Purple Baby Nursery Decor

    Everyone is talking about Yahoo!'s new CEO, Marissa Mayer, and her pregnancy. Since she is now team Yahoo and is supporting purple colors, we put together a few purple baby nursery decor ideas. Wouldn't it be fun for her to have an all purple baby nursery to show support for her new company!

    Purple Baby Nursery Decor

    (Top Row: Giclee Purple Horizontal Stripe Table Lamp, Purple Fontella Felt Rose Pillow)

    (Bottom Row: Camden Collection Suzani Tile Lavender Area Rug, Surya Timora Plum and Tan Throw Blanket)

    Purple is such a great color and is known for having a calming affect, which after taking a new high stress job, might be just what her and her baby needs. We selected some of our favorite home decor picks. A striped contemporary table lamp for just enough lighting for bedtime stories. A decorative pillow for a fun accent on a side chair. A lavendar rug, so once the baby stars crawling he/she can have a nice soft surface to practice rolling over. And of course, a soft throw blanket for snuggle time with mommy.

    Good luck Marissa with your new job and soon to be new baby!

    Images: Businessweek, The Christian Science Monitor, Reelybored

  • Designer Bathroom Basics

    Designer Bathroom Basics

    It’s time to dazzle you with more of my work and offer some tips on designer bathroom basics. I love the challenge of creating a designer bathroom for clients. For me, it’s all about integrating the functionality of a bathroom with beautiful aesthetics and elegant materials.

    This Los Angeles bathroom is spacious, so it was important to use materials for the counters, tub and floor that would warm up the already bright white space. I opted for a creamy gray stone with white veins. Keep in mind, large spaces can seem too big and cold at night, so proper contemporary bathroom lighting is key. It’s a pretty basic formula to follow: use a combination of sconces and decorative recessed lighting on dimmers. 

    Bathroom Lighting

    This George Kovacs Nickel Wall Sconce is similar to what I used above. I love how a tall cylindrical light can work in tight spaces and how the frosted glass creates a soft, muted light.

    Master Bathroom Design

    The tub and shower area of this bathroom is where I splurged. I mounted a TV for the homeowner so they could watch in the tub or shower and added a table near the tub for extra towels or a spot to place the TV remote while soaking. As with most designer rooms, when a bathroom is large and bright it’s nice to have a small pop of black to ground the space. Whether it’s the TV screen or an accent table, consider that basic designer trick.

    Accent Tables

    This Arteriors Home Olympia Wavy Iron and Marble End Table could be super chic in a bathroom. The materials are great for a wet space, and it’s open design will not weigh down a small designer bathroom.

    Photography: Karyn Millet

  • About Iceland: Design and Architecture in Reykjavik

    About Iceland: Reykjavik-Iceland-Skyline-Travel

    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

July, 2012