Style Illuminated

Interior design tips and lighting ideas for today's home! Providing professional interior design advice, home decor ideas and inspiration.

  • Crystal Chandeliers Everywhere!

    crystal chandeliers everywhere in the dining room

    Crystal chandeliers are typically reserved for a formal dining room or foyer - so I love when homeowners "break out of the box" and introduce a little bling in unexpected places! Even though the chandeliers above are in dining rooms, each room has an eclectic vibe (along with some iconic clear chairs) which lends a quirky, not stuffy look to the sparkling light fixtures.

    crystal chandeliers in the bedroom

    I'm totally smitten with the idea of a chandelier in the bedroom - it brings a certain sense of romance and drama, don't you think? Especially the one on the left - the proportions are so grand that one must feel like royalty when sleeping in that bed.

    outdoor crystal chandeliers

    And heck, why not try a chandelier outdoors? The rustic barn on the left looks so lovely and charming for a wedding reception. (Getting married in a barn doesn't seem so bad.) And I love love LOVE this covered outdoor dining area that's highlighted by a classic crystal chandelier. When a designer can make two seemingly unrelated things (a patio set and crystal chandelier) work together, I consider that a huge decorating success.

    We hope you have a fantastic long weekend that's full of rest and relaxation - and of course, design daydreaming!

    Images via: Captivating Crystal Chandeliers on Pinterest.

  • Design Trend: Chinoiserie Decor

     Design trend - Chinoiserie decor

    I love Chinoiserie decor. Why, you ask? Well, is there anything prettier? More playful or timeless? I think not. The use of Chinoiserie design has been around since trade opened up to the Orient hundreds of years ago, and right now it has definitely come back as a design trend. The Eighteenth Century English could not get enough blue and white china to fill their country houses, and today, use of Chinoiserie can apply to just about everything from wall coverings and furniture to decorative throw pillows and ceramics

    Chinoiserie Decor

    1. Uttermost Golden Voyage Wall Mirror. 2. Gold Finish High Bamboo Tray Table. 3. Pagoda Verde Iron and Glass Candle Lantern

    Like anything else, too much can get theme-y, but a few choice items can make a room. As seen in the living room image above, a fresh contemporary color scheme is a great backdrop to Chinoiserie design.   

    Preppy Bedrooms

    4. Robert Abbey Peacock Triple Gourd Ceramic Lamp. 5. Floral Porcelain Decorative Plate with Stand

    No need to go literal with a theme! The Chinoiserie wallpaper in this bedroom is made au currant with bold blue lamps and matching, funky blue accent tables that pick up the blue in the wall’s bird motif. Not sure about enveloping your walls in Asian glamour? Classic porcelain plates would look hot against stark white walls.

    Asian Inspired Lighting

    6. Metropolitan Asian Man Two Light Right Wall Sconce.

    Another way to include Chinoiserie is by going less preppy and more exotic. Blacks and gold are another great way to use this style. I’m mad for the tortoise mirror which adds atmosphere. Any dark, decorative mirror could work just as well. Ornate gold sconces do not need to look fussy when used in a small intimate space. Think of them as jewelry!  

    To sum it up, some key Chinoiserie decor elements include pagoda-style anything, nature scenes with birds and flowers on walls and china, and pops of exotic black and gold.

    Photos: Mix and ChicChinoiserie Chic.

  • Nature Decor Inspired by Scotland

    Nature decor inspired by Scotland

    A co-worker's trip to Scotland inspired me to roundup a handful of nature decor products - a unique table lamp, fountains, and wall art. Because the products are reflective of outdoor textures and shapes, they are a great way to bring the outdoors in and incorporate travel inspirations into your home. The grey skies of Scotland and the primitive rock formations are so serene, so I selected products that also have a serene quality.

    Nature decor

    Clockwise from top left: Frederick Cooper Cambria Table Lamp, Dark Copper Mini Moonshadow Fountain, Glacial Rock Lighted Water FountainFlowing River Wire Metal Wall Decor.

    The green stone finish table lamp is perfect for bedside lighting - I would love going to bed at night and being reminded of the beauty of the outdoor landscape. The sound of water flowing through a fountain will help bring a calming energy to your home. Even wall art can take a cue from nature, as evidenced by the round wire shapes on the sculptural piece above. From the greenery of Scotland to a tropical desert to an urban jungle, nature decor can be inspired by any landscape or climate.

  • Mid-Century Interiors: Design Basics

    Mid-Century Interiors

    Do you feel bombarded with Mid-Century interiors lately? Yes, we all love Mad Men, but Mid-Century design doesn’t need to be all glitz and no guts. The core to this design aesthetic is not about Martinis and loose morals, rather a pared-down approach to furniture and embracing new materials in home decor such as plastic and ceramics.

    When “doing-up” a Mid-Century home, I like to think of channeling Rob and Laura Petrie’s house on the Dick VanDyke show. Think sleek and cutting-edge, but still warm and welcoming. As in any home decor makeover, remember to balance hard and soft elements as well as layers of lighting. 

    Contemporary Mid-Century Decor

    Because of low ceilings in the classic Mid Century ranch bedroom, ceiling-hugging flush-mount lighting became a must, while vaulted living rooms became the ideal spot for bold Sputnik-style chandeliers. Post war homeowners also experimented with modern ceramic lamps and moved away from displaying flowered plates, favoring more abstract and organic pottery and glass. Check out some of what I think would look great if you wanted to infuse your home with postwar panache:

    Mid-Century Teal Ceramic Gourd Table Lamp like the one found in the room above.

    Sputnik-Style Opal Glass Pendant that looks as sexy today as it did 50 years ago.

    Azzo White Plastic Side Chairs (set of two) that embrace the use of molded plastic but still incorporates warm woods.

    Amber Art Glass Basket Vase. Perfect for a decorative accent on a sideboard or end table. 

    Glenarden Round Accent Table. This warm and supple looking table exudes the Mid-Century aesthetic.    

    Jewel Collection Turquoise Shade. Replacement shades are a great way to change the look of an existing lamp.

    Photos: Bright Bazaar.

  • 5 Runway Fashion Looks for Home Decor

    runway fashion and home decor

    If you're looking for decorating inspiration, look no further than runway fashion! Home decor and fashion have always gone hand-in-hand, and these gorgeous pairings created by the team at Fashion + Decor beautifully illustrate this connection.

    One thing in common with almost every one of these interiors is that they feature dramatic and gorgeous chandeliers - a chandelier is to a room what great jewelry is to an outfit! 

    1. I've Got the Blues (above): Layered cool blue hues create a fresh family dining space.

    runway fashion translates to home decor

    2. All That Glitters: Gold is eternally elegant, whether in fashion or the home.

    home decor inspired by runway fashion

    3. 50 Shades of Grey: Layering shades of the same color creates a look with depth and richness.

    neutral fashion meets home decor

    4. Neutral Appeal: Neutrals need not be boring. A mix of textures makes all the difference.

    dramatic fashion meets home decor

    5. It's Easy Being Green: Earthy green goes dramatic with intricate detailing.

    Some of these pairings are subtle, and some are so outrageously over the top (like this last image)! Do you find your fashion sense inspires your home decor? Or are your personal style and interior style completely different?

    Image credits: Fashion + Decor

  • Ask the Expert - Designer Tips for a Long Narrow Living Room

    ask the expert - designer tips for a long narrow living room

    If your house has an awkward layout (like this long, narrow living room with only one ceiling fixture), what's the best way to decorate it? Reader Caitlin asked us for expert designer tips for her new home:

    I have a long and narrow living and dining room with angled French doors in one corner. I want to get a very basic couch to replace the one I have (preferably grey). Eventually the floors will be hardwood. I just want the finished space to be clean, warm, and inviting. My questions are:


    1. What accent colours go with dark grey, and what colour should I paint the walls?
    2. Should I use a patterned wallpaper behind the couch or should the walls all stay one colour? 
    3. What kind of lighting should I get? We want to replace the track light above the dining table with a chandelier. Also, We will need lamps - but what sort of lamps are good for lighting a room with only one overhead fixture?

    Designer tips for a modern living room

    I used Olioboard to visually create a design plan for Caitlin's room. Here are my decorating ideas and answers to her questions:

    1. What accent colours go with dark grey? The dark grey curtains and medium grey sofa will look great when layered with other shades of grey! Paint the walls a light, soft grey with warm undertones - this will help the new warm oak hardwood blend in, and a light wall color will also help brighten up the space.

    For an accent color, shades of blue pair well with grey - especially teal and aqua tones. Don't be afraid to add some contrasting color with accessories too. The orange dots on the colorful accent pillow complement the blue and give the room personality.

    2. Should I use a patterned wallpaper? Patterned wallpaper is a great idea for adding interest to a long, narrow living room wall! I chose this large-scale floral paper because it beautifully layers warm shades of grey, and the pattern is playful yet sophisticated. Normally I don't love the idea of an accent wall, but in this case I think it will give the bowling-alley layout some visual interest.

    3. What kind of lighting should I get? Since the dining room chandelier is one of the first things your guests will see when they come through the French doors, wow them with something stunning! This contemporary chandelier in an antique brass finish is modern with a bit of traditional warmth. A pharmacy floor lamp next to the sofa is great for direct reading light, and a couple of table lamps in the room will help brighten the space. I would also suggest using an elegant torchiere floor lamp to cast light upwards towards the ceiling, like this:

    designer lighting tips for a long narrow living room

    Have a design problem? Ask the expert and your question could be featured on our blog! And if you're feeling creative and want to try out Olioboard (it's fun and easy to design a room like the one above!), enter the Lamps Plus Living Room Design Contest on Olioboard for your chance to win one of 3 online shopping sprees.

  • One Decorative Chair: Two Designer Directions

     One Decorative Chair with Two Designer Directions

    I’m going to show how by choosing one decorative chair you can take it in two designer directions. This is why I’m a fan of neutral furniture...you will never be bored with your interiors because you can always swap out the less expensive decorative items to create fresh looks.

    This dark gray wingback chair is a terrific basic that can move with you and look chic regardless of your aesthetic. Of course total room renovations require you to think of not only the basic furniture, but basic elements like quality ceiling light fixtures that will remain for the long haul.

    Rustic:

    Faux Antler 4-Light Chandelier. Create a warm glow throughout your space with a lodge-like feel.

    Sherwood Iron Accent Table. This nature-inspired table would introduce texture to a bland room. 

    Robert Abbey Oren Table Lamp. Natural colors and textures can look modern when formed in a unique shape.

    Knot Grey Indoor Outdoor Rug. Like bark from a tree this contemporary rug is fresh looking but references nature to a tee. 

    Polished:

    Robert Abbey Pumpkin Orange Ceramic and Silver Lamp. Infuse neutral rooms with a pop of color for a new look.

    Costello Polished Nickel Finish Side Table. Sparkle and shine is the hallmark of the polished room. 

    Ikat Print Linen Throw Pillow. Ikat is the hottest design pattern around, and this pillow can work with dark or light interiors.

    Ashburg Collection Ivory Area Rug. Simple and soft flooring is a perfect backdrop for layering the decorative items in a room.

    Along with the items I have selected for the two looks, don’t forget about other elements like candles, throws and decorative wall mirrors. I think dark neutral furniture is great for families with kids and in sophisticated urban apartments. While everybody goes crazy for white slipcovers, they always look summery. Going dark looks grown-up and is forgiving with stains whether they be kids dirty feet or a fabulous red wine.

    A neutral chair can be used to host a variety of designer directions. No doubt, one will work for you. Which look do you prefer - rustic or polished? 

  • Double Duty Furniture for Small Spaces

    Whether it's for a college dorm, tiny urban condo, or a room that has to provide more than one function (like an office/guest room), double duty furniture is perfect for small spaces!

    For example, a bedroom dresser doesn't have to be cumbersome - a stylish 3-drawer chest can serve two purposes as both dresser and nightstand.  And in the living room, a handsome stateroom trunk coffee table not only functions as a place to rest your drink, but also as a place to stash  board games and blankets.

     

    A sleek futon is the classic double-duty furniture piece that's proven its value for years - with the ability to be both a sofa and a bed, it's practically an essential in a guest room or office. I also love a classic square leather ottoman like the one above. This small-space wonder actually does triple duty as an ottoman, tray table, and storage space.

     

    Alright, admittedly that flipped-over green footstool looks a little strange - but you get the idea! With its metal base, this handy no-tip ottoman can be reversed to become a tray table. And don't forget, sometimes the simplest solutions can be the best - a classic counter stool can become a charming end table when not in use.

    There are lots of other brilliant double duty furniture ideas for small spaces I haven't mentioned here - a bookshelf as a room divider, a framed wall mirror as a decorative tray, and a wall-mounted shoe cabinet as a display shelf, to name a few. Do you have a creative way that you've made your furniture serve two purposes in a small space?

  • Decorating with Mirrors: Make a Small Dorm Look Larger

     make a small dorm room look larger

    Dorms can be depressing and dark, so decorating with mirrors will make a small dorm look larger. There are few tricks of the trade that can brighten your space as well as make a chic functional design statement. Cool lighting fixtures for kids like chrome lighting will add shine and reflection when used in conjunction with basic mirrors. Naturally, college students want to look their best so mirrors should be a basic essential, like bedding and a computer.

    Pictured above: 1. Chrome Arc Floor Lamp 2. Leather Strap Round Wall Mirror  3. Woven Seagrass Wall Mirror 

    make a small girls dorm room look larger with mirrors

    Pictured above: 4. Pink Lips Wall Mirror 5. Sunburst Rays Wall Mirror 6. Wilton Mirrored 3-Drawer Dresser

    The girls dorm room needs as much, if not more reflection and sparkle! If your school is close to home, think about swapping out a bland dresser with one that is mirrored. Mirrors for primping are a necessity and make sure to have enough task lamps for studying and for brightening up a room that is probably lit by drab fluorescents.

    Decorating with mirrors is another way to enlarge a space, keep things bright and make a room more sophisticated especially when compared to the other kids who may only have posters. Not only do they make a small dorm look larger, but they're top of the class for style, too.

    For more inspiration and ideas, check out this video on decorating with mirrors in your home or dorm:

    Image credits: dbesthomedesign.com.

  • Clarity Contemporary: A Hot Decor Trend for Fall

    Clarity Contemporary Hot Decor Trend

    The Clarity Contemporary look is all about layering clear and colored glass, crystal, and mirror for a light and bright look that brings color and sparkle to your space. We love this hot decor trend because it's easy to achieve with a few well-placed pieces. Exchange an opaque lamp base for a colorful glass living room lamp; swap out a dated ceiling light for a luminous crystal chandelier; and add some translucent glass decor in the form of colorful vases and votive holders.

    But don't just take our word for it - it really is simple to get the look! Watch as we create a Clarity Contemporary living room in just one minute (with some video magic, of course!).

    For more design ideas and insider looks at upcoming trends visit the Lamps Plus You Tube Channel.

August, 2012