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.

  • The Must List: Jonathan Lo of Happy Mundane

    The Must List - Designer Decor Picks from Jonathan Lo of Happy Mundane

    We recently profiled Jonathan Lo of Happy Mundane fame  - he's a blogger, home decor expert, and Pinterest enthusiast with an eye for home styling and great ideas for decorating small spaces. Jonathan is back on our blog today sharing his four current must-have picks for the home:

    1.There are two things that I always seem to have a design weakness for. First - vases. I can't stop myself whenever I see a vase I love. I always look for unusual shapes and colors. I look at them as mini functional sculptures. This glass vase with brass accents (bottom right) is a good example - it's a fun shape, and the brass bands give a little shine and "bling". The fact that it's glass allows it to work with any kind of color story.

    2. The second thing I can't seem to get enough of (and I really should stop) are throw pillows (top left). It's the easiest way to freshen up a room and allows you to experiment or add some color and pattern without much commitment. For example, this Ikat Print Linen Throw Pillow (no longer available) is a great way to incorporate a little ethnic inspiration into your room. The  colorful pattern gives a fresh bold statement. I could see maybe adding a pop orange throw to coordinate with it. The best part is, when you tire of it, just switch it out!

    3. I'm currently obsessed with all things indigo (bottom left). Everything from textiles, to paint color, to ceramics- if it's in a rich deep indigo tone- I'm strangely and immediately drawn to it.

    4. I feel like a home just isn't complete without a little artwork. I recently was introduced to the gorgeous work of Jessica Bell (top right). Love her graphic shapes and textures.

    Thanks Jonathan! For more of his clean and contemporary design aesthetic, visit Jonathan Lo on his blog, Happy Mundane.

    Image credits: Jessica Bell, Serena and Lily.

  • Fall Decorating Ideas: Shades of Brown

    Fall Decorating Inspiration

    To me, fall decorating is scrumptious. Borrowing shades of brown found in bark and leaves, roasted meats and Indian pudding is a great jumping off point for cozy interiors. Additionally, fall fashion tends to influence how I see the fall-inspired interior. The tans and browns of handbags, attaché cases and gloves (or even a Patchwork Open End Leather Log Carrier!) control most of my waking hours! Yes, I admit that was a tad dramatic, but how can you not love the brisk call of fall?

    I suppose incorporating brown into your decorating scheme need not be seasonal, but brown leather has such a "clubby" feel that I can’t help the association. From well-worn saddles to elegant English interiors, brown leather decorative items create a sense of old world elegance. You can also create a clubby vibe by using brown colored replacement shades on wall lights, sconces, and table lamps.

    Brown Home Decor

    Brown Leather Hide Square Pillow (no longer available) and American Heritage Bella Bourbon Backless Bar Stool

    Interior inspirations can come from anywhere. From seasonal clothing to vintage bicycle seats, shades of brown translate beautifully into fall decorating ideas.

    Photos: Habitually Chic.

  • Home Accessories Inspired by French Decor

    Home Accessories Inspired by this French Landscape and Decor

    It is easier than you might think to incorporate French decor into your home accessories. The landscape, architecture and style of France has such a distinct look that it is easily translated into a wide array of beautiful options - all you have to do is pay attention to some key style details.

    Sunflower field in Provence France

    The landscape of the French countryside is quite iconic. Miles and miles of Lavender and Sunflower fields signify this beautiful place. Taking these color schemes and applying them to your accessories and decor choices will immediately give your room an effortless, french feel. Throughout Paris and Provence, antique style is ever prevalent, as beautifully constructed buildings stand alongside newly erected modern masterpieces. Try mixing in some antique-style accents to give your space more character.

    Roundup of French Inspired Home Decor


    1. Sunflower Stare II Giclee Print  2.Antique Pewter Perching Bird Clock  3.Lavender Swirl Glass Perfume Bottle  4.Cream Earthenware Planters  5.Howard Elliott Fenetre Wall Mirror (We apologize that these items are no longer available.)
    And if you're feeling crafty, here's a super quick and easy DIY centerpiece idea to create a French-inspired accessory for your next dinner party, or just for fun! Empty wine bottles filled with fresh lavender create a delightful Provencal ambiance.
    French DIY Lavender Centerpiece Idea
    By taking cues from the landscape and architecture of France,  it's easy to find (or even create!) home accessories that bring the authentic feel of French decor to your home.
    French Lavender Field

    Image credits: Allison Rosenberg

  • Get The Look: Timeless Bathroom Designs

     Timeless Bathrooms

    Do you like the idea of never needing to redecorate? By creating a timeless bathroom design you may never need to gut renovate again and by investing in decorative elements that stand the test of time, you can be confident that your bathroom design scheme will remain tasteful for years. Naturally, great architecture helps.

    So what makes the bathroom above timeless? Bead-board walls; marble flooring and counters; crystal knobs on the “always appropriate” shaker-style drawers and doors; and balanced chic bathroom lighting. Also, when in doubt, only use crisp white towels...I’m begging! Thank you.

    Timeless Country Bathrooms

    Schoolhouse Button Old Bronze Ceiling Light and Monroe Old Bronze Plug-In Swing Arm Wall Light (no longer available)

    Timeless bathrooms don’t need to be any one particular style. They can range from country and casual to formal and sophisticated. Again, if the hallmarks of a particular style are present and good quality it’s just a matter of finding the right decorative details. This classic country bathroom is timeless because of the solid materials like wood flooring, time-honored porcelain sinks, a tongue and groove ceiling and clean white paint.

    The bathroom above is understated right down to the unassuming, white-framed traditional mirror which echoes the window and chair rail trim. I happen to love the pop of oil-rubbed bronze fixtures in a traditional, mostly white-colored space. 

    Classic Bathroom Lighting

    Industrial Chrome Wall Light, Antique Gold Swag Plug-In Chandelier, and Robert Abbey Muses Wall Sconce  

    Heaven knows we spend enough time in the bathroom, why not create one that never bores us to sobs! A timeless bathroom design should always have great lighting, room to groom, some form of clean and crisp white paint and towels, and be true to the architecture of your home.

    Photos: House of Turquoise.

  • 10 Tips for Office Furniture Layouts

    10 Tips for Office Furniture Layouts

    Having an organized office is crucial for career success. It helps focus all the energy in the office and put you in command and control over your career. The way your furniture is positioned creates a stimulated and comfortable working environment that will encourage success.

    Jerome Abecassis of Divano Designs and Brigitte Beltra, Feng Shui Expert, offer their 10 tips for office furniture layouts:

    1. DO place your desk so you can see clearly when sitting behind it. If you sit with your back to the door, you are inviting others to take advantage of you. You are also turning your back to the incoming wealth and blessings for your career.

    2. DO sit with your back against a solid wall or corner - not with a window behind your back. Having a window behind you makes you vulnerable.

    3. DON’T sit in line with the door, as you will be in the path of negative energies.

    4. DO place your computer in the North or West areas of your desk to enhance creativity. Place the computer in the Southeast corner if you use it to generate income.

    5. DON’T have any mirrors in your office as they can reflect negative energies for clients and other people in the room.

    Modern Office Furniture Layout at Home

    6. DO keep the cords of your office equipment well hidden. They eliminate clutter and allow the free flow of energies.

    7. DO place your reference books on the left side of your desk, such as a dictionary, manuals, and any other items you often reach for.

    8. DO keep the back left corner of your desk clean, dust free, and uncluttered. If there is space in the back of your monitor for photos or posters, position family pictures in photo frames or renderings of future projects. Those pictures should face you.

    9. DO place awards, diplomas, and certificates, centered on the wall behind your desk.  

    10. DO have an ergonomical office chair for your posture and back. Your office chair represents your career area. Keep it clean and dusted, with a floor mat that looks fresh and new.

    Thanks Jerome and Brigitte! I'd like to offer one more tip to help your office function at its best. It's not an office furniture layout tip, but it's equally important - invest in a quality desk lamp! Good lighting reduces eye strain and fatigue, and can help create a more productive work environment.

    Image credit: Jasmine Star Photography, Modern Interior.

  • Renovation Ideas - Historical Craftsman Project Final Reveal

    Renovation Ideas - Historial Craftsman Project

    The anticipation almost killed us, but now here we are showing off the final reveal of Design Vidal's historical craftsman project. If you missed the initial renovation ideas and the "before" pictures, you should definitely check out Part 1 of the Historical Craftsman Project. Having personally toured the home when it was still in its "needing TLC" stage, we are completely blown away by designer Karen Vidal's vision. We could go on and on, but I think the pictures tell the story best!

    Renovation Ideas -Eclectic Living Room Design

    LAMPS PLUS: What was your biggest challenge renovating the Craftsman home?

    KAREN VIDAL: The biggest challenge renovating this home was how to open it up and update it in a way that didn't diminish the intrinsic charm and character of the house. People don't like closed off kitchens today. It's the hub of the home, where all guests congregate, so opening up the kitchen was number one on our list.

    Traditional Living Room Design

    LAMPS PLUS: How did you make the most out of the budget?

    KAREN VIDAL: We maximized the budget by doing a real blend of high and low on our finishes. Where we saved: the stove (vintage), the kitchen sink, faucet, dishwasher, and the white subway tile on the walls in the bathroom. Where we splurged: soapstone countertops, hand painted deco liners in the bathrooms, the bathroom floor tile, and cabinet hardware.

    Also, we were smart about saving existing elements throughout the house. We re-used all the interior doors, all the molding and trim that we could, and re-finished the floors thoughout even though there were three different types of wood. We kept any windows that worked, only replacing some bad aluminum ones that had been put in at some point.

    On the exterior we sanded and repaired pieces of siding and matched in areas that were really bad like the front of the porch. All of these things add up to budget savings and is more eco-friendly because things are re-purposed rather than ripped out and tossed away. And since we like to talk about lighting, the lights are a great mix; we re-used some that were in the house when we started and then blended in other lights that all had a sort of industrial vibe to keep the house from pulling too "sweet."

    Historical Craftsman Kitchen Renovation Ideas

    LAMPS PLUS: There have definitely been some drastic aesthetic changes. What was the most significant update?

    KAREN VIDAL: The most significant update is the kitchen, followed by the bathrooms. It's hard to remember the kitchen being so closed off and tiny! We extended the footprint into the dining room (which was way too big) when we opened up the walls. We also took out another wall that had formed a sort of mudroom area, but really it just blocked access to the outside. The new kitchen is totally unrecognizable from the old one (which was not the original one to the house), but feels consistent with the house.

    The bathrooms weren't that functional to start with. The upstairs bath had a nice footprint, but a lot of wasted space. There wasn't a separate shower, for example. We designed a new layout and used great tile and light fixtures to finish it.

    Home Office in a Historical Craftsman Home

    LAMPS PLUS: Keeping the original charm is really important to you. What were some of the original elements that you kept intact?

    KAREN VIDAL: We kept as many original windows as possible, the 3 panel interior doors and mortise hardware, a small sleeping porch where we managed to keep the original linoleum flooring, the douglas fir wood floors (which some people don't conside refinishing because it is considered a "soft" wood, but I love them!), and some original lights.

    Eclectic Guest Bedroom in a Craftsman Home

    LAMPS PLUS: Craftsman homes are generally pretty dark. What is your advice for maximizing light using decorative light fixtures?

    KAREN VIDAL: We added a lot of light, especially in the kitchen, living room, and dining rooms. There were no sconces by the fireplace or in the dining room. Obviously the kitchen was completely different from before, so all the lighting changed. On the porch I added another fixture so the front door would be flanked by sconces. I added a stained glass window in the stairwell to let in more light and obscure glass panels in both showers to brighten them up.

    Bathroom Renovation in a Historical Craftsman Home

    LAMPS PLUS: We love seeing our outdoor lights installed on the exterior of such a beautiful home. What made you fall in love with this particular exterior wall light?

    KAREN VIDAL: The John Timberland outdoor wall light was actually the last fixture I bought. I was having trouble finding the right one. I wanted it to look traditional, but then everything I was looking at was pulling too "Craftsman-y." I had set up an expectation when I used the bold cement tile on the front porch that this house would be a little unexpected and I wanted my lights to re-enforce that. I went into Lamps Plus and I saw these sconces and I knew right away that they were the missing piece. They had a traditional feel, but had a nice industrial vibe at the same time. I used some Edison bulbs and they looked just right.

    Craftsman Landscape Design

    LAMPS PLUS: What was the client's reaction to the final reveal?

    KAREN VIDAL: Oh my! He was so emotional! He loved it and was so happy to see it transformed. I had been sending him pictures, but to actually experience it was kind of overwhelming for him.

    Thank you Karen for sharing your renovation ideas for your historical Craftsman project. We can't wait to see your next design! To view more images of this project check out our gallery on Facebook with outtakes and behind-the-scenes photos.

  • Modern Decor Basics: The Louis-Style Acrylic Chair

     Modern Decor Basics

    I think the Louis-style acrylic chair is a modern design basic. Based on one of the world’s most iconic furniture styles, the classic French chair, it’s been pared-down and redesigned for today’s home. This freshened-up Frenchman is lightweight, takes up very little room and has many applications. The clear design is also ideal for smaller spaces and especially when furniture must work double duty.

    Traditional Interior Design

    Because the Louis acrylic chair is based on an antique, they look great in traditional rooms, adding a degree of lightness against heavier wood or more ornate decor.

    Home Office Decor

    The Louis-style acrylic chair has been adopted as the new darling when it comes to desk chairs. Its minimalist appearance works with almost any type of desk lighting, from a shocking pink ceramic lamp to a sleek chrome candlestick lamp. As shown, you may need to add a cushion to your acrylic chair for extra padding if you plan to work long hours.

    Dining Room Decor

    The Louis-style acrylic chair remains king of the dining room. Whether you place them in a formal setting with a clear or crystal chandelier, or in a modern setting with a well-designed ceiling light fixture or stylish pendant fixture that has a mid-century or contemporary bend, the Louis-style acrylic chair always look good and is the clear choice in updated, classic furniture.

    Image credits: La Dolce Vita.

  • Home Decor Inspired by 2012 Emmy Nominees

    Nominated Comedy Series 2012 Emmys

    The 64th annual Emmy Awards are just around the corner.  Some of the 2012 Emmy nominees have amazing production design, even featuring some Lamps Plus products on set!  Here are some easy tips on how to get the look of Emmy nominated home decor.

    Comedy Series: Comedy sets are usually contemporary, light-hearted and fun, but another major theme this year is quirky.  All of the nominated comedies this year really push the envelope with their character development and additionally in their set decor. Creating a funky, bold and colorful space gives you the opportunity to showcase an eclectic table lamp or area rug.

    Furniture Emmy Nominated Comedy shows 2012

    Area Rug, Chair, Nesting Tables, Floor Lamp, Table Lamp, Mirror

    Drama Series: This category is split this year between period pieces and contemporary stories.  Both, however, rely on moodier sets that inevitably create drama.  To achieve this look in your home use low lighting to create depth in shadows. These shows, especially the period pieces, also do a great job of mixing in glamorous, decadent crystal chandeliers and furniture pieces that offer an extra air of dramatic sophistication.

    Emmy Nominated Drama Series 2012

    Furniture Decor Emmys Drama 2012

    Dining Table, Dining Chairs, Sconces, Wall Art, Chandelier

    Variety Shows: This category is all about creating the illusion of a living room.  The set design for these shows is great when translated to smaller spaces in your home.  If you have a small nook in your home that needs decorating, you can create a cozy vignette that offers seating solutions in a chic and comfortable way.

    Emmy Nominated Variety Talk shows 2012

    Emmy Furniture Decor Talk Show 2012

    Chairs, Coffee Table, Floor Lamp, Wall Art, Wall Clock

    Photos Courtesy of: SDSA, ABC, HBO, FOX, NBC, CBS 

  • How to Layer Light for Fall Ambiance

    How to Layer Light for Fall Ambiance

    Regardless of the season, I think it’s critical that one learns how to layer light. Fall ambiance, however, is probably on your mind, and can be achieved in your home by following a few simple rules. Naturally the sun sets earlier so an interior lighting scheme is more important this time of year. 

    Because fall decor is all about warm browns, oranges, rust and yellows, your lighting needs to be plentiful enough to offset the deeper, rich tones. Make sure to have these types of lighting: direct, task, as well as ambient. The best and most varied plan should include desk and table lamps, chandeliers or lanterns, sconces, and if you can, recessed lights. 

    No matter what type of lighting you use, try to make sure they all have dimmers. Trust me, we all look better and younger in dimmed light. Furthermore, it’s cheaper to add dimmers than to go under the doctor’s knife!  

    Decorating for Fall

    I love the use of brushed nickel and chrome to add some sparkle to the dark tones of this autumnal bedroom. They have used a table lamp for reading, sconces to illuminate the walls and a low slung lantern ceiling light for overall illumination.

    Polished Nickel Lighting

    1. Robert Abbey Porter Polished Nickel Floor Lamp 2. Robert Abbey Polished Nickel Pharmacy Desk Lamp (no longer available) 3. Arlington Double Light Nickel Wall Sconce (no longer available)

    If you don’t have room for end tables by a chair, sofa or bed, floor lamps are a perfect solution to add task and indirect light. The room in the first image is great example. Because there is no room between the sofa and desk for an end table, voila, a floor lamp comes to the rescue.  

    Living Room Lighting

    Here is the general anatomy of how to layer light in a room to create fall ambiance.

    Image credits: The Adventures of Tartan Scot.


  • 5 Fall Decorating Ideas for a Cozy Home

    5 fall decorating ideas for a cozy home - pillows

    Warm, breezy summer days are quickly disappearing in favor of cool weather, crisp breezes, and changing colors. (At least, I hope so somewhere...we're still having a heat wave in California!) Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, when shorts are switched out for sweaters and swimsuits are swapped out for scarves. And while it's easy to exchange summer fashions for fall ones, decorating the home for the season is often overlooked. Here are my top 5 fall decorating ideas to create a cozy home:

    1. Bring out the pillows and throws. Home textiles in autumnal hues and rich textures definitely bring a cozy feeling to interiors. A cashmere or chenille throw blanket tossed over the arm of a sofa, and a pair of richly-patterned pillows can instantly change the look of your space for the season.

    warm LED lighting ideas

    2. Warm up your lighting. Light bulbs all have different color temperatures, noted on their packaging and measured in degrees Kelvin (or "K"). Color temperature is what makes the light emitted from a light bulb appear "cool" (with a blueish hue) or "warm" (with a yellowish or red hue).  Color temperatures over 5000K will be a cool white; while color temperatures from 2500-3000K will appear much warmer. Try exchanging your too-cool light bulbs for a standard warm LED lightbulb, a warm LED chandelier bulb, or a dimmable PAR30 LED light bulb.

    fall decorating ideas - use heavy curtains

    3. Swap out breezy curtains for weightier ones. Exchange your dreamy drapes and summery sheers for window coverings with more weight. Heavy linen and velvet are great choices for colder weather. For extra warmth and coziness, have your curtains lined in flannel to keep drafts at bay.

    tabletop decor for fall decorating 

    4. Introduce tabletop decor in fall colors and textures. The tabletop is a great place to play with seasonal styling, since decorative accents for entertaining and dining are relatively inexpensive. It's easy to introduce table linens, dishware, and decor in fall hues and textures that will bring a warm ambiance to your home.

    pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin pie for fall

    5. Don't forget to appeal to your other senses. While updating your decor will definitely give you a cozy home for fall, decorating ideas can go beyond the obvious! Appeal to all of your senses by introducing fall scents and flavors too. A nutmeg-infused air freshener, a fresh-baked pumpkin, pie, and a cool breeze rustling the curtains all work in harmony to create an appealing autumn ambiance.  

    This blog post has been shared on The Inspired Room's fall nesting party - take a peek there at some other great fall decorating ideas!

    Image credits (from top to bottom): MLW Photography, Pinterest (original source unknown); The Paper Mullberry; Unknown, Etsy; Unknown; Averie Cooks; and Une-Deux Senses.

September, 2012