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.

  • 14 Guest Room Essentials

    Table Lamps - Guest Room Essentials

    For some, the holidays mean a ton of travel. For others, it’s prime time for entertaining out-of-towners. Unfortunately we can’t offer tips for navigating congested highways and overstuffed airports but we can help you create an incredibly gracious guest room. We’ve collected eight rooms that showcase the must-have elements of a good guest bedroom.

    First, there should be good lighting on both sides of the bed, so invest in new bedroom lamps if need be. Avoid spindly or fussy designs that tip too easily, and if they’re on a dimmer, even better. Bedside tables should be sturdy and uncluttered. (Nobody needs to stare at snapshots of your long dead gerbil.) While a display of beautiful objects is lovely to look at, it’s more thoughtful to leave enough clear space for guests’ reading materials, cell phones, and such. Fresh flowers are almost always welcome (assuming an absence of allergies), so use one or two small decorative vases to dress up the area.

    Reading Lights in a Guest Room 

    If you have the luxury of having dedicated guest accommodations, decorate with a subtle scheme. Fun colors and playful details are certainly fine, but refrain from jarring combo, overly feminine or fussy designs, and in-your-face art that might make friends or family uncomfortable. Interior designers Michael Bechara (right) and Maria Lladro (left) used neutral palettes in these rooms but they’re not at all boring. Maps, abstract artwork, and landscapes are safe bets. Hang them up rather than leaning them on the nightstand or dresser where they’re a hindrance. If the floors are bare, add a throw rug by the bedside, especially in winter. Not everyone remembers to pack slippers!

    Wall Sconces for a Guest Room

    A bench, ottoman, or luggage stand placed at the foot of the bed is useful and keeps things clean. A suitcase that’s just been thrown around a tarmac doesn’t belong atop pristine sheets. Like the previous pair of rooms, designer Nicole Hollis went neutral. The minimalist aesthetic has a spa-like feel. Incorporating wall mounted light fixtures keeps things clean and clear, and a candle adds ambience.

    Bedside Carafe for a Guest Room

    The bedside tables here are perfect because guests can see how everything you stocked them with. A bar cart is a fun idea too. Notice the cozy throw blankets on the bottom shelf. Carafe and drinking glass sets are a considerate touch so your houseguests needn’t wander through the house at night. And while most folks use their phones to tell time, a clock might help them achieve a holiday unplugged.

    Guest Room Throw Blanket Ideas

    This bedroom designed by Palmer Weiss is perfection. The elegant bedroom lamps are a matched pair, the bedding is crisp and fluffy, and there’s even a loveseat in the bay window. Note the heavy draperies—don’t make your guests get up with the sun.

    Be a considerate host - provide your weary houseguests with a few guest room essentials to ensure a pleasant visit for all involved! For more guest bedroom accessory ideas, click on over to StyleCarrot.

    Shopping guide: 1. Purple Lines Clear Glass Vase Table Lamp  2. Large Diana Matte White Ceramic Vase  3. Lola Collection Mirror Accent Chest  4. Light Precipitation IV 40" Square Wall Art  5. Maple Brown Indoor Outdoor Rug  6. Brushed Brass Holtkoetter Pharmacy Desk Lamp  7. Dimmable Espresso Bronze Swing Arm Wall Lamp  8. Zuo Heywood Triple Natural Wood Bench  9. Chesapeake Bay 8 Oz. Thyme Verbena Candle 10. Connaught Polished Nickel Bar Cart  11. Beveled Glass and Metal Serving Tray  12. Pick-Me-Up Chartreuse Alarm Clock  13. Trace Lagoon Armless Loveseat  14. Chesterfield Teal Ocean Decorative Throw Blanket

    Image credits: Rachel Reider / Rue Magazine, Chris Barrett Design, Michael Bechara, Maria Llado, Nicole Hollis, Better Homes and Gardens, Elle Decor, and Palmer Weiss.

  • DIY Holiday Decor: Alternative Christmas Trees

    Alternative Christmas Trees Cupcakes

    Who says a Christmas tree has to be a...tree? For the apartment-dweller, holiday traveller, or pine-hater, pulling up your sleeves and making alternative Christmas trees can work wonders in making the season more personalized. These DIY holiday decor ideas are a fresh take on the traditional Christmas tree.

    Styrofoam Cone Alternative Christmas Trees

    If you don't have space in your place for a full 7' Douglas Fir, why not take a trio of Styrofoam cones (available at any craft store) and transform them into trees? Cupcake liners have been craftily used on the left, while some colored yarn and a hot glue gun is all you'll need to create the trees on the right. Top them with pompoms for bonus cuteness points!

    Holiday Tree Desserts

    For the foodie, make a tree you can eat! Holiday entertaining and dining has never been so sweet. Martha Stewart's gingerbread cookie tree on the left looks positively scrumptious, and the red velvet cupcake on the right would be the perfect way to spread a little Christmas cheer to the kids. (Kids? How about me? I love red velvet!)

    Alternative Christmas Trees for the Wall

    If you're tight on floor and table space, perhaps a DIY tree on the wall is more your style? An array of wall decals creates the illusion of a perfectly-shaped pine, while clear removable wall clips and string combine into a stylish tree that doubles as a Christmas card holder (just clip 'em on with clothespins!).

    Recycled Wood Holiday Decor

    If you're feeling extra-handy (or if you're allergic to a real tree), these two alternative Christmas trees made from vintage shipping pallets and driftwood are an eco-friendly option that you can use year after year. An imperfect Charlie Brown-style tree will definitely make your holiday decor fun, personalized, and memorable.

    Image credits: Sweet Cupcakes and Treats; A Spoonful of Sugar Designs; Margot Potter; Martha Stewart; Cupcakes Garden; Wall Dressed Up; My Poppet; Monk and Honey; All Driftwood Furniture.

  • Home Accessories for a Scandinavian Style Christmas

    Home Accessories for a Scandinavian Style Christmas

    Last year I visited Copenhagen during the holiday season. Already smitten with Danish furniture and lighting design, the trip cemented my obsession with Scandinavian style, especially in wintertime. Early sunsets make for long dark days, hence the practice of washing everything in white and light. Unlike Americans' obsessions with red, green, and gold. Nordic merrymakers stick to neutral palettes, with an abundance of sheepskin, tree branches, and candlelight.

    This white paneled living room's contemporary sectional sofa is scattered with accent pillows aplenty, including styles with a bit of shimmer. Tree trunk coffee tables bring the outdoors in.
    Shopping guide: 1. Sonnet 6" Wide Winding Globe Chrome Pendant Light 2. Set of 2 Paillette Floral 18" Embroidered Throw Pillows  3. Simon Tree Stump White Table Lamp  4. Set of 3 Distressed White Rectangular Wood Trays  5. Knots Pastel 22" Square Hand-Made Accent Pillow  6. Reef Black 22" Square Hand-Made Accent Pillow

    How to Decorate for a Scandanavian Christmas

    Swedish designer Yifa Skarp decorated for Christmas with charming paper trees atop the industrial-style coffee tables. The gray, textured throw blanket on the sofa seems to be sheepskin, and a cozy bedside lamp perched on the windowsill acts as an extra light source for dark days.

    Shopping guide: 1. Draper Mid-Century Modern Desk Lamp  2. Gaucho Charcoal 18" Square Down Throw Pillow   3. Tobias Collection Gray Throw  4. Pinebrook Rectangular Rolling Table  5. Zuo Carnival White Modular Loveseat

    Scandinavian Style Candelabra for the Holidays

    An intimate wooden dining table and chairs hosts simple glasses, plates, and bowls. The  rustic yet dramatic chandelier, made from antlers, is an outdoorsy touch, especially alongside the towering bare evergreen.

    Shopping guide: 1. Cast Iron White Pinecone Stocking Holder  2. Big Sky Twelve Light Elk Antler Chandelier  3. Jane Seymour 22" Five Hydrangeas in Clay Pot  4. Set of 2 Wishbone Y Natural Wood Side Chairs

    Nordic Christmas Home Accessories

    A wintry vignette in a hotel at Tivoli Gardens in downtown Copenhagen, shows off white flowers, pine tree garlands, wicker-covered hurricane lamps, and of course, a lush sheepskin throw. The candles will definitely cast a gorgeous glow against the rich woods. Can't get enough of this chic, neutral holiday decor? Head over to StyleCarrot for 22 more rooms with inspiring Scandinavian style.

    Shopping guide: 1. Small Bach Antique White 23 1/4" High Wood Candlestick  2. Twig and Leaf Votive Candelabra Candle Holder  3. White Sheepskin Rug  4. Rojo 16 Snow White Large Glass Votive or Tea Light Holder  5. Bell Jar Terrarium III

    Image credits: Norwegian photographer Sandra Aslaksen / via Emmas Designblogg, Kool and Kreativ, The Essence of the Good Life, StyleCarrot.

  • A Merry and Bright DIY Chandelier

    Today I'm thrilled to share a little DIY project from my very own home with you! We recently moved into a new San Francisco loft and wanted a statement-making chandelier. But between renting {and therefore not able to do anything too permanent} and having nothing but track lighting on our 20 foot ceilings to work with, we felt pretty stuck.

    Then we discovered a Glass Mini Pendant and an idea sprouted...


    DIY Chandelier from a Glass Pendant

    By bundling half a dozen pendants together we could create a modern and eye-catching DIY chandelier! It was a quick, easy and cost effective way to add a great design element and create the balance in our wide-open space that I was looking for. The only tools required were track light converters for each pendant and a really tall ladder.

    Each pendant clicked right in as if plugging in a light bulb. A simple twist tie was used to gather the cords together in an organically formed bundle. We're just thrilled with the results!

    DIY Chandelier

    Glowing Pendant Lights

    If you're looking for a little added glow in your home this holiday season, try thinking outside the regular lighting box. Your only limitation is your imagination. And perhaps how tall your ladder is!

    Images: Erin Hiemstra.

  • I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

    White Christmas Living Room

    Christmas is full to the brim of hustle and bustle. Everyone is hurrying and rushing and shopping and scurrying hither and thither.

    It can be exhausting.

    And overwhelming.  

    White Christmas Centerpiece

     And it makes me long for the simplicity of a white Christmas.

    Whites and neutrals and creams with Christmas decorating are simple and elegant and timeless and a wonderful contrast to the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.

    Longing for simple?  And elegant?  And timeless?

    Here's a little white inspiration just for you.

    White Christmas Inspiration

    1. Choose a neutral color pallet of whites and creams and grays and introduce a few natural elements for texture and visual interest.  

    2. A cream and white table scape is the perfect backdrop for a holiday party. Add vintage white linens and sparkling silver to make your table shine.  

    3. Shop the house for whiteware and white accent pieces and combine with a little glitter for an inexpensive way to decorate a sideboard or Christmas table.  

    4. Reflect your unique table setting with an antique mirror to fill the room with holiday cheer. Silver chargers, white candles and a simple white tablecloth complete your holiday table.


    How to Get the Look for White Christmas

    Want the look?

    Here are just a few suggestions to get you started.

    Combine a few of these suggestions with some neutrals, a little texture and a steaming cup of hot cocoa with tiny marshmallows.....

    .....and watch all the hustle and bustle melt away.

    Shopping Guide: 1. Haeger Potteries 10" High Empire White Ceramic Pitcher  2. Apothecary Glass Drink Dispenser   3. Set of 3 White Lacquer Candlesticks 4. North Adams 32" High Rectangular Wall Mirror  5. Beveled Block 13 " Wide Mirror Charger Plate 6. Reed and Barton Andover Pearl 65-piece flatware set

    Photo Credit: 1. Country Living  2. Country Living  (from collage) 1. Country Living 2. Via HWTM Daily Blog from Domino Magazine 3. Thistlewood Farm 4. Via Bright Bazaar featuring the The White Company.

  • Get The Look: Chalet Style

    Chalet Style

    Chalet Style reflects an ease and comfort unique to alpine living. Not that you need to live near the slopes to achieve the look, rather, a few key design elements are all you need to create this warm and cozy look. 

    Chalet inspired interiors all share similar design motifs whether they are aesthetically traditional or modern. Because chalets tend to be in colder climates, you will generally find warm fireplaces inside as well as fire pits outside; ample amounts of fur or faux fur in rugs, pillows, and blankets; antler or iron lighting in the form of rustic chandeliers and animal themed table lamps; rustic wood walls, ceilings and accessories.

    Finally, you will generally see loads of plaid featured on bedding, on window coverings, and on lamp shades. 

    Chalet Decor

    Regardless of how it is put together, these interiors are always warm and inviting. To me, they beckon with the knowledge that hot toddies are close at hand, a good book has been left close to the fire and that warm socks will thaw my frigid toes after a day on the slopes. 

    Yes, the classic chalet has a specific Tyrollean charm that may not be appropriate for all homes. That said, most of us do want an element of warmth in our homes throughout the winter and for that reason alone you may wish to consider some aspects of Chalet style.       

    Rustic Accessories

    Shopping Guide: Faux Deer Antlers Candle Glass 2-Light Sconce; Pacific Merchants Set of 4 Acaciaware® Wood Appetizer Trays; Brown and Tan Plaid Lamp Shade; Howard Elliott Pod Tall Luscious Natural Faux Fur Ottoman

    Photos: Belgian Pearls.


  • Affordable Holiday Table Decorating Ideas

    Paper Flowers as Affordable Holiday Table Decorating

    I have fond memories of preparing for holiday meals with my mother. We'd go to the flower market and gather pine boughs, tulips, and roses. Then we'd return home and arrange our bounty in antique silver vases that she'd acquired over the years.

    Now I'm on a single girl's budget, so armloads of blossoms aren't an option for me—and in any case, I love the creative challenge of affordable holiday table decorating. Ideas come to mind with things I already have on hand.

    Christmas Decorations

    For the abundant look of floral arrangements without the cost, paper flowers are a surprisingly easy and eye-catching option. They do require time and patience, however, so plan ahead. Depending on your desired effect you can use colored tissue, brown craft, or even newspaper, and if you store them carefully they'll last for holidays to come!

    Also in the realm of paper goods, black and white photos have a charming effect on the table. As a runner and place cards; hung from the chandelier; or slipped into vintage bottles; they're not only aesthetically pleasing but also a reminder of the family and friendship we value this time of year.

    Christmas Decorations

    Finally, when all else fails, raid the rest of the house! You'd be amazed at the tablescape you can build with odds and ends from your bookshelves, china cabinet, coffee table, and nightstands. Group your collection of vintage matchbooks with those garage sale tea tins you bought for no apparent reason. Add your grandmother's porcelain cream and sugar set to the mix. Your brass owls from Etsy? They're just the finishing touch you need.

    The holidays are about celebrating what you have--and what better way to celebrate it than to use what you have to create an affordable holiday table?

    Images: Lamps Plus Guest Blogging Pinterest


  • Home Decorating Ideas Under $50

    Metallic Lighting

    Major redecorating can get expensive, so I have 5 home decorating idea for under $50. Impossible you say? Have faith! 

    Home Decorating Idea 1. Add metallics. From gold and silver to warm bronze, metallics will add much needed texture and weight to a space. This designer sconce costs under $50 and looks like it costs hundreds. Whether they flank a sofa, sideboard or bedside, the materials are timeless and the design totally current when it comes to contemporary lighting. Shopping list: Brushed-bronze Hand-crafted Shade Wall Sconce

    Patterned Lamp Shades

    Home Decorating Idea 2. Add Pattern. Monochromatic rooms can get stale, so try incorporating pattern to give the eye something interesting to absorb. Something as simple as replacing lamp shades with a funky design can instantly change a room. I say, pop these orange beauties on bedside swing arm lamps. Shopping list: Orange Floral Drum Lamp Shade.

    Yellow Home Decor

    Home Decorating Idea 3. Add color. This is becoming my favorite hall ever. It’s so crisp, cheerful yet still classic. The narrow, white space pops because of the unobtrusive recessed lights and bold choice of color on the runner. The two chevron pillows can act in the same way when used on a plain white sofa or chair. Shopping list Accent Pillows.

    Rustic Home Decor

    Home Decorating Idea 4. Add something rustic. Even contemporary spaces need something rustic and worn to feel human and lived-in. Natural woods are fascinating to look and especially to touch. In a world that has evolved into swiping slick tablets and phones, why not get your Abraham Lincoln on and go split rail fence for a change. Shopping list: Large Natural Teakwood Stump Candle.

    Schoolhouse Lighting

    Home Decorating Idea 5. Add something nostalgic. Stay true to the architecture of a room, so if a fixture doesn’t look right, swap it out. This schoolhouse light is under $50 and is amazingly popular in traditional kitchens, back halls or mudrooms. Shopping list: Schoolhouse Brushed Steel Ceiling Light Fixture.

    Photos: Cove and Grey, Savvy Home Blog.


  • Living Room Decor Ideas

    modern living room

    ‘Tis the busiest time of the year-Is your living room decor ready to see the action of the season? By taking a few simple steps with a minimal investment, you can create a rich new look in your space. These living room decor ideas are great for the holidays or everyday living.

    Colorful Pillows

    One of the tried and true designer touches are decorative sofa pillows. They allow you to bring in the latest pattern or color trend without having to change the entire room.

    Decorative Mirrors

    Reflect the positive. Decorative mirrors with rich details placed across from a window will double your view and help bounce nature light around the living room.

    Modern Living Room Decor

    Replace your traditional coffee table with a pair of ottomans. They provide extra seating, a place to put your feet while watching those nostalgic holiday movies and of course a place for your snack or beverage.

    Decorative Vases

    Adding a touch of nature always brings life to any space. A branch of colorful leaves placed in decorative vases will update your living room decor with a touch of the season.

    Image resouce: Better Homes and Gardens, Shop By Room

  • Six Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas

    Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas  

    Did you know that Thanksgiving is 9 days 17 hours and 56 minutes away?

    Right around the corner.

    Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and joy.

    It's a day of gratitude and thankfulness and friends and family.....bringing with it pumpkin pie and turkey and dressing and cranberry bread and sweet potato casserole and homemade bread.

    And a beautifully decorated Thanksgiving table.

    Thanksgiving Centerpiece Idea

    1.  Use a monochromatic color scheme with simple inspiration from nature. White pumpkins, an patterned orange runner and tiny votive candles as placeholders create a simple, yet elegant Thanksgiving table.

    2.  Create an easy centerpiece in five minutes by using artichokes as candle holders and grouping asparagus tied with ribbon around a pillar candle.

    3.  This trio of fun, floral covered pumpkins brings an easy carefree elegance to any table.  Combine with vegetables and fresh flowers to complete the look.

    4.  Nature is the inspiration for this rustic arrangement featuring an acorn covered basket filled with gilded fruit and fall foliage.

    5.  Last minute guests?  Simply carve apples and fill with tea lights to bring warmth and a little twist of the unexpected to this easy-to-make arrangement.

    6.  This unique centerpiece was created using a cabbage as a vase and filling it with fresh flowers. Complete the look with a stand for height and fresh spinach leaves for texture.

    Baskets for Thanksgiving Table

    Easy.  Simple.  Creative.

    Thanksgiving decor that is simply you.

    So begin with cabbage and apples and artichokes and candles and fresh's just a few basic container ideas to inspire you.

    Your centerpiece is going to be amazing.

    But you better hurry.

    I think now.....Thanksgiving is about 5 minutes closer!

    Shopping guide: 1. Aged Rust Iron Fruit Basket 2. Antique Silver Metal Dome on Tray 3. Set of 3 Distressed White Rectangular Wood Trays 4. Caged Metal Bowl with Scrolling Handles 5. Universal Global Rust Votive Candle Holder

    Image credits: First photo bhg 1. bhg 2. bhg 3. bhg  4. bhg  5. Finding Home 6.Thistlewood Farm

November, 2012