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.

  • Finding the Perfect Mirror

    As much as I am obsessed with chandeliers- mirrors are a close second. 

    Mirrors do so much for a space. They brighten dark spaces by reflecting light- and flood bright spaces with even more cheer.

    They are often placed where they extend the view of something- for example at the end of a hallway or opposite a window. And they can also make a statement all on their own just with their style.

    French style mirror in bathroom with toile wallpaper

    Today I am sharing a few favorite mirrors and just where I used them in my home.

    Finding the Perfect Mirror: Something Old

    I have a huge crush on vintage mirrors- and I have indulged that obsession many times.

    Some of my favorites are not perfect- in fact, when considering an antique mirror- I look for the imperfections because the speak to me.

    Wall mirrors are some of the most popular styles all around- and I definitely have a few favorites in that category.

    I found a pair of Louis antique mirrors at an antique store in San Diego that I love. 

    Style Tip: get the look with the Pozzilli silver arch wall mirror.

     Pair of antique gold mirrors

    And I have dragged old mirrors out of abandoned buildings at demolition sales. 

     Vintage shabby mirror on wall in living room

    I have also brought home over the top in size and detail mirrors found while junking. Floor mirrors are amazing for adding to a plain wall to reflect your room. You don't need to hang a mirror up to make a beautiful statement.

    This antique mirror is nearly 8' tall- and all by itself with nothing else makes a statement. 

    Style Tip: get the look with the Antico crown top mirror.

    But that mirror in the front? Well, it has a secret.

     Gold and french blue mirrors stacked on floor reflecting a Christmas tree.

    Not everything that has an old style is actually old. That French blue and gold mirror is a brand new reproduction  mirror.

    Finding the Perfect Mirror: Something New 

    Mirrors of today knock my socks off as well. And some of my favorites is a brand new reproductions.

    Reproduction mirrors give you the best of both worlds. They have that style and charm that adds so much to a room, they reflect what you would like them to- and they are easy to find. No running around from tag sale to tag sale hoping to bump into one. 

    A perfect and classic spot for placing a mirror is above a mantel. 

     Wood mirror above fireplace

    This reproduction mirror was a perfect choice for above the fireplace. With a reclaimed wood look- it speaks vintage.

     Close up of gray mirror in bathroom

    With all the details of vintage- reproductions can satisfy your style and charm needs easily and inexpensively while looking absolutely beautiful.

     Gray mirror in bathroom with red toile wallpaper

    Finding the Perfect Mirror: Think Outside the Box

    Or more like outside. This is a new mirror that looks old that is perfectly at home outdoors on the covered patio. Don't forget those outdoor spaces when it comes to accents like mirrors or artwork. Covered porches and patios are extension of living space and deserve a sprinkling of style as well.

     French style gray mirror on fireplace mantel

    The simple style and size of this French inspired mirror is perfect.

    Style Tip: get a the look with the Clary natural wood mirror.

    No matter if you love mirrors that are old or new or a mix of both- adding a mirror to a room adds an instant amount of light and sparkle. And the right mirror can do wonders for the completing the style of your space as well as reflecting beauty.

    What is your favorite type of mirror? 

    Images from French Country Cottage

  • The Perfect Accent Chair

    Is there such a thing as the 'perfect' accent chair?

    One with the right fabric, ideal size and that all important style?

    Cottage style living room with white furniture and accent chair

    It can be a daunting task to choose the right one for your space sometimes- especially in a world of ever changing styles and designs. But I am going to break down how I choose my perfect accent chairs - based on just a couple of things. And my first tip? Stick with something that is classic for you and your style.

    1. Style

    Yes, of course that is the first consideration. With a very traditional cottage style home and a love of vintage, something modern just won't fit in my rooms without looking out of place. Some of my favorite styles are wood frame and French style pieces such as a classic bergere or fauteuil chair. 

    Burlap covered French style chair with aubusson pillow

    2. The right scale

    Have you noticed that so many chairs and sofas of today are those extra deep, extra long, extra room size needed styles? While they are gorgeous and very luxurious for lounging, I need more vintage sized pieces to fit my home and style. 

    French style accent chairs with plates on wall

    Think scale when it comes to your room. If you have a large room - you might be able to get away with one of those 40" deep chairs - but if not, it might look like that chair is taking up way too much real estate. Remember to consider scale when choosing and stick with what works best for your space.

    3. Fabric, leather, wood, oh my.

    Accent chairs are not just simple little chairs any longer. From leather to linen to brocade and tufted accent chairs - the upholstery and details make the chair. I am a huge fan of keeping things simple - and so often, I will gravitate towards linen and less fussy pattern. But I have to admit that some of those accent chairs that have pattern and color are truly accents and make an amazing statement in a room. 

     French style chair with blue stripe and gold table

    The best advice is to think of your overall design. Are you mostly neutral colors and simple styles - or is your room an amazing mix of pattern and color?

    Choose a chair that has a fabric that accents or fits into your room seamlessly. For neutral - you can go with a pop of color or pattern - or keep it simple with linen.

    For bold and beautiful - think a clean velvet for adding another round of color but without adding too much fuss.

    4. Comfort

    Back to scale, fabric and every other consideration - don't buy something just because it looks good- unless you just want to admire it in your room. You need to try the chair out. See how it feels when you sit and make sure that it is as functional as it is beautiful in your room.

    What about you - do you have a tip for choosing the perfect accent chairs?


    Images from French Country Cottage

  • 3 Things to Consider When Choosing an Ottoman or Bench

    Choosing an ottoman or bench for your home seems like it should be simple enough, right?

    But do you know how many styles, sizes, shapes and finishes those benches come in?

    Benches are not just wood picnic style any longer- and ottomans - well they come in dozens of shapes and sizes and styles.

    Fur covered metal bench in traditional room

    They can be accents or a large part of your overall room design. An ottoman or bench is not just a functional piece of furniture anymore - they are style statements. 

    Bold hot pink small bench with gold legs

    And today, I am sharing 3 things to consider if you are shopping for the perfect one to add to your home. 

    1. Style

    Of course, that goes without saying. Style is key when choosing anything for your home. But not just style - but whether you want or need something simple or you want the topper on the cake. Ottoman and benches aren't just for extra seating- they are definitely style makers for your home.

    Think bold. Think unique. Think about something that makes a statement. A recently spotted ottoman at High Point Market caught my eye and ran away with my heart instantly.

     A vintage style bench upholstered in a well worn piece of a rug

    Seriously gorgeous and though it is a small accent piece- it made such a statement with the style alone. 

    2. Size

    Go big or go home may be my motto with chandeliers - but with an ottoman or bench, it has to fit the space. Have you ever walked into a room where you had to navigate around a bulky coffee table? Not ideal.

    You definitely need to fit your space - especially when using an ottoman as a coffee table. Square, rectangular, round- they come in all sizes. Just pay attention to area you have available and plan accordingly to make sure that you are not crowding the walking space.

    Think cozy, but with a dash of breathing room.

     Large square tufted ottoman in living room

    3. Materials

    In a world of 10,000 style choices, the type of ottoman or bench is one more thing to consider. All wood, simple fabric, tufted fabric, acrylic legs, storage style, or maybe one that incorporates tufting on top and a space for books on the bottom. 

     Acrylic leg ottoman with bold yellow fabric

    The choices can be overwhelming sometimes- but no matter what color, finish, etc you decide on - one thing to always remember is to not overlook construction.

    Hardwoods that are kiln dried are going to be top notch in style as well as sturdiness. From there, choose fabrics based on where you will use it. Something water resistant in a living room while you can go with something more plush and elegant in a bedroom. 

    Choosing a bench or ottoman for your home is as easy as thinking about those 3 things - and then going with what speaks to you. They definitely are not those average pieces any longer- and choosing the right style can make your room feel completely different.

    I am loving the vintage styles- do you have a favorite? 

    Images from French Country Cottage

  • 3 Tips for Buying the Perfect Chandelier

    It is no secret that I have a little crush on beautiful chandeliers. And that love is strong and covers several styles and sizes and every room.

    A chandelier is like a beautiful piece of jewelry that adds the perfect finishing touch to an evening gown. It is that one thing that takes the look from beautiful to absolutely gorgeous.

     Cottage kitchen with white cupboards and hardwood floor

    But how do you know what the right chandelier is for you and your space? Is it too big? Too small? Or the wrong style all together? 

    To answer these questions and more, I am sharing 3 tips for choosing the perfect chandelier to make your home shine.

    1. Size Matters

    I tend to go big or go home when it comes to chandeliers- but I have a couple that are on the smaller size as well. And when trying to figure out if big or small or 2 or more are called for- you can use this simple guide.

     Large crystal chandelier in bedroom

    Chandeliers for a  Dining Room: 

    • Your chandelier should be about 12 inches narrower than the dining table surface.
    • The design should also have at least 4 feet of distance from the room walls. Making sure that your chandelier 'floats' with enough breathing around it is key. 

    Chandeliers for a Living Room or Entryway: 

    • For every foot of ceiling height allow 2-3 inches in chandelier height.
    • To find your perfect size- add the length and width of your room and convert the total to inches.
    • For example, a room that's 12-feet x 14-feet would require a design that's around 26-inches wide (12 plus 14 gives you the width of 26). 

    2. Double or nothing

    Sometimes one chandelier is the perfect size above a dining table or island. But sometimes, 2 or even 3 are better than one.

    If you have a long table for example- think length in lighting. You want to make sure to illuminate the center 2/3 of the table.

    A favorite way to get the look and right light is to go with several smaller chandeliers rather than one large chandelier.

    French cottage dining room with large chalkboard on wall

    In our dining room, this 9' long table has two  23" chandeliers which illuminate it perfectly without feeling too heavy. 

    3.  Style your room pretty 

    Whether you go with vintage inspired, modern luxe, industrial or something in between, think about the style of your space and what message you are trying to send with your chandelier choice.

    Is it simple and elegant? Show stopper? Blending in and getting along? There are so many ways that your chandelier can make your room feel different- and the choice is all yours. 

    If your room if full of architectural interest and charm- something elegant, classic and traditional will compliment perfectly.

    If it is spare and modern in design - you can add more bling to make a statement or keep it simple to keep the look. 

     Cottage style kitchen with green stool and white cupboards

    In the small kitchen in our guest cottage, two crystal chandeliers speak vintage charm but don't take center stage- they quietly compliment the overall look.  Basically, just take a moment to think about if your light is the lead or the supporting role in your room and choose accordingly. 

    I hope that these 3 tips  help you choose your perfect chandelier and no matter why style, size or finish you are looking for- Lamps Plus has an incredible selection of chandeliers to inspire you.

    What type of chandelier is your favorite? Are you a go big or go home type? Or a quiet compliment type? Or maybe somewhere in between?

    Images from French Country Cottage


January, 2017