Style Illuminated

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

  • How to Light a Modern Patio

    A Minimalist Home Gravel Patio with Simple Modern Lighting

    Lighting  a modern patio and yards should reflect the modern aesthetic of your home, so choosing the appropriate fixture is key. It’s simply not good enough to go the big box store and jam some solar lights around and call it a day.

    Rather, thoughtfully chosen modern outdoor lights should be your mantra.

    MiCasa has stunning interior and exterior design pictures that focus on contemporary design so I knew it was my only destination for this type of post.

    Modern Outdoor Lights in Resort Style Settings

    Whether your contemporary outdoor lighting is wall mounted, uplighting foliage or simply an indoor/outdoor lamp, make sure it creates enough illumination to enjoy the space once the sun has set.

    Mood lighting is all-important and your outdoor space should embrace that notion just as much as your interior.

    A Crisp and Clean Patio with Architectural Style Lighting

    Modern patio outdoor lighting can also be sculptural. While some outdoor lighting can be or appear purely functional, they need not be.

    High style can also define your lighting. This particular white light not only balances the outdoor furniture, it is architecturally interesting on its own.

    An Unusual Outdoor Floor Lamp Illuminating an Outdoor Dining Room

    If you ever hope to embrace al fresco dining, lighting is key. How wild is this oversized outdoor floor lamp? No worries if your outdoor dining space does not have overhead lighting.

    I think it’s quite chic to use indoor/outdoor floor lamps to illuminate an outdoor space. The good news is that they are multifunctional and can be easily moved around depending upon your lighting needs. 

    Modern Outdoor Lights for Walls, Ceilings and Ground.

    1. The Kenroy Home Tanglewood Outdoor Floor Lamp also looks smashing indoors.

    2. Retro modern defines the WAC Janus White LED Outdoor Wall Light.

    3. The  Hinkley Saturn Steel Outdoor Hanging Light with a stainless steel finish would look beautiful over an outdoor dining table.

    4. The brushed aluminum Bay Crest outdoor wall light reminds me of a modern version of the old school galvanized barn light.

    5. Keep walkways safe and stylish with the Hinkley Cascade Titanium Outdoor Post Lantern, which features a titanium finish and clear etched organic glass.

    Photos: MiCasa.

  • 3 Outdoor Lighting Ideas

    Organic-shaped outdoor chandelier above dining table in front of outdoor fireplace

    If you are anything like me, you never want the warm evenings of summer to end! Hanging outside long after the sun has gone down with only a light throw blanket around your shoulders is a feeling like none other.

    As we creep into the early days of fall, I thought I would highlight some amazing outdoor spaces from Elle Decor that feature outdoor lighting.

    This is one way to keep it bright and inviting as the sun starts to set earlier and earlier yet the warm air still lingers. There are so many different types of outdoor lighting options, there is surely one for every person and every design style.

    Here are three ideas of how to use outdoor lighting to extend your outdoor hours:

    Beautiful crystal chandelier hung above an outdoor dining table

    1. The Attention-Grabbing Chandelier:

    There is something about an outdoor chandelier that is whimsical and beautiful. Its like it doesn't belong out there, but somehow fits so perfectly.

    The crystal chandelier above glistens as the sun sets, and mimics the twinkling stars about to grace the sky.

    Taking a beautiful vintage crystal chandelier and retrofitting it for the outdoors is an investment well spent as you gasp at how beautiful your patio can become.

    Rustic metal outdoor lighting

    2. The Multifaceted Metal Fixture:

    Rustic metal chandeliers and sconces for the outdoors are a timeless classic that aren't going anywhere soon.

    These lovely fixtures come in so many different styles, they aren't just for the old Spanish home anymore.

    From classic to traditional to modern to exotic - adding a touch of warm light to your late summer evening will remind you of that big, beautiful sunset glow for months to come.

    Outdoor decorative lanterns with candles

    3. The Noncommittal Candle Lantern:

    Do you have an open space with no possibility of hardwiring? Instead of wagging your head at this post thinking "why cant I enjoy these beautiful outdoor chandeliers?", think how lucky you are that you can slap beautiful lantern all over your outdoor space with no commitment or permanence necessary!

    Outdoor candles have come such a long way, these days they are good looking, inexpensive and most of them are on timers, which means the lowest maintenance possible.

    So snatch up a few beautiful iron lanterns, set those candles to a timer and kick your feet up, you're done!

    These are only three ideas of many for outdoor lighting. What kind of lighting do you have outside? Comment below!

    Image Source: Elle Decor

  • That Bathroom Mirror is a Style Opportunity

    Just because a mirror reflects a stunning room, doesn't mean that bathroom mirror can't also stun on its own.

    The mirror in a bathroom is almost as essential as the toilet and sink. And just like a toilet or sink, the mirror just has to work to be a passable space.

    But there is an opportunity to make that mirror a star player, and become a charmer on its own.

    It's more than just putting one giant frameless bevel-less mirror over a sink, which takes about as much effort as eating coffee beans out of a bag. It works, but there's a major factor of pleasure that is missing.

    Let's take attractive bathroom mirrors as an opportunity to enhance the beauty and pleasure at a place where almost everyone’s toes ends up standing at least twice every day.

    So how do you punch up the mirror’s dazzle-o-meter?

    I gathered a few  bathroom photos with charming double-sink vanities, and while the current mirror selection is fine, I think there's a mirror that could take that treasured wall space up a style notch.

    I'd love to know what you think about these mirror choices. Would you keep the mirror in each of the photos? Or swap for the one on the right? Share your opinion in the comments below. –T

    A traditional bathroom vanity with oval mirrors
    A bathroom with a statement vanity already has a strong look. This formal-looking bathroom isn't looking for another design element to compete with its traditional tone. And I appreciate that the two oval bathroom mirrors soften the strong lines of the vanity.

    Instead of allowing the mirror to fade into backup singer status, my design eye would like to see how a pair of these Idell scalloped mirrors change the look from typical tasteful traditional to on-the-edge of transitional.

    A modern bathroom with a wall-mounted double sink vanity

    There are a few elements of design that can truly be the perfect solution, but when overused they seem less than thoughtful. Recessed lighting, mini-blinds, and frameless rectangular mirrors are three of these.

    Yes, a frameless mirror can be a smart solution in a visually complicated room, but there may be alternative bathroom vanity mirrors that could also be cohesive and stunning.

    For this small blue bathroom, I'd love to see how this traditional-style Darley scalloped gold mirror might amp up the glamour factor in a space that could read quite young.

    Contemporary bathroom with glass globe mini-pendant lights and a grid of mirrors


    Sometimes style can interfere with function. This modern bathroom has a charming collection of square mirrors, and while I like the look, I know that my more practical husband Mark would leave a bathroom like this saying something like Mary Poppins: ‘I much prefer seeing all of my face at the same time.’

    If I were Mary, I'd pull this diamond Estero wall mirror out of my carpet bag. More than just allowing a full view of a face, the shape adds interest and gives the pretty pendants a bit more space to show off.

    What do you think?

  • Oh-La-La! Parisian-Inspired Décor

    Parisian-inspired living room with ornate architectural details

    To a Parisian, style is paramount. Parisian-inspired decor is characterized by attention to detail and is a reflection of the occupant's personal style. The French celebrate beauty in all aspects of their lives and this celebration is reflected in their interiors.

    A consistent theme in Parisian interiors is the mix of old and new, punctuated by unique finds -- Parisian-inspired decor will never be matchy-matchy. 

    A Parisian bedroom in a neutral palette of soft grays and pinks

    Parisian apartments can be on the darker side, so many apartments are painted white to augment the small amount of natural light that is available. The typical palette is made up of white, off-whites, nudes, soft grays, blues and greens.

    Any soft color will work in a Parisian interior, all you need to do is add a little gray to the paint and voilà!

    A living room with Art Deco and contemporary influences

    Working in a neutral color palette places visual emphasis on the architecture, like ornate boiserie (wood carving and paneling seen in many Parisian apartments,) exposed beams, furnishings, and last, but not least, texture, which can tie an eclectic space together.

    A Parisian living room with large gilded mirror over a traditionally carved fireplace mantel

    Interiors should look as though they've come together over time. A traditional fauteil (a French-style chair with open arms) here, and a contemporary coffee table there, and unique finds from the brocantes, or flea markets (Paris is famous for its flea markets) and you have yourself a Parisian-inspired interior.

    The Art Deco tea set sitting on top of the very contemporary acrylic coffee table across from the traditional fauteils covered in a modern fabric in the image above is a perfect example.

    Rooms should never look as though they came from a single spread in a catalog or from the same showroom.

    A selection of Parisian-inspired decor

    1. A traditional bergère (an enclosed armchair with an upholstered seat and back) covered in a neutral linen will go with just about anything.

    2. This x-based coffee table with faux crocodile leather will look great next to a tailored sofa or a more ornate piece of furniture.

    3. You can never go wrong with a traditional-style chandelier like this one with an antique rubbed white finish

    4. The clean lines of this acrylic waterfall console table will go with any era or style of décor you place near it.

    5. A beautiful gilded mirror with intricate carving is practically a staple in French interiors.

    6. Antiqued mirror is timeless, and this 3-panel screen with antiqued mirror and a gold leaf finish is perfect as a room divider.

    7. This gray sofa with nailhead trim is a great place to start building a Parisian-inspired room.

    8. Lighting is always important, especially in the often dark Parisian apartment. This gorgeous mercury glass table lamp will look perfect on a traditional or contemporary side table.

    9. This gilded tripod table's organic twig-like base make it the perfect piece to bridge the gap between modern and traditional furnishings and décor.

    With its mix of old and new, traditional and modern, Parisian interiors are always chic and stylish, distinct and eclectic.

    For more French inspired decor, look at Lamps Plus' Shop By Trend section!

    Image Sources: My Domaine; Style at Home; By Koket; Traditional Home

  • 10 Fun Facts About the Lava Lamp

    A group of three lava lamps in different colors

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the lava lamp, everyone's favorite emblem of the psychedelic 60s, so we thought it only appropriate to share some facts about the lamp that you might not know:

    1. The lava lamp was invented in 1948 by an English accountant named Edward Craven Walker.  He was inspired by an egg timer in a pub made of a cocktail shaker filled with alien-looking liquids bubbling on a stove top. It took Craven Walker 15 years to perfect his design.
    2. The lava lamp was originally called an "Astro Globe," then became known as a Lava Lite (after the company who bought the US manufacturing rights) before being known by the name it is known by now.
    3. No two lava lamps are the same
    4. Craven Walker knew he had "made it" when he heard that Ringo Starr bought one of his lamps.
    5. The lamps were originally intended to be a luxury item before it was picked up by hippies and  the swinging 60s set as a psychedelic accessory.
    6. The lava lamp made its first TV appearance on Dr. Who in the 1960s.
    7. Sales of the lava lamp slumped in the late 1970s, but it experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 90s after the Austin Powers movies were released.
    8. There is a lava lamp on permanent display in the Smithsonian.
    9. The largest lava lamp ever made is four feet tall and holds ten gallons of lava formula.
    10. The most expensive lava lamp ever sold was $15,000.

    Lava Lite's 50th Anniversary lava lamp with orange blobs and purple liquid

    To commemorate the psychedelic novelty lamp, Lava Lite created a special 50th anniversary model that includes a gold base etched with the 50th anniversary logo.

    Now you know some not-so-common facts about the groovy lava lamp -- who knows, it might come in handy one night at trivia night!

  • Industrial Style Interiors

    An Industrial Style Mercury Glass Lighitng Fixture

    The term Industrial style interiors can evoke a vision of barren warehouses, uncomfortable concrete seating and exposed pipes. While exposed pipes can be a selling point in loft living, industrial inspired interiors can be a wonderful mix of utilitarian items and luxury.

    Rue Magazine had pictures that prove this design point...you can live luxuriously in raw spaces that embrace metal and brick.

    Interiors with Metal and Concrete Finishes

    Industrial home furnishings can be varied. There are no fixed rules with this style, but the one common thread is the use of metals, wood in its natural state and raw materials.

    If your home is not open concept, you can still create the industrial look by introducing drum metal or concrete tables, brick veneer wall covering and industrial style lighting that features exposed screws and fasteners.

    Sophisticated Homes with Industrial Lighting

    I love how these industrial style interiors feel very luxe but are not precious. One hallmark of these spaces are the exposed light bulbs, or bulbs in cages. It’s amazing how bulbs have become the story. For decades we have been covering them up with shades, but now, it’s all about the interesting shapes and glow we get from our lighting.

    Remember, just because we embrace seemingly harder or rough materials it doesn’t mean we can’t maintain our high level of comfort. 

    Lighting and Home Accents in Metal Finishes

    1. The Feiss Urban Renewal Antique Brass Chandelier combines the shape of a classic chandelier with materials of the trendy industrial look.

    2. The mesh shade of the Glasgow Industrial Bronze Pendant Light creates a soft light.

    3. I love the raw material yet elegant lines of the Arteriors Home Ponce Antique Brass Bar Cart.

    4. I like using the Set of 2 Zuo Helix Gunmetal Chairs in a breakfast room or on the terrace.

    5. The Theo Industrial Dark Bronze LED Desk Lamp offers great task lighting.

    Images Source: Rue Magazine.

  • Unique Powder Room Vanities

    Creative bathroom vanity made from a cow trough

    Whenever I am working on a powder room remodel I like to incorporate unique and creative touches. The powder room is a place where you can make a statement and have fun with design. A funky wallpaper or an interesting paint application is a good way to bring character in.

    However, if you're interested in really making a splash in the powder room, buying/finding/creating a unique bathroom vanity like these from DIY Network can be just the thing to create a true conversation starter.

    Upcycling is such a big trend these days with the perfect storm of the economy woes, vintage trends and DIY craze. Getting creative with it, like the old cow trough above, or the bicycle below are great examples of taking something you have on hand, and molding it into a bathroom vanity.

    Whether you need to add support on the legs or a table top for the sink to sit on, there are endless possibilities for your powder room statement.

    A bicycle acts as a bathroom vanity base

    Bathroom vanities can also be created out of natural materials like tree stumps. Check out this amazing mix of modern style and rustic materials. Perfect for a home in the hills or on a ranch, this easy application is so cool and easy to do.

    A tree stump is used as a vanity in this creative powder room

    For the antique lovers out there, I am sure you have one or two (or maybe a lot more) pieces you have collected over the years that you haven't used in years, don't know where to put, and definitely don't want to give away.

    I have great news for you, make it into a vanity! This gorgeous and well built antique table makes an amazing bathroom vanity. The beautiful lines and delicate details are a statement in and of themselves and are so unique and stylish.

    An antique table adapted for use as a bathroom vanity

    Of course, if you aren't the DIY type, there are lots of ready-made bathroom vanities to choose from!

    Image Source: DIY Network

  • How to Hang Pendant Lighting in the Kitchen

    Traditional kitchen with drum shade chandelier

    Lighting a kitchen is like accessorizing a favorite outfit. The sky is the limit when it comes to choosing styles, shapes and sizes.

    Whether you choose an antique crystal chandelier to hang over a farmhouse kitchen table or a few modern hand blown glass pendant lights for over a kitchen island, there are a few key tips to keep in mind when hanging the multiple types of pendant lighting in the kitchen.

    Series of modern black pendant lighting over kitchen island

    • Provide 30 to 36 inches above tables and counter tops which is a practical height especially when it comes to task lighting over a kitchen island.
    • Hang lighting so that it doesn’t block views across the kitchen.  Sit at the island or table and make sure you can easily see the person sitting across from you.
    • Put lighting on dimmers – perfect for setting the mood for romantic dinners or casual get togethers.

    Pendant lighting over kitchen island in modern kitchen

    Whether you choose a modern pendant made of glass or a more traditional shaded chandelier, remember these rules of thumb so your lighting takes center stage.

    Image Sources: Lamps PlusLamps Plus; Lamps Plus

  • 5 Tips on How to Style Bookshelves

    Bookshelves have universal appeal, necessary for storing books, of course, but also a place to display art and collected things.

    Bookshelves are more stylish when the arrangement is considered and not just an afterthought.

    Make the most use of your bookshelves as a practical storage solution, but also visually appealing with these five tips:


    1. Allow for white space:

    Bookshelves look best when they're not overcrowded. Resist the temptation to overfill them for the sake of convenience and instead allow for purposeful gaps in order to create a more attractive arrangement and to give the eye a place to rest.

    White built-in bookshelves with colorful books and objects



    2. Include Artwork

    Bookshelves aren't just for books! Take the opportunity to include favorite framed works of art or photographs and vary the size and placement.

    Dove gray built-in bookshelves displaying framed artwork


    3. Color it Up:

    Bookshelves are another opportunity to introduce color into your home, painting the backs transforms the ordinary shelving unit into something special and provides a focal point for your favorite things on display.

    White bookshelf with brightly painted backs



    4. Hang Mirrors or Artwork:

    The frames of your bookshelves are not to be ignored. Consider a unique work of art or mirror to suspend on your bookshelves for added dimension and another layer of interest.

    Brown and red ikat chairs in front of white bookshelf with basket storage underneath

    5. Be Wild & Free:

    There's no requirement that you need built-ins to have stylish bookshelves. As an alternative, consider a freestanding unit and style it with the same design principles. Balance your display with a mixture of books, collectibles, and artwork in interesting balanced arrangements.

    Gray-green chaise in front of industrial-style free-standing wood and iron etagere

    Find a wide variety of living room bookshelves for your home at Lamps Plus. These four wood versions will add warmth to your abode and can be tucked anywhere along a wall for added style and storage.

    Selection of free-standing wood bookcases from Lamps Plus


    Pictured: Carmeno 3 Shelf Espresso Bookcase; Stratford Weathered Wood Etagere; Pemberton Barnside 5 Shelf Bookcase; Uttermost Silver and Walnut Etagere.

    Books and things collected over time add personality and charm to any home. With a little thought and careful placement, your bookshelves will serve your storage needs and also be attractive to all those who visit!

    Image sources: My Domaine; Better Homes and Gardens; VT Wonen; Better Homes and Gardens; My Domaine.

  • Trend Alert: Bar Stool Style

    A group of industrial looking barstools

    I remember when I was younger coming home from school, dropping my backpack beside the front door, perching on a stool at our kitchen island and drinking milk and dipping Oreos.

    I was bursting at the seams to tell my mother about the day.

    And she would pause what she was doing and lean over the counter and make me feel like I was the most important person on earth.

    The kitchen is, was and always will be the heart of the home.

    The place where stories are told and algebra problems are solved and the challenges and triumphs of the day are discussed in great detail.

    Need an easy kitchen furniture update?

    Here's some fun, unique and creative suggestions for both standard height bar stools and stylish counter bar stools in a variety of decorating styles.

    Adjustable industrial wood barstool with metal base

    1.  Farmhouse Style

    This industrial wood bar stool is a the perfect balance of industrial style and farmhouse utility.

    Pair this piece with a barn wood table and a pitcher of sweet tea.

    Enjoy the laid-back comfort and effortless style that is all things farmhouse.

    Contemporary adjustable acrylic barstool

    2.  Contemporary Style

    This clear acrylic bar stool with it's sleek lines and contemporary styling is the perfect accent for a contemporary kitchen or space.

    It's an inexpensive design option that packs style along with a clear, acrylic seat and shiny chrome base.

    Add it to a space with a furry white rug, chrome fixtures and white leather seats for a classic contemporary space.

    Adjustable walnut bentwood barstool with faux leather seat

    3.  Transitional Style

    The gleaming silver base and unique wood cut-out back of this adjustable bar stool are at home in a variety of decor and design styles.

    The faux black leather seat combines effortlessly with the rich tones of the walnut wood and an adjustable base.

    This bar stool is the perfect transitional piece for contemporary, as well as more traditional spaces.

    Traditional barstool of warm wood with a vintage metal reproduction base

    4.  Traditional Style

    The clean lines of this traditional bar stool combines warm wood with a vintage metal reproduction base.

    The piece is bar stool height, swivels and features a contoured back for comfort and usability.

    This stool would pair perfectly with a vintage oak counter and grain sack pillows.

    Brown linen upholstered tufted barstool with distressed legs

    5.  Upholstered Style

    This tufted, brown, linen upholstered stool has tiny buttons and slightly curved arms and distressed wood legs.

    Add upholstered style to your space with the clean, traditional lines of this bar stool.

    This stool would be the perfect accompaniment for a bar or table in a great room or game room in a home.

    So gather the scrabble board, grab the homework and put the oreos and milk on the counter.

    The bar stool is ready to take its place at the table.

    Whether farmhouse, traditional, upholstered, contemporary or transitional, a bar stool is an easy, inexpensive option to add style to your space.

    Photo Credit:  Photo 1:  HGTV

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