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.

  • 5 Tips for Staying Organized During Home Remodeling with Bettershelter

    Staying Organized During Home Remodeling

    This week we checked in with Steve Jones of bettershelter to see the progress of his traditional bungalow project. Everything was coming along nicely and he even had a calendar displayed to help everyone stay organized and on schedule during the process of home remodeling. I am sure many can attest to the frustration that comes along with construction; things can easily get out of control and over budget. Steve seems to have everything under control and has flipped closed to 50 homes, so he definitely knows the importance of staying organized. We asked him to share his top 5 tips for being efficient and organized during construction.

    Renovation Tips with bettershelter

    1. PRACTICE THE SEVEN P'S: Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!

    2. CHECK IN ON THE PROJECT OFTEN: Check in on the project as much as possible, there are a million questions and decisions to be made on a daily basis. Especially if you have not worked with your contractor much, he wants to make sure you are happy and sometimes he will wait for questions to be answered. Your project will move much faster when you are present! And the results will be way better.

    3. HAVE A CALENDAR: Create a timeline with your contractor and have it posted BIG on the jobsite. It will keep YOU on calendar. Look at it and put critical milestones in your own phone, etc. to anticipate things.

    4. HAVE ALL MATERIALS AT JOBSITE WHEN NEEDED: For example, I order all my plumbing supplies at the very beginning of the job, I spend a bit more money at the outset, but then I deliver all the rough when needed and then the trim when needed. Better to have ready then waiting for it to be delivered.

    5. HAVE A STAGING/STORAGE AREA: Have an off-site location where all your fixtures, etc. can be stored, labeled, and organized. Do not leave at the job site; they will get ruined, thrown away or stolen. Deliver as needed. You get to feel like Santa Claus when dropping things off!

    Construction Timeline

    Thanks Steve! We will definitely remember to plan early and purchase our traditional wall lights, plumbing fixtures, and other needed materials early and also keep a calendar on site. To see the before pictures of Steve's Hollywood project, check out Renovation Ideas - Bettershelter Traditional Bungalow: Part 1.


  • Dwell on Design 2012 Recap: Trends, News, and People Spotting

    Dwell on Design 2012 Recap

    Did you miss Dwell on Design this year? Good news, we have pictures and a full recap from the event! Like most years, the modern outdoor exhibits are very popular. The G-Pod drew quite a crowd. It is a rotating pod complete with a modern outdoor light that is made for relaxing in your backyard. The garden trellises were another hit at the design event. And... of course the bubble stuctures had a lot of curious designers snapping pictures and asking lots of questions.

    Kohler and Dwell on Design

    A few other highlights included the Pop Arch exhibit. Carlo Caccavale, creates works of art from photos he has taken with his iPhone. The photos are usually detail shots of famous buildings and exteriors that we all know. Many visitors gathered around the Kohler display. They were showcasing their new partnership with design superstar Jonathan Adler.

    Voila! Gallery at Dwell on Design

    Avant-garde furnishings and art reminded you that you were at a progressive design event. Voila! Gallery participated in Dwell on Design for the first time this year. The owner was concerned their dark aesthetic may not fit in with the other vendors, but they stayed busy all day! Many art and design schools were present at Dwell on Design. Students from Woodbury University made a whole installation out of paper airplanes - cool!

    Modern Family at Dwell on Design

    Even kids are cool at Dwell on Design. The modern family booths focused on creating innovative and creative solutions to ordinary products such as storage furniture, chairs, and even campers. In a world that has become focused on technology and the internet, design ideas are easily shared and copied. So new trends are definitely focused on original ideas and one-of-a-kind products. Many retailers are producing their own products and making their products customizable.

    Who attended Dwell on Design this year? Below are a few talented creatives I ran into at the event!

    Designers at Dwell on Design

    (From left to right: Michael Sylvester, organizer of Dwell on Design; Minh Tran, graphic designer and Ted Dahle; John Saint-Denis, design curator and Carlo Caccavale, Associate Director of AIA Los Angeles; and Steve Jones of bettershelter)

    I definitely feel inspired having attended Dwell on Design last weekend. Until next year!

  • American Decor: Patriotic Interiors

    American Decor

    It’s almost 4th of July and while I could show pictures of porches draped in American Flags, I’m showing you chic patriotic interiors instead. This is American decor at its best.

    Is there anything more Yankee Doodle than a red, white and blue dining room? Seriously? A red lacquered ceiling - amazing! I’m also loving the highly saturated cobalt contemporary dining chairs.

    American Country Interiors

    This uber-American interior has a more cozy feel with the introduction of deep seating and soft pillows. While the room is still themed in red, white and blue, there are subtle black accents to ground the space.  

    Black Floor Lamps

    The always useful carved black floor lamp. Just like in the room above. A little bit country, a little bit “never out of style.” 

    Blue Living Room Decor

    Hello glamour puss. I clearly couldn’t only show red lacquer, now could I? The All American colors are easily achieved with a simple white sofa, color-blocked pillows and bold trunk.

    Trunk Coffee Tables

    This Asian-Style red trunk is functional and exotic, yet totally at home in classic American decor. 

    Eclectic Living Rooms

    Here is a great way to infuse red, white and blue in a more subtle way. The clever mixing of pattern introduces the American decor theme, but the use of various scale, pattern and textures makes it look eclectic. I also love the idea of using a modern large chandelier in a living room. It's unexpected and shimmers.  

    American Style Decor

    Another way to keep Patriotic Interiors less hokey is through the introduction of another color, like this bold yellow chair. It works because like the red, white and blue, it’s a primary color.

    Happy July 4th and I promise to bring back the porches soon.

    Images: Savvy Home

  • Get The Look: Foyer Design

    Get the Look: Foyer Design

    I know you have been chomping at the bit to see some of my work. Today is your lucky day. While I pride myself on elegant interiors, beautiful foyer design can be achieved on your own if you follow some simple rules. First, make sure there is some form of a table for mail, keys, and lighting. Second, make sure there is a place to sit. We styled the space with one of the square parsons dining chairs which played nicely off the arched closet door. I ultimately replaced the chair with a long bench below the stairs. Third, ample lighting is key. I chose a pair of tall buffet lamps to mirror the height of the space as well as a glorious glass and wrought iron lantern.

    These golden buffet lamps would look great in a formal foyer or on the sideboard in a dining room. Look familiar? This bronze and glass lantern is similar to the one I used in the foyer above. Regardless of what hanging light you choose, make sure it fits the space. This is a tall and narrow room, so the lantern was perfect. If the room had been round or square, a large chandelier would be a perfect choice.

    I was very deliberate with the design from balancing the geometry of this space to picking the right accessories. Busier rails meant I wanted simpler walls and the arched door meant I wanted a boxier console table. After all, foyer design is all about the yin and yang, baby.

    Image: Karyn Millet Photography

  • Style Tips from Cassandra Lavalle of Coco + Kelley

    Cassandra LaValle's favorite Lamps Plus lights

    A few of Cassandra's favorite Lamps Plus products: 1. Tetra Collection Tiffany Style Pendant Chandelier. 2. Robert Abbey Axis Adjustable Height Table Lamp (no longer available.) 3. Holtkoetter Up/Down Polished Brass Wall Sconce. 4. Arteriors Narnia Cocktail Table.


    Cassandra Lavalle is the editor of the chic interior design and lifestyle blog Coco + Kelley, where she shares "stunning interiors, brilliant fashion, inspired tabletops, and original color palettes - always with a touch of glamour." We chatted with Cassandra in between stops on her busy, jet-setting schedule, and she's here today sharing style tips, her design inspirations, a look at her blogging business, and a few of her favorite things. Welcome, Cassandra!

    LAMPS PLUS: Coco + Kelley’s philosophy is “Life is in the details. Style accordingly.” From interior decorating to event design to personal style consultations, you’ve gone beyond the role of a traditional designer by helping your clients create and embrace a lifestyle aesthetic. How did your wildly successful career as a “personal advisor in all of life’s little details” begin?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Honestly, it probably began with me being the gal who always had an opinion on things! But I also have a passion for all things design and have always immersed myself in that world. I come at things from a psychological standpoint, so that helps me in communicating with clients and expressing ideas to readers. It all began with the blog in 2007 and grew from there!

    LAMPS PLUS: How would you define your own style? Is that how your home is decorated?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Growing up on the West Coast has definitely influenced my sensibilities. My style is somewhere between relaxed West Coast meets refined classic. It's not based on an era or a category. It's just a feeling. And yes, that's absolutely how my home is decorated! I think I take a relaxed approach to glamour that's based in taking classic styles and making them approachable.

    Office of Coco + Kelley's Cassandra LaValle

    LAMPS PLUS: What tips would you offer someone who wants to discover and embrace their own personal style, but doesn't know where to start?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Honing in on your personal style is kind of like training for a race. You're not going to just jump in an run a full 10k. You have to start with the basics - start reading more blogs and magazines. Try on new things. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Invest. And most importantly, surround yourself with people who have great style!

    LAMPS PLUS: What or who has most influenced your design aesthetic?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: I was the first kid in the bunch of my parents' friends, so I was always hanging out with grown ups who had great style and taste - I think I picked some things up from them. Living in LA during my youth definitely played a role in my aesthetic - that laid back Southern California vibe comes through in the colors I choose (very beachy) and materials I use (lots of linens, cottons, and natural weaves). But, somewhere along the way I think I trained my own eye to have a pretty classic foundation.

    LAMPS PLUS: What is the best design advice you ever received?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: I know it's cliché, but when people say "buy what you love," it's for a reason. You should surround yourself with things that make you happy or make you feel good. You really can't go wrong when you design from the gut.

    Coco + Kelley blog tagline

    LAMPS PLUS: The Coco + Kelley blog is a well curated source of design inspiration for all things fashion, interiors, and lifestyle and you have a loyal following of style savvy readers. How has blogging impacted your business? How do you stay inspired as a blogger?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Blogging IS my business. Coco + Kelley has opened so many doors for me and I'm incredibly amazed and grateful for that opportunity. As far as inspiration, lately I've been trying to take myself out of the online world and more into the real world for inspiration. It seems like so many images and ideas are getting recycled that you really have to find new ways to make them your own or product content that's original. I love just walking through the city, sitting down and going through old books or looking outside the design world for new thoughts and ideas. 

    LAMPS PLUS: Beyond blogging, you also take on a variety of freelance clients and design projects. With all these different creative to-do's on your plate, you must be one busy gal - what does a typical day look like for you?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: When you're self-employed people think your life must be so leisurely. It's not true! I wake up around 6:30 am to get a jump start on e-mails before they build up too much in my inbox. I usually work on my laptop until 11ish - that's taking care of emails, creating blog posts, putting together projects for my interns, and really running the business side of things. After that I usually head out for the day to run whatever errands need to happen - sometimes it's scouting for shoots, sometimes it's shopping for clients. I try and head to the gym in the afternoon, then back home for more work ... usually throughout the evening if I'm staying in for the night. I'm basically hardly ever not working!

    Cassandra LaValle's living room in Rue magazine

    LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite luxury in life?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Food and travel. I would give up a lot of material possessions to ensure that I always had the ability to travel and experience long, delicious dinners with friends.

    LAMPS PLUS: When decorating, what should you splurge on?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Number one investment in my book is a good sofa. Everything from the bones to the fabric should be taken into consideration. It's the type of piece you really want to hold up over the years.

    LAMPS PLUS: How important is home lighting to interior designs?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Hugely important. I think lighting changes the mood of a room. It's important to have all the bases covered - task lighting to overhead lighting to indoor wall lights. I also think table lamps can provide such key accents in a room! From color to texture, they add so much.

    Interior styling by Cassandra LaValle of Coco + Kelley

    LAMPS PLUS: What are you obsessed with right now?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Stripes and linen. Preferably together. I just keep buying them in every shape and form, from pillows to dresses!

    LAMPS PLUS: Can you tell us about your goals or any projects in the works that you are excited about?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: I have about a million ideas swirling my head at any given moment, but I am really excited to start doing more original content on Coco + Kelley. We'll be introducing a few more series on the blog that we'll be shooting ourselves. Along with that, we're going to be doings some pretty fun product partnerships in the coming year to celebrate our 5 year anniversary!

    LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite furniture piece and why?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: A beautiful large chandelier. It can make a room.  

    Lamps Plus table lamp and floor lamp in Rue magazine


    Thanks, Cassandra! Love these two lamps above? They're the Dasan Ivory Table Lamp with Black Silk Shade and the Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp from Lamps Plus - and they're both featured in Cassandra's home in the May/June issue of Rue Magazine! (View her home tour starting on page 92.) You can also take a peek behind-the-scenes of Cassandra's home on her blog.

    Image credits: Coco + Kelley, Rue Magazine - May/June 2012

  • How to Use a Single Table Lamp to Style Your Home

    We found this video from Laurie Smith, an interior design expert with the American Lighting Association. Laurie shares how the use of a single decorative table lamp can add style and complement a room's color scheme. She then goes on to talk about other sources of lighting, such as wall sconces and pendant chandeliers, and how they can be used to create warm, ambient lighting in your home.

    You can also find the video here on YouTube.

  • Casual Dining Room Pendant Lights

    Casual Dining Room Lights

    Just like us, dining room pendant lights come in many shapes and sizes. While many people still prefer a more traditional light in the dining room, I’m here to show you that casual lighting can look just as chic. The open plan kitchen and dining room of the image above reads casual... don’t be fooled. The large scale contemporary glass globe light actually evokes the idea of a more traditional, large chandelier because of the multilevel affect of the many globes.  

    Rustic Dining Rooms

    Single globes can look just as snappy. This dining room is quirky and casual, right down to the simple wooden dining chairs that offer a Mid-Century feel. The simple round dining room light balances the geometric squares of the table, chairs and rug.

    Pendant Dining Room Lights

    Fall in love with the simple glass globe, I did. This clear glass pendant light is similar to the one used above and would compliment dining rooms, kitchen nooks, and even clustered over an island. 

    Casual Dining Room Decor

    Could there be a more fun dining space? Paging a Sandra Dee surfing movie... Seriously, the globe lights are organic in feel and the surfboard table ingenious. Sometimes it pays to think outside the box. If you are not wed to the idea of traditional dining room chairs, have you ever thought about bar stools?

    White Kitchen Bar Stools

    Crisp, white kitchen bar stools (like the ones featured above) could one day replace dining rooms chairs, if dining room chairs aren’t careful!

    Images: Decor 8, House of Turquoise

  • Cool Blue Hues in Home Decor

    Blue home decor, lighting, and furniture.

    No matter what season, blue is a perennial favorite for decorating. Fresh and timeless, blue hues lend a relaxed look that evokes feelings of calm. Here's a roundup of some of my favorite cool blue seating, table lamps, and home decor:

    1. Silver Coral Icon Candle in Blue Glass. 2. Blue Vertical Stripe Semi-Flush Ceiling Light. 3. Holtkoetter Indigo Blue ADA Cone Wall Sconce. 4. St. Croix Blue Velvet Armless Club Chair. 5. Arteriors Home Radko Pacific Blue Glass Buffet Lamp. 6. Blue and White Porcelain 18" Round Plate. 7. Uttermost Set of 2 Eilam Leaf Pale-Blue Containers. 8. Blue Mitt Upholstered Children's Chair. (We apologize that some of these items are no longer available.)

    I love that blue can both be sophisticated and classic (like on the decorative toile plate) and also lively and playful (like on the oversized hand upholstered chair). What's your favorite way to use blue at home?

  • Luxury Beach Hotel Decor

    Beach Hotel Decor

    I usually never want to leave a beach hotel, unless of course it’s spring break in Daytona Beach. All kidding aside, I love a luxury beach hotel, especially one with super-chic decor. True, hotel decor can be sterile, but when done right it can inspire you to want it in your own home. The key thing to remember is to keep it fresh. No need to be literal with anchor pillows and starfish prints to make something look beach-like.

    Luxury Hotel Rooms

    This room in the Tides Beach Club in Kennebunkport, Maine, evokes the ocean in a crisp and modern way. Ocean colors are paired with acid green, white and yellow. A nod to classic beach cottages can be found in the bead-board wall, although painted in deep blue, not the expected white. 

    Bamboo Chairs

    This faux bamboo chair has a decidedly tropical and beach flair. Remember, while the deep rich tones will certainly work, don’t be afraid to paint!

    Beach Inspired Hotel Rooms

    Here is another room from the Tides Beach Club. This minty fresh room is dynamite and shows elegant beach hotel decor at its best. The look is soft and feminine, but the addition of a few rustic elements like the coral table lamps and wicker chairs add much needed texture. 

    Hotel Room Decor

    This cozy nook at the Tides Beach Club shows how you can arrange an awkward corner to its best advantage. A pair of upholstered chairs in a seam foam fabric is anchored by the table floor lamp - a true space saver in tights spots.

    White Ceramic Lamps

    A consistent theme has been the use of white accents. This white ceramic lamp is the essence of understated luxury and is a decor basic for most homes.

    Luxury Hotel Bathroom Design

    Hotel decor can also mean luxury beach bathrooms. There is usually a heavy use of white and ocean blues and chic indoor wall lights. Don’t hate me for loving the foil wallpaper.

    Luxury Beach Hotel Outdoor Design

    Because the beach truly means embracing the outdoors, don’t forget that outdoor home design can be inspired by outdoor hotel decor. If you spend a great deal of time outside, why not invest in it? As you can see, modern bar stools look great inside and out.

    My overall advice? Make a trip to the beach last 365 days of the year.

    Images: Casa Sugar

  • Christian May Shares Lighting Tips and his Favorite Products

    Christian May and Decorating with Outdoor Lights

    Christian May is a very talented interior designer and owns the popular design blog, maison21. He has designed stunning homes for clients and today he is giving an insight to his style and sharing lighting tips for decorating with outdoor area. Also, want to know what Christian's favorite Lamps Plus products are? Keep reading to find out more...

    LAMPS PLUS: What is your design style?

    CHRISTIAN MAY: Eclectic, modern, and happy. I like to mix different periods and styles, as well as mix bold color and strong patterns for a personal, uplifting brand of decor.  

    Bright and Modern Palm Springs Home

    LAMPS PLUS: What current trend do you love and what trend do you wish would go away?

    CHRISTIAN MAY: I love that interior design is becoming more like fashion - mixing interesting yet seemingly unrelated pieces at varying price points for a unique, one of a kind look. Nothing is worse than a soulless, matchy-matchy room without personality. Quirky is good!

    The trend I would be glad to see go away is greige on greige rooms - give me some color!  

    Pink Dining Room

    LAMPS PLUS: Color definitely defines a room. What colors are on your wish list for summer?

    CHRISTIAN MAY: I recently styled a window display replicating a living room inspired by the colors of summer - the bright yellow of the summer sun reflecting off a refreshing blue swimming pool. Even at night it is cheery and summery.  

    Legends of La Cienega Window Display

    LAMPS PLUS: What are 3 easy tips for decorating the backyard with outdoor lighting fixtures?


    1. Use lots of light sources, all at low wattages. Nothing is more romantic than puddles of light scattered about the yard and nothing is a bigger buzzkill than a ten thousand watt floodlight pointed straight at your face - it's like the inquisition!

    2. Layer your lighting - pendants or string lights overhead for ambient lighting, directed "task" lighting to illuminate tables or conversation areas, accent lighting like uplights to illuminate special features like a tree or architectural detail, and downlights and bollards to light walkways and steps, both for aesthetics and safety.

    3. Keep your outdoor lighting styles cohesive, while I advocate mixing it up on the interior of your home, outside it's best to keep your lighting all one style, perferably one that relates to the architectural style of your home. Modern lights rarely look good on a traditional home and vice-versa, so avoid getting tricky unless you are working with a professional.

    LAMPS PLUS: What are your favorite Lamps Plus contemporary wall lights

    Contemporary Wall Lights

    Holtkoetter Up-Down Polished Brass Wall Sconce (left), George Kovacs Plug-In Swing Arm Wall Lamp (right, no longer available)

    Holtkoetter Wall Sconce: Minimal, yet entirely glamorous. Just showed this to a client to use in a dark hallway alcove, where the up and down light cast by the fixture will be welcome.

    George Kovacs Wall Lamp: Classic, modern, and the finish makes it slightly masculine. Great bedside sconce to read by. 

     Modern Wall Lights

    Brass with Black Drum Shade Plug-In Swing Arm Wall Lamp (left), Cassini Collection Murano Glass 3-Light Xenon Wall Sconce (right)

    Black Drum Shade Lamp: Classique swing arm. Love the black and gold combo.

    Cassini Wall Sconce: Inspired by Mid-Century modern murano designs, I love the slightly feminine floral reference. I'd use this in a modern powder room.

    Thank you Christian!

    Images: Courtesy of Christian May, John Ellis

June, 2012