Some Of Your Recent Interior Decorating Questions Answered

Hi Guys,


There have been a lot of interior decorating questions recently and I’m going to weave them into one post.

hopefully. :]


There are three topics.


    • Lighting options and what goes with what?
    • What size lamp or chandelier?
    • How many wall colors can you use in a home?


Of course, each of these could be a separate blog post, but the idea is to give a more holistic response, because they are actually all interrelated.

To demonstrate my ideas, I am going to focus on the beautiful work of Jana Bek

(please also follow Jana on instagram)

Jana is an interior designer who is probably best known for her brushstroke lamp (sold on her website which I would say already has icon designation. She also sells other ceramics, fabrics and art. And who knows what will be next!

Jana Bek Brushstroke lamps - interior decorating questionsThese are most of the colorways, but there are a few more.


As an exercise, what I’ve done is taken a whole bunch of other lamps, ceiling fixtures, sconces and made a widget.


(sorry, I’m going to make you read a bunch first, but it is below, I promise.)


How it works is you could take one of the brushstroke lamps and then one other lamp in the living room, a floor lamp, a sconce and a ceiling fixture. And I’m pretty sure that they will all work together. (There are also some beautiful light fixtures not here, but on the hot sales page which would also work)

What isn’t used for the living room could go in another room. In other words, the light fixtures that you will see eventually (after we take care of a little business), all go with each other!

What I didn’t tell you is that everything is on sale (20% off) in the light widget. (below) That is part of the “secret sale.” It’s not really secret. It’s only available to folks who get the catalog, but I’m happy to share that “secret code.”

The code for the catalog sale (sitewide) is: OKL01CATALOG  and I believe that it’s good until mid-February. There ARE a bunch of vendors that are excluded. Quel drag. But there are still a lot that aren’t excluded.


However, there IS another 20% off sale at OKL


But it is only for two days, which I assume means the rest of today and tomorrow.  you can read the excluded vendors here. It’s a smaller list.

Use code  OKLXTRA20


And it’s for furniture only.


Several of my faves are on the hot sales page and it is under the catalog promo code OKL01CATALOG which is site-wide (excluding many vendors). For furniture, you may use either promo code.

Sorry, if it’s a little confusing. Furniture, you can use either promo code. Lighting only the catalog promo code.


Okay, let’s get back to Jana and the recent interior decorating questions.


I love Jana’s fresh, young traditional look. Notice how she balances out the room with lots of texture, black and other dark colors and white. This was a room that she did for the One Room Challenge™ about a year ago.

Here are a few more images from Jana’s portfolio.


Jana Bek Lovely new traditional dining room - Chippendale dining chairs

Wonderful faux bamboo Chinese Chippendale side chairs. They look like the ones from Jonathan Adler which she then reupholstered. I did that once too, which you can see here.

What I love is these are basically neutral rooms, so that the accent colors could change if she liked.

Jana Beck living room changed more neutral

For instance, she has done that here. I’m not sure if this is before or after the other one. But no matter, you can see that with a neutral base, it is not terribly difficult to change the palette.

But let’s go back to the more colorful version.


The color is Farrow and Ball Cornforth White which is a close match to Benjamin Moore Barren Plain (sorry, I messed up the number on the chart. It should be 2111-60.

For those of you, who own the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collection, you are at a huge advantage. For instance, we can find a color in the collection that is close to Cornforth white and from there, we can go to town.

And then we can take a palette which has sea froth and classic gray which are similar to Cornforth white and from there build a palette. Which I’ve already done for you.

Below are two palettes which come with beautiful room boards from the paint palette collection.

There are a total of 40 palettes plus 12 bonus palettes. They all come with a board.


Actually, this one is from one of the bonus boards. There are 12 of those. Okay, 11. One of them is just a board but it is a special board.



Let’s say that the hallway, is a soft white like Cloud white or white blush.

Then, for another room nearby we could do racing orange red, deep royal, one of the pinks, a green, or a deeper neutral like Chelsea gray.

It is very difficult to ascertain how many wall colors one can have. But usually, I would not do more than 3 or four that are visible to each other. And then maybe another room will have wallpaper.

I am not including bathrooms and laundry rooms. Things like that. And this is only for the main living areas of a home with actual rooms.

Of course, you could paint everything white and then vary the accent colors, carrying a thread of one of them. I think that there should always be a thread of some color to carry through all of the rooms.


If a lot of unusual colors are used, then they all need to live in at least one of the rooms.


Ben Pentreath is an excellent example of this because all of his colors live in the uhhhhh living room.

As for the size of the chandeliers, you can check back to this post about dining room lighting. (where the guy nearly lost his eye due to the over-scale chandelier)

As for table lamps, there is a recent school that says the bigger the better.

Please forgive me.

That is hogwash.

Tell me, if you have an end table that is 27″ high, how is a 36″ lamp supposed to look good on it? (unless it’s in a barn of a room) The only exception I can think of is if it’s a true mid-century vintage look, where the end tables are quite low and the lamps are quite big. But it’s an affectation of that era.

For most living rooms a table lamp of from 26″-31″ is the optimal size IMO.

I’m going to be going through more rules of thumb soon. And the reason is that I keep seeing stuff that’s wrong. For instance that an end table should be two inches lower than the sofa arm. That just doesn’t happen if you have an English roll arm sofa with an arm at 23″!

In defense of the designer who said that, she might not have actually said that. Happens all of the time.


But before I forget, here are all of the beautiful light fixtures on sale!


You can pick out one table lamp, one sconce, one ceiling lamp plus a brushstroke lamp. Of course, there are millions of combinations that would work. Of course, some of these would go in a more casual room like the Vendome. It is dressier in the brass, but handsome in the bronze finish shown.

And a few are for dining rooms. One or two are for kids rooms, but they could also be used as accent lamps just about anywhere. If you like this, I could do it for a different type of home, one day.

Serena and Lily Fulton_Linen bed Dominica rug Abaca rug interior decorating questions answered
And finally. All of Serena and Lily’s gorgeous rugs are on sale right now too, (through Feb. 5th) including all of the new ones.
Can I tell you how much I adore this new Abaca rug?

Speaking of S & L, I can hardly contain myself. Someone emailed me from there yesterday. Out of the blue!!!

We found your blog and think it would be a good fit  [Hell yeah!] and we want to give you some product for you to… blah, blah...

You know the rest.

Laurel is suddenly having an out-of-body experience, floating high above herself which just fell to the floor. Surely, it’s a fake.

Nope, not a fake.

I really need a bigger place.

And a cleaning lady. lol

I’ll keep you posted about that one!




PS: Please don’t forget to check out the Hot Sales Pages. Some really beautiful things this week!


24 Responses

  1. Hi Laurel,

    I have been following your delightful blog for nearly 2 years and I just LOVE the information you pass on.
    I do have a question that I hope you may be able to address in your blog. I know painting the front door a different colour is Ok but what about the other doors? Should they match the trim? It seems to me if they’re the same colour as the front door, it would make the front door not so special. I keep combing thru photos and they are mostly of front doors. Can you offer some advice? Thank you Laurel for your consideration.

    1. Hi Karen,

      That is a good topic. There’s no hard and fast rule because like everything else, it depends what else is going on. But the front door can absolutely be a different color than the other doors and the inside of the door, doesn’t have to be the same color as the outside.

  2. Hi Laurel,

    I’m having an outer body experience for you!!! I hope you share your choices, etc….
    That news made my day, I’m so excited for you!!!

    Best, Ellie

    P.s. The creamy whites in their bedroom are so, so yummy!!! Any ideas?

  3. And the other good news is that S&L is opening a store in Summit, NJ.
    Love the lamps. What does one do with a husband who insists on using LED chandelier bulbs? I can’t stand the ones with a solid white bottom and the ones with an orange filament aren’t much better.

    1. Hi Joanne,

      Oh that’s fabulous about the S&L store in Summit. I’ve actually been there a couple of times as I had a job there about 20 years ago! Beautiful area.

      As for the husband and the LED bulbs… this is what I would say.


      No, haha. :/ I would say: “the bulbs are supposed to simulate candle light and the LED bulbs don’t come anywhere close to candle light. When they do, I’ll be happy to use them.”

  4. Laurel,
    Any thoughts on how many inches under the diameter of a console table the base of the lamp shade needs to be? I have been searching for some guidelines on this as I search for a lamp to go on a console with a 17 inch diameter. It is more informal so I was hoping for a gourd style lamp but I might just have to go with a buffet lamp. Your neoclassical one looks like a good possibility!

    1. Hi Eleanor,

      I’m a little confused because it sounds like the diameter of the console table, but a console table is rectangular.

      If the table is against the wall and you’re worried about the lamp shade fitting in the allotted space, I find that it’s okay to go a couple inches wider in diameter than the width of the table, but probably not more than that.

      But yes, you’re always going to be safe on a narrow console table with a tall lamp that has a small lampshade.

  5. Congratulations on S&L. I love, love, love them. I discovered them by reading your blog. We are renovating our house and I have purchased tons of furniture from them. Every piece I have received is beautiful and well made. Sadly, most of it is still in boxes sitting in my garage until the reno is finished. Hopefully soon ;] I can’t wait to see what they give you!

    1. Hi Peggy,

      I was in their LA store last year and I wanted everything in there! On top of it, they threw THE classiest cocktail party I’ve ever been too. Unfortunately, I couldn’t eat much because was going out to dinner with friends, but the point is they went to a lot of trouble and expense to make it nice for us design bloggers from the design blogger’s conference.

  6. I love this post and Jana’s fresh and feminine rooms. Are those faux Roman shades on the smaller window in her living room?

    1. Hi Amy,

      Thanks so much Amy. Of course, nothing has happened yet, but I am so thrilled just to hear from them. I am very bad about going after people. It invariably never works, anyway.

  7. Love your blog –

    But I also love a big lamp – I just do. It’s sculpture. my pet peeve is small lamps and small pillows – they just look cheap to me.

    Even the smaller Spitzmillers look like a compromise. Their glory is in going big imho (and a fortuned I KNOW).

    Unless intentional – like the tiny thomas o’brain terri lamp – it’s chic as hell. I bought one, but now I want to stash one in every room – it’s so beeeautiful.

    So i will continue to love my big 50s murano lamps (34″) – my LR room is 30 feet x 27 w/ 11 foot ceilings. Small things get lost in here.

    Overall I love big lamp/ fixture drama ; )

    1. Hi Dani,

      I’m sorry, but I think that you misunderstood my statement or maybe it was just fast reading. Your room sounds awesome and belongs in one of the exception categories stated (if not both of them) “unless you have a big barn of a room,” meaning big with high ceilings is one exception.

      But most of us don’t have such large rooms and I have seen spaces where a 35″ lamp looks cartoonish. So, it all depends on the size of the room, the ceiling height and the size/styling of the rest of the furnishings.

      And I have a friend with those wonderful 50s murano type lamps which are beyond awesome and make the room which is over-all very stylish and contemporary. And her ceilings aren’t especially high. The room is a nice size, but not gargantuan.

  8. Wow Laurel, thank you for including us in this wonderful post, we do love decorating with neutrals as it gives you the option to switch things up! Congrats on S&L, of course they would want to partner with you! Xj

    1. Hi Jana! How lovely to hear from you! I’m a big fan of your work and products and your beautiful rooms, so fabulously photographed, are not only gorgeous, but explain by example how to do it right.

  9. One question I have found unanswered anywhere is matching DXV sinks in Canvas White. It is by far the most different white from other brands!
    Is there a BM white paint that matches or complements DXV sinks in Canvas White?

    1. HI G.

      Well, if I was doing consultations and I had a DXV sink sitting here in Canvas White, I’d be happy to match up a beautiful white with it.

      But when it comes to matching white paint with white appliances and/or sinks, I prefer to use the word coordinate. There will never be a perfect match anyway. And the eye will try to match the colors because that’s what our eyes do.

      There are different materials, vertical, vs horizontal and then there are the other elements as well, counters, tile, floor. I think it helps to hold them all up together as they will be living in the room and try to replicate the lighting as best as one can.

      But if a particular brand’s sink isn’t working, for some reason, then maybe try a different brand?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

New Edition, November 2022! Get The Indispensable Guide For 100s of Home Furnishings And Interior Design Sources That Everyone Is Raving About

laurels-rolodex-final-book-cover-master 9th edition 22-23

laurel home archives


Do You Need Help With Your Paint Colors? Get The Mega Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collections. To Find Out More – Click The Image Below

Amazon ad

please click below to check out my favorite decorating & design books

Laurel Bern's Favorite Interior Design and Decorating Books
Subscribe To The Laurel Home Blog And You Will Receive A FREE Guide Where I Share How To Get Your Paint Colors Right, The First Time.