Not everything that happens in Vegas should stay there, at least when you strike it rich with fresh, inspirational design ideas

For years my online followers have read about my trips to the Las Vegas Market, a gigantic, twice-a-year cornucopia of all the latest in interior decor. On these trips, I’m shopping for clients, myself and the store — but most importantly, I’m shopping for inspiration.

Whenever I return, I write about the latest trends I’ve seen that can be applied to your home or office. This time I thought of doing something a little bit different. I snapped some photos of super-simple ideas that could inspire you.


First off, things don’t get any easier than this. Here in Hawaii we have an abundance of monstera. I love using these architectural leaves. They have a hearty quality to them, and one simple leaf in a glass jar is sometimes all you really need. Florists use them in their designs all the time.


What I loved here, in the first photo, was the unique take that I thought you might be able to use at your next party, or as a simple centerpiece on your table or desk. By simply cutting the monstera into a square and using it as a backdrop, you immediately create a contemporary centerpiece.

See? I told you this was easy.


The second picture is just a tiny bit more involved, but not much. You all have seen how I love the urban look and have incorporated reclaimed materials into my designs. This showroom created a very simple tablescape that you can easily replicate.

Find any ikat material and use it as a table runner. Then start layering. You can find a woven charger almost anywhere. Spray paint it to create the same look, then add a white dinner plate on top and a linen napkin tied with rope, twine or raffia for a natural yet chic and urban place setting.

And finally, I loved the Tara Shaw Maison display, as seen in the third photo. Tara is a talented designer with a signature style of mixing Old World pieces with contemporary art. This is something that you could easily recreate in a home office or bedroom.



She anchored this vignette with two large black-and-white images. I’ve shown you in past columns how easy it is to blow up art. You can do this at Jet Graphics, Costco and Sam’s Club. Use your own photo or find an image online, have it turned into black and white, and there’s your starting point.

What makes this work is Tara’s mix of old and new. Add modern white furniture with a hint of glass or acrylic, as she’s done. What gives it character and soul is the addition of antiques. You don’t need a pricey authentic piece. In fact, this designer specializes in reproductions. You can even find an affordable chandelier and weather it, as I’ve done in the past, with a can of spray paint, a wire brush and a Brillo pad.

The point is that by mixing these elements — the black and white and the weathered antiques — you’ll create a one-of-a-kind space that you’ll absolutely love.

So always look around for inspiration. It can be as easy as cutting a leaf or shaking a can of spray paint. It’s all up to you — how far do you want to take your inspiration?

Cathy Lee is president and designer of Cathy Lee Style and Cathy’s Marketplace, a furniture and accessories showroom with design services at 1110 University Ave. She recently opened reStyle Hawaii, an affordable, style-conscious consignment warehouse with upholstering and repurposing services at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako. Lee’s interior design work has been featured in local and national publications, on HGTV and in her DIY design workshops that teach homeowners the basics of style. To find out more, go to