There are two kinds of light – the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.
– James Grover Thurber
Let’s talk about lighting! If you have followed me for a long time you will have noticed I have an obsession with Lighting, which is only rivaled by my obsession with chairs. Chairs and lights, lights and chairs. That about sums me up, I am not a complicated being…
In this post I wanted to show 10 of my favourite looks out of the millions that are doing the rounds on the net which I desperately want in my life – RIGHT NOW, GIVE ME LIGHT! All the lights!! Each image is titled after the designer (where I could find one).
Floaty, freeform fabric shades inject natural softness with a raw whispering quality to an otherwise hard industrial, or sparse interior.
I love this look, it looks like how I imagine a Mediterranean summer breeze to feel. Light, comforting and carefree with a touch of purposeful elegance. I would use this look in any room that needs visually softening. This pale raw linen look works well juxtaposed in an industrial interior with a mix of materials like concrete, steel and wood. It would work also in a neutral palate, or a romantic plush-blush setting with an abundance of white peafowl feathers, ballerina puce pink velvet and with off-white silks.
My preference would be to mix it up and cover the shade frame in a vibrant printed turquoise, red oriental printed fabrics, or maybe even patchwork of vintage printed tea towels like a previous lamp I refurbished many projects ago. My favorite in this type of look is where you can see it’s skeleton and the fabric doesn’t entirely encapsulate the frame, leaving raw uneven edges free-falling into room.
For a more ‘modern bohemian’ look there are these wrapped shades. They have an ethnic artisanal, hand laboured look with clean Scandi style form and precision.
The perfect type of shade for those who have quiet interiors and loud personalities. This style of shade is very much for those who appreciate the quality in artisan products and live in a minimalist space where these types of items can showcase their true brilliance. They inject a bit of humor, sophistication, liveliness and art into the space around them. I love them but they would not work for me as I could not give them the quiet space to command. They would be completely lost and forgotten in my interior which is of the current theme ‘mad woman’s knitting’. But they are beautiful none the less.
For a more ‘retro bohemian’ look go full basket-case. This look lends well to exotic, or ‘great traveler’ themed interiors that use a mix of different materials and earthy vibrant or neutral color.
The attractive and interesting quality with these lamps is the form and weave. They are simplistic and sympathetic to most interiors whatever style you are rocking. They light output varies between the heaviness of the weave resulting in a beautiful bamboo jungle-like shadow cast from a generous open weave to a straight down light with no lateral light leak from a tight weave like the picture in the bottom left above. Again very summery in appearance, calm with a natural beachy look. If you like a more subdued but beautifully formed shade, or have a color saturated palate going on – this option is a good option for you. The most beautiful shades in this style are made by ROOST.
These skeletal pendulum are simple and glorious in their full mechanical exhibition. These are for the ultra mod, those trend setters always ahead of the curve who live in a museum crisp interior with nothing in it but a Wassily Kandinsky chair and a light. Those who are braver than I……. and who have lots of cash and lots of space.
To be honest, these are not lights, they are ART. Enough said.
A slight deviation from the Skeletal Pendulum above, I call this curated selection architectural Lighting. These hard geometric, or circular structures are perfect for modern box buildings with sharp architectural features.
I can totally appreciate these beauties although you would want to use this look sparingly….. Unless you own a lighting store. These designs are showcase pieces, talking points and the type of situation where these would be best used is hung from a vaulted ceiling over a staircase, from a high ceiling in an entrance way, or maybe a collection hung in a line over the dining table.
If you like a more fluid and organic look then look no further than these nature inspired wonders.
Big bulbous, fluid like structures that look organic and seem alive. How better to fake a bit of nature indoors. If you have a faulty green finger and can’t seem to keep indoor plants alive (like me if you refer to my last post) but need to introduce a natural element, or something more modern than the old dusty silk flowers your Nana kept in the toilet. Banish the faded fake flowers by the front door and install an organic light feature instead. I suspect one must have a touch of the creative, slightly eccentric tastes to present these in their full potential. I would love a collection of the glass pendants and I find fascinating the light emitting properties of the gold interior shades.
Recycled or raw materials inspired lighting can be industrial, rigid and unforgiving but also complementary and sensitive if done right.
The above are beautiful examples of materials not commonly associated with lighting. This is probably due to their low light emission. There sorts of lights are solid down lights great for reading nooks where light is needed in one spot. These materials appear balanced in appearance. Strong with both industrial and naturalistic qualities. The concrete pieces in particular transform their appearance into well weathered igneous rock formations. Even the bottle and plastic bag cast pieces have a natural look to their form and finish. The wooden shades are similar in light emission and visual toughness as concrete. The marble shades are seductive with their irregular soft glow and soft mute colors. With their neutral natural palate these shades would work in a scandi minimalist interior or even be at home in a vibrant environment that has a strong saturation of color.
Silk, Leather and Paper…… The luxurious and unusually common.
Silk, Leather and Paper……. They either make you cringe, or celebrate. I have a love hate relationship with these three materials. They can be done right, or not. I don’t like the industrial light shaped, or the tufted pendants. I find them tacky and uninspired. But I am impressed with the examples above with the red leather drop pendant as my favorite. I like the brass riveting, the wrinkle at the top and the brass capping. Such a small down light it would be impractical to just have one, you would have to have at least 20 all hanging in a haphazard chandelier to get enough useful ambient light. The light folded paper lanterns are not a new idea, but certainly a classic for good reason. The give a fresh light exotic look and compliment almost any interior, great light emission my only comment about these is don’t be shy, go ‘extra large’, you’ll thank me later.
The new accidental Chandelier, ready-made, or assembled by you.
If unsure which fitting to hang, HANG THEM ALL. Hang them all in a cluster that drops low over any space that people congregate. By hanging multiple lights low it creates a sense of intimacy and connection which is why it works so well hung over the dinner table! Mix and match and be brave with styles, colors and length of drop!
Welcome to number 10. Soft and suggestive hidden lighting.
I hate ugly recessed spot lights that are in our modern-day ceilings. Instead think about hidden lighting. This can take the form of strip lighting tucked into architectural features to accent and cast soft light over the room, there could also be semi hidden LED points in wall mounted boxes, or behind up cast mirrored surfaces to intensify and reflect the light. During power cuts I have learnt that an up cast torch is far superior at lighting a room than a downcast light. Try it if you haven’t already it is a true story… Also one tip for any sort of indirect lighting to be effective you need to have a color on your walls that has good light refractive properties. The lighter the color of your walls the higher the refractive properties Ie. White/Silver/Cream bounce light around and are good for dining rooms, bathrooms, hallways or any tricky rooms that don’t get enough sunlight. Darker saturated colors like Slate Grey, Black, Navy, Teal, Maroon will absorb light and will always make the room seem darker. These colors are good for cinema rooms, and bedrooms for help with those circadian rhythms.
In line with our ethos of sustainability and the three R’s – Don’t forget you can achieve a lot of these looks yourself through DIY. There are many tutorials on Pinterest and Youtube on how to make lights just like these. For extra inspiration you can also check out some of my previous posts below by clicking on the pictures.