Experts Convey Trends in Lighting
The top trend in decorative lighting has little to do with style, shape or shade choices. Instead, it focuses on the new mindset of the consumer.
People have realized you're not buying just a lamp or a sconce or a chandelier - you're buying an accessory that lights up.
Decorative lighting rates today as one of the best accessories you can buy. If chosen correctly, it is as important to a room as your best piece of furniture. It reflects your taste and adds the finishing touch.
Fixed or portable, lighting has become an all-important interior design feature. Homeowners are beginning to seek out lighting as decorative elements.
There are three major design movements:
CASUAL ELEGANCE continues the creation of warm, relaxed and cozy environments, with casual lighting that is a little more upscale in design.
SOFT CONTEMPORARY is still, clean, modern and simple in style. While architectural in design, these fixtures are no longer cold.
SIMPLIFIED TRADITIONAL removes the excess. While still a traditional look, this look is not ornate. There is now a simplification. Decorative lighting here may still be solid brass, but stripped down and rich with an antique patina.
In step with home decor trends, the lighting industry is experiencing an explosion of design options and material combinations. Eclectic is really the word that best reflects the range of colors, styles, shapes and sizes of decorative lighting available.
This season's savviest styles have common design elements. There has been a big move recently to more daring designs and material combinations - wrought iron with crystal, polished brass with colored glass. At the same time, traditional product is still available. Today, if you want a Williamsburg polished brass fixture, you can find it. But if you are looking for a Murano glass medusa head with a low voltage bulb to light up a room, you can find that, too.
Finishes range from rich and refined to lustrously weathered. The industry is moving away from shiny brass and china to more burnished, brushed and hand painted finishes. Hand painted doesn't mean simply white enamel with painted flowers. Instead, think multi-toned finishes with depth and texture - layers of color; hand-rubbed, burnished metal; finishes flecked with gold or silver and rubbed so color shines through.
There is also a move toward heavy iron, and rust finishes are still important as is oil-rubbed bronze, Amber glass is becoming more a preference for homeowners, as well. Other fresh features to look for in decorative lighting include:
LARGER SIZE FIXTURES: More large-size fixtures is a result of the move to larger homes. Homes with large interior volumes need larger lights and the industry has complied.
CHANDELIER RESURGENCE: Once confined to dining rooms and entry halls, chandeliers are hanging around almost any room in the house. The trend is back to light in the center of the room. As a result, you are seeing chandeliers everywhere -- bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, hallways -- anywhere one will fit.
QUALITY MATERIALS: The focus shifts to the real deal as consumers opt for true glass instead of plastic, stainless steel instead of aluminum. Look for beautiful marble, supple leathers and tactile iron.
LOWER COST: A benefit of recent manufacturing trends is the deflation of price in decorative lighting fixtures. What cost $1,500 five years ago may be found today for $900. At the same time, there are incredible lamps available for $30.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY: From adding dimmers to using the latest low-voltage bulbs, consumers are looking to save energy when they can. Cost-effective fluorescent bulbs become more important in all aspects of lighting.
DÉCOR LIGHTING. Few things make as much design impact on a room as the right lighting. Whether you choose a portable lamp or installed fixture, decorative lighting melds the best in home fashion with a function. To help you make the most of your decorative lighting, the experts at Creative Lighting will offer the following ideas for illuminating your home - no matter what your budget.
FOCUS POCUS: Put lighting to work creating focal points. Add lights to direct the eye in a new direction by focusing on a piece of art, furniture or the mantel. MOVE IT: Simply moving portable lighting around to new areas can create dramatic differences. Adding or subtracting light from parts of a room creates drama.
COLOR IT BEAUTIFUL: A coat of paint and well-placed lighting can completely change a room. Fresh paint can give an old fixture new look or create the opportunity to add new fixtures to anchor or complement the color.
DIM SOME: Dimmers are another inexpensive trick-of-the-trade. They help set a special mood in the home by allowing you to manipulate the light. Install them at the wall for ceiling fixtures and even buy them for table lamps.
MADE WITH THE SHADE: Today's shades are made of a variety of shapes, textures and designs. Top off an old fixture with a smart new shade for a fresh look. Add lampshades to chandeliers, or take off the existing lampshades for a fresh face.
START SMALL: You don't have to redo the whole room to get a whole new look. Dress up fixtures with accessories like candle sleeves, garland or cloth over the chain.
SPACE CASE: Add more drama to a space with accent lighting - illuminate the top a bookcase, add under cabinet lighting or hang a colored pendant over the kitchen island. You can create islands of light that bring the grain of wood or the print of the wallpaper or the color of a wall to life.
TABLE IT: Table lamps are so important, but often ignored. They are critical to design, they are at eye level and we touch them daily. Move them around the room. If you buy small ones, you can put them on shelves. They make a room more visually complex.
QUALITY COUNTS: No matter what your budget, opt for timeless materials like bronze and glass over their plastic counterparts. Timeless designs in top materials will always look right and can become family heirlooms.
TEST IT: Try before you buy. In most instances, you can take a lamp home, try it and bring it back if it doesn't work. Exchange it for one that doesn't reflect on your glass table or has a different shade.
DON'T WAIT: Start looking for lighting early in the decorating process and consider lead time. Consumers are surprised when we tell them it may be as long as six weeks to get their decorative fixture. We don't keep every fixture in every finish in the showroom. Consumers need to start earlier and have patience while their fixture is built.
TAKE YOUR TIME: To create a well lit home, do it over time, room by room. Create a master plan of how you want the finished house to look, and work at it over time
GET CLEARANCE: Make frequent trips to visit us and you may find your favorite fixture marked down as much as half. We mark down discontinued styles every six months to make room for the latest looks. Clearance sections can change every few weeks.
ASK THE EXPERTS: To make the best decisions, embrace your lighting showroom personnel. Use your camera. Bring a digital image of the room and what is not working. If you are trying to create a decorative element, bring in swatches of fabric, pillows, paint chips. Make the fixture the statement to complement the room.