How to Find the Right Lighting Style for Your Space
Lighting can make or break a room. Think about it: Why spend all that time and money on the perfect living room setup, or well-curated knick-knacks when the room is poorly lit and no one—especially you—can fully appreciate your decorating effort?
And the importance of lighting doesn't just stop at functionality. These days, lighting is as much of a key design feature as your sleek desk or fancy marble backsplash. Designers like Apparatus are taking lighting to new heights and creating dramatic, sculptural fixtures that steal the show in a room and become instant conversation starters.
However, you can't just stop at one overhead light per room no matter how impactful the fixture may be. Good design is about including multiple points of illumination, or layered lighting. This is a three step process. First, start with your ambient lighting or your overhead light. This light, often in the center of the room, illuminates the entire space. Next we have task lighting which helps spotlight a specific activity. This is your bedside table lamp, kitchen pendant, or floor lamp. Finally, you have your decorative touches or your accent lighting, such as the gorgeous lights over your bookcase or elegant sconces surrounding your fireplace. They're not crucial for providing a source of light, but they sure make the space look more complete and beautiful.
Once you know what lighting you need where, it's time to figure out your style. We spotlight some key design trends, and lighting options within each. Shine bright!
Modern Organic: Ceiling Light
A 1950s design icon, the washi-paper-and-bamboo ceiling lamp emits a diffuse glow.
Noguchi Akari "Light Sculptures 55F" Ceiling Lamp, $350, shop.noguchi.org.
Modern Organic: Sconce
This Brooklyn maker's sconce looks hand-carved; you can customize the colors, too.
In Common With "Up Down 2C Sconce," $675, incommonwith.com.
Modern Organic: Lamp
Light a corner with the sculptural paper-rattan floor lamp; its unobtrusive design works anywhere.
Crate and Barrel "Weave" Floor Lamp in Natural, $189, crateandbarrel.com.
Feminine Deco: Chandelier
This 24-inch chandelier has a luminous fluted Italian glass bowl that radiates throwback elegance.
Rejuvenation "Willamette" Chandelier, $1,099, rejuvenation.com.
Feminine Deco: Sconce
This hammered-brass sconce is floral but not fussy.
Arteriors "Celerie Kemble Botany 5" Sconce, $485, perigold.com.
Feminine Deco: Lamp
A slender but solid base made of opalescent alabaster makes this table lamp a natural—and neutral—winner.
Aerin "Lineham" Table Lamp, $799, aerin.com.
Sleek Architectural: Pendant
This pendant's striking metal "roof" comes in several colors; we'd use this wine-red one in a hall, or hang a pair over a kitchen island.
The Urban Electric Co. "Thao" Pendant, $2,533, urbanelectric.com.
Sleek Architectural: Sconce
Brass-and-glass globes are having a moment, but this handmade sconce is timeless.
Cedar & Moss "Athena" Sconce, $229, cedarandmoss.com.
Sleek Architectural: Table Lamp
With its skyline-like base, this table lamp is a rhapsody in navy blue.
Kelly by Kelly Wearstler "Portman" Table Lamp, $400, clarksonlighting.com.
Textural Beauty: Chandelier
In a sea of thousands of woven pendant lights, this chandelier has a distinct graphic shape.
Williams Sonoma Home "Antibes" Chandelier, $2,410, williams-sonoma.com.
Textural Beauty: Sconce
Hang this low-profile rectangular sconce in a hall—the aged-mirror back gives a little shine.
Niermann Weeks "Regent" Sconce, $465, circalighting.com.
Textural Beauty: Floor Lamp
This floor lamp has pretty turnings, a whitewashed finish, and a nubby shade.
Martha Stewart "Carra" Floor Lamp, $219, wayfair.com.
Cool Colonial: Chandelier
This chandelier's iron curves echo antique candelabras, but its wide span feels totally now.
Pottery Barn "Lucca" Chandelier, $599, potterybarn.com.
Cool Colonial: Sconce
Hang this oversize sconce indoors or on a covered porch.
Restoration Hardware "19 C. English Openwork" Sconce, $525, restorationhardware.com.
Cool Colonial: Table Lamp
Like a classic stoneware crock, this porcelain table lamp has a polished, utilitarian texture.
Ralph Lauren Home "Carter" Table Lamp, $909, onekingslane.com.