Lighting is about so much more than just being able to see in your home. Lighting fixtures are very important decorating elements and can add drama and mood in ways other forms of design cannot. I can’t help but think of how lighting has changed over the decades. I remember a bare bulb hanging from a ceiling cord in my bedroom at my grandparents farmhouse and it was scary! You might remember that sort of fixture as well. Thankfully, that has been relegated to the distant past (I hope).

This week’s article was written by KURT CYR, a HOUZZ Contributor. Read on and enjoy the beautiful photos. They’re sure to give you some ideas for your own home.

Drumroll. These gigantic drum shade pendants are showstoppers.

Why they work: Not only are they overscale and dramatic, but with their steely charcoal finish, they visually reference the cookware hanging on the brick wall. To top it off, they provide excellent task lighting for the kitchen island.

Tiny bubbles. A hovering cloud of bubbles trapped in space, this is a modern twist on the classic chandelier.

Why it works: Downlight is reflected and refracted off the glass orbs, making them appear to magically glow while casting a warm light across the faces of any diners at the table.

Uplight, downlight. Simple sconces disappear when painted to match the wall.

Why it works:
In this minimalist space, light adds an interesting pattern to the walls in lieu of artwork or other overt decoration.
Lighthouse. This ingenious column acts as an architectural beacon.

Why it works:
This dramatic light is the focal point of the staircase. When it’s fully lit, the steps are flooded with light. When dimmed, it casts a soft glow that works like a nightlight to keep the staircase safe.

Move over, Sputnik! This sea urchin dining fixture is a nice change from the typical Sputnik-style fixtures we see everywhere.

Why it works: The bulbs are tucked among the slender rods, washing the walls and ceiling with delicate, twig-like shadows, and further enhancing the texture of the grass cloth–covered walls.

Repeat after me. This pop art–style installation recalls Andy Warhol’s effective use of multiples to create drama.

Why it works:
It’s a great way to light a long hallway. Paper lanterns offer gentle illumination and are inexpensive, so using several won’t break the bank.

Sculptural grouping. This substantial floor lamp is right at home in this living room filled with other large-scale pieces.

Why it works: It’s thoughtfully scaled to the rest of the room’s furnishings. And it’s anchored as part of the composition of leather drum tables, instead of standing alone.

Swing set. Tucked between three windows, these adjustable swing-arm reading lamps do double duty.

Why they work: They provide nice general lighting, but are also poised to act as focused reading lamps for the overstuffed chairs below.

Seeing red. Set against a pale “greige” wall and mellow vintage wooden furniture, this adjustable standing lamp packs a color punch.

Why it works: The lamp provides focused light where needed, but the fixture itself is a standout. The pop of red is just what this neutral scheme needs.

Hanging around. Plunging pendants are a terrific alternative to wall-mounted sconces in the bathroom.

Why they work: It’s a fresher, less expected look. The pendants free up all-important wall space that can be used for hidden medicine cabinets. Hang them at eye level for proper facial illumination.

Amass a collection. The three clear globes of this light fixture echo the collections displayed in this living space.

Why it works: The ceiling fixture has simple, clean lines that don’t compete with the collections; it references them without calling too much attention to itself.

Logroll. This fascinating floor lamp is a cross between a sculpture and a light fixture.

Why it works: The unusually flat shade references the scale of the nearby artwork, while the base adds a wild texture to the very traditional walls, with their panel molding.

By candlelight. A wrought iron candle sconce by the vanity gives this bathroom just the right old-world ambience.

Why it works: The low-wattage bulb dipped in silicone gives the look of an actual flame without the worry of an unattended burning candle.

The birdcage. A delicate metal pendant fixture is an interesting focal point in this room.

Why it works: The shadows cast by the fixture carry pattern onto the ceiling. The metalwork also evokes the filigree on the gold desk chair.

Sculptural focus. This origami-inspired lamp is a beautiful focal piece in this dining area.

Why it works: When the light is off, it looks like a sculpture floating in space. When the light is on, the undulating folds capture and disperse the light in very evocative ways.

Photos: via Houzz

Not sure about placement of fixtures? Here are some guidelines:

  • Hang chandeliers about 30 inches above kitchen islands and dining table. The same for pendants.
  • Install wall sconces about 5 & 1/2 feet from the finished floor. 15-18 inches above fireplace mantels.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around


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