Designer Lighting Buying Guide

Lighting may seem like an irrelevant detail on your way to creating the perfect interior design. However, it can help you set the mood for your space and tie it together by accentuating its key elements.

There are many things you need to consider when picking your perfect designer lighting. So, let’s go over some lighting design tips and tricks that will help your space shine through.

Choose Your Lighting Style

When choosing your lighting, you ought to take your existing colour scheme and the materials you’ve already used into account. You can use lights as a way to reinforce your existing style or add an exciting new element to it. Depending on the look you’re going for, here’s how you can create the perfect lighting for your new space.

Chic

The word “chic” typically refers to a distinctly modern, yet subtle style. The chic style is also quite noticeable and appeals to a great majority of people.

To integrate your lighting into chic interior design, go with a neutral colour palette and classic materials such as wood, glass, or chrome. The whole point of your lighting is to gently accentuate the chic, timeless pieces you have in the rest of your space.

Urban

Urban design is all about combining multiple style elements to create a cohesive, fashion-forward look. Moreover, the style allows you to mix and match traditional materials with modern ones. So, for example, you could pair a cool steel lamp with some plush fabrics and rugs.

Urban lighting also allows you to make the most of what’s already there, such as an industrial layout with exposed piping, bricks, etc. To create an urban look, you can use pendants or lamps in geometric shapes, which will make your space seem more interesting.

Luxe

A luxurious or “luxe” style is defined by sophisticated style elements accentuated by lush lighting. You could opt for lamp shades with reflective, glass, or chrome elements and a simpler base to make your space pop.

Lighting Fixtures

You should choose your lighting fixtures according to your style and the existing appearance of the room. However, don’t forget that these fixtures aren’t merely decorative but should serve a functional purpose as well.

So, you should buy them based on the amount of natural light the room gets and the space itself. With that in mind, there are four types of fixtures you could opt for:

Pendants

Pendants are arguably the best way for you to create subtle ambient lighting and are perfect for both chic and luxe design styles. You could also use pendant lighting for spaces that you want to light up an accentuate, such as stairways and entryways.

However, you always need to make sure you’ve distributed them proportionally to the size of the room they’re in. For example, if your ceiling is less than 8 feet high, you should go with shorter pendants to make it look more spacious.

If the ceiling is higher than 10 feet, you could opt for some statement chandeliers with longer hanging pendants. Additionally, if your room is wider, your lighting should be spread out a bit further apart.

Wall Lights

Wall lights are a great way of introducing brightness to rooms that lack natural lighting. In addition to being a great light source — wall lamps can also tie your design together, and help create a cohesive unit.

They come in various shapes and materials and can work well with nearly all styles of interior design. These fixtures are particularly useful in narrow spaces, and areas with low ceilings, as they can provide brightness without taking up a lot of room. So, they’ll help the room look more spacious, stylish, and well thought out.

As far as placement is concerned, a good rule of thumb is to hang them just above your natural line of sight. That way, you won’t be looking directly into or down on them.

Lamps

Lamps are incredibly practical and quite easy to customise to suit your needs. By shopping for bases and shades separately, you can create your own signature lamp that fits into your room perfectly.

Additionally, you can easily move them around and use them as a light source where and when you need to. Depending on the space, existing lighting source, and your personal style, you can choose between floor and table lamps.

Floor Lamps

Floor lamps are the perfect way of adding light to dark corners of your room, such as a reading nook. They can help make your ceiling look higher and your room more stylish at the same time.

One important thing to consider when purchasing a floor lamp is how it measures up against the rest of the room. For example, you want to avoid it being so big that it looks like a tight fit, or so short that it almost resembles a toy.

You also ought to think about the placement of your lamp. Ideally, you want it to be in a spot where you need extra light, but not somewhere where it’s easy to knock it over. It’s usually best to place your floor lamps in a corner, or somewhere else where they won’t be in your way.

Table Lamps

You should always look for lamps that will give you more freedom in your design — so you can re-purpose them. So, again, you can buy the shades and the bases separately and combine them as you wish.

You’ll also need to consider the dimensions of the lamps against the tables they’ll be resting on, as well as the space around them. So, if you plan on putting the lamp on a small coffee table —  you should go with a shorter model with a simple design. However, if you want to use your lamp as a statement piece (and place it on a large table) — go big or go home!

Lamp Shades

Lamp shades are crucial to your interior design, and you can look at them as the piece that helps tie everything together. They’re a great way of adding a pop of colour or reinforcing a colour palette or a pattern that’s featured in the room.

Additionally, you can use them to set the mood in the space. For example, you should use transparent materials for desk lamps, and more opaque ones for ambient lighting. With all of that mind, let’s talk about the most popular types of lamp shades, and when and where you can use them.

Translucent

Translucent lamp shades are great for introducing ambient or accent light into the room.

They’re typically made of sheer materials, and come in a neutral, eggshell, or off-white colour. These lamp shades are perfect for luxe and chic interior design styles.

Opaque

Opaque shades are perfect for spaces where you need a direct source of light. The shades are typically made of parchment, silk, or laminated cards and are perfect for urban homes.

Drum

Drum shades feature a cylindrical shape that works well with traditional interior design. Additionally, they’re typically made of opaque materials and provide a great light source.

Rectangle

Rectangle lamp shades work well with cornered bases and are a great addition to most modern spaces.

Empire

Empire shades are narrow at the top and spread out towards the bottom. These lamp shades are perfect for adding ambient light and look great in luxe rooms.

Coolie

Coolie lamps can fit into most spaces, whether they’re modern, traditional, luxe, etc. They’re typically much wider at the bottom and can provide a great source of light.

The Light Bulbs

The common household incandescent light bulbs were banned in 2007 by the Energy Independence and Security Act. The legislation conditions homeowners to switch to safer and more Eco-Friendly bulbs, that even last longer. However, it does bring some limitations when creating your lighting design.

The traditional bulbs emit a warm light, which is perfect for creating a cosy home atmosphere. The energy-efficient ones, on the other hand, offer a cooler light source that’s sometimes difficult to work with.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t find a modern bulb to fit your needs. The only trick is looking at the lumens rather than watts. For example, an LED bulb with around 800 lumens can imitate a traditional incandescent one. Additionally, you should look at the bulb’s colour rating, which typically comes as bright white, soft light, and warm light.

The IP rating

The IP (Ingress Protection) rating indicates how protected a light is and is represented by two scales, both ranging from 0–8. You should always look for the ones with the highest numbers because they signify a well-protected light source.

The first number tells you how safe the inside of the light bulb is from any external elements. The second number shows how much water or moisture it can endure before breaking.

Ideally, you should get the highest rating you can, which would be IP88. However, a light with an IP44 rating is safe enough to use both in bathrooms and outdoors.

Final Thoughts

Lighting plays a vital role in interior design, as it can make or break the way you experience your space. Everything from the colour, to placement and intensity, must be well thought out to create a well-balanced design.

So now, with a clear vision of your interior design style — choosing the perfect lights will be a walk in the park.

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