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Rule 8: Proportion Set a shade next to a base. Ideally, the shade should be 2 to 3 inches shorter than the base. A shade is at the proper height when just a half inch of the lamp neck (the part of the base just below the socket) is showing. Avoid choosing a shade that fails to cover the socket’s underpinnings.
Accent lighting adds drama to a room by creating visual interest. As part of an interior design scheme, it is used to focus interest on houseplants, paintings, sculpture and other prized possessions. To be effective, accent lighting requires at least three times as much light on the focal point as the general lighting surrounding it.
Accent lighting is usually provided by track, recessed or wall-mounted fixtures, such as in this setting to the left.
Today, notes Rey-Barreau, people are willing to spend more money on their homes. “More disposable income puts more pressure on manufacturers to create more variety because people are saying ‘I can afford it, I’d like to have the option of being able to buy it’.”
So, for example, if the base has curves, go with a curved shade shape. If a base is straight, choose a shade with straight edges, even if they’re angled.
Rule 7: Accents A new trend is toward crystal beaded accents or trim, which lend additional sparkle and brightness to a room. Depending on the base and the level of decoration, such shades can be casual comfy to tre chic!
However, Kenroy-Hunter has taken the opposite tack when it comes to size. Langner says that his retailers are requesting lamps that are a little over scaled – perhaps in response to today’s home which is getting progressively larger. Consequently, most of the company’s table lamps are in the 30″ to 32″ range.
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McKee notes that 60s style drum shades are “hot.” “People are becoming more interested in shades,” he says. “They’re looking for variety, different treatments, and different fabrics.” Rey-Barreau says that lampshades made out of paper have become very popular and that paper gives light a “wonderful texture.” Murano glass shades are also popular.
Crystal Bases work best with white shades. Polished Brass demands white while… Antique Brass looks better with off-white or cream. Porcelain or Ceramic Patterns – try a shade that picks up a subtle background color in the base pattern.
Taupe has long been one of our top selling colors. Wood and Iron can be matched with just about anything, but for a more contemporary look go white or try a fabric earth tone. Color on Color – try a gold shade on a gold lamp, red on red and so on for visual punch and pizzazz!
As Director notes, “The price of lamps hasn’t gone up, it’s gone down.” That affordability has made it easier than ever for people to switch out their lamps periodically. It’s not economically feasible for most people to keep up with the latest design trends by switching out high-ticket items like sofas, but by changing something like pillows and lamps one can instantly change the whole look of a room.
Rule 9: Rules Are Made to Be Broken! Trust your own eye and personal tastes. After all, you have to live with and be pleased with your décor choices. If it works for you, go with it.
Todd Langner, president of Kenroy-Hunter Lighting Group, a lighting manufacturer based in Jacksonville, FL, recently attended the High Point Furniture Show where he noticed several key trends. “The most obvious, which has gone on for at least three shows, and is most clearly here to stay, is the use of color.” The two most popular color palettes at the moment are Caribbean-inspired with pale orange and aqua hues; and earth tones like burnt orange, olive green, and eggplant.
Dave McKee, COO of Seattle Lighting, a retailer with showrooms in the Pacific Northwest, says that rich bronze tones and rich colors like reds are selling well as are natural materials like iron and marble. “There’s been a general swing towards quality and natural materials,” he observes.
Rule 1: Don’t Buy the Same Old Thing Most lamps or fixtures can look good with a number of different shade shapes and styles. So don’t just automatically buy a new shade that’s exactly like the one you’re replacing.
While table lamps can be used for task lighting, Rey-Barreau notes an explosion of “very, very small lamps” used for accent lighting and to “add ambiance.” Their diminutive size allows them to be placed on non-traditional places like bookshelves and windowsills.
In the past people bought lamps and used them forever. Today, notes Director, more people are routinely buying lamps to update their décor – much like one would buy a new set of bed linens or pillows.
Living Room Lighting Tips Wolberg Lighting 2017-07-24T20:46:03+00:00
Rule 2: It All Starts at the Top A new shade can make a lamp look classy or simple, bigger or smaller, change it from traditional to contemporary, and add just the right amount of drama, flair or elegance.
The trend for shades adorned with crystal or beads “is pretty much gone,” says Langner.
Dave Director, CLC, president of Connecticut Lighting Center, a Hartford-based retailer, agrees. “What we’re seeing is a lot of color, particularly brighter colors, particularly iridescent-y kind of things. People are looking for color to give them that brighter look.”
But color definitely has a role. Black or colored shades direct more light down, adding drama and pools of light throughout a room for a sophisticated lighting statement. Or you could mix and match shade colors in a room for added visual excitement, or choose colors that don’t blend into the background wall treatments.
[a table lamp] your eye automatically goes to it because it’s brighter than anything else in that space.”
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Rey-Barreau notes that there’s even a formula by which one can determine how much lighting a room needs which is roughly two watts per square foot, so a 12 by 12 room would need approximately 300 watts — or four lamps with 75-watt bulbs. “As a minimum you should have three lamps per room,” asserts Rey-Barreau, “because that really creates this nice triangle of light in the space.”
Reading requires task lighting that comes from behind the reader’s shoulder. This can be accomplished by placing a floor lamp either at the right or left of the reading chair. The bottom of the shade should be located at eye level to avoid glare.
Table lamps, floor lamps and torchieres (floor lamps with an uplight component) are available in a variety of styles to complement your interior design.
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Metal finishes are “really exploding in the marketplace,” continues Rey-Barreau, citing the variety of finishes from “very polished, brilliant finishes like polished steel to very, very subtle shades like bronze and pewter.” Finishes tend to be more textured which, he says, gives lamps “a lot of personality and a lot of soul, so to speak.”
Rule 5: Color Shades have traditionally been white, simply because they let the most light through and are the most functional at illuminating an entire room.
Chandeliers add style and a decorative focal point to almost any room in the house. Recent lighting design trends have focused on the value of chandeliers in many spaces throughout the house. They have traditionally been used in the dining room, but are now commonly used in living rooms and dens.
The addition of a dimmer lets you alter the intensity of the light to suit the mood or activity.
Fireplaces made of stone or brick can be emphasized with properly placed recessed downlights installed in the ceiling over the mantle to create an intriguing grazing effect across the surface. Wall sconces can be installed directly on the fireplace and are an attractive addition that draws attention to the fireplace area, while providing general lighting for the living room.
Lampshades are getting more adventurous and whimsical, both in their shape and in the use of color. Years ago it was almost impossible to sell a shade that wasn’t white or cream. Today darker shades are more popular, especially when used as accent lighting. “There’s a lot of freshness in the shapes,” says Langner, noting that they’re veering away from the traditional bell form or pleats.
Upgrading lighting is one of the easiest ways to instantly update your home decor. And the most effortless way to change your lighting is by using table lamps. All you need to do is put a plug in an outlet and, voila, instant ambiance.
And remember that when the lamp base is highly decorative, keep the shade plain. When a base is plain and unornamented you can safely add a fancier, splashier shade and still keep an eye-pleasing lamp / shade proportion.
The first thing people notice when they walk into a space, says Director, is the quality of the light. “Lighting affects us in so many ways….When you flick on
Rule 6: Fabric A shade’s fabric can blend in with a room décor or boldly stand out, depending on the design statement you are trying to make. But there are some tips to keep in mind.
Ultimately, says Rey-Barreau, “there’s such a variety of styles and sizes it’s usually possible, if you look hard enough, to find a place for a lamp and to find a fixture that meets your criteria.”
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Joe Rey-Barreau, educational consultant for the American Lighting Association and professor of interior design at the University of Kentucky, says, “We’ve got probably the most diverse level of design and variety of styles that I have ever seen in the lighting industry and I think it’s reflective of the general public’s willingness to look at design as a main part of their life.” People are more conscious of how they can improve their space, he believes, thanks to shows such as those on HGTV.
Bottom-heavy lamps can be made to appear lighter by the addition of cone-shaped shades on top. Square lamps take square shades, round lamps take round. Lamps that incorporate round and square elements can take a square shade or a modified square shade.
Silk shades look best in formal rooms or intimate bedroom settings. By contrast, linen, parchment and textured looks have a more casual, rustic feel that’s well suited for family rooms or dens. Hand-sewn or hand-painted shades add intimacy and softness to a room scene.
Add an instant dash of style to your existing décor – simply by changing the lamp shades on your table lamps, floor lamps, chandeliers or fixtures! Our simple guide takes you through the steps to picking the style, fabric and color that’s right for you.
Other shades accents include fabric trim, colored glass tassels, leather trim and even feathers.
To meet the varied needs of a living room or family room – entertaining, watching television, reading, playing games, accenting artwork – three to four layers of lighting should be used. These might include recessed lighting around the perimeter of the room, a chandelier or central decorative fixture for general lighting, wall sconces for mood and portable lamps for reading and other tasks. Use dimmers whenever possible for maximum control of all fixtures.
As the public has become more design savvy, says Rey-Barreau, it’s given the green light for manufacturers to look at table lamps in a new way “which has created a tremendous explosion in design….The beauty of lamps today is just the extraordinary variety of style – shapes, forms, textures.”
The way a shade is shaped can also be a factor. Fluted shades say elegant, refined and traditional. Pleats are more casual and homey. Scalloped edges imply a relaxed, gracious mood that’ perfect for bedrooms.
A bell shade is a highly adaptable, chameleon look, capable of fitting in a wide range of décor schemes.
Kitchen I Outdoor I Living Room I Bathroom I Dining Room I Bedroom
The other trend Langner observed is that “after years of being inundated with very goopy, drippy, fancy, over-adorned resin product that the industry has been pushing, the buyers have made it very clear that they want natural materials and simpler looks.” Consequently, Kenroy-Hunter has been focusing on manufacturing lamps in wood, ceramic, brass, and slate.
Rule 3: What’s in a Shape In general, a shade’s shape should follow the contour of a lamp. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it holds true in most cases.
Need help choosing a shade that’s right for you? Contact us for design ideas and product recommendations.