Seeing the light in old and new ways
Choose lighting that reflects your personality
By: Susan Jones
| Posted: Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 06:00 am
Light fixtures have a new shine to them these days but at the same time there's an old sparkle to them that's reminiscent of candle power from another era.
Chandeliers, for example, have more bling than ever and are designed to cast more shadows and more rainbows upon every wall. Plus the chandelier is moving out of the dining room and into the bedroom and even into the en suite. If you wish, you may doze or bathe under the glow of dozens of Swarovski crystal bulbs.
Then there are kitchen lights, which still put function high on the list but are also now pretty, with new interesting shapes and lots of LED (light emitting diode) bulbs to make them more energy efficient.
The kitchen lights may still be suspended from pendants that stretch over the island but the shape of these fixtures is changing. The three island pendants in your kitchen could look like jeweled spheres with spikes that jut out from the globe. Instead of boring cone shapes, these suspended lights look like satellites from outer space. Alternatively, the island lighting could come from one long crystal-studded block of chrome or it could consist of a series of pot lights with cut glass beads suspended from them.
Surprisingly, incandescent bulbs are all the rage. Usually these new, but old-looking bulbs are low-wattage, acknowledging the need for less power usage. They may be grouped together in squares or in spheres to make big chandelier-like fixtures or they may be enclosed in round, smoked-glass balls and put where they may obviously be seen, like art, in any room in the house.
Good, old light bulbs are brighter than ever with filaments that are very much part of the design. And not just any old straight-laced filaments either. These highly visible filaments twist and turn inside the glass bulb. They zig and zag, providing a light beam that would make Edison do a loop-de-loop.
“There are three new trends in lighting,” said Jenna Johnson, a sales representative at Park Lighting. “First of all, crystals are in, big time, along with crystal beads. Second, the metal in light fixtures is becoming more sculptural and in many ways more artistic. And third, there is also a restoration, old vintage look, that includes exposed filaments.”
Energy efficiency plays a role in the new lighting but so does design because, more and more, the light itself is the focus in the room.
“For me, there’s more of an eco-friendly consciousness to lighting. There's more LED lights than ever. At one point they were quite blue and gave off quite a blue light, but there's better colouring now,” said interior designer Sheri Krug, of Sheri Krug Designs.
Krug explained that she is in the process of designing a music room for a client, where the main feature will be a domed-ceiling light fixture containing Swarovski crystal lights. She plans to randomly install different sizes of crystals throughout the ceiling. The Swarovski Crystal Light company calls these lights Crystal StarLED and advertises that they will form a “starry night that is full of grace, glory and glamour.”
“The transformers will be inside the drywall and the crystals will range in diameter from six centimetres to three centimetres,” Krug explained.
Krug is renovating her own 1930s-era home with a retro-look chandelier that includes exposed-filament light bulbs suspended inside glass sealer jars.
“It’s do-it-yourself vintage,” Krug said.
Different structural materials are being used now in light fixtures to exaggerate the vintage look. You might find a halo of crystals inside a chrome or even a leather framework. The mix of highly translucent crystals against medieval-looking metallic and leather frames is an interesting juxtaposition of materials as well as sentiment.
“You might combine a halo of crystals with leather framework. The leather could be any colour, brown, teal, black, and it would look fine in a foyer, dining room or in an en suite if it had a high ceiling,” said Beth Hodge, a sales associate at Vivid Lighting.
Hodge explained that lighting is the biggest element that creates mood in a home.
“It’s all about mood, so dimming switches are a big factor because they give you the ability to change mood. Also materials, such as glass and leather, create drama,” she said.
“So many times, especially in a spec home, the scale of the lights is not big enough. You want to upgrade to add lighting that reflects your personality and that's funky and interesting. You can get lighting now that matches your taste.”