Style: Light it up! Brilliant lighting makes a room

Mary Carol Garrity

I get pretty wired when I talk about lighting, because lamps and light fixtures are key statement makers in a room, critical components of a well-designed interior space. Today’s designers are pushing the boundaries, tapping into their reservoirs of 100-watt creativity to fashion lighting that truly makes a space brilliant.

More and more home furnishings companies we work with are adding light fixtures to their lines, proof positive that we are all embracing lighting as a central component of our interior spaces. And so many wonderful looks are in today that you can experiment and find the lamps and fixtures that are as unique as you and your home, telling your story with every flip of a switch. Here are some of my favorite ways to work lighting into my decor:

Mix it up

I’ve always loved interior spaces that look evolved, not staged or matchy. So I’m over the moon about the new freedom we’re feeling to mix up the lighting in our homes. No longer are we handcuffed by the notion we should pick one style of lighting and use it exclusively throughout our homes. If you are tired of rigid design categories, like “traditional” or “contemporary,” use your lighting to give your rooms a unique vibe that defies labels. How about hanging a modern pendant light over your traditional dining table? Or an antique chandelier in your contemporary kitchen?

It’s exciting to see how many different materials and finishes are being used in light fixtures right now. All of us have a different sweet spot when it comes to mixology. In my home, I’ve kept my lights all traditional because that suits me best. But many customers I work with like a little bit of lots of different styles and looks. As with any decorating decision you make, listen to your gut, following what feels best for you and your home.

Make a bold statement

The more you scout for fixtures that tell the story of your home, the more playful and interesting your interior spaces become. Light fixtures that make a bold statement are trending in interior design right now, an approach to creating a room I’m sure is here to stay. We are loving all the variations on ceramic lamps, which come in about every shape and color imaginable, topped with interesting shade shapes.

A big lighting trend today is oversized lamps, pendants and chandeliers. Designers have taken all those rules about how big or small your light fixtures have to be, torn them up and thrown them out. But you don’t have to go big for your light fixture or lamp to make a statement. Some light fixtures look more like hanging sculpture, intricate and striking. Others are noteworthy because of the interesting materials used to make them. Like the rustic industrial pieces that mix weathered metal, glass and feature Edison bulbs. Or the pickled wood framed lanterns that hint at French country.

Warming trend

The interior design world is smitten with the warm metallic finishes of gold, brass and copper. Today’s updated metal light fixtures are wonderfully and wildly diverse, from weathered and brawny industrial pendants that look like they were snatched from an early 20th century warehouse, to glitzy and glamorous chandeliers featuring gold, Lucite, crystals or baubles, a touch of Hollywood. Nostalgia is big right now, and designers are re-imagining iconic fixture styles for nearly every decade of the last millennium.

. One of our most popular styles right now is ceramic lamps that have either neutral, colorful or patterned bases, and structured drum or rectangle shades. Their clean lines and clear tones make them an ideal fit for just about every home.

This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at nellhills.com.