As the winter holidays approach and days grow shorter, I am craving more light in my life. How about you? Holiday entertaining makes me think about those eye-catching chandeliers and fixtures that elicit oohs and aahs from our friends and family, and us. The glamour and exhilaration of a statement light can transform a space, so I like to think beyond the dining room and find unexpected places for them throughout a home, such as this client’s spacious closet and dressing area, below.
When I choose a fixture, I ask myself if I want it to be the star of the show or add another layer to a well-designed space. The delicate-looking, lotus-like light fixture from Wired brings both elements to the wife’s spacious closet above. It doesn’t steal the scene, but it is an exciting presence. Beyond that, it helps achieve the feminine look she envisioned. Made of clear Murano glass leaves, this piece is designed to make her smile every time she steps into this very personal dressing area. While the pendant serves as overall lighting, I added a task light on her vanity and illuminated closet space, including a lighted shoe carousel. One more tip: the antiqued, mirrored cabinet fronts reflect light, magnifying it throughout the room.
It is well documented that lighting plays a major role in our emotional health and well-being. Did you know that it can affect appetite and increase both positive and negative emotions? Find out more in this interesting article I found from Thrive Global on HowLightingAffectsMoodandBehavior.
Three Layers of Lighting
As an interior designer I have known for decades that lighting is a major component in the design process. I always keep in mind the purpose of each room. The kitchen is a work space where we are moving from one to task to another, so it requires brighter light while the dining room calls for more mellow illumination that encourages a relaxed yet festive mood. No matter which room or area of the house, I always plan for layers of lighting:
All Fixtures Must Be Different, But Work Together
When choosing lighting for a whole home or multiple rooms, it is important to choose a variety of styles and shapes while also ensuring that all the fixtures work in harmony with each other and the style of the home. The black starburst chandelier in the upper hallway of this Dallas-area home, above photo, is completely different than the tailored pendants, also from Wired, in the nearby master bedroom hallway shown below. But the black shades and crystal rods of the master bedroom pendants are a natural transition from the upper hallway fixture.
To round out the cozy, upper hallway sitting area, I combined the dramatic light fixture with a pair of carved wood arm chairs with bright paisley fabric, a hair-on-hide rug in a chevron pattern and a sculptural floor lamp. The carved wood panels on the wall introduce a layer of texture and rustic interest.
Fixtures with Masculine-Feminine Vibe
My objective in the master bedroom above was to create a grand but not ornate passage. I chose a blend of traditional, contemporary and modern elements including free-form art, stained wood, custom doors and the trio of chandeliers. The fixtures have a masculine-feminine vibe that reminds me of a man in a tux beside a woman wearing glittering jewelry.
Go Big in the Dining Room
Chandeliers help balance the scale and proportion of a room and they supply the “wow” factor. I look for fixtures that have a three-dimensional, sculptural quality that can be appreciated whether standing or seated. In this dining room, the transparency of the glass, the golden gleam of the trim and shimmering light are juxtaposed against the size and shape of the fixture. It is a stunning combination that works well above a 10-seat table. In keeping with the glamorous lighting, I chose plummy-colored velvet strie chairs and geometric head chairs and wrapped the room in a beautiful shimmered gold wall paper that references the light fixture trim.
As a certified GREENleader with the SustainableFurnishingsCouncil,
I make extensive use of LED lighting. LED bulbs consume less power in relation to the light they provide, which reduces greenhouse emissions from power plants. Carbon dioxide emissions for LEDs also are low. Did you know that one LED bulb will minimize greenhouse gas emissions by almost half a ton? That’s a major benefit to us and our environment. For more enlightenment, check out this Business Matters article on Top 9 Benefits of LED Bulbs.
Looks Count, Too
Of course, looks are important too. I chose this modern, LED fixture in smoky gray glass from Hammerton to echo the shape of the table and its gleaming metal base. It also provides a circular counterpoint to the angular elements of the space, such as the squared-off chairs with square cut-out backs and the built-in cabinets.
Appealing to Men and Women
This 60-year-old bachelor and physician commissioned me to completely renovate his Highland Park, Illinois, kitchen in a clean, transitional style that has more sharp angles and edges than curves. But the design had to be as appealing to women as men, including the light fixtures. The opaque glass drum pendants, also from Hammerton, are tailored and elegant - they reference the shape of the dining table pendant and the table’s glass inset lazy susan, establishing a pleasing transition from one space to the other. Again – two different styles of light fixtures that share similar traits, much like children from the same family.
Statement lighting is a great addition to any room, as long as the scale and the style are right. It works in foyers, living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, master bedrooms and guestrooms, walk-in closets and even the nursery. My best advice is to keep an open mind when considering light fixtures. Some of the most successful rooms I’ve designed have a mix of lighting styles and materials.