Lighting Up Your Life
By Lauren Hurwitz
Lighting may be one of the last things on the checklist when designing a room but it’s actually one of the most important elements when trying to get the overall décor on point. Walczak, Owner and Designer at 360° Design in Valhalla says, “Never underestimate what lighting does to the feel of a room. No matter how well designed a room is, the lighting in a space sets the tone emotionally. If you don’t feel good in that room, it will be the difference of you using the room.”
Those in Westchester who agree rely on the expertise of Stephanie Barclay, Partner at Advance Lighting in Larchmont who says having proper measurements is the first thing to consider when choosing a new light fixture. For example, if you’re selecting pendants for over a kitchen island, everything must be proportional. Shoppers need to consider how big the island is, how much space to allot in between lights, and how high or low the lights should hang. “You need to put all of those things into perspective as well as the area that you want to light. Most importantly, think about the purpose of the light. Some projects require a lot of functional light, while other need light for the sole purpose of adding to the ambiance,” says Barclay. She believes working with a local professional is key to avoiding the hassle of constant buying and returning that many who shop online experience when cruising the internet for lights. “My customers come in disappointed that whatever they bought online is too long or too short, too big or too small. But if you sit down and map out proper measurements at length with someone like myself from the start, we can find the perfect light on day one and avoid unnecessary stress.”
Lighting trends are always changing but Walczak is noticing a rise in the “handmade crafted trend using organic textured elements, such as woven shades, rattan, bamboo, or macramé. A real Frank Lloyd Wright concept, using the harmony of outdoor organic elements with a clean line architectural canvas. The raw, natural element of this trend is crafted in a way that adds a monochromatic pattern and visual interest unexpectedly.” Others are opting for a single, bare, Edison-styled bulb that gives a “real industrial, minimalist, simplistic vibe to any room. Whether it’s extended from a cord, or at the end of a based table or floor fixture, Edison style bulbs are coming in all shapes and sizes that are creatively being used for all types of designed homes. In addition to the different options in sizes, they are coming in many different opacities. Whether you choose a frosted, gradient, ombre or the clear version of these bulbs, they are sure to turn a head and get your attention,” says Walczak. Lastly, there is a return to art deco styled lighting – although Walczak says it’s never really been too far off trend. “Creators have pushed the envelope using this style in new and yet familiar ways, playing with shape and the layering of different material substances. For example, playing with gold tones and a mix of marbles. It’s a more subtle nod to Art Deco but it’s demanding attention when used correctly in a space,” she adds.
Barclay is also seeing a trend in the demand for LED lighting. No longer are the days of super bright white bulbs that are hot to the touch. “Even though LEDs more expensive, they last for 10-13 years depending on how you use them and they’re incredibly efficient. They no longer burn your shades or fixtures and come in a variety of colors. LED is the way to go regardless of the light you choose,” she says.
Lastly, Walczak strongly advises consumers “take the time to consult with professional when it comes to lighting your space properly if you are unsure. I assure you it will be money well spent.”