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Illumination for the Individual

October 15, 2020

You’ve spent days choosing a bedspread, an office chair, the right countertops- why would you top off a room design with a base-model light fixture? Details and personalized elements make all the difference when executing the design of any space, and your lighting components are no different. The light fixtures that you introduce into your space should be exactly what that space is calling for- and exactly what you were hoping for. Take a chandelier from traditional to trendy with a few shades and striking set of light bulbs. Converting a pendant light from industrial and stark to graceful and chic is as easy as swapping a cage for a glass shade.

Starting with the most basic concept of what you want and need for the space, you can add or adjust to bring that feature closer to what you really want to express. For example, if you need something that can hold its own visually over a big formal table, the same chandelier can be funky or classic by choosing the right finish, bulbs, and accessories.

Shades of Glass

A fast way to add some poetry to a more subdued fixture to change it up with a shade or cage to really showcase (or hide!) your bulbs. An elegant chandelier with opaque, opal glass crowning each arm will produce a very different mood than one that openly displays delicate crystal candelabra bulbs. Shade options can vary wildly in shape and texture on even the same fixture, and the juxtaposition of a shade against the shade of the fixture’s finish can provide a very different sense of style from one combination to the next. Imagine a large scale chrome pendant with transparent glass shade in a pill shape and paired with a vintage bulb- and then the same basic pendant in a warm bronze and a frosted globe. A Brass fixture with a dome shade could feel perfectly elegant in one room, but might demand a shade with a retro shape and treatment in another.

This Bulb or That

Past the practicality of how bright the bulbs are and how much power they use, the shape and color of a bulb will dramatically change a fixture. As with choosing the finish and shape of any light, you’ll want to think about presentation and mood. Do you want the fixture to be bold or classic? Do you want it to be a focal point of the room or do you want it to be a supporting component within the room? Fixtures that showcase exposed bulbs offer a lot of opportunity to be creative or playful. Imagine the silhouette on a chandelier with big globe bulbs versus elegant, long tubes. As always, make sure you check the math to be sure your bulb of choice will fit in your fixture, and not just the base size. If the glass shade is only five inches tall, a 6 inch globe bulb will lead to a lot of frustration.

Execution and Results

All these small changes can determine how closely you can align the vision for your space with reality. Being open to exploring all the options can lead to unexpected results and dramatic improvements that couldn’t have been anticipated. Changing shapes, bulbs, shades and other accessory adjustments can be a game changer, more so than changing the entire color or finish of a piece.

Personalizing your lighting experience isn't difficult- and it pays off in spades. The lighting experience will provide a unique definition of your space and making smart, thoughtful decisions on accessories can make a dining room chandelier feel bespoke, or a set of pendants make a kitchen look like a set on the food channel. Take your time and walk through the different variations and choices and let yourself see how taking the time to customizing each fixture can enhance your entire experience.