By Karen Corinha, for The Sun Chronicle
Designers from 76 countries and all 50 states descended upon Las Vegas this month for the Winter 2015 Las Vegas Market, an event that provides a glimpse of what's in store this year for furniture, lighting, home decor and gifts.
In January, leading home decor manufacturers roll out their new lines of furnishings, and one area I always have my eye on is lighting.
There are so many styles of light fixtures that choosing among them can be overwhelming. But it's worth the effort, because lighting is a sure way to update your home and it can be as simple as a new lamp or replacing that old light fixture (we all have one somewhere).
Let me introduce you to the lighting trends for 2015 and show you how you can incorporate them into your own home.
While searching the Boston Design Center recently for table lamps, I noticed that glass fixtures are everywhere. Not just the clear glass that you have been seeing for a few years in stores like Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn, but a handmade, sculptural glass type of look. They have an artsy sophistication and can range in price from hundreds to thousands.
As I have been writing in recent columns, finishes are changing. I have been recommending to my clients that they stay away from satin nickel for the last year and choose a polished metal, such as chrome or polished nickel. The difference is subtle. Polished nickel has a depth to it and a slight pinkish cast while chrome is simply silver.
Gold is good
Gold is making a comeback as well. Unfortunately, the new gold is not the same as the one we saw in the '70s. It is a gold leaf finish that is antiqued and flat. Rose gold, which takes on a coppery color, is also being introduced. I have not used this yet and am cautious to mix too many metals in the same space, but I bet this would look fabulous in the right room.
Wood and resin will continue to make an impact in 2015. Light fixture manufacturers are introducing a lot of wood, which is an interesting way to bring a rustic and warm element into a space. This, combined with the trend of the industrial, or loft-like, look, can work well. We are still seeing a lot of these industrial-inspired fixtures that use the "retro" bulbs that are actually expensive and not all that long-lasting, in my opinion. Feiss just introduced a pretty wood globe fixture with a glass cylinder inside. It has an almost retro feel to it and I am going to use it over the reception area in a restaurant in Boston I am working on. This fixture would also look great over a round kitchen table. Globe fixtures are fun and work in a variety of settings.
Lanterns are hot
One of my favorite trends is the use of lanterns, and they are now available in every shape and color. I have used four over a long kitchen island or even as the staircase light in a foyer. They are perfect for a relaxed look in a beach house or a whimsical look when used in color. (Replacing a clear bulb with a frosted one can help control the glare.)
New light for bathrooms
Bathroom lighting trends are changing the way we use one of the most functional spaces in our home. Gone are the days of having a single fixture mounted in the middle of the ceiling, which forced us to make do with less than adequate lighting for make-up application and grooming. If you are still staring at that ugly gold light strip with the exposed bulbs in your bathroom, now may be the time to change it - it is not coming back in style.
Cross-lighting, an industry term, places lighting fixtures above, below and on both sides of the mirror to avoid shadows beneath the eyes. I recommend using recessed fixtures over the sink and then, on a separate switch, flank the mirror with two sconces that are at least 60 watts and dim-able.
I recently replaced the fixture over my kitchen table with a new LED crystal ball. I loved them in the Ethan Allen catalog and found a way to use a beauty just introduced by ELK in my renovated kitchen. I know it is not for everyone, but I like the bling. I have to caution you, however, to not jump into the LED craze without first seeing the type of light it creates. It is a very white light, and unless it is dimmed my family has to wear sunglasses at the table. It is certainly energy efficient but also can produce a light that is very cool and different from other fixtures in the house.
Tips for choosing
So here are a few tips for selecting new fixtures for your home:
Kitchen table fixtures tend to be a little smaller than those in the dining room because the table is generally smaller. Use a 24- to 27-inch fixture over a standard-size kitchen table and have it installed 28 to 32 inches off the table.
Be careful not to hang island pendants too high. Depending on the fixture, 42 inches off the counter is generally an acceptable height.
Consider a 26- to 29-inch-tall lamp beside the bed with a pull string type of on/off switch. It is so much easier when you are in bed to reach for the pull chain than a switch located directly under the bulb of the lamp.
Karen Corinha is an accomplished and regionally recognized interior designer who specializes in creating high-style, affordable solutions. She is also a regular columnist for The Sun Chronicle.