Winter 2023

Practical Magic

Words by Andrea Darr

Electricity may deliver light to our homes, but it’s the fixtures from modern manufacturers that transform basic function into pure form.

E

xciting things have happened in electricity since Edison’s bulb (although that’s still a delicate piece of beauty in itself). But the functional aspect of lighting a room has been elevated into a broad spectrum of aesthetics. Walk into any style of home and you’ll notice that light fixtures are an art form. Chandeliers, pendants and even recessed channels offer homeowners the opportunity to visibly express themselves, no matter their style. A few trends are lighting the way.

LEDs

“New innovations in integrated LED as the light source for modern lighting designs are occurring every day, and this creative, energy-efficient light source is a trend that is only going to continue,” says Wendy Rensenhouse of Rensen House of Lights.

Builders can add in tape lighting at the sheetrock phase to seamlessly recess long, narrow strips into the ceiling. LED strips are also often used for backlighting mirrors in bathrooms or cabinets in closets. 

Ferguson showroom consultant Jenny McDougall adds that LED use goes hand in hand with technology. “Manufacturers are aware of the wellness aspect associated with the cycle of light throughout the day and have created automatic color-changing lighting that start soft in the morning, get brighter during the day then get warm again at sunset,” she explains.

Ultra Light Floor Lamp from Generation Lighting; photo courtesy of Rensen House of Lights

Brass and Mixed Metals Starring Brass

“We’re not seeing oil-rubbed bronze in fixtures much anymore,” Jenny says. “Brushed brass has taken its place. Some manufacturers are even offering champagne bronze. I think it will be around for a long time.”

Brass plays well with others—metals, that is. “If it’s all the same thing, it loses interest,” says Dee Devine Frye of Wilson Lighting.

So manufacturers are mixing black with brass or combining polished and brushed finishes. “It opens a lot of options so you don’t have to pick just one,” Jenny adds.

Black with brass is by far the best-selling combination, but even out-of-trend nickel can still have a (half) day in the sun, such as with the Uptown collection by Maxim, featuring satin brass and polished nickel.

Maxim Uptown collection; photo courtesy of Ferguson Bath Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
Hala collection; photo courtesy of Capital Lighting at Ferguson Bath Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

California Boho

Also called Organic Modern, this style is all about texture—and blends. Rattan or other natural fibers are often paired alongside beads, glass, selenite, alabaster, quartz crystals or brass. It creates a relaxed look that makes you want to kick off your shoes. “It’s not so formal, like a room you don’t want to sit in,” Dee says.

Antler-inspired Jackson lamp from Arteriors; photo courtesy of Rensen House of Lights
Lizzy Five Light Chandelier by Arteriors; photo courtesy of Wilson Lighting
Brianna chandelier; photo courtesy of Ferguson Bath Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

New Classics

This is still the modest Midwest, after all, and plenty of people prefer to install something familiar. But, even classics can look outdated, so manufacturers have elevated time-tested forms with new materials and cleaner lines. “It’s more airy and interesting,” Dee says. You may also see this old look filed under a new name or two: Grandmillennial or Grand Nostalgia.

Talia from Visual Comfort; photo courtesy of Rensen House of Lights
Paris 30 Light Chandelier by Elegant Lighting; photo courtesy of Wilson Lighting

Glass Orbs and Crystal Rings

Whether they are crystal clear, bubbled or cut at angles, a collection of individual glass pieces massed together is a popular look. “They cast interesting shadows,” Dee says. “Think about having 15 of those cascading in a space.”

The Marni light from Alora Lighting (below) shows how individual strands of light can be stunning. “A touch of modern, mixed with elegant style best describes this light…or maybe we should call it hanging art!” Wendy says.

Barletta LED Chandelier by Eurofase; photo courtesy of Wilson Lighting

Geometrics and Graphics

Lighting doesn’t have to be serious—it can be lots of fun! Play with shapes and sizes to make a statement of your own.

Wilson Lighting is reinventing and experimenting with looks of their own for the showroom floor. They design a significant part of their inventory here in Kansas City.

The high-end looks are reminiscent of lines from RH and Hudson Valley Lighting. “Except ours is half the price,” says owner Bobby Wilson.

The in-house Mariana brand covers a broad category of styles, but its line of geometric pieces is quite popular and adaptable to many home design styles.

Cynara Grande from Visual Comfort; photo courtesy of Rensen House of Lights
Hex Eight Light Foyer Chandelier by Mariana Home; photo courtesy of Wilson Lighting
Hand-drawn patterns on the Franz table lamp from Generation Lighting use bold designs and contemporary style. “Black and/or white finishes are trending right now,” Wendy says, “and this lamp delivers on both counts.” Photo courtesy of Rensen House of Lights

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