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What's Up Magazine

Lighting Takes Center Stage

Mar 07, 2012 12:10PM ● By Anonymous

Paint is often touted as the number one way to make over a room, but lighting is a close and sometimes underappreciated second. Many people do not understand lighting’s potential to transform a room until they finally get around to replacing their tired, dated light fixtures and are astonished at how much warmer and more livable their space instantly becomes.

In 2012, the spotlight will be turned on itself, so to speak, as lighting takes on a new role in interior design. Lighting elements are no longer meant only to provide illumination, but are becoming strong design elements themselves, made to complement a room’s style, color scheme, and architectural features. In addition, more homeowners are choosing to install lighting specifically designed to illuminate and flatter artwork. And even smaller rooms can benefit from new lighting options, as small space-friendly, wireless sconces and pendants are more readily available than ever.

There are many ways to feature lighting as a key element in a room’s décor. One way is to choose light fixtures with strong, bold designs. Lighting fashioned after turn-of-the-century industrial styles is surging in popularity thanks to its clean, no-frills profile, bold metal materials, and warehouse- and gas lamp-inspired details. Light fixtures in bright colors are also a hot interior design element for 2012. Choosing a chartreuse pendant lamp, teal desk lamp, or cobalt blue industrial-style wall sconce ensures that your light fixture will bring style and a pop of color to the room—even when switched off. Pendant lamps are a great way to add zest and dimension to a room, but to bring the design of these lamps center stage, try staggering multiple pendants at different heights above a focal point such as a dining room table.


Turn-of-the-century industrial style has influenced lighting manufacturers’ design and collections for 2012.

To maximize the design element of your lighting, pick light fixtures and accent lamps that complement the color and style of the other design features in your room. If your furniture is mostly composed of straight lines or muted colors, try incorporating an accent light with a rounded shape or a bright color. Treat lighting like you would any other accessory when decorating a room.

Another hot trend in lighting is to light the artwork in a room. This can be done unobtrusively with subtle track or recessed lighting, or can become a complementary artistic focal point in the case of a brightlycolored swing-arm lamp positioned above or to the side of a piece of wall art. When making lighting decisions for artwork, be sure to ask an art restorer which bulbs you should use to best preserve the quality of your art for decades to come. Some light bulbs have been known to damage artwork.

Whatever your budget and space allows, you will be able to find a lighting solution that adds light, warmth, and vibrancy to your décor. Even apartment dwellers can get in on 2012’s hot lighting trends. More than ever, stylish wireless or plug-in wall sconce and pendant lights allow the renter to improve the lighting of his or her dwelling without making electrical alterations. Pendants and wall sconces are also good choices for small spaces because they can take advantage of floor and ceiling space that would otherwise go unused. Where a floor lamp may be competing for space with a crucial piece of furniture, a pendant light will not.

Why not make 2012 the year of great lighting in your interior design scheme? More likely than not, you will find that you’ve joined the ranks of those savvy decorators who have come to appreciate the power of lighting to transform a room.

Anna Krey is a freelance writer who has written on a variety of home and garden subjects for multiple publications throughout the United States.