There’s no better time than winter for changing how you light your home. As the days grow darker and colder, your focus shifts inside, sparking ideas that will make your space more comfortable and bright.
Light retailers in Atlantic Canada claim winter is their busiest season. “Not only do you turn your lighting on earlier out of necessity, it’s an opportunity to create warm, cozy spaces for casual entertaining, formal dining or romantic evenings,” says Terri Langlois, owner of Living Lighting in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Of course, seasonal changes aren’t the only reason lighting is important. Besides illuminating a space, you can highlight its best features. Now lighting is not just a function of the home but a stand-out décor feature. “I think people are taking more risks with non-standard, out-of-the-box fixtures,” says Langlois. “They’re making lighting much more of a focal point.”
Filled with beautiful pendants, wall sconces, chandeliers and lamps, her retail space offers hundreds of looks for just about any home. She admits choosing lighting for her store has its challenges. “Lamps are very personal,” she says. “It’s hard for me to buy lamps for the showroom because everyone has a different take.”
At the moment, lights that bring sparkle and glamour to a space are popular. “The trends in lighting are jewels, jewels, jewels,” laughs Mark Martin. He owns M Home, a home décor business in downtown Halifax offering interior-design consulting as well as furniture and accessories.
He’s seeing chandeliers for almost any room in the house and lights in a range of rich and vibrant colours. “Funky-coloured pendants: purple, pink, mauve, yellow, aqua—those are the colours that are coming and that lighting is starting to show,” he says. “They also do jewels with brocades or a mesh secondary shade on it. Did I mention purple? It’s so hot, you wouldn’t believe it.”
Interest in large-scale lighting, such as big floor lamps with oversized arches or big shades, seems to be waning among designers and clients. “It’s very interesting because a lot of things, like chandeliers, are coming into vogue again among a younger clientele,” says Martin. “People [aged] 40 and under, they have no fear like their parents used to have. They’ll go with something very sophisticated, very elegant, but not too serious.”
That flea-market find can be beautiful again with a new shade.
The days of choosing matching lamps and light fixtures for the same space are over. “They don’t do sets of anything anymore, so it’s not uncommon to do two table lamps and a floor lamp that are all different,” Martin says. Stick with pieces in the same family, such as with the same metals, similar colours of shades or bases. “Keep it complementary,” says Martin. Opposites can attract, so you may want to have a lamp from your grandmother and a very contemporary chrome table lamp in the same room.
Retro lighting is coming back. “That rusty colour, that kind of brick colour and shades with slubs,” Martin says. “They’re brown and rust-coloured and gold. So the ’70s are becoming very hot, the ’60s have been hot…Burnished brass and gold is coming in—now don’t you see the ’80s? It’s that aged, brownish [colour] that’s been weathered.”
But before you buy something new, take a peek in your attic for older lamps that just need a little freshening up. With a new shade, a lamp from the past can become a one-of-a-kind piece you’ll display proudly in your space. “That flea-market find can be beautiful again with a new shade,” Langlois says.
Ultimately, when choosing lighting for your home, don’t be afraid to mix and match and buy whatever style makes you happy. The choices are almost endless, from fun and funky, glamorous and sparkly to quirky and modern. “Like every trend, we use it, we over use it and then we go back,” says Martin. “Fun lighting is in, lots of fun lighting.”