How do you go from builder boring to stylish design when it comes to lighting your home? Well, you hire a designer. (Hint.)
That’s exactly what one of our clients did, and what started out as fixing a couple lighting issues turned into a whole house redesign that really helped them see the light. (See what I did there?)
In our last post, we touched on how light fixtures in the kitchen should coordinate — not match. And how that applies to metals finishes, too. That concept expands far beyond the kitchen and to the entire house.
Even if lighting fixtures aren’t in sight of each other, you want to make sure their style coordinates: Remember they should be cousins, not sisters. This is especially important in open-concept homes where the rooms really do flow one into the other.
Let’s take a look at one of our favorite projects with a specific eye toward how we addressed lighting throughout the home.
Welcome to lighting case study: #ProjectSouthcrest edition.
Make sure your lighting fixtures are talking to each other
The entryway can really set the tone for the rest of your home’s design, especially if you have a semi-open concept space like our clients. Their foyer opens up into four different rooms.
Originally, there were two single pendants, in builders boring brushed nickel no less, separated way too far apart down a long hallway. It just didn’t look right.
Entryway lighting should make a statement, without obstructing the view. We swapped in a five-arm soft gold lighting fixture that features double-stacked globes, which sort of look like an hourglass. The globes are technically clear, but they are also textured: They are speckled with tiny bubbles that sort of look like raindrops.
The mix of the geometric shape of the five-arm fixture, plus the metal finish, plus the globe shape, plus the texture found in the glass are all by design: You will see these themes repeated again and again throughout the entire home in everything from lighting to furniture and accents.
It’s all about balancing these design elements.
As we’ve said before — but it bears repeating — you do not need to match metal finishes in your lighting, in your hardware, in your faucets, or curtain rods. We used multiple finishes throughout this home, with gold and black being the most common, but silver also makes an appearance.
One of our mottos is: Keep it interesting, but functional. That’s why instead of adding a second larger light fixture in the hallway — you’ll remember we mentioned there were originally two — we instead chose recessed cans to complete the space.
One important trick here is to keep all your lighting, whether it’s recessed can lights, pendants or chandeliers, no more than 6 to 7 feet apart from each other. Otherwise you’ll get shadows, and no one likes those.
Adding the recessed can lights in this entryway hall not only served a functional purpose — yay for being able to see things! — but a decorative one as well: It really let the main light fixture stand out.
Connecting the lights between the rooms
The entry light in this home held particularly high importance because of all those connecting rooms. It needed to coordinate with all the other lighting — and furniture — in the adjacent spaces. Basically, it needed to be talking to everything else — not shouting.
One of the main rooms to the left of the entryway is the dining room, which opens up to a formal living space. This is where you really start to get a feel for our clients’ personal taste: Their style is very organic, with lots of textures, a sort of Aztec, rustic vibe but with some industrial influence as well, particularly when it comes to geometric shapes.
In the dining room, we had a lot of textures with warm or dark colors. We have solid black wicker chairs paired with black wood chairs that have a woven rattan lattice back. The table is a warm rustic wood. Wanting to take that feeling of warmth and texture from the table and chairs up to the ceiling, the lighting pendant here is a bell-shaped brown wicker fixture.
That pendant also helps the space from the entryway into the dining room flow because it balances texture with metal. In the dining room, we also used two white side lamps with gold finishes on a sideboard because there was already enough black in the space.
The formal living room keeps the same vibe going, with two black sconces on the wall. While there’s a lot of black in the furniture pieces in the dining room, the formal living room has more white and rustic brown tones, so adding a touch of black to this space acts as a kind of anchor — or eyeliner if you well — between not only these two spaces, but the rest of the house as well.
One of our tricks is to do things in threes: for example three things in black — it can be a mixture of lighting, hardware or decorative accents — all in view of each other in a single room or between two rooms that are connected.
Just as the dining room coordinated well with the entryway, the next room over — the kitchen, which includes an eat-in space, also had to fit in. The house might not have a completely open floor plan, but everything still needs to flow.
The formal living room carries into the kitchen with a butler’s pantry in between the two. Parallel on the opposite side is that long entryway hallway that opens up at the other end to the kitchen. It was important to carry the same themes in lighting and furniture throughout all these areas because of that, even though you technically can’t see the dining room from the kitchen and vice versa.
Those two sconces in the formal living room have to talk to the two sconces over the window in the kitchen. That’s why they’re both black and feature cylinder shapes.
We also carried the round globe theme into the rest of the kitchen lighting, using clear blown glass in a more elongated, organic shape over the island and a foggy matte globe on a gold six-arm geometric pendant fixture over the eat-in dining, which — guess what — talks well with the main entryway light we started this post off with.
And it all ties together with the more relaxed family room that is next to the kitchen and features a double-sided fireplace. By now it shouldn’t be hard to spot the geometric light fixture with round globes and a black finish and how that fits in with the rest of not only this space but the other adjoining rooms.
Now that we’ve squared away those four rooms — entryway, dining room with formal living room, kitchen and relaxed living room, let’s switch gears a little to show how these rooms work with other areas of the home that don’t connect, mainly the master bedroom.
We clearly couldn’t end this post without showing off this dreamy chandelier. The fixture in here before was tiny compared to the size of the room. It looked like this little itty bitty spider coming down from the wooden beam above.
This large chandelier fits the space. It keeps with the geometric shapes we’ve been talking about and the metal finish is a soft champagne gold, which matches the style of the room and rest of the house.
Isn’t it just wonderful when design just flows from room to room? We think so.
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