Lighting Experts Agree: "The Play It Safe Notion is Out"

Two interior designers break down today’s hottest lighting trends.

Tammara Stroud, Principal Designer at Tammara Stroud Design, pauses for a second and then answers with joy clear in her voice. The question was a simple one: How important is lighting in the overall interior design of a home?

“I think lighting is the most important finishing touch for any design,” said Stroud. “Effective lighting can elevate the space to a completely different level- it truly is ‘jewelry for the home.’”

But despite Stroud’s jubilant declaration, lighting can be an overlooked component of a home, as more eye-catching elements such as furniture, cabinets and countertops often take center stage. According to the experts, however, today’s savvier homeowners are starting to take lighting decisions more seriously than ever before and are pushing the boundaries with bolder choices.

“First of all, brass has come back, but not the gaudy brass of the 80s,” said Stroud. “I try to make sure we are always going with timeless looks, and maybe some mid-century modern twists, but it has to fit with the client’s home and taste.”

Kim Gorsline, owner of Kimberlee Marie Interior Design, also sees a trend in the direction of retro materials as well as an overall shift towards more open lighting concepts.

“We are seeing a ton of retro looks. Everyone is incorporating 50s and 60s features into their homes,” said Gorsline. “A lot of people right now are also really into open fixtures with filament or Edison bulbs.”

However, Gorsline warns that some of these more open and unique lighting styles also present the need for what she calls “layered lighting.”

“These open bulb styles can help create a great mood, but since they don’t add a lot of light, it is crucial to layer with additional lighting,” said Gorsline. “I think in any space, having layered lighting is the goal. If lighting is done correctly, you are able to just enjoy the mood of the room, not the lighting itself.”

Both designers also expect to see lighting trends continue to get bolder, including more unique, natural materials and even the inclusion of more color in the lighting fixtures themselves.

According to Stroud, stone is just starting to be introduced more in lighting now and will continue going forward. Additionally, she sees a future with even more modern takes on classic elements.

“A new trend seems to me to be recreating a traditional chandelier but with a more modern look,” said Stroud. “Not your old little round droplets, but maybe pear or rectangular shapes instead. Taking things that have a traditional look, but making it more modern.”

Gorsline, on the other hand, is especially curious to see if more homeowners will embrace color in their lighting choices as we head into 2018.

Said Gorsline, “I think we will continue to see open, airy concepts, but I expect to see more colored fixtures going forward. Overall, people will be getting more creative with color, from more brightly painted kitchen cabinets all the way through to their light fixtures.”

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to ensure the design of your home suits who you are and what will make you comfortable- even if that means forsaking eventual resale value.

“I always try to tell my clients to be bold with light fixtures, not worry so much about resale and just make the home what you want it to be,” said Gorsline. “The play it safe notion is out.”