One of my favorite recent projects has been helping my young adult daughter with her very first apartment.
I am loving these Chris-Spitz look-alikes from Overstock:
Can you tell which, above, is the
Christopher Spitzmiller Aurora Double Gourd Marbleized Lamp
and which is from Overstock.com ($144.99 per pair)?
Judging by the last few issues of the design magazines I regularly read, the answer would be yes. There are certainly a very few table lamps in sight.
But, get real!
Overhead-only lighting –especially when viewed at night — is one of the real decorating “don’ts.” Fortunately, beautiful lamps and sconces are readily available at a variety of price points.
And, if I have any magazine editors reading today, please give us a little more real life and a little less photographic perfection.
A perfect fire-lit room, gorgeous upholstery and carpet, beautiful drapery and …..no lamps, just a few pot-lights on the ceiling?
Here is a room properly lighted, see how there is lamp or sconce lighting on each side of the room? So pretty and warm.
Out of the current pictures on the living room page of the House Beautiful website, look at all these living rooms with few or no lamps:
In my residential styling business, I am big on the way in which a room functions. Part of that function includes placing lamps (click to see my post on beautiful lamps) where people will be sitting to read. And, another part of that function includes placing a table or other flat surface where people who are sitting can conveniently place a teacup (or a martini).
Below: The designer here really got it right. Notice the lamps which are placed behind the sofa on a long, high sofa table. Clean lines, beautiful carpet, upholstery and drapery, and perfectly functional:
Two images Below: While not unattractive, the designers whose rooms are pictured next, sadly didn’t think through the actual living in these rooms. Why are there no lamps in these rooms? Do you notice that there is nowhere to sit and read? Overhead lighting doesn’t count here. Overhead lighting is not proper task lighting. A little teeny sconce doesn’t count, either. Can you imagine how much warmer these rooms would feel if there were some pretty, well-placed lamp lighting? Where are you supposed to place your cup of coffee while watching the morning news? Where is your teenaged son going to put his feet up? Are you with me? These rooms don’t live. And, in the turquoise room, there is only one seat in the entire space angled for comfortable television viewing.
I don’t get the current trend of ‘no’ task lighting in the room, but I am seeing it everywhere. Don’t fall for this trend. This isn’t just about style, it is about function. Every main seating place should have a lamp for reading and a nearby surface for putting down a drink. Then, you can enjoy the look and feel of your family room, because it functions for a family. And, it can be done beautifully.
As a color expert, sometimes what is perceived to be a paint issue turns out to be a lighting issue. When possible, I like to have light available in each corner of a room. There is nothing like a nice lamp with the correct shade to enhance everything else about the room, and to cast a warm glow which makes moods, complexions, and everything about the room look right. My personal favorite style of lampshade is an English silk pleated shade which has a tonal stripe look when lighted.
Sometimes you can break the rules and have a fabulous space. Look here, I can’t really explain why this works, but it does. It looks like the designer did a great job with using a lot of pinky-beige undertones in the carpet and wall-covering, which really ramp up and enhance the clean strong purples. Great floor lamp! (the smaller lamp doesn’t work, though, it’s way too small and looks like an afterthought)
Sometimes an odd-ball lamp is just perfect for a culture-specific space
Lovely statement lamp in a neutral room
Nice updated lamps for a young collector’s look
Great lamp, but this is one where I would recommend upgrading the shade
Great style in a pretty Chinoiserie room. Wouldn’t change a thing.
Nice looking vintage orange lamps with black pagoda silk shades
How fab are these for a beach house? They make the room.