Ranging from clusters of bare bulbs in dynamic arrangements, elegant sculptural shapes and styles and vibrantly colored shades, these are just some of the lighting trends our experts have predicted will set the design world alight for 2021.
Lighting is an essential component to a successful design scheme yet is so much more important in wintertime, when the days are shorter and we spend far more time indoors than usual.
Thanks to the pandemic, our focus has been drawn into our homes and we're acutely aware of how important it is for our homes to be both comfortable and beautiful. So while everything - including lighting - needs to have a purpose, it also needs to look good.
We asked a panel of lighting experts and interior designers on what they expect the biggest lighting trends to be in 2021. So read on to discover what is set to brighten our lives next year and beyond...
- See: Interiors trends – the key looks to take your home into a new decade
1. Lighting as a design focal point
'2021 will see ceiling lighting becoming the focus of rooms rather than being merely functional. There will be elegant and extravagant light fittings coming through for every style, from contemporary to cottagecore,' explains Valentina Gori, the lighting expert at Smart Lighting Industries, lighting expert at Smart Lighting Industries.
'Thoughtfully placed, cleverly designed and carefully crafted ceiling lights will transform rooms. Lighting will become a starting point for design rather than being left until last.'
“Don’t be afraid to go bold with your ceiling lighting,' Valentina continues, 'larger spaces can take more daring pieces but don’t shy away from unconventional light fittings in smaller spaces, especially if you dial back some other design elements.'
2. Sculptural table and floor lamps
'Table lamps with sculptural shapes and bold designs turn your lamps into pieces of art, providing interest even when the lamp is turned off,' continues Martin Waller.
'Use pairs of lamps to accentuate a beautiful sideboard or console table, or frame a larger piece of furniture such as a sofa or bed.
'Floor lamps are dutiful and elegant and can be placed next to an armchair or sofa to create a comfortable reading spot. Or light up that dark, forgotten corner of your hallway with a statement design to breathe new life into your home.'
3. Artful ceiling lights
'You don't light for the light, you light for shadows,' says Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin. 'As the darker evenings draw in, it’s time to look for new ways of lighting the corners of our homes that have become accustomed to the lingering sunlight of the warmer months.
'Artful ceiling lights and thoughtfully placed lamps can transform a room into a cosy sanctuary in which to hibernate through the winter. Ceiling lights create a focal point in a space, while metallic details will reflect and bounce the light around the room to dazzling effect.'
4. Bold statement pieces
'Choose bold designs featuring sculptural shapes, interesting texture or colored glass to make as style statement, even when the light is switched off,' concludes Martin Waller.
'Think of your lamp as an art piece or sculpture, like a design-led finishing touch. Our Linden table lamp in plaster white or black (above) fits this brief perfectly. A light is a good way to throw surprise in a room, to merge modern with traditional.'
Putting an industrial style lamp or graphic mid-century form in a traditional stucco setting injected excitement, equally an Art Deco chandelier in a stark, modern plan. The Royal Opera House bar is a great example of using lighting to bring a traditional interior up to date.'
5. Color and pattern
'Colour and pattern can be such vital elements in both our lives and our homes. They can speak to us at aesthetic and emotional levels, elevating our homes, infiltrating through the walls, the furnishings, and of course, through accessories like lampshades,' says Matthew Williamson who has collaborated with Pooky to bring us vividly colored lighting.
'When it comes to lighting your home,' he says, 'choosing lamps should be like selecting accessories to complement an outfit. Setting the mood rests entirely on the lighting you choose. Forget about using one main lighting source in favor of illuminating a few lamps around the room for a more interesting, flattering lighting scheme.
'This way,' continues Matthew, 'you can be more flexible with what you intend to light. For example, a reading corner would benefit from an elegant swan-neck wall light, while a piece of art would look spectacular on the wall between two table lamps on a credenza or sideboard.
'Trends emerging now that will take 2021 by storm will encompass the eclecticism of this collection. 'Fun, playful and design-led shades and bases will be popping up in the world's most beautiful interiors. Especially now we're all spending much more time at home, people want to inject color and vitality into their spaces, while keeping classic silhouettes and timelessness in mind to ensure their purchases last a lifetime as their interiors change.
'With this in mind,' he says, 'traditional fabric designs also played a significant part in the inspiration for my collection with Pooky. Each of the prints speaks to classic, timeless patterns which are globally recognized. They are also all patterns that I have used historically in my work both in fashion and interior design.
'The sprawling playfulness of this floral Paisley is a contemporary take on traditional Persian and Indian motif characterized by curving, embellished almond-shapes. In Leopard Love, the unending, classic allure of animal print has been reimagined with painterly leopard spots coalescing into a love-heart motif.'
'The perennial, feel-good fronds of palm trees tangle amongst the pleats of Palm, a highly contemporary fabric design that transports you to sunny climes. Finally, Ikat takes its lead from classic Ikat designs. This diamond block print will add a graphic jolt of color to any room in the house, merging color and pattern to an almost psychedelic effect.'
6. Lava lamps
A surprising trend - likely stemming from the love of nostagia - is the growing interest in lava lamps.
'Lava lamps are making a comeback,' explains Valentina Gori from Smart Lighting Industries, 'With 17.7k Instagram hashtags and searches for them increasing by 56% in the past month.'
'No longer just for teenage bedrooms, lava lamps tie into the retro trend and of course, must be styled accordingly. Colour is always important in interiors, but where the colour comes from changes with trends.'
'We are seeing more stripped back interiors,' continues Valentina, 'with coloured lighting bringing a new dimension to the room. What we love about this is that depending on what the rest of the room is like, coloured lighting creates totally new shades and moods.'
7. Bold brass
Providing a modern take on metal, warmer tones of brushed and polished brass will start to come through more regularly. Elegant yet subtle, the high shine or matt finishes pair perfectly with natural materials including marble and wood for a refined feel, with manmade materials, such as concrete for a more contemporary effect.
- See: Bathroom trends – inspiring new looks for your bathroom suite
8. Increased interest in bedroom lighting
With the trend for spaces to relax and unwind in becoming more prominent and important in interiors post-pandemic, ambience is key with lighting playing a crucial role in helping to set the mood and surrounding atmosphere.
To this end, lighting for bedrooms is taking a more important role, with eye-catching central pendants a focal point in themselves, even unlit, and shapely bedside lamps creating the perfect, low-lit atmosphere.
9. Home office lighting – with personality
With more of us than ever working from home, more thought is being given to how we light our home offices and work spaces – and one trend to emerge for lighting in 2021 is a new-found love of traditional workmanship and styles.
This Abercrombie table lamp (above) by Jim Lawrence is a case in point. It has been designed with a heritage look and is as handsome when it is turned off as when it is switched on.
The traditional spun brass shade and base are matched with a contemporary steel stem and exposed braided cable to create an eclectic effect. Perhaps you picked it up at a French flea market? No one need ever know.
- See: Kitchen trends 2021 – these latest designs are ahead of the curve
'If you are working from your living space, use different types of lamps to create the right environment,' advises Will Law, Partner & Home Design Stylist at John Lewis. 'In the day, opt for LED task lighting, which is bright and white – and you could even supplement this with a SAD lamp on darker days.'
'In the evening,' continues Will, 'turn these off and transition to diffused lighting – either shaded lamps, or designs that have warm, frosted bulbs, as these will give a cosy glow to the room.'
10. Lighting to show off wall art
'Wall art and lighting have been two areas that we have seen investment in over the past seven months. With the nights drawing in and the darker mornings, it has become even more important to have lighting pieces that are not only functional but make us feel brighter,' says Katherine Mitchell, Partner and Lighting Buyer at John Lewis.
'Lighting should come from several sources rather than one central light. This will give the room warmth and help separate areas into zones for working and relaxing.'
'Task lighting', continues Katherine, 'with bright bulbs should be used where you need to work/craft and soft ambient, non-directional lighting used to give a cozy feel whilst relaxing, eating and watching TV. You can also choose lighting which can be controlled by an app so you can have the exact setting you want for each type of activity.'
11. Hand-blown glass
'The trend for uniqueness is set to thrive in the year ahead as homeowners and designers seek to shock. From hand-blown glass with contrasting materials, to bold eye-catching accessories it’s all about being distinctive,' says Ian Cameron, Creative Director of Cameron Design House.
Elevating simple forms into sculptural pieces, hand-blown glass makes up the core structure of the impressive Helmi and Kuulus chandeliers. Their bubble-like appearance, with a deep warming glow creates impact upon entry, for a truly awe-inspiring, show-shopping piece.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space.
Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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