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Transformations: Lighting Décor Trends for 2005

The looks vary from space-age Jetson’s to stately Colonial, but there can be no doubt that the use of decorative lighting as a home décor accent is on the rise. In the past several years, both design pros and do-it-your-selfers have increasingly turned to portable lighting (think table and floor lamps) and lighting fixtures (chandeliers, outdoor lighting, ceiling fans and the like) to round out their home décor visions.

Chandeliers like this petite model with
pink shades,
are being used in bath and vanity areas.
Indeed, design professionals maintain that there’s no easier way to transform your new or existing home than with lighting. Decorative lighting draws the eye into a room, creates drama with contrast and shadow, and makes both you and your furnishings look their very best. To get an idea of where home lighting is going, we talked with a number of lighting pros to determine the top lighting trends for 2005.

Leading the list are chandeliers. “Chandeliers are one of the hottest trends in home décor,” says lighting designer Michael Berman at lighting retailer LAMPS PLUS. “Our customers are using them all over the house, not just in the more formal dining areas where they used them in the past.” Berman suggests using chandeliers in entry hallways, kitchens and even bathrooms to create drama and add a light romantic touch.

New chandelier styles include smaller mini-chandeliers which are more suited for smaller spaces such as bathroom and vanity areas. Chandeliers accented with crystal droplets or strands of crystals represent a more traditional look, but they’re also right in style. Designers are accenting these chandelier styles with colored fabric shades. “Everything from hot pink to classic white is being used, depending on the room and setting,” says Berman.

Another hot trend are ceiling fans with built-in light kits. Brass may be the traditional look in motor finishes and trim accents, but that’s been swept aside in recent years by bronze and oil rubbed bronze finishes. These finishes can work with nearly any decorating style, from traditional to contemporary, and have a natural tone and luster to them that consumers find very appealing.

bathroom light fixtures
Clean lines and a strong architectural feel are in for bathroom light fixtures.
Lighting designer Mark Raissen also points out that “big” is in. “With the trend toward larger houses and larger family/kitchen great rooms, we’ve been using fans with larger blades to help balance the look of the scene.” Raissen also notes that bigger blades and longer blade spans (coupled with larger blade pitch) can help move more air in a room space, producing a greater cooling effect. These ceiling fans have a more decorative look than in the past, and frequently come with a built-in light kit so that they function as a light source for the room.

Berman says that consumers also want more custom looks when it comes to fans. “People aren’t satisfied with out-of-the-box ceiling fans as they were in the past. They want something different, something that’s unique to their lifestyle and home décor style.” Fitting the bill are customizable fans that allow consumers to mix and match motor finishes, custom fan blades and light kits for one-of-a-kind creations. “Our “Build-Your-Own ceiling fan pages at have been a big hit,” says Berman. “It just strikes a cord with people, and it’s fun to build your own look.”

In the bath, the trend toward bronze and oil rubbed bronze finishes continues. “People are looking for a warmer look in bath and vanity spaces,” notes Berman. “Chrome, polished steel and brushed steel finishes are still very popular, but we’ve seen a growing trend toward more natural finishes that go with the tiles and bath accessories consumers are picking these days.”

table lamp
Asian influence table lamp design features
a quill red ceramic ginger jar body.
A clean, streamlined and architectural look is being paired with these bronze finishes in today’s bathrooms. Drawing inspiration from Mission style fixtures and contemporary pieces, the look is refined and functional, and a good fit for a wide range of home styles. Fitted with frosted light bulbs, these fixtures provide a warm and natural bathroom or vanity light source for applying make-up or grooming.

The trends in portable lighting such as table and floor lamps are more varied, but several new looks stand out. The use of the color tone “cappuccino brown” or “espresso brown” is a hot trend, especially in leather shades and table lamp finishes. The color trend is also seen in furniture and accent pillows, and ties in with room décors that emphasize a strong natural, organic decorating look.

Black is back as a color trend. Black leather shades, rust black iron table lamps and more are everywhere. “It’s a sophisticated and adaptable color look,” notes designer Raissen. “Black can be given a sophisticated edge, like in Art Deco fixtures, or a more rustic, Spanish influenced iron look.”

table lamp
Babette Holland Mercury table lamp
in handspun aluminum.
For a real dash of color, LAMPS PLUS’ Berman says look to Oriental inspired ceramic table lamps, accent lights and wall hangings. He notes that, “The Oriental look is very hot. It’s a way to introduce a dash of bold color - reds and Asian patterns – into a room by just adding a simple table lamp or accent light to a side table.” Red porcelain lamps, swirling floral or bird pattern fabrics and shades are also very popular.

Like other areas of retailing, the teen or “tween” look is showing itself to be a marketing power. More and more retailers are creating products aimed at this growing market, and lighting is no exception. Fun, primary colors with cool circles and stripes are decorating shades, table lamp bases and accent fabrics. And for color and fun, nothing beats the retro classic lava lamp, notes Berman. “Lava lamps and motion lamps are steady sellers, especially around the time college kids head to school and near the holidays.”

The bold use of retro shapes and colors is also just as popular for adult rooms as a design trend. Berman points to several designers who are using bold color and shapes: Babette Holland table lamps have a fun, contemporary retro look and feel that’s based on the aluminum drink tumblers from the early ‘60s, while designer Susan Sargent stands out for her bold use of greens and vivid blues on her colorful lamps.

outdoor lighting
Champagne hammered glass is paired with rich detailing in this Casa Marseille Collection outdoor light.
Indeed, designer looks in table and floor lamps is a fast-growing trend, as consumers seek out unique styles to accent their home décor. “Many customers really want something different and one-of-a-kind,” says Berman. “Designer lamps provide this, offering designs and styling you simply won’t find in mass retail stores.”

Finally, outdoor lighting hasn’t been left out. European themed outdoor fixtures for porch or outdoor entry way areas have taken off as a design trend within the last year. According to Raissen, consumers are looking for, “…more refined styling and a more graceful look…” when it comes to outdoor lighting. Like the finish trends for indoor areas, softer bronzes and oil rubbed bronze finishes are in, as are outdoor lighting fixtures with elegant champagne hammered glass. “It’s a comfortable look,” says Berman, “And comfort is definitely something consumers are looking for.”

Sponsored by LAMPS PLUS

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