With the dark days of winter still upon us, we may not have much control over the lack of natural light, but we can illuminate our rooms and our moods with some new fixtures. While table and floor lamps are easy add-ons, more substantial pieces like chandeliers, pendants, and sconces require some advance planning.
The attention to residential lighting is more prevalent today as homeowners become increasingly selective and educated about details like LED lighting, says Robert Sonneman, founder and chief creative officer at Sonneman – A Way of Light. He says customizable options like their Suspenders system, which is focused around the notion of endless scalability, have been popular.
Waterfront homes present unique opportunities for the use of dramatic applications, such as lighting the landscape to create different experiences from day to night. Sonneman’s Inside-Out lighting collection works for interior and exterior locations; the modern styles are equally at home inside or out, and seem well-suited for these types of settings.
As for home office needs, properly lit work environments are crucial to productivity. “Today’s workspaces in living environments often include computers and video conferencing environments that need to light people, backgrounds, and subjects as well as surfaces,” Sonneman says.
“Balanced illumination from multiple controllable sources add visual and task capabilities to work/living environments,” he adds. “A combination of indirect and direct lighting provides task and conference environments for a variety of needs, increasing productivity and well-being.”
Sonneman says natural light should be a consideration during the day, so fixtures can be controllable for the changing illumination.
According to Charles Poirier, director of creative, design, and product development for Schonbek, residential lighting today is capturing the best of both worlds — combining traditional and modern design elements. “It’s increasingly common in contemporary settings to use juxtaposing styles next to each other,” he says. “This design element allows us to incorporate classic or traditional crystal-style fixtures in a modern setting.”
Lighting placement has also expanded, as decorative pendants and chandeliers stretch beyond kitchens and dining rooms to adorn bedrooms, bathrooms, and more.
Whether you prefer traditional, romantic, rustic, or contemporary fixtures, crystal chandeliers can create a special effect in waterfront settings, with their reflective qualities and timeless style. “Aging makes them even better, like great wines,” Poirier contends.
“Waterfront homes are known for their open-design concepts and their embrace of the nature that surrounds their walls. When it comes to lighting, crystal fixtures capture the reflectivity of both natural light and the water,” he explains.
Crystal luminaires create a rainbow of color often called the “sparkling effect.” This is a lovely look when lit at night, as well as during the day when the light reflects off the water.
For added drama, matte black is among the current trends. “It’s an amazing finish option that gives a nice depth to the fixture,” Poirier says. “The black is, in fact, an achromatic color, meaning the absence of light. Therefore, it captures the light while the crystal reflects it, creating a beautiful balancing effect. It also works in all types of environments, and is my personal favorite.”
In addition to finding the right style and placement, sizing is among the key points to contemplate when selecting fixtures like crystal chandeliers that command attention. The general guideline is that the diameter of the fixture in inches should be smaller than the dimensions of the room in feet. For instance, if you have a 20- by 20-foot room, your chandelier should not exceed 40 inches in diameter.