Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lighting the Way

Dining rooms are on my agenda this month.  We have three that we are designing...all very different....but obviously, many of the elements are the same.  

I've been shopping lamps this week.  I'm looking for a pair of floor lamps that really have some presence.  What I realized while I was doing my research is that in some spaces the lamps don't make much of a statement...they fill space and bring in light, but they are not the focal point in the space.

....And then there are others!  I've pulled together some inspiration photos that really showcase the lamp.  Sometimes the lamp is the "it" of the space....just wouldn't be the same without it.

It's hard to put huge purple shades in the background!  The color of the shades is more intense than any other color in the space, and the bold shape of the lamp bases just cannot be ignored!

Domino Magazine

Clearly, this arc lamp was never meant to take a back seat in this space.  It's shape, color and contemporary styling put it front and center!

Caroline Paterson Interiors

I love the soft shades of this room, and the pink spun glass lamp is an important element that helps to set the mood.   It has a feminine and almost ethereal quality that makes this room feel calm and relaxing.  The room wouldn't be the same without that interesting lamp.


The lamps in this picture really speak to the way that lighting can impact a space.  I love the drama that is created by their placement and focus.  The designer has left no doubt that the art work is to be the center of attention.  Try to picture this room without the directed lighting.....blah!

Caldwell and Flake 

If you've been reading blogs for a while, you've seen this space before.  The lighting here is integral to the design of the space.  It repeats the color, creates symmetry in addition to bringing light to the bedside.  They are so sculptural and unique and they draw your eye to the amazing padded headboard wall as well.

Lamp by Quasi Moto as seen in Canadian House and Home

A "Sally Principle" in interior design is that every space needs something fun!  I like rooms that don't take themselves so seriously all the time.  This oversize lamp provides that element of the unexpected and is instrumental in creating a happy room.  You just have to smile, now don't you.  A non-descript floor lamp just wouldn't cut it here.

Good Housekeeping

These light-hearted lamps pull everything in this room together.  The shot of lime green in a sea of neutrals is playful and coordinates so perfectly with the art.

Home Sweet Home

You don't often see a brightly color lamp with a matching shade.  The two-toned theme of this room could have used white shades on the lamps, but try to picture how the impact would have changed.   The color of the shade was a deliberate design decision, and I think the room would have felt very different with a contrasting shade.  I love to consider what message the designer was trying to convey....I love design!!

Mary McDonald

Here's the reverse concept from the pic above.  This time the lamps are all white to bounce off the dark wall.  The contrast is even higher here, but once again, the lamps are so important to the overall design.  Can you picture any other lamp creating the same feel?  Don't we love Mary McDonald!

Westmary Castle

This pic is not my design esthetic at all....I do think the bed idea is very cool...and it does demonstrate how important scale and balance are.  I could probably teach an entire design class based on this picture....I digress!  Anyway, the choice of lighting here creates shape and the curves balance out the stark, linear lines from all the hard edges in the room.  

Nathan Turner

Hmmm....four lamps instead of two?  No doubt that was a conscious choice!  Of course, out-of-the-box thinking is an important quality for a designer to have.  I suppose he could have used two oversized lamps to fill the extra space, but isn't it fun that he went a different route?  He has given us all pause to consider how we might also do something different.  

So where's the inspiration for you today?  Are you inspired to go big, or quirky, or colorful? Part of my purpose in writing this blog is to get my readers to think about their design decisions ( and to push me to do the same!)  Even when it comes to a lamp....a simple accessory, I hope we can all take inspiration to make thoughtful choices about every element we put in a space.  It really makes a difference!

Sally J. Designs can help you to LOVE your home!
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  1. I just keep saying "wow" to myself as scrolling through the images in this post. WOW. The last image makes me smile...looking kind of like a little forest of lamps is taking root? Very intriguing choice, fun! Janell

  2. I LOVE those purple lamp shades!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

  3. I'm kind of obsessed with lighting lately- have been searching for perfect chandeliers and table lamps for weeks now- lighting can totally make a space in my opinion so very imporant- gorgeous inspiration!

  4. Lighting is definitely key! Love the pinkish glass gourd shape lamp. Gorgeous. And the sconces on the padded headboard that Caldwell Flake did are incredible. Good luck with your projects. I'm sorry I haven't gotten back with you about coffee while in Dallas. Would love to but I'm coming with my parents and it's going to be a quick trip. I'll be looking after them as well. Thanks sooo much for the invite and we will definitely do it another time. I'm off to get ready right now.

  5. Sally, Love a post about lamps you know my addiction to lamps gets me in trouble from time to time!!! So many fun images!! Kathysue

  6. Loving those purple shades. You always find the best images Sally.

  7. Great post. I love that yellow arc and Nathan Turner's forest of lamps on table. All of these lamps are essential elements in these spaces.


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