As well as providing task lighting, lamps play an essential design role in a room. Jodie Thomson throws some light on the latest looks. Some may be small in size, but lamps can have
a big impact in a room, creating mood and maybe even introducing a touch of glamour. And if it’s task lighting you need, then lamps play a starring role.
Lamps also come in a huge range of styles, from new textures and colours on traditional designs, to innovative new shapes and looks. “The major trend in lamps is the use of natural materials, matt-finished timber and natural weave-type products,” says Glen Robinson, General Manager of Merchandising at Beacon Lighting. “Most of these styles look quite Scandinavian in design – simple but bold in shape.”
There’s also a shift towards spare, utilitarian styles, with sturdy chrome and metal bases and angled joints to give effective task lighting. That style contrasts nicely with natural textures and soft furnishings.
“Industrial lamps are huge at the moment, and desk lamps are really popular as bedside lamps,” says Sydney interior designer Victoria Waters. In contrast to all this, there’s a wealth of more romantic and luxurious lamp styles, bringing warmth to any room in the house. “This luxe look is where we see more polished-chrome metalware and crystal pieces,” says Robinson.
Even in daylight, lamps play a big design role, with their shades, shapes, colours and textures adding to the visual interest of a space. Think scale and balance when choosing a lamp style for a particular room and feel free to mix up different styles. A dramatic base or oversize shade can become the focal point.
Also consider other light sources in a room. “Too much or not enough light in a room can cause eye strain,” says Glen Robinson of Beacon Lighting.
Lamps score well when it comes to energy efficiency as they use less energy than overhead downlighting, even with halogen globes.
A growing range of eco-friendly globe options, such as compact fluorescent and LED, makes them an even better choice. Go for the ‘warm’ variety of compact-fluorescent globes for the glow closest to traditional incandescent globes. “They create the same warm feeling when diffused,” says Jessica Still, designer and lighting expert.
The next big thing in lighting technology is LED (light-emitting diode). LEDs are small, solid light bulbs that are highly energy efficient and are grouped to provide a direct pinpoint of light. They last up to 50,000 hours, compared to 1000 hours for compact-fluorescent globes, and don’t generate heat like traditional bulbs, making them a sustainable option.
The bright, narrow glow
of LED bulbs mean they work well in strips for task lighting and are a great decorative option for lamps. “LED lighting is still quite a new concept but there are more lighting designers who are using this technology to create some original and artistic light pieces,” says Jessica Still.