Reviews and recommendations are unbiased and products are independently selected. Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission from purchases made through links on this page.
Lighting, as any designer will tell you, is not meant to follow flash-in-the-pan trends.
“I think lighting is something you keep for a long time,” says Daphne Nielsen, owner of Once A Tree Furniture. “You don’t change it out like a chair. It’s not as easy to do.” Peter Wilds, principal of Peter Wilds Design, agrees: “Trend is changing a toss cushion on a sofa, it’s not changing the sofa—or the light fixture.”
But every once in a while, you look up and realize that there has been a fundamental shift in design, and what was dazzling just a little while ago is now drearily out of date. Think: track lighting and those ubiquitous “boob” flushmounts.
This is one of those moments, so we spoke to four local designers and asked them to shine a light on the major trends in lighting right now.
Light in the round
The shape everyone loves right now is the orb, which sits brightly at the intersection of old and new, organic and industrial. “I will never pull the glass orb shape,” Wilds says. “Whether it’s done in a pendant or a wall sconce or a surface light, I will never pull it.”
LED leads the way
LED—light-emitting diode—technology has transformed the industry. It produces light vastly more efficiently than incandescent bulbs, but it can appear just as warm and is more easily dimmable. And, because the functional part of it is so small, it can be used in all sorts of innovative forms, which is just what luminaire designer and manufacturer ANDlight does.
“The advent of LED lighting is becoming more commonplace in the world in general and there’s also a demand for more sustainability,” says Caine Heintzman, industrial designer and co-founder of ANDlight. Look for LEDs in sleek shapes, organic forms and portable lighting.
Nature is inspiring both forms and materials in lighting. “I am seeing earthy and tribal influences of rough, artisanal-looking clay pottery, African motifs, organic shapes and natural rattan,” says Lori Steeves, founder and creative director of Simply Home Decorating. Nielsen agrees: “We’re seeing lots of organics like rattan, a sort of throwback to the ’60s.”
Those rustic rattan lightshades may be everywhere right now, but a more elegant organic form can be seen in the nature-inspired shape of ANDlight’s Pebbles. “We wanted to create something that would be timeless, a classic,” Heintzman says.
Dial up the drama
“Architectural and general lighting is more about just illuminating the space,” says Heintzman. “What we’re doing is applying jewelry.” Modern light fixtures aren’t so much about providing light—that’s what recessed lighting is for—as they are about adding art and setting a mood. “There’s also the idea that lighting is offering the opportunity to make a really exciting statement about a place,” says Wilds.
That ’70s glow
Designers also have their eye on the next big trend. “There continues to be a strong mid-century influence on lighting, but that is shifting toward the more earthy 1970s and glamorous 1980s,” says Steeves. “We are still seeing lots of round globes—mid-century influence—along with geometrics and more angular shapes.”