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2023 Brilliant Lighting Trends You Should Know

In addition to trend spotting colour at High Point market, my eDesign team was also on the lookout for lighting trends. Seeing what’s new in lighting is always a highlight of the market for us.

Lighting trends

Overall lighting seems to be moving toward a more traditional look. Details like pleated shades and smaller, fluted pendants were highlighted everywhere. Here are a few other lighting trends we think you should know about.

pendant lighting trends

Hinkley Lighting 

Popping on the scene: Bubble light chandeliers

A bubble light looks just like it sounds… a bunch of glass balls clustered or layered together to form a shapely chandelier.

bubble chandelier

And while this style has been around for a few years, we believe bubble light chandeliers are totally having their moment right now.

It’s because bubbles are happy, along with curves, polka dots, and hot air balloons!  

There’s a definite shift from the sputnik-style globe light to this more delicate and grouped look of spheres.

bubble light trend

Chris Loves Julia

If you’re looking for a way to incorporate a more modern-looking light fixture in your more traditional home, a bubble light chandelier is a great design choice. It adds a bit of interest but still works in transitional styles. 

Oversized pendants: Could two be better than one? 

In the High Point showrooms we visited, we noticed many dining tables styled with two oversized pendant lights instead of a more traditional single chandelier. This look adds so much visual interest to a dining table and the soft, diffused light creates a more inviting look overall. 

pendant lighting over dining table

Thibaut

Perhaps this lighting trend is also gaining momentum as part of the English kitchen look that you see everywhere now, especially as more kitchen designs are incorporating dining tables as islands.

pendant lighting dining room

It’s also possible that many homeowners are rethinking their open layouts and reverting back to more closed-off kitchens and dining areas – making this lighting choice more popular. 

pendant lighting dining room trend

Turns out Kelly (my former assistant) was ahead of the trends, she installed two pendants in her dining room two years ago!

There is a caveat though if you are building a new home. It could be quite challenging for builders to predict where the table lines up – because now you need two holes in your ceiling instead of one. Just something to keep in mind.

Colour me happy: Brightly painted lanterns

We’ve been talking about how people growing tired of stark and leaning into COLOUR. And we think this is a really good translation of this colourful trend.

colourful lantern pendant lighting trend

Lantern & Scroll

Painted lanterns are a lovely way to incorporate a pop of colour instead of the traditional metal chandelier. Some designs are a more refined take on the farmhouse pendants we are used to seeing. 

colourful lantern pendant lighting

Curated Interior

And, if you have a timeless white kitchen, why not indulge in some colourful lantern-style lighting?

Not new, but definitely back: Pleated lamp shades

Just like mixing modern lighting in a more traditional home, the pleated lamp shade trend combines a traditional feel with a modern twist and is yet again, reminiscent of English design. 

pleated lamp shade trend

Hello Lovely Living | Standing Lamp

Our youngest eDesigner, Carly, described it like this,

“I’m just noticing that as I’m getting to the age where I can afford to purchase more home decor items… now it feels like decor that was trending in my early childhood is coming back. Pleated shades. Mauve.

So there’s an emotional connection to this style, yet I’m not TIRED of them and seeing it overdone. It feels like a comfortable and familiar thing that’s now being reintroduced in a pretty way.”

pleated shade trend living room light

This is such a pretty swing arm lamp:

How about you? Many of us remember pleated shades from our past. Are you tired of them or finding them pretty again?

Pleated shades already feel like a natural companion to the pink and mauve colour trend we saw.

A return of ruffles: Petticoat shades (aka fluted ceramic)

If you really want to take a deep dive into English design in your own kitchen, fluted ceramic lighting is a pretty choice. 

fluted kitchen light pendants

And speaking of glass shades, textured glass shades with soft patterns (or opal and milk glass shades) that diffuse the light are also gaining popularity.

It’s a sweetly vintage, yet feminine alternative to a naked Edison bulb – when will this trend just die already? They hurt my eyes.

faceted light shade trend

More lamp love

Of course, we saw our fair share of lamps in all different, shapes, colours and sizes. Because showroom designers understand the importance of lamps to help create a look and a feel.

And while we’re on the subject, please understand that not all lighting is equal. 

high point market lighting trends 2023

Recessed lighting and overhead fixtures are never really flattering to you or your room. And really, they aren’t very effective in providing enough light anyway. That’s why I think you should skip them altogether. 

Your main living spaces like living and family rooms should have at least 4 lamps with lampshades – that’s the secret. It’s the lampshade that helps distribute the light softly around the room, which is what creates atmosphere.

I spy 5 lamps in this historic Manhattan apartment below.

how many lamps in living room

Architectural Digest

Don’t neglect even the smallest spaces in your home. Even foyers and powder rooms need a couple of lamps or wall sconces. And don’t be afraid to turn your lights on during the day if you have a dark corner. 

small lamp for tiny spaces

Emily Henderson

Lighting rules of thumb

  1. Stick to white or off-white lamp shades. This provides the most glow and ultimately makes it easier to coordinate various lamps.
  2. Use warm LEDs instead of cool ones. Cool LEDs have their place but won’t add to the cozy feel in your room.

Here are a few of our favourite lighting posts (aka must-reads if you aren’t familiar):

3 Ways to Add More Light to Your Home

5 Lamps Everyone Should Have in Their Home

One More Reason To Skip Recessed Lighting Altogether

Lamps vs. Overhead Lighting: Which Camp are You?

The Evolution of the Ugly Bar Light

__________________

Which lighting trend are you most excited about?

Related posts:

The Brightest Trends for Lighting in 2020

WWMD: Help Me Choose Sconce Lighting for the Kitchen

What every Lighting Obsessed Gal (or Guy) Should Know

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31 Comments

  • Penny says:

    Absolutely love those hot pink pendants in the all white kitchen. And I have noticed kitchens (DeVol) are beginning to pull away from taking cabinets to the ceiling. Not sure if I am ready for the pleated lampshades yet . . . Thank you for sharing!

  • Carol says:

    Interesting and useful info; thank you for it. Especially love hanging two lights over dining table. And what is that scrumptious color of blue on wall of room w double lights, ash dining table and black chairs,do you know?

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  • ML says:

    Thanks for showing us Maria, great alternatives to interior recessed lighting. I do like pot lights outside. in peaks of houses for accent, and at that, one per peak seems enough to downlight.
    Pleated shades? All I remember about them is as a dust magnet, so prepare to replace them frequently :). I like the pressed glass pendants with the soft opal bulbs- easy to maintain.
    The large lantern style pendants remind me of exterior lighting… I plan to install an exterior pendant in an open stairwell. It has a diamond grid, something I’m noticing more lately.
    You made an excellent point about pendants over dining tables. We use a smallish table in an open concept area. But the centre changes when we set up a larger table for family gatherings. Perhaps a swing arm ceiling light, or adding a heavy ceiling hook to centre the pendant would be better. Thanks for the inspiring post!

    • Sylvie says:

      Pleated shades are really easy to dust with the small round brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner. No need to replace…

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    • Lorena says:

      Replace them? That is wasteful. They can be cleaned pretty easily with the right tools and cleaners.

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  • Kristin Vanhoozer says:

    I’m a weirdo and keep every lamp/light fixture in my house on during the day. I lived in Seattle for 5 years and was “traumatized” by the darkness. So now I’m just so used to keeping them on. Then at night I turn them all down. I guess the opposite of most people! 🙂

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  • Holly LeClair says:

    I’m in love with the bubble lights and have been for 6 years. I purchased the Oly Studio Muriel cloud chandelier at that time and I still love it. I waited for less expensive knock offs to come out but none had the same feel so I bought it. I also love the Talia light from Visual Comfort featured in the Chris Loves Julia photo. If I didn’t have my chandelier I would go for that.

    • Mary Lou says:

      Hi Holly,

      I’m an Interior Decorator and Lighting Design Consultant. I have been actively working in the lighting industry for 8 years. As I tell all my clients, choose the color temperature of your lighting first BEFORE choosing any paint colors because your paint color will look different from one color temperature to the next. I also suggest choosing a 3000K or 4000K color temperature throughout the entire house as this will bring everything together and you won’t have different color temperatures room to room. Consistency is key. Dimmers should be installed also. Your design and decorating style will also be key in choosing the color temperature. A Farmhouse style may want a warmer color temperature such as a 2700K which is comparable to the warmth of an incandescent bulb. Whereas an ultra modern house may want a cooler temperature such as a 5000K or higher. Contractors will encourage the daylight feel. I joke and say one can go outside for the daylight color. Very blue and cold. The only downfall, in my opinion, with a cooler temperature is there will be a blue cast and you will feel and look horrible. Your space will look and feel like a hospital and all that would be missing is a straight jacket. In this case, I suggest a 4000K where depending on the brand, there will be no blue undertone, less yellow but still enough warmth. I have changed from a 3000K to a 4000K in my home. My paint colors look clean and crisp. Please keep in mind, kelvin refers to color temperature. Lumens is what determines the brightness and/or intensity. A lot of people get the two confused. In short, be mindful of the overall design, your comfort level and definitely be consistent with your color temperatures. I hope this helps.

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  • Holly says:

    Maria, I was so traumatized by my dated Tuscan kitchen from 2002 with all the frosted cream glass and regular bulbs making everything look like it had a yellow cast and every dang picture we took where we all look jaundiced, that when we renovated and did our black and white kitchen last year, I didn’t even want the daylight LED lights (which have a touch of yellow in them compare to cool LED’s) and I chose cool Edison LED’s. I adore clear seeded glass and that’s what I went with for globes for my space. I was back and forth over my decision for weeks and drove my husband nuts changing the lights out every day to see what I wanted. We ended up painting our walls SW agreeable Gray (instead of my first choice, SW Heron Plume because I didn’t know if gold would be prevalent in my slab of Black Pearl granite which was pushed out another 3 months from my cabinet installation and didn’t want my paint to look purple on my walls). We have an open concept living, dining and kitchen and I went with the cool LED lights because I didn’t want the agreeable gray paint to look too warm with the daylight bulbs and as you know paint takes on a completely different hue with different temperature bulbs. We have installed dimmers so the cool LED’s are not too bright on our eyes, but the living room lamps have warmer lights and that drives me nuts! I like it all to match.

    You’re right about the ambiance- things do have a cozier look and feel with warmer temperature bulbs and isn’t so bright on the eyes and in the future, I’ll probably upgrade to daylight LED’s. That being said, I did my research for kitchen lighting and the recommended task lighting for a kitchen should be either daylight or cool and I can definitely see better when chopping up food with cool LED’s. So then there’s that, an open concept space and my aging eyes can see better with cool LED’s. Seems I’m at an impasse and the cool lights will stay, a dimmer being my saving grace.

    I have cool LED’s over my dining table and I want to do the daylight bulbs instead for a cozier feel when we’re eating but they are obviously different temperatures and it drives me nuts so I’m keeping the cool ones.

    Anyone else go crazy with bulbs not matching? Should they all match? I’m sure this could become a blog post if Maria hasn’t already done one…

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    • If it were me, I’d get all the bulbs in the room to be the same. I walked into an artist’s house and the hall light had THREE different color bulbs in the same fixture. I told her that’s the first thing I’d change in her house because she had painted the walls a beautiful yellow and the daylight and cool white bulbs we’re screwing up the color of the walls and floors. She said “wow, I hadn’t even noticed that. I just bought whatever at the grocery store when the bulbs burned out.”That hallway was what she saw every time she had to go to the bathroom or bedroom and was a < $5 fix.

      The other thing, Maria, I think those shades are changing because LED bulbs are so harsh and the soft white shades diffuse the harshness. I’ve gone to film supply stores in Burbank to get film sheets to diffuse and change the color temperature of cooler bulbs.

      Finally, be careful of using daylight bulbs in the evening and having it mess up sleep. When I first bought those Reveal bulbs and was reading in bed, I was wide awake until 3:00am until I figured it out. The hard way.

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      • Holly says:

        I also thought about the light disrupting my sleep as I have a hard time with insomnia to begin with. I just turn all my kicthen lights off and use my living room end tables lamps that came with the Safavieh lamps I just bought which have a warm glow. I can’t stand look of the amber orange looking lights. Which color temperature LED Edison bulbs do you recommend If you have clear seeded glass globes? Also, I have a black and white kitchen- black countertops, true white cabinets with matching white subway tile backsplash. I’m worried about it all looking to warm and yellowed. The struggle is real! Any suggestions would be great!

        • It’s soooo hard. I was with a client for her bath lights and even in the same packaging at Lamps Plus there were color variations in the supposed soft whites. The young guy helping us went to get several until we were satisfied they were the same LED color for her light fixtures. He showed it to the manager, the guy I usually work with. It’s poor quality control, but COVID has messed up so much else in construction, it’s just one more thing driving me nuts.

          • Holly says:

            I feel you there! I’ll look for soft white LED and see what I can come up with. Every time I pull into my driveway at night the cool LED’s are shining away in my house and I’m, not sure that’s what I was going for lol! I will have to see how they fare in the kitchen when I’m cutting up vegetables, though. A girl’s gotta see! I’m glad I read this before I invested in strip lighting for under my cabinets. I would cringe if they all didn’t match.

          • Holly says:

            All this because I did a google search for what is the best lighting for a kitchen only to realize that cool lighting isn’t the best look and isn’t very inviting, especially for an open concept space. I’ve been thinking this for the past few months and then I read Maria’s post today and that only confirmed things for me. I got a super cool foyer light that I can’t even put on because it’s way too bright with 5 Edison bulbs and I don’t have a dimmer for it. Maybe switching out my lights will help that situation too.

          • Holly, if they’re 60 watt equivalent try 40 watt. If they’re 40, try 25 watt. Also make sure the dimmer works with the type of bulb. There are some that do fluorescent, incandescent and LED and some that only do one, etc.

            I have that same “ugh! too bright cool white!” (I’m trademarking that with a TM LOL!”) with the motion sensor lights outside my house and got the Lee filters films to try to color correct it.

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          • Holly says:

            Karine, that was funny with the “cool bright, too white” comment! My husband came home from work, and I asked him what we had for lighting, and he said 5000K Daylight LED’s. No freaking wonder I Pull into my driveway and my home looks like the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony at Christmastime! Haha! Twenty-two bulbs need to be replaced in this open concept space, but I suspect I’ll be much happier when it’s done! Maybe i can turn some lights on now. I think the 3000K will be the way to go as what I’ve read about 2700K, they may be a bit on the orange side, which I don’t care for. As I mentioned the Tuscan trend did me in with all that warmth. I’d like not to look like and Oompa Loompa the next time I take family and friend holiday photos lol! I’d also like my green-gray paint and white cabinets to stay withing the realm of their natural color. Thank you for all the advice! 🙂

        • Lorena says:

          Buy no higher than 3,000 kelvins and 800 lumens. Those are still bright enough without a yellow cast and too white. Anything beyond that is too white and harsh for ambient lighting.

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          • HOLLY J LACROIX says:

            Thank you for the suggestion, Lorena! This is exactly what I need.

  • Bette says:

    Love the bubble chandeliers but wonder about changing the bulbs? I know it would drive me insane if 1) one or more was burnt out, and 2) all bulbs did not match exactly. Does each bubble have its own bulb? If so, what a pain to deal with!

    Comment on glare: So many of the light fixtures shown are extremely glare-y. As someone prone to migraines, I could easily eliminate over half the lights because of the glare factor. Even with frosted instead of clear glass bulbs, they would be a strong NO in my home. Something for designers to consider!

    1
    • Holly LeClair says:

      My light, the Oly Studio Muriel, has the bubbles surrounding an interior ring of lights. You can’t see them through the bubbles which are not glass but cast resin so not clear. It is more of an art piece. I can just reach over the top, on a ladder to change the bulbs.

  • Cindy says:

    I have a clear glass bubble light in our dining area which I LOVE. However, I put in clear Edison style bulbs and they kill my eyes – I keep it dimmed which drives my husband crazy. Your comment above is so right!

    Can you give a good bulb alternative? With a clear bubble shade I’m not sure a plain frosted bulb would look right.

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  • Kay says:

    I’ve been using Edison bulbs that are not LED—that is, real ones, not Edison style—because they are not hard on my eyes. I have four small pendants that are about a hundred years old hanging over my kitchen sink, and the Edison bulbs in them do not glare, provide ample light when other kitchen lights are on, and provide very atmospheric lighting when they are the only lights in the kitchen. My husband and I eat dinner in the kitchen with candles and just those pendants, as well as the interior lights in a few top cabinets.

    It’s true, of course, that white lampshades diffuse the most light, but I like a mix of shades. In the dining room there are two black-shaded lamps on the upright piano, a Tiffany style lamp in one corner, and two lamps on end tables at the other end of the room, with shades that are tinged with gold. When all are on, the lighting is soft and pleasant, perfect for dining with candles on the table. There’s a simple chandelier over the table that is dimmable, but I don’t use it much.

    Maria, your last lighting post inspired me to add lamps to our living room. Now there are four sconces, two floor lamps, and three table lamps, as well as a light over a painting. All corners lit!

  • Yes, to lamps, but NO, No, NO to pleated shades! Aggh. I still remember having to dust them! lol

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  • Holly says:

    Maria, for a kitchen would you go with under cabinet LED’s or lamps? Is having both too much?

  • I just bought frosted SATCO LED bulbs at a local lighting store in southern California. They come in many warmths and wattages, and are slightly greener than CFLs. Love the Chris loves Julia bubble fixture, but the fan shades are a bit like a stiff tutu for me. Thank you for sharing.

  • Cindi says:

    I don’t like the look of lanterns, at least in my modern/mid-century home. But I do love the bright colors. I’ll have to keep an eye out for some more modern looking ones.
    The bubble lamps could be nice to mix with sputnik styles so there’s not too many of those. That’s my issue now, when I need about 50… how to not have too many that are similar.

    1
  • Shelby says:

    Could bubble chandeliers in the living room go with oversized lampshade pendants over the island?! Going for a traditional warm look!

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