This post was going to be called Alternative Chandeliers, but it sounded so unbelievably wanky that I had to change it. I’m not sure that “statement lights” is that much better, but hopefully you’ll know what I’m getting at with this episode of the Weekly Window Shop; I’m talking about lighting that makes an impact. Lights that force you to look up and notice them rather than lampshades or pendants that fade into the background.
It may be the case that you’ve never given a second thought to your lighting, banishing it to the bottom of your priority list, but I have something of an obsession with it. Wall lights, accent lights, light installations, neons – I love how a light can be completely unobtrusive – almost invisible – by day, but bring a room alive at night. And, of course, the light fitting doesn’t even have to be unobtrusive by day; it can be as attention-grabbing as you want it to be. Sculptural, massive, colourful, bizarre – whatever floats your boat. I like lights that could almost serve as a piece of artwork, even unlit – I like the drama that a large light creates. I think that it’s a really quick and easy way to add some interest to a room, especially if you’re renting and can’t change the paint or wallpaper. (The fact that you can take it with you when you move is something of a bonus.)
And the thing is, if you don’t have a great light hanging down into the room then you barely even notice the ceiling: stick a tinkling cascade of Murano glass or an amazing sputnik light up there and suddenly you can’t help but gaze upwards. It’s like being handed an extra wall to look at. A perfect wall that is never touched or leant against, just a beautiful expanse of clean plaster and completely empty save for one thing: your statement light! I think it’s worth making it count when you look at it that way…
So here are some of the statement lights that I’ve found on my many extensive online window shopping sprees. There are a few surprise bargains (relatively speaking) that I’m particularly impressed by and, as usual, some budget-busting fantasy options.
Let’s start with the lights that I own. I’ve now bought two of the brass sputnik or “spurchin” chandeliers (above) from Inscapes Design*, a Cheltenham-based lighting company. They are made to order, you can choose the length of the drop, there are different sizes and there are various metal finishes too, such as polished brass or gold. You can find the lights at Vinterior here and Etsy here* – they are about £440 each, but they make really quite a massive statement. They would also light up half of Britain with all of the bulbs on full, so make sure you have a dimmer switch fitted!
If you fancy something cleaner, less spiky, more soothing, then this Vita Lora lampshade (above) is basically like having the moon hanging over your bed. Off-putting for some, perhaps, especially if you have a fear of planet-sized things crushing you in your sleep, but if you’re into your Lost in Space fantasies then this will set the scene perfectly. The XL version (at 75cm diameter) is absolutely huge and it’s pleasingly inexpensive considering the impact it has. Also it hardly weighs anything so definitely wouldn’t crush you like a planet. Sleep easy – you can find it at Amara here*, it’s £115.
Here’s a wildcard. There’s a delicate elegance to the West Elm globe-and-stem chandelier, above, that goes against my usual lighting sensibilities. I tend to prefer things more solid, less stick-and-globe-y, but this light has beautiful proportions. I have my eye on it for the bedroom and I may have also solved my wall lights problem with West Elm’s newest addition to the wall lighting category* – simple and stylish, brass with glass, under fifty quid! The Sphere and Stem from West Elm is £499 here* and the wall lights I like are here*.
If it’s the opposite of delicate that you want then how about some in-your-face Space Age nostalgia? I love these original UFO lamps; not with a whole roomful of orange-and-brown furniture, perhaps, because I don’t want to live in a 1970s film set, but contrasted with something sleek and ultra-modern or a bit of period detailing they look excellent. Some humour and imagination is never a bad thing. You can find this white UFO lamp on Vinterior – they happen to be a veritable treasure trove when it comes to lighting, both new and vintage. The UFO lamp is £245.
And check this out for a bit of a rare bargain; the Maskros light from IKEA, above, is a total showstopper. A whopping 80cm in diameter, it would be the focal point in just about any room. The cord is up to 180cm long so the light can be hung down low over the table if you fancy something to knock your head on.. You need to see it “in situ” for the full effect, so check out the online pictures. It’s £90 here.
I’ve seriously got my eye on one of these Kartell Bloom lights for our bedroom, I just don’t know whether the XL version would be too big (80cm across again, seems to be a thing!) so I’m dithering a bit, hence the West Elm option. The Bloom light looks like crystal but is actually made from hundreds of polycarbonate flowers – the effect of the light filtering through them looks amazing in real life. You can find lots of colour and size variations of the Bloom light on a website called Cimmermann (a new one to me) and Heals also stock some of the versions here*.
And lastly, there’s always the traditional option, the bona fide chandelier; I’m as partial to a bit of Murano glass as I am a mid century lighting option. (Ooh, it’s like wanky statement bingo today!) This one tickles my fancy massively, mainly because it looks like something Del Boy would be proud of and it’s amusingly ostentatious, but also because the layers of glass are dense and the whole thing looks solid and hefty rather than like one of those French candelabra ones that look like they’re from Beauty and the Beast. I’ve just seen that the year of manufacture for the one above is 1970 – what is it with me and mid century modern stuff? Find this at Pamono – another treasure trove of artwork, furniture and interiors delights…