Articles

Mood lighting – setting the scene

Mood lighting needs some serious thought and consideration when you are trying to set the scene for an occasion, be it a well-planned dinner party or quiet night in with a DVD.

Lighting not only dictates the ambience for a particular room but also affects the mood of the people in that room, for example soft and inviting light will generally aid relaxation, while sharp or bright light will usually promote concentration.
In this article we are going to look at how you can use different light sources in your home to influence mood.

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What mood are you trying to create?

Cuddling up with a DVD

Everyone loves unwinding and relaxing in front of a film. To get maximum enjoyment out of it you need everything to be perfect. You may want to order some takeaway and indulge in a glass of wine or a beer. The Limina Plaster Floor Uplighter is perfect for creating a cosy environment by casting the light upwards to soften the overall ambience.

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A romantic dinner

Cooking a romantic meal at home for that special person requires preparation and care. Choosing the right mood lighting is, of course, a key factor. Clearly a candle lit meal is the height of romance, but it can be a little bit dark eating by candle light alone. The Amalfi Ceramic Wall Light will add soft tonal illumination to your dining room.

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Elegant accent lighting for sophisticated living

It feels great when you get your home décor matched perfectly to your personality. If you love mood lighting that gives off an air of cool sophistication then you may want to install the Harmony Wall Light. This type of accent lighting will make your home feel modern and cutting edge as soon as you turn it on.

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A modern dinner party

If you are throwing a dinner party and just have to have everything absolutely perfect to really wow your guests then you need to set the tone for the evening. The Parma 160 LED Wall Light provides strong crisp lighting to exhibit your beautifully prepared meal. However the light is tempered by its up and downward distribution giving it a charming modern style.

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A weekend soiree

It’s great fun to have impromptu parties and friends over for drinks. 5M LED Flexi-Strips are a fantastic way to put people in the Saturday night mood. You plug them straight into the mains and you’re away, and with an adhesive backing you can stick them anywhere. They can also be cut every third LED, so you can spread them out as required.

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Calming the family madness

At the weekend most families can get a bit wild and out of control. It is therefore essential to create the right type of calming environment to get everyone settled down in the evening. The Opus Uplighter Floor Lamp is not only a great way to pacify the whole family but it will also work well with many different styles of décor.

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Relaxing at the end of the day

No matter how stressful your day has been comforting bedroom lighting can help to put you in a more relaxed mood before you go to sleep. The Spin Grey Table Lamp is perfect for unwinding while lying on your bed watching TV or reading a good book.

For more inspiration try our Lighting Ideas section.

Maxine Clarke Senior Buyer

Maxine has been our decorative buyer since 2015. With her experience in working for consumer-led brands, she is the perfect person to pick out the latest lighting trends for both your home and business. Maxine has an eye for the best up-and-coming lighting from the UK and around the world and works tirelessly to add new brands to our portfolio. One of her trends to watch in 2020 is connectable garden lighting; with summer garden parties more and more popular, being able to build and extend your own outdoor lighting with spotlights, festoons and string lights has never been easier – simply plug and play.

Articles

Cabinet lights explored

There are many reasons to install cabinet lights, both practical and decorative. It all depends on what you need them for. For example they make great task lighting for the kitchen, but can also be used as display lighting in the dining or living room.

Uses for cabinet lights in the home

Kitchen task lighting

Kitchen under-cabinet lighting helps to eliminate shadows when you are preparing food. Fluorescent tubes are a very popular choice for under-cabinet lighting. They use a fraction of the energy of filament-burning lights, last about five times longer and produce very little heat.

T4 and T5 fluorescent tubes are both appropriate choices for this type of task lighting. The main difference between T4’s and T5’s is the thickness of the tubes. The T4 has a half-inch diameter, while the T5 is five-eighths of an inch.

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The high-quality Mantova T5 Switched Striplight with adjustable frosted glass head that allows you to direct the light to where you need it. This modern fitting does not have the monotonous flicker and hum of earlier-generations.

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Discreet display lights

If you need subtle display lighting for your favourite ornaments or trophies you may want to consider strip lighting like these Surface Mounted LED’s. Remember when installing display lighting to try to make sure the fittings are out of sight.

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Small cabinets? No worries

The size of your cabinet is very important when choosing suitable lighting. For example, if you are concerned that it may be too small to install lighting into then you may want to consider a Set of 4 Surface Mounted LED Downlights. Simply use the included self-adhesive pads to fix them as required.

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Displaying sensitive objects

For heat-sensitive objects the Mica LED Cabinet Light is a sound option for showing off delicate items. These LED fittings produce very little heat and no UV radiation making them a good choice if you want to prevent the deterioration of books and other delicate ornaments.

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A low voltage option

An alternative under-cabinet choice is the contemporary Satin Chrome Low Voltage Linkable Triangle Light. Smart in appearance, you can run up to five of these low voltage lights from a single transformer, and with their bright white halogen output these discreet lights will perform admirably. They are not only cost efficient to run but also incredibly chic for kitchen style.

Happy to help

Having touched upon some of the points to consider when installing cabinet lights, remember that the Lighting Direct staff are always on hand to offer advice specifically tailored to your needs. Give us a call or order online today.

Take a look at our full range of Cabinet Lights.

Looking for more inspiration? Try our Lighting Ideas.

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Articles

Top 10 Lights for your Hallway

You’ve revamped your bathroom, your kitchen, your living room and all the bedrooms; you’ve decked them out with rugs, squashy couches, fluffy towels, huge beds and all of the best designer lighting. But something’s not quite right – your house is missing that “wow-factor” and you’re not quite sure what it is. And then you realise – you have neglected your hallway! It still has the same faded carpet, stained walls and flowery lone lamp shade circa 1982 hanging forlornly from the ceiling. What to do? How do you know what lights to choose? What kind of style should you go for? A ceiling pendant, wall lights or a flush fitting? A chandelier, or is that too middle class bourgeoisie? To check out our hallway light fittings click here.

The hallway is a room full of momentous importance – if eyes are the window to the soul, then your hallway is definitely the window to your home and what kind of personality it has. And what better way to shed light on that soul than with some excellent lighting choices from Lighting Direct? Why not take a look at our Top Ten Hallway Lights Countdown for some inspiration?

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Top Ten Rundown

At ten

If you have limited space in your hallway but still want to show off an eye-catching design with a unique style, choose the Luther 6 Light Semi-Flush. It combines satin chrome with crystal glass shades for a sparkly, pretty hall light that won’t intrude on space.

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Nine is fine

If you live in a minimalist home, you will most likely veer towards the clean lines and modern design of the Ventana Glass Flush Fitting Ceiling Light. This light fitting is also great for those with limited space, as it is a flush fitting with a neutral colour. It does not however, lack in style thanks to a frosted glass diffuser with an acid etched grid design. It is also part of a coordinating range, for even more designer impact.

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We rate eight

Another unique design that combines modern and classic in a hallway light, is the Admiral Pendant. This beautifully simple pendant light has a wonderful design that is completely up-to-date but won’t go out of fashion fast. The polished chrome with clear and opal glass shade will fit into any colour scheme or decor – you could change the colour of your hallway again and again without changing your light fitting. Click here to view more beautiful pendant lights.

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Seventh heaven

If you don’t want a main light in your hallway and would prefer several of the same wall lights, 2 Light Wall Light – Polished Chrome could be the solution. This polished chrome twin wall light has a very unusual but unobtrusive design. The contemporary metal with facetted glass shades are cuboid shaped. Just use one or two for an understated fashionable look, or more for a dramatic statement. (Also available in other finishes and with coordinated fittings)

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Six is a hit

For extra “wow” factor, choose the Rosedal Light Semi-Flush. This completely gorgeous semi-flush hall light has been manufactured with polished chrome with facetted glass droplets. It is reminiscent of 1920s flapper glamour and would be sure to make you smile every time you opened your front door.

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High five

From the 1920s to the 1930s, the Ardeche Pendant Fitting Large Clear combines vintage looking fluted glass with contemporary polished chrome trims. This is for those of you who appreciate certain design aspects of the old but prefer the robust and durable materials of the twenty-first century. It would be best suited to a hallway that combines both traditional and modern fittings. (Also available in other finishes)

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Adore four

For those of you who want something that looks good but is also discreet, feast your eyes upon the Milo Ceramic Wall Light. Understated elegance and a curved ceramic shade will provide soft, warm and welcoming light in your hallway. This uplighter is also great if you want your light to fit in entirely with your colour scheme or if you want to make it a feature on its own, as you can paint it any colour you like. Simply leave it natural if you prefer the more classic look.

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Third in place

If you want something completely decadent, the Italian-made 6 Light Chandelier gives you just that. Manufactured in 24% lead crystal with a polished chrome finish, it adds a luxurious touch from the moment you open the front door. It combines classic gothic with contemporary design, for those of you who like mixing the old with the new. There are also matching products available for that added wow factor.

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Second to none

Carrying on the theme of decadence, but in a much more classic style, is the Danieli 8 Light Fitting. This elegant light has all the design of a past century, conjuring up images of ladies in corsets and dandy men. The beautiful looped drapes and candle bulb light fittings make it suited to a home that prefers more traditional styling.

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And the winner is!

The gorgeous Galileo Fitting – 20 Light. 3m Drop. This stunning light with facetted crystal glass shades and a twenty light design can’t help but catch your eye. It will bounce the light around your hall and add sparkle. We think this unique light will look beautiful situated in the hallway, and will be an instant talking point for any friends or guests. There are also matching ceiling and wall lights in this range. (A 2m drop version is also available)

Take your pick

So now you’ve sneaked a peek at our favourite and best, it’s time for you to make a choice. Don’t forget though, there’s lots more on offer on our Lighting Direct website, so have a look and make sure you find the perfect hallway light for your home.

Need more inspiration? Check out our Lighting Ideas section.

Where Next?

Living room lighting where next Hall, stairs and landing lighting where next kitchen lighting where next

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Articles

Spotlights – the art of light and dark

It’s a general truth in lighting that areas of light and dark generate visual interest; in fact a popular cinematic style was defined by such lighting, called film noir. But it’s impossible to create such ambience with just a single layer of uniform lighting. For real visual effect and mood you need extra layers, and spotlights are the ideal means of creating them. Click here for our ceiling spotlights, or alternatively you may be looking for wall mounted fittings.

The greater the difference in brightness between spotlights and general lighting, the more dramatic the effect will be. Light modifiers such as dimmer switches are useful for fine-tuning the balance between your various light sources.

Accent lighting

Spotlights are perfect for emphasising the more interesting features of your home, whether they’re photos, paintings, bookshelves, fabrics, ornaments, or textures. This type of spotlighting is called ‘accent lighting’, and is also used to highlight architectural aspects such as alcoves.

Track lighting is one popular form of spotlight fitting. Each spotlight in a track lighting system can be easily positioned anywhere along its track length, which means you can rearrange items in a room whenever you please and simply reposition lights accordingly.

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The Acorn LED 3-Light and Track Kit comes with a 1M length of track and three LED lights, which, aside from being economical to run are also a good choice for lighting art because they emit no heat or UV radiation (these cause 65% of all damage to wall-mounted art). The track can be extended to an impressive 30 metres if desired.

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One alternative to a track lighting system is the Sunbeam Wire Light System, which uses five low-voltage halogen spotlights positionable along a wire for extreme versatility. Wire lights are especially useful for installing across uneven ceilings.

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Attractive in both price and looks is the Enluce 4-Light Bar, which is available in a polished chrome or white finish. With its crisp, quadruple halogen light output, the Enluce is fantastic for showing off colours to their best effect and might be used in a bedroom to highlight textures and colours in clothes and bed linens.

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Task lighting

The second great use for spotlighting is ‘task lighting’. A spotlight is able to focus an intensity of light precisely where needed for any kind of task, including reading, sewing, food preparation, typing, writing, or drawing. The right kind of spotlight – often halogen – is also good for beauty applications such as applying makeup or hair treatments, and it instils a feeling of wellbeing with its flattering warm hue. A cooler light can be better for promoting alertness and aiding concentration.

You might consider the Osaka 1-Light Spot Light, with its stunning antique chrome finish. This wall-mounted luminaire makes an excellent reading light, whether in a bedroom, lounge, or office, and with its on/off rocker switch you can use it as required without the hassle of having to control it from the wall.

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An extremely functional, inexpensive desk lamp is the Flex Clip-On Desk Lamp from Searchlight. Available in black or white you can clamp this fitting onto your desk and easily position the light using its flexible neck. Lighting Direct recommend an R50 spotlight reflector bulb to go with the Flex.

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With an extremely contemporary design, the Tukon 1 4-Light Plate is the type of fitting you’ll either love or hate. This well-made light is either ceiling or wall-mountable and comes complete with four halogen lamps. Of all light sources, halogen spotlighting is often preferred for colour-critical tasks, such as fine art painting. It is always a warm light source (around 3000K) with excellent underlying colour properties.

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A less industrial-looking design can be seen in the Davida 4-Light LED Spotlight Bar, which is a superbly energy-efficient fitting using just 20 watts across its four supplied lamps. This attractive fitting can be used easily for accent lighting, or task lighting, or both! The Davida is great for a lounge, or kitchen-diner, where its individually adjustable heads can be directed exactly as desired.

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General lighting

For spotlighting purposes LED consolidates its energy-saving advantage over other technologies, because it’s a naturally directional source of light that doesn’t wander much outside of its specified beam. Nevertheless, there are still substantial energy savings to be had with fluorescent lamps over incandescent or halogen. The modern-looking Loft 4-Light Plate is stylishly designed, ideal for a kitchen or home office, and comes complete with four low-energy fluorescent GU10 spotlights.

Spotlights are normally not thought of as a means of general lighting, but their output can often be widely distributed simply by reflecting a beam off of light-coloured walls and ceilings.
If interior lighting has previously been something of a chore to you, you’ll discover a whole new world of opportunity with spotlighting in your creative palette!

For more inspiration try our Lighting Ideas section.

Articles

Top 10 unusual lights – lighting that turns heads

At its most basic, lighting only has one job to do: provide illumination. But once you’ve got that part covered, why not step beyond the tried and tested and dare to be different?

From floor-standing lounge lamps you put outside to designer shades made from recycled cardboard, there’s a whole array of unusual lighting options out there. Some are clever, some are fun and some are just strange, but they’re all unique and allow you to make a statement about who you are.

So join us as we showcase 10 of the more unusual lighting products in the Lighting Direct range, from the weird to the wonderful, and everything in between.

Ten of the best

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Antler 5 Light Pendant

Multi-light pendants make for great centrepieces, but for a real attention-grabber how about the rustic charm of this Antler five-light pendant? The hand-painted resin antlers look just like the real thing, and each bespoke unit is hand-made to order here in the UK.

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Neo Pendant Fitting

Taking its design cues from the incandescent bulb itself, the Neo Pendant is a fun alternative to your standard ceiling pendant that’s ideal for stairwells and hallways. The bold combination of clear and mirrored glass is sure to draw admiring glances, while the chrome finish adds a touch of contemporary class.

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Drop 18 Pendant

Unusual lighting products are all about making a statement, and in the case of the Drop 18 Pendant that statement is an environmentally friendly one. It’s hand made from recycled corrugated cardboard yet its bold and dramatic design means it still delivers as a statement lighting centrepiece. If you’re looking for contemporary elegance with a conscience, this is the light for you. Check out the whole range.

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Aperture 48 Shade

If cardboard doesn’t quite fit the mark, how about paper? The Aperture 48 origami paper shade is about as striking as it gets, but it’s not just about looks. The clever design allows you to twist the origami shapes to adjust overall brightness, and the simple cable grip inside attaches to your existing cable for hassle-free installation.

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Urban Renewal Pendant

Pendant lights are a great way to add character to a room, and the Urban Renewal Pendant delivers this and more. This particular pendant has a well defined strong and industrial character perfect for a striking urban style. The bronze cage that houses the light bulb is what gives this piece its unusual personality. This pendant has the potential to be a dominant feature, so it needs to be installed where it is perfectly suited to the decor.

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Pineapple Table Light

A table light shaped like a pineapple? It may sound bizarre but the Pineapple Table Light manages to combine just the right levels of eccentricity and opulence to make it work. The contrast between the gold finish and the black faux silk shade is classy and sophisticated, and the ‘pineapple’ base is subtle enough to look fun rather than just odd.

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Lily Floor Lamp

If you are looking for something that will definitely grow on you (pardon the pun) then the Lily 3 Light Floor Lamp could be the type of unusual lighting for you. It looks enchanting: the stems are antique brass with clear and amber glass flower heads. Simple and inspired by nature this beautiful lamp will work perfectly with a floral/contemporary look and feel.

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Luther 3 Light Floor Lamp

Visually striking the Luther 3 Light Floor Lamp is a blend of crystal glass and polished chrome. A piece of art in its own right this floor lamp finds itself under the ‘unusual’ classification because of its unique interpretation of a standing lamp. A worthy talking piece in its own right, the Luther 3 Light Floor Lamp will add an unusual twist to any modern setting.

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Lucca Exterior Floor Light. Black

At first glance it may look like your standard interior floor lamp, but the Lucca Exterior Floor Light has a little secret: it’s actually designed to be used outside. Its concrete base and ground spike make it suited to any external location, and if the black doesn’t grab you it also comes in blue, green and orange.

So there you have it… ten unusual lights to provide you with some inspiration. If you’re still thirsty for more ideas, why not take a look at our Lighting Ideas section?

Maxine Clarke Senior Buyer

Maxine has been our decorative buyer since 2015. With her experience in working for consumer-led brands, she is the perfect person to pick out the latest lighting trends for both your home and business. Maxine has an eye for the best up-and-coming lighting from the UK and around the world and works tirelessly to add new brands to our portfolio. One of her trends to watch in 2020 is connectable garden lighting; with summer garden parties more and more popular, being able to build and extend your own outdoor lighting with spotlights, festoons and string lights has never been easier – simply plug and play.

Buyers Guides

Picture lights – things to consider when buying

Oscar Wilde once wrote that “all art is quite useless”, although he was referring to sheer lack of intrinsic value rather than its ability to stimulate, create mood, or embellish. We fill our lives with things that challenge or make us happy – useless things, often, but they are things that please us and even define us, nonetheless.

When we display artworks within our homes our motives for doing so might vary. Perhaps the aim is merely to enliven or adorn surrounding décor, to accentuate ambience, or to provoke thought, whilst creative types might only seek an outlet for their art. But how do we best display our pictures, or paintings, or photos? How best to light them? Click here to go straight to our picture light section.

Positioning is vital

Having acquired or perhaps created your piece of art, where should you position it? Our primary concern here is lighting, but if you’re looking for advice on physical positioning then you should aim for the centre of a picture to be at eye-level, which is typically somewhere between 145-155cm from the ground.

A common-sense piece of advice is to avoid hanging art near to radiators and heaters, and we’ll accompany that with some aesthetic advice: allow sufficient space between sizeable artworks for them to breathe, and not jostle for attention. Complementing – not competing – is key. With smaller pictures and paintings a more confined layout can often work, especially where the subjects are cohesive.

As a rule of thumb and where the fitting allows, aim for a 30° lighting angle between fixture and artwork to minimise any likelihood of glare. Slightly less acute with larger pictures and a little more acute if you’re looking to accentuate texture.

Daylight and UV radiation

When it comes to lighting, daylight is impossible to beat for sheer quality. It enables us to see all colours accurately by its continuous spectrum.

Daylight is great for viewing art, but there’s a king-sized caveat: it emits UV radiation as part of its electromagnetic spectrum. You don’t need to know the science, but UV light has a harmful and irreversible effect on organic materials, which includes paper, paints, dyes, inks, pigments, and your skin and eyes! In all cases excessive exposure is not advised, so you should only consider hanging art in direct daylight or sunlight if the art is repeatable, which is conceivably the case if it’s an inkjet print or derived from a digital file. Equally, if you have UV protection in your picture frame or windows you can afford to be a little more blasé! Click here for a guide to preserving your artwork.

Unless you live in a cave, of course your artworks are likely to be exposed to some level of ambient light, but you should at least avoid hanging unprotected art anywhere exposed to direct sunlight. If you produce your own art you may be able to extend lifespan through your choice of materials, e.g. inkjet prints achieve greater longevity by use of pigment inks on porous paper, or by the use of dye-trapping polymer printing papers with regular inkjet inks.

At the end of the day – artificial lighting for art

Having weighed up the slings and arrows of daylight illumination, what type of artificial light is best for artworks? All of the main lighting technologies have inherent advantages and disadvantages.

Halogen

Often revered as the undisputed king of museum and art lighting, halogen lighting is crisp, bright, very pure and white, so it’s ideally suited to showing off your pictures, paintings, and photos. Being an incandescent light source, halogen is inherently colour accurate, with a CRI rating that unwaveringly measures at the maximum 100 or thereabouts. The only drawback with halogen is its lack of efficiency in todays energy saving terms.

Our stunning Gainsborough Picture Lights are available in a choice of sizes and finishes, using halogen candle lamps (available separately) for great-quality art illumination. A built-in on/off switch on the back plate allows independent control, and the light is dimmable through an existing mains dimmer-switch should you want to modify its output or usage of power.

Fluorescent

Fluorescent lighting itself emits varying levels of UV radiation, so you’d be unlikely to see it in close proximity to a priceless work of art, yet it is often to be seen in museums as a means of overall illumination and sometimes includes a built-in UV filter to increase its suitability as a picture light. As well, fluorescent lighting offers something like a 40-50% energy-saving advantage over modern-day halogen lamps and approximately 70% over original incandescent lighting.

Lifespan is also impressive in fluorescent lighting, with picture lights typically using efficient T5 tubes with longevity of up to around 15,000 hours (model dependent). Only bettered in this respect by LED, fluorescent models are often a little more affordable up front.

The Rembrandt Picture Light is an elegant art-lighting solution drawing just 14W of power with its supplied T5 tube. The modern-looking Rembrandt has an adjustable light head for optimum positioning and an independent on/off switch on its back plate, and you can select from a range of finishes to best complement your picture and décor.

A pleasing alternative to the Rembrandt is the Goya 365 Low Energy Picture Light, which comes in fluorescent and LED versions in a choice of finishes and sizes. Both height and angle can be adjusted with this fitting, so perfect illumination is easy to achieve.

LED (and choosing colours)

LED offers distinct advantages as a picture light, not least of which is its super-economical use of power, which is something in the region of 90% less than old incandescent technology and 60-70% less than typical energy-saving halogen. Since LED saves energy by staying relatively cool, it is also inherently useful as a means of illuminating art in close proximity. And let’s not forget, they now use LED lighting in the Louvre Museum!

One of the historical disadvantages in displaying art with LED has been in colour accuracy – it lacks the continuous spectrum of daylight or an incandescent light source, which in turn makes it less dependable for displaying all colours well (violet and aqua hues are often a little problematic, for instance). The Kelvin temperature or CCT of a lamp is always worth considering when lighting art, too: a warmer light will complement reds or oranges in a picture or painting, whilst cooler lamps are better for accentuating cooler colours.

For most of our purposes, LED is a great means of displaying our art economically and effectively, and it’s a light source that literally lasts for years.

Lighting Direct offers a selection of LED picture lights for your consideration. The Goya 460 LED Picture Light, for example, is beautifully contemporary in appearance with a style that enhances your artwork rather than competing with it. In addition to the usual angle adjustment of the light head, the Goya also uses a height-adjustable bracket for extra fine-tuning of illumination. This is also a particularly wide picture-light ideal for illuminating larger objets d’art!

For the ultimate in easy installation, our specially selected LED Battery Operated Picture Lights fully exploit the power-efficent nature of LED and require no connection to mains. Better still, these lights come with a remote control and are dimmable, so you can alter output and consequently mood, whilst also preserving battery life. The supplied remote control can adjust multiple lights, so this is a particularly well-oiled solution to creating a home gallery.

Colour, finish, and style

You might ask yourself what colour of picture-light fitting you should buy. Well generally you’ll match the finish of the fitting to match the artwork, which may or may not already blend seamlessly with the décor. Think about complementary colours when selecting a finish: a brass or bronze finish might pair nicely with a warm-coloured picture, whilst chrome or nickel might partner well with cooler colours.

Then there’s style, and here you might look at the nature of the artwork and its frame or presentation. Modern-looking picture lights tend to be sleekly designed and often a little minimalist, whilst the traditional style tends to be a more rolling, elaborate affair. A ‘classic’ style is often reminiscent of a particular era, although the distinction between that and ‘traditional’ is often never made.

The dimmable Teetoo 350 Picture Light is typically contemporary in its design, and uses an integrated transformer and low voltage halogen capsule (available separately) to provide superb illumination for your art.

Examples of traditional design might be the Elegant Iron Picture Light in black/gold, and the Onedin Picture Light. The latter uses halogen lamps for crisp, bright white illumination.

Size and type of lights

As a rule of thumb, picture lights should have a width that is at least half that of your picture, although slightly less will often suffice. You might note that the wider of these fittings tend to use fluorescent or LED tubes or strips, as opposed to multiple money-burning halogens. LEDs also have the advantage of being very small, which in recent times has given lighting designers extra scope in producing compact and very slim housings and fittings.

The focus of this article has been on individual picture lights ideal for household purposes, but of course there are other ways to light pictures. If you’re in the habit of moving your photos, prints, or paintings around – as commercial galleries might be for instance – you might like to consider a track lighting system. This also works if you’re exhibiting pictures either of or on a grander scale. Lighting Direct stock expandable track lighting systems such as the Acorn 3 Light and Track Kit, which can be upsized from the initial 1-metre, tripled-lamped length to an impressive 30-metres maximum.

You may need to call in an electrician to install it, but once installed a track lighting system allows you the freedom to move your art around and ‘track it’ with movable spotlights. In this kind of set-up you need to pay careful attention to the beam of the lights, which should provide adequate coverage for each piece rather than burning a hole into the middle of your paintings. The pros often use a mixture of flood and narrow-beamed spotlights for precise effect.

A final flourish

In choosing a picture light or set of picture lights there are several things to consider; narrow your search on Lighting Direct by using the handy set of search tools to the left of screen.

If you have any desk or table lamps dotted around your home you might quickly try out their effect on your pictures, as a very rough idea of what to expect from particular technologies and hues in a picture-light. Remember: warm lights for warm subjects and cooler for cool. For black and white art you can take your pick, with cooler lights more closely resembling our perception of neutral daylight and warmer lights creating a cosier, more relaxing ambience.

Here is a second, thought-provoking quote from the one novel of Oscar Wilde: “It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors”.

To view the full range of lighting options for your artwork please take a look at our picture lights section.

For more inspiration try our Lighting Ideas area.

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Articles

Reading Lights – A Guide to…

As we get older, we all hope to have more time to relax and enjoy life a little; chances are, reading may be one of the pastimes you choose to relax with. Light levels are of utmost importance, depending on your age and the time of day (or night) you prefer to read. Our requirement for improved light increases the older we get: For example, by the age of sixty, we need three times as much light for reading than in our twenties. As our eyes are incredibly important, accounting for up to eighty percent of our sensory perception, they are definitely something we don’t want to neglect.

With one of Lighting Direct’s reading lights you’ll hopefully be able to enjoy reading well into the twilight hours and your twilight years.

Wall-mounted reading lights

For an attractive and practical reading light that is also economical, why not choose the Klosters Chrome and Wood Reading Light? It combines a general bedside light with an ultra low energy 1w snake head LED reading light. You can also install a low energy bulb into the general light, saving even more money and energy. Both the lights have separate on/off switches, giving you complete control over the lighting effect in your bedroom – perfect for if your partner is sleeping and you want to read to the end of the chapter or beyond.

Similar to the Klosters light, but with a slightly more contemporary design, is the Chamonix Reading Light. Again, with a separate general light and reading light, which can be controlled individually, although not as low-watt as the Klosters, it is still very light energy consumption at only 3w. The cool white LED is excellent for creating perfectly crisp and clear light for reading by, without disturbing the rest of the household. The snake head means you can direct the light exactly where you need it.

For a super-stylish, contemporary light fitting that can sit in either your study or bedroom, take a look at the Falko Reading Light with Glass Shade. This lovely light is three point adjustable, making it easy for you to angle the light exactly where you need it. It can also be installed to sit horizontally or vertically, depending on your bedroom or study layout. The rotary dimmer on the back allows you to create a cosier, softer ambience if needs be.

If you want a low energy, incredibly safe and unobtrusive contemporary reading light, look no further than the Vail Chrome LED Reading Light. This excellent light has an ultra-slim snake head design that will sit quietly in your bedroom until you require it. It uses six daylight LEDs, which use only 0.5W of power, making this light incredibly economical. LEDs are very safe and emit no heat, making them excellent for placement where children may be.

Mother & Child Uplighter Lamps

Our next light will sit just as well in your living room as it would in a bedroom, thanks to a more traditional design with a satin brass finish. The Montana ‘Mother and Child’ Floor Lamp in Satin Brass serves as both an uplighter and task light – the ‘mother’ is the main light, and the ‘child’ is the secondary task light. An opal glass diffuser and dimmer switch on both lights, which have separate light switches, give you complete control over ambience.

This light is also available in Satin Chrome, which has a contemporary look, for those who prefer modern finishes.

Desk lamps

A desk lamp which works well as a reading light is the Hugo in a Satin Chrome finish. This will suit most contemporary settings, but it is also available in Antique Brass. Not only a stylish light, it’s also incredibly practical thanks to an adjustable head, making it easy for you to direct the light exactly where you need it. The finger tip control and touch dimmer makes it the perfect bedside reading or study light, as you have complete control over light intensity, simply by running your finger up or down the track on the base.

Epilogue

When it comes to reading the importance of lighting cannot be underestimated, so make sure you look after your eyes by removing any unnecessary strain. If the above suggestions don’t quite take your fancy or you simply want more options feel free to browse the full range of reading lights from Lighting Direct.

Looking for more inspiration and advice? Try our Lighting Ideas section.

Maxine Clarke Senior Buyer

Maxine has been our decorative buyer since 2015. With her experience in working for consumer-led brands, she is the perfect person to pick out the latest lighting trends for both your home and business. Maxine has an eye for the best up-and-coming lighting from the UK and around the world and works tirelessly to add new brands to our portfolio. One of her trends to watch in 2020 is connectable garden lighting; with summer garden parties more and more popular, being able to build and extend your own outdoor lighting with spotlights, festoons and string lights has never been easier – simply plug and play.

Articles

Uplighters – lighting on the up

Uplighters have become a more common feature of the modern home as more and more of us explore the space changing opportunities they provide. Uplighters as the name suggests are designed to reflect or throw light upwards to create a warm, inviting atmosphere in your living space. Not only that, but an upwards light can be used to make a room look and feel larger and by placing resultant shadows you can really set the mood of a room.

Uplighting effects

Using the various effects that uplighting has to offer can open up a world of possibilities. You can use coloured screens or bulbs to change the colour of the room or move uplighters around to give you complete and utter control over the room’s tone. Subtle placement of two uplighters in the recesses either side of a chimney, for instance, can subtly seem to flatten the wall and present more living space while a single bright floor uplighter can brighten a lost corner of your room or throw interesting shadows from plants or furniture to create interest for the eye as well as the heart. Take a look at some of the types of uplighters available from Lighting Direct and you’ll be sure to find the ideal uplighter to create your perfect environment.

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Indoor wall uplighters

Where normal wall lights are often positioned a distance out from a wall on an arm or fitting and surrounded by a shade, indoor uplighters fit snug to the wall and use the reflective qualities of their fittings to direct their light more effectively onto the surrounding surfaces, enhancing among other things the colour and texture of the wall surface itself. Take the Slice wall light – a wide scallop shaped uplighter with a curved profile that can spread subtle and warm light to suit your needs.

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Alternatively if you want to make the light more defined then the tighter focus provided by something like the Cleo wall light with it’s polished chrome finish can throw a more dramatic beam up and down a wall, especially useful in more enclosed areas.

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Outdoor Wall Uplighters

Uplighters are as versatile as any other light and can be used outside to just as good effect as they can indoors. The Tin Twin Wall Lights can make a dramatic statement that can really help set the tone for your house and decor from the outside in. They’re protected against dust and splashing water and come in a variety of colours and finishes.

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If you need something to blend in stylishly with a modern interior the  Trio Wall Light Chrome will be a tasteful choice. This will be a great accompaniment to a contemporary room with wooden floors and black leather furnishings.

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Floor uplighters

A floor uplighter is the perfect combination of form and function. A fine example is the Montana ‘Mother and Child’ Floor Lamp in Satin Brass, which works beautifully both as a source of light for reading and as a piece of attractive and stylish room furniture.  Our wide range of floor lamps includes both modern designs as well as those with a more traditional take.

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A floor uplighter like the Toronto Corner Uplighter can offer an altogether more dramatic light solution. Positioned closer to the floor they throw their light wider and offer you the opportunity to change and refresh the light in a room by simply moving them around or changing bulbs. You can develop a variety of effects by simply changing the wattage, the lustre or even the colour of the bulb to suit every décor imaginable.

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Ceiling uplighters

Possibly the easiest and most effective option for an uplighter is the most simple. A ceiling uplighter like the Swirl can transform the feel and tone of a room instantly. British made and available in a variety of finishes the Swirl from David Hunt lighting can be co-ordinated with a range of other lighting options to create your perfect room.

Dramatic lighting

So for basic but dramatic lighting look no further than our range of Uplighters, it could be the single most effective lighting choice you ever make!

Take a look at our full range of Wall Uplighters and Floor Lamp Uplighters .

Looking for more inspiration and advice? Try our Lighting Ideas section.

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Articles

Graypants Lighting

Graypants is born

The 13thCentury Persian mystic, Rumi, is one of the most widely read poets in the United States. His work has been painstakingly translated by linguists and artfully interpreted by wordsmiths like the American poet, Coleman Barks. From a poem called ‘Spring Giddiness’ came the following line:

“Let the beauty we love be what we do.”

That line is a favourite of Seth Grizzle, because it neatly sums up the work ethic of Graypants – a conceptual design company he co-founded in 2008 with best friend and former Kent State University roommate, Jonathan Junker.

Seth and Jonathan left college with BS degrees in architecture and began Graypants whilst still employed in their respective Seattle day jobs. The company was born out of their simple desire to get back to basics – to design without constraint; to make things with their hands; to create an environment where ideas had the space to flourish and evolve. It was about freedom. Graypants sum up their philosophy in three words: Dream. Scribble. Make.

Where are Graypants?

Graypants is now a Euro-American company with a team in Seattle, where it all started, and another in characterful Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. Their design teams solve problems efficiently and creatively and collaborate with customers and retailers worldwide.

A particularly attractive aspect of Graypants is their studios’ active engagement with local communities. In Seattle they’ve provided invaluable work experience and inspiration for local students, whilst in Amsterdam they’ve co-operated with social programs to employ workers and teach new skills to disabled people.

Graypants collect recyclable materials such as cardboard, plywood and aluminium from local companies and fashion them into beautiful objects with almost no waste. In fact the brainchildren of the company might still be seen today foraging the streets of Seattle for new materials and ideas!

The Scraplight phenomenon

Graypants aren’t just a lighting company, even though their lights can be found in impressive settings around the world. Lighting is only one part of their business; they also construct custom homes and buildings, create furniture, and are graphic designers. Their various specialties complement and inform one another.

The revolutionary and much sought-after Graypants ‘Scraplight’ was an unplanned child. It was conceived almost tangentially when Seth and Jon were putting together a display of their sustainable chairs for a design competition. The chairs all took the same form, but were individually fashioned from a variety of reclaimed materials, including cardboard. An impromptu decision to enhance the display with luminaires made from leftover cardboard turned into something of a phenomenon; the light patterns created by the corrugated material coupled with their stylish textured look were destined to cause quite a stir.

Strikingly beautiful, the Graypants Scraplights of today are precision cut with a laser and then undergo a handmade process of cleaning, gluing and application of a non-toxic fire retardant. When new, these miracles of salvaged cardboard have a smoky aroma about them. It’s a pleasant smell that lingers for a while then is gone- like the aromatic embers of a dying campfire! All part of the charm, as Graypants would have it, and it’s difficult not to concur.

Choice of lamp

Graypants have a focus on considered, thoughtful designs, with a responsible choice of materials and production methods, but they aren’t a company that will twist your arm when it comes to your own choices. Still, they’ll make you a recommendation – they advise a warm-coloured 2700K bulb for best effect with the cardboard Scraplights, and are great fans of the curvedly shaped Plumen energy-saving bulbs, especially when their eye-catching designs are tantalisingly glimpsed through the corrugated layers of Graypants’ shades.

Most Graypants luminaires can take a regular incandescent bulb, energy-saving fluorescent, or LED, with specific limitations always being indicated alongside each product. All fittings have a standard Edison Screw socket and a 2M cord.

A reason to invest

By now you might have gathered that Graypants Inc. are a very singular, innovative company. They’re fresh, but never fresh out of ideas. What they do with lighting is something akin to alchemy; they take discarded materials and make stunning products from not much of intrinsic worth. Everything this design company produces is hallmarked by an unencumbered creativity – a creativity that is allowed to roam and expand and be nurtured, and to occasionally jolt into brilliance.

The Scraplight is challenging in the same way that art is often challenging. It’s difficult to believe that such impressive items can be made from leftover pieces of cardboard – metamorphosed products that are unique in their individual appearance and effect, and yet so precisely crafted. Many people that see these striking luminaires find their origin difficult to believe, which is of course a compliment to Graypants. They are lights that create a talking point. They create ambiance. Coupled with your gift for hospitality, Scraplights will even make people want to return!

Thoughts on location…

Graypants lights can be found in a variety of environments. They’re versatile. The way they play with light and make a show of light can entirely transform a room and enliven the most understated of fabrics and furnishings. The famous Scraplight range incorporates light fittings of many shapes, sizes, and types, so whether you’re looking for a table lamp, floor lamp, or a ceiling light, you’ll likely find something appealing. For a real pièce de résistance, the enormous Arcturus Scraplight can fill a palatial room with its imposing 163cm diameter presence!

You can buy Graypants lights to enjoy in your home, and enjoy them you will, but they’ll do wonders for a business, too – especially any type of hospitality business where the details count for something. Graypants have sold many lights to plush offices, top restaurants, and a year or so back fulfilled a large order from coffee shop giants, Starbucks. If you want to send a message to customers about your use of sustainable products, Graypants lights are good for that too!

Variations on a theme

The classic Scraplight is available in many attractive forms, including good-looking products such as the decorative Drop Pendant Light 26, or the more oblong Disc Pendant Light 16, but it’s worth drawing your attention to some of the distinctive variations.

For instance, the ‘Drum Scraplight’ makes clever use of scrap cardboard in its design just like its siblings, but also integrates clear-coated steel frames and a frosted glass lens. The drum-shaped design provides strong ‘up and down’ illumination in a triple-lamp fitting ideal for either commercial or residential environments. The Drum Pendant Light 24 is an example from that range, with a powerful 3x100W incandescent maximum load.

Inspired by the astronomical discoveries of Galileo Galilei – himself one of the brightest stars of the Scientific Revolution – Graypants also created the ‘Moon Series Scraplights’, with models in the range representing Jupiter and its four largest satellites: Lo, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. These spherical wonders of illumination are spectacular in their effect, casting a mesmerising display of light onto nearby surfaces. The Moon Pendant Light 14 is part of this amazing series, with a 60W maximum incandescent E27 lamp, or low-energy equivalent.

Take a look at our full range of Graypants lighting.

Looking for more inspiration and advice? Try our Lighting Ideas section.

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.

Articles

The rise and rise of the pendant light – Lighting Direct’s best-sellers

There is no doubt that pendant lighting is super-stylish and will help round off your interior décor perfectly; whether you’re looking for pendant lights for a modern or traditional setting, these glamorous, contemporary or classic themed lights will help enhance your home and living spaces and also have a design that won’t go out of fashion fast.

Pendants can be used in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and hallways for warm, sparkly or slick illumination. Below we throw some light on twelve of our bestselling pendant lights to help you in your search for your perfect light.

Bar Pendants

Thanks to it’s unique but practical shape, the bar pendant light is ideal for use over dining tables, although it can really be placed anywhere you see fit. The Station 3 Light Bar Pendant – Cotswold Cream for example, would look wonderful placed over a breakfast bar in a bistro or french-inspired kitchen. Or if cool and contemporary is your thing, you could go for the Boda 3 Light Pendant, which is fresh, clean and modern with a designer feel. This great looking bar light would look equally as good in a living room or bedroom as it would a dining room and offers soft, diffused light that is still strong and effervescent enough for the every day.

Stylish Chandeliers

Most chandeliers have a traditional ‘feel’ as they are based on traditional designs that at one point accepted real candles. Nowadays, most accept candle bulbs but are a mixture of traditional design and modern materials, such as the Oxford 6 Light Chandelier – Polished Chrome. This striking chandelier combines real lead crystal with a durable polished chrome finish and an old-style design for a pendant light that definitely makes a statement. This would be ideal for hanging in a hallway for an instant, eye-catching statement feature. If you like chandeliers but like authentic looking finishes, the Vaudeville 5 Light Pendant may be the perfect light for you. This impressive light has a beautiful antique brass finish and elegant design that would sit well in a house which is dedicated to the timeless.

Cluster & Cascade

Cluster and cascade lighting is ideal for hallways, stairs and high ceilings due to a design that mostly consists of multiple lights closely spaced in a cluster or cascade formation. They are brilliant for creating illumination that sparkles and for making an impact. The Galileo 20 Light 2M Pendant would be most suited to placement in a hallway with a very high ceiling, due to its wonderful cascade design and would fit in perfectly with soft décor and furnishings. This kind of light wouldn’t need to be replaced in a hurry as its neutral crystal finish fits in with most colour themes.

The stunning Light Eye Cluster Pendant is a wonderfully striking pendant light in an elegant modern polished chrome design. Ideal for those who like a contemporary touch, it would make an eye-catching feature placed above a spiral stairwell.

Perfect Pendants

Single pendants are perfect for almost any setting from large to small. They are easy to install and provide a simple way to add instant edge or glamour to a room. The Zaragoza 3 Light Pendant – Red – 600mm, for example, can be used to make a bold and striking statement. This red pendant light would look gorgeous in a retro setting, either in a living room or bedroom.

Rise & Fall

Rise and Fall lighting is a stylish option based on the French designs of the mid 1900’s where they were commonly used to light kitchens, cafes and bistros. The excellent thing about these lights is that they can be height-adjusted at any point after installation, giving you complete control over the type of illumination you want to achieve. Keep them at ceiling height for a stronger starker light for everyday activities; lower them for warm, cosy dining and relaxation. The Alessandra Rise and Fall Pendant would look beautiful dotted at various points throughout a contemporary kitchen and would also fit in with most decors and furnishings thanks to an unobtrusive design. If you want something a little bolder, why not bring a slight continental feel into your home with the Polka Rise and Fall Pendant – Antique Brass, which definitely makes a statement. This rise and fall pendant is excellent for placement over a dining table or breakfast bar.

Semi-Flush

If you like the stylish and opulent but lack the space for huge statement pieces, our semi-flush ceiling lights may provide you with the perfect solution. As semi-flush lights are fixed to the ceiling via a short-bar, they are ideal for properties with low ceilings as they don’t hang down. The unusual and unobtrusive Tugel 3 Light Flush Fitting – Satin Chrome combines an aesthetically pleasing swirl design with the durability of modern materials for a ceiling light that will deliver on all fronts. This floral-inspired light would look great in a living-room. However, if you prefer something with a bit more glitz, the very shiny Sassari 5 Light Semi Flush Fitting could be your perfect match. Faceted glass droplets will add sparkle and shine to any low-ceilinged room.

We hope our best selling pendant lights have provided you with some inspiration or better still delivered your ideal light to you on a plate. If you haven’t quite found what your looking for why not browse our full range of pendant lights?

Alternatively, if you’re looking for more inspiration try our Lighting Ideas section.