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Design Trend: Why Ambient Lighting is More Popular than Overhead ‘Big’ Lights

Lamps and ambient lighting are having a moment right now

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By House & Garden South Africa | November 27, 2023 | Trends

If you follow any interior design or apartment lifestyle content on social media, you will notice the conscious push for integrating more lamps and varied light sources over a singular unit of overhead lighting. Overhead lighting like chandeliers, receded spotlights, and spotlights are coined ‘big lights’ and are rarely being used in favour of floor lamps, lanterns, candle lights, and table lamps.

What is clear in this wider preference for lamps is the overall pursuit of cosiness at home, that can most easily be achieved through lighting that sets the mood. Think of design and cultural philosophies like Danish ‘Hygge’ and Japan’s Isamu Noguchi’s softly-lit aesthetic, mood lighting is at the core. Perhaps harsh overhead lighting creates to much of an anxious atmosphere, whereas softer lamps provide a warmer feeling to your home.

Here is how you can hop onto this lighting trend for the ultimate mood lighting:

Vary Your lighting

Avoid relying only on harsh, overhead lighting and opt for lamps or wall sconces to set the mood with ambient lighting. Great options for different kinds of lights include salt lamps (which you can find in most health shops), and second hand lamps that you can find at many second hand shops and markets. Start with implementing table lamps into your space as these introduce light into your space from the mid-level of the room instead of the ceiling, making for a more balanced and cosy ambience.

@joshandmattdesign What team are you?? #art #lighting #ambient #interiordesign #apartment ♬ in heat. - Hentai Xander

Say No to Big Lights this Summer

Overhead lights can cast heat down on to you without you even noticing. Also, if your home feels cold and gloomy, it is probably because of your florescent overhead lighting. To combat this, look for bulbs to screw into your lamps with a label showing a 2700-3000 Kelvin (K) warmth, as this will ensure your lamps give off a warmer hue. You can also purchase USB-powered or battery-powered portable lamps from brands like Mood Makers, to introduce a cosy atmosphere into any part of your home.

@want.zamora anything but overhead lighting #homedecor #interiordesign ♬ original sound - GeeOfDee

The Rise of Lamp Tours

With the rise of ambient lighting throughout everyone’s homes, many have amassed an impressive collection of lamps ranging from quirky sculptural lights to sleek accent lamps. Building a lamp collection made up of both contemporary lights and vintage pieces is not only a great investment, but a fun way to learn about iconic designs throughout history, like the 1967 Nesso Lamp. But, the only downside of switching on many lamps at the same time is going around your space and turning them off one by one. Luckily, you can pick up smart plugs and bulbs where you can switch off all your lamps at the same time.

@louiburke I just counted 10 lamps… I think I have a problem 👀✨ #V#Varmblixt#ikeacollab#ikealamp#ikeavarmblixt#lamptour#lamplight#overheadlightinghateclubeautralaesthetic#lifestyleinspo#beigeaesthetic#gaybeige#scandiaesthetic#lifestyle#cleangirlaesthetic#lamptok#skincaregirlies#nighttimeroutine ♬ original sound - GeeOfDee