Lighting is often overlooked, but pay careful attention to the way you illuminate your space – it can have a massive impact on both overall appearance and ambiance.
We spoke to some of the leading industry experts about what to consider when investing in new lighting for 2024. What's really obvious is that good lighting goes way beyond just brightening your space.
It's important to factor in the different ways we use spaces in our home, and how this changes throughout the day, as well as with the passing seasons. It's a smart idea to give yourself a variety of lighting options, whether that's a dimmable switch, a smart light that can change colour, or just a good mix of floor, table, wall and ceiling lights.
If you choose wisely, your lighting can positively impact your mood and wellbeing. Here we break down some of the key trends predicted to dominate in 2024.
In recent times it seems we have developed a greater appreciation of nature, perhaps due to its increasing fragility, as well as our better understanding of just how positively it can impact our health and wellbeing. This has changed the way we decorate our homes, as more of us are wanting interior spaces to reflect the beauty and perfection we find outdoors, using it as inspiration for colour, materials and forms.
Expect to see a rise in lighting designed according to biophilic principles. Indeed, a nature-inspired lighting solution is a great way to create a connection between your home and the world beyond, which in turn can boost your mood.
Jo Plismy, founder and designer at Gong Lighting, says light fixtures inspired by the natural world 'infuse indoor spaces with organic beauty, creating a tranquil and serene ambiance'.
2. Sustainable style
This year, two thirds of us say we have been affected by eco-anxiety, so it's no surprise that lighting companies are rising to the challenge of trying to create more environmentally-friendly designs.
Whether this is a change in materials, manufacturing techniques or the actual mechanics of the lighting, there are many positive advances in sustainable lighting and it's worth researching a company's green credentials before you invest.
Eco-friendly materials to look out for include rattan, seagrass and bamboo – all fast-growing natural materials that are regenerative. Aluminium is also a sustainable metal that is anticipated to become more widely used in the lighting industry, as it is infinitely recyclable.
3. Sculptural and minimalist
Minimalist design is having a moment. Many of us want our spaces to feel pared-back, calm and neutral, helping us to feel relaxed as we go about our busy daily lives. In a minimalist interior, sculptural lighting can really make an impact.
When our spaces are relatively unadorned, by selecting a few core pieces that have a strong visual character, such as a sculptural light, you add interest and define the mood of a room.
Jo predicts that more of us will be choosing light solutions that are 'elegant, artistic pieces that serve as captivating focal points and give an expression of personal style'.
Expect to see lighting that makes the most of bold forms, distinct outlines, interesting shapes and artistic materials.
This trend is to do with taking a more holistic approach to design, considering how we relate to our surroundings, rather than appearance alone.
Jo describes the trend: 'At its core, the primary aim of architectural lighting is to accentuate the unique characteristics and features of a given environment. It's not merely about illuminating a room; it's about creating an alluring and captivating atmosphere that goes beyond the practicality.'
5. Quiet luxury
This is a buzzword that we can't seem to get away from (in large, thanks to Succession), and indeed it seems to be permeating into trends all round.
In the world of lighting in 2024, there will be a rise in simple but highly elegant design that is opulent without being showy or garish. In particular, white and gold fixtures are on the rise.
6. Layered lighting
We're becoming more attuned to the importance of having a variety of different lighting effects available in our homes.
For example, a ceiling light will always be useful to brighten a space you use a lot, such as a kitchen. However, in a living room in winter, it can be a real joy to envelop yourself in the warm, soft glow of a low-lit ambiance, created perhaps, by a soft floor and table light working together. In a hallway, you might want to opt for a gentle, glowy mood created by a row of dimmable wall lights.
This consideration of multiple types of lighting and their varied functions is what we mean by layered lighting. The experts at Lights & Lamps summarise that 'lighting should evolve throughout the day'.
7. Backlit effect
One method that is becoming increasingly popular is backlighting. This unobtrusive technique creates a soft glow around a piece of decor. Not a practical choice for rooms where we need good visibility, backlighting is beneficial because it transforms a space by creating a sense of ambiance.
We spoke to the designers at Lights & Lamps who helpfully outlined the many pros of using backlighting: 'It can be used to accentuate certain elements in a room, such as artwork or architectural details. Often using LED technology, there is the ability to control the colour and/or intensity. It can also be used to create a sense of depth and dimension in a room, particularly effective in smaller rooms, where the effect makes the space feel more expansive and open. Another advantage is its ability to highlight textures and patterns in a room, such as limewash, concrete or brick...it brings out the details.'
If you're tempted to give it a go, hallways and corridors are a good place to start.
8. Dimmable design
Given we are thinking about lighting from a more holistic and architectural perspective, it is no wonder that dimmable solutions are more popular than ever. This straightforward feature simply means that we have the option to create different ambiances according to time of day, time year and also what we're up to, from hosting a dinner party to a movie night in.
9. Smart solutions
We're embracing the new technologies on offer to us, and the world of smart lighting is on the rise – profits are estimated to more than double in the next two years, according to Lighting Superstore.
The expert team point out that 'smart and immersive lighting enhances mental wellbeing'. Lighting has been proven to affect us neurologically, and smart lighting can be utilised to align our spaces with our circadian rhythms. Changes can easily be made to intensity and colour via mobile phone apps.
The experts at Lighting Superstore say that 'a soft blend of orange and red hues calm us, whereas blue and green hues of light stimulate and energise us'. You could use this to your benefit by creating the former effect in a living room to help you unwind, and the latter in an office where you want your space to aid your mental clarity.
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