Almost every interior designer I speak to tells me two things. Firstly, when designing room, start with where the light sources will be, and make them as important to your decor as the wall colors or furniture choices.
Secondly, always go with wall lights. Living room wall lights, bedroom wall lights, even bathroom wall lights. Always kinder on everyone than an overhead beam.
So these seven are the ones I've been basing my own house refurb around, folding in to each idea as I think about the interior design. With these informing my aesthetic choices I think they bring rooms together and - happily - the people who sit under them.
1. This arched modernist wall light in LA
This home in California by designers LALA Reimagined has informed so much about how I want to decorate - I've written before about its perfect coffee table being my dream piece of furniture.
The houses' decor ideas hit you from the entryway onwards - this arched Contour wall light is by Allied Maker and has the sweeping romance of a Parisian street lamp, translated into a modern industrial shape.
This Jeffrey light combines the charm of both lamps in the entryway, taking the double-bulbed brilliance of the Oo lamp on the bench and the black swoop of the Contour sconce and blending them perfectly.
2. This unobtrusive gold down light in Washington, D.C.
Designer Zoe Feldman took the family's art and made it the centerpiece of this characterful home in Washington, D.C. But while I was inspired by how she fixed art over the bookshelves to turn it into the hero of her living room storage, I also took note of the wall light she used.
Completely unobtrusive, it doesn't steal focus from the art, and complements the slender gold picture frame. To me, it was a reminder that not all sconces need be created equal, and need be statements of their own. Sometimes, the fact they wash the walls in the perfect glow, highlighting the areas you want highlighted, is more than enough.
One of those sites that is an interiors stylist's godsends, La Redoute sells, essentially, every style. Some of it is questionable, but much of it is treasure, a especially when you're looking for a piece to just do its job. Step forward this brass sconce which couldn't be better suited to shine a light on your art.
3. This long looping wall light in Lyon, France
This colorful house was featured in our August 2022 issue and this image was a strong contender for our cover. Mostly because of this graceful wall light, its elegant looping shape both sensual and strong.
Being so long, it's close to the new lighting trend for corner lights (which reach from floor to ceiling) and would be ideal to bathe you in a subtle glimmer as as you read in your armchair or nook.
And look! This exact wall light is up on 1st Dibs. Proof that if you look hard enough for anything - and bookmark vintage sites enough - you can find what you're after.
4. This architectural wall light in Melbourne, Australia
Talking of reading corners, the best way to illuminate one is with a swing arm light. You can duck it down over your head, feeing hunkered in a little circle of light as the night draws in and the only sound disturbing the peace is the pages of your book as your turn. (I mean, I read everything on a Kindle, but allow me this pretence at a quiet life which doesn't include two puppies shouting for attention all the time).
This house was in our July 2022 issue and was full of architectural details (the pool on the roof has to be seen to be believed). It featured the ever classic Swing Arm pendant by Serge Mouille, reigniting my love for the wall light that can dance around the room depending on where you're sat.
Don't worry, I spent 17 hours trawling Wayfair so you don't have to. As it sells literally every light ever made (well, maybe not literally), my edit of this being the best one is all you need. Though if you have a browse and think you find a better one, please do let me know. Seriously.
5. This tiny pearl-sized wall light in London, UK
I think of this wall light as like like a tiny pearl earring, worn classically by the sort of person who wants to looks nice but doesn't want to be too flashy.
Except this tiny orb of a wall light makes a big impression - to me, anyway. It's so confident in its smallness, so generous in allowing the other colors and textures of this modern kitchen, featured in our June issue, to come to the fore that it's basically a design hero in its own right.
A little token that tells us not every statement has to be a shout.
Don't let the fact that this little light is seemingly by Ellen DeGeneres (wait, surely I'm not the only one who didn't know she'd branched out?) as it sits perfectly and subtly into kitchen nooks, recesses and cubby holes.
6. This long armed wall light in New York
How do you demarcate an open plan kitchen/dining room/living room and keep each area distinct but cohesive? With a long armed wall light, of course! That's how it was done in this NYC brownstone from our May issue, a large, glowing globe suspended over the dining table which casts sense of togetherness over all who sit under it.
I particularly like how it doesn't break with (mostly) all-white decor.
7. This modern art piece wall light in London
This apartment living room is wedged somewhere into the heart of London's Barbican, an iconic Brutalist landmark near the city. It's filled to bursting with creatives who don't mind paying over the odds to live inside a piece of actual design history. It means the decor in most of these homes is out of this world.
Including in this space designed by Doshi Levien. Contrasting the sharp concrete face of the building is the soft curves he has used within, from the plump arm pillows to the angular roundness of his Earth to Sky light, hung like a piece of art.
It reminded me that wall lights can be so much more than functional, but can be sculptures in their own right. A lightbulb moment, if you will, when thinking how to choose them for my own home.
I've said it before, but Etsy is so much more than the home of a few dream catcher weavers. Nestled amongst the macrame I found this architectural wall light which takes the essence of Doshi's design and distills it in a way that means I can afford to have more than one. A gallery wall of wall lights.
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The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants. He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.
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