Bobby Berk Loves Using Lamps in These Two Unexpected Parts of the Home

The Queer Eye star is strongly opposed to the big light, even in the most functional spaces of spaces

A headshot of Bobby Berk next to a picture of a kitchen with a green tiled island with a lamp on top
(Image credit: Getty / Hauslabs)

The 'no big light' rule is probably the most widely agreed upon design principle of all time. If you want your home to feel calm, cozy, and conducive to comfort, bright white lights just aren't the vibe. The remedy, of course, is lamps - and lots of them.

Like most interior designers, Bobby Berk avoids the big light at all costs, and we firmly agree that the soft atmospheric glow of lamps trumps a stark overhead. That being said, brighter bulbs have their time and place, and primarily functional spaces are one of them. After all, there's a reason we no longer cook meals by candlelight.

But why shouldn't we at least complement an overhead light fixture with some ambient side lighting in such spaces? Preparing a meal or taking a shower might call for brightness, but warm lamps can really help set the mood while providing an extra source of lighting. At least, that's what our favorite Queer Eye star seems to think. Here are the unexpected spots interior designers will put lighting, Bobby included.

Traditionally, the kitchen and bathroom aren't spaces where we'd prioritize stylish lamps, but Bobby is such a strong advocate of cozy ambient lighting that even his powder room gets the warm glow treatment. As well as functional overhead, he argues that every space should have a lamp of some kind to help soften the blow.

In a recent Instagram reel Bobby hopped on a popular trend to reveal his common interior designer traits. Besides his urge to rearrange decor and point out people's curtain-hanging mistakes, his lighting preferences came into question. 'I'm an interior designer, of course I'm never ever going to turn on the overhead lights, instead I'm going to opt for lamps everywhere, even in the bathroom.... or the kitchen,' he says to the camera.

a country kitchen with a textile lamp shade wall light

(Image credit: British Standard by Plain English)

He's not alone, either. Increasingly, designers are embracing lamps in these more functional areas as a way to soften the atmosphere and set the mood, from kitchen lighting to powder room bulbs. And with more portable wireless lamps on the market, it's easier than ever to introduce a lamp into any part of the home, even if you're short on outlets.

'The new technology of rechargeable lights transforms the way we live and use light as it turns out that freeing beautiful designer lamps and shades from the tyranny of outlets and extension leads allows you to use lighting in ways like never before,' explains Jo Plant, Head of Design at Pooky. 'One of our very favorite uses of a cordless table lamp, try popping it on a chair near the tub and enjoy a long lazy soak complete with mood lighting which you can still read your book by.'

Our favorite wireless lamps

As our kitchens become more convivial rooms to gather, blurring the boundaries between social spaces and functional ones, lamps make a lot of sense. Be it a portable table lamp on the countertop or a floor lamp to brighten a dull corner, a touch of side lighting can help set the tone for a more relaxing kitchen, turning it into a space where you willingly while away an evening.

The possibilities for unexpected lamps don't end there, though. 'Many of us have high shelving units, perhaps built into alcoves next to a chimney breast or in slightly awkward hallway spaces, where previously no lights could safely reach without summoning an electrician and ripping everything up.,' says Jo. 'Yet often these shelves are where we display the things we’d most like to show off, like gorgeous cookbooks or collected trinkets. But with a cordless lamp, you can shine a light on your shelves and completely alter the focal point and the feel of an over-familiar room.'

The key thing to remember is that a move like this isn't born out of necessity. 'Usually, if we’re putting a lamp in an unexpected place it’s a space that doesn’t necessarily need a lot of light,' says interior designer Rosanna Bassford. 'So incorporate a lamp that has a lot of style, is like a piece of artwork, or shows your personality. It becomes more of a decorative piece that also happens to be functional.'

So, if you want a warm, welcoming feel that runs throughout your home, try adding a lamp to a more unconventional area of your home like Bobby. It's the designers' go-to move for a cozier atmosphere, and it will help shine a light on the forgotten areas of your home that deserve a little more attention. Whether it's dotting your space with the best table lamps or some delicate sconces, side lighting has a place in every room.

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.