If you haven't yet heard, one of our favorite new design trends is all about embracing exaggerated lighting. We're talking bigger, better and brighter than you've ever seen before. It's no great secret that the simple pendant bulb has had its day, but statement lighting has reached brand new heights - or should we say sizes - and we can't get enough of them.
This newfound love for oversized lighting is all about playing with perception. If you're struggling to picture it, think Alice in Wonderland after she eats the cake. Contrary to what you're probably thinking, this exaggeration of scale can make a room feel bigger or smaller depending on what you're hoping to achieve, and you don't necessarily need a huge space to pull it off. Ultimately, it's all about proportion.
If you're feeling curiouser and curiouser about this interior design trend, we've assembled a few designers in-the-know to help us explore the origins of the latest lighting trend alongside expert tips on how to style oversized lights in your own home. Whether you're after a new lighting idea for a tiny powder room or a vast entryway, there's no reason why you shouldn't give overstated lighting a try.
Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to sharing articles that help readers embrace emerging trends and keep up-to-date with changing styles in the home. For this piece, she spoke with leading designers to learn how to style the oversized lighting trend to make the ultimate design statement, no matter the size of your space
Why is oversized lighting trending?
As we creep ever closer to 2023 we notice new trends that are set to define the year ahead, and the oversized lighting trend is one of those. Recent years have seen a huge move towards more maximalist styles and playful design statements aimed at wowing guests, and what better way to do so than with a dramatic lighting feature?
'We are designing products with exaggerated scale to create interest and a sense of fun,' says Niki Wright, co-founder of Lights & Lamps. 'This could be across a collection of lamps with a similar textured surface, or the use of geometric shapes such as domes, cones and globes.'
According to Camilla Clarke, creative director at Albion Nord, this attention to lighting is long overdue. As a design element that's commonly overlooked, she thinks it's time we considered lighting the integral design component to our spaces that it clearly is.
‘In 2023, lighting shouldn’t feel like an afterthought, blending in or disappearing within a space,' she notes. 'Rather, dramatic statement fixtures demonstrate how the right light can act like a piece of art. In the year ahead, interiors will embrace this beautiful merging of form and function.’
Which spaces suit an exaggerated statement light?
So, where should you consider incorporating an oversized light? While you might think this dramatic design statement is only reserved for large spaces, there's actually a lot of freedom to embrace the idea in any room, no matter how small. It's merely a question of proportion.
When we say oversized, we don't necessarily mean a lampshade or lighting fixture that's ten feet in diameter (although, that doe sound pretty show stopping). What we're really talking about is lighting that's exaggerated relative to the room. ‘Don’t be afraid to use oversized lighting in small spaces,' says Camilla. 'I often find that small furniture makes a space feel smaller – the same applies for lighting.'
So, with small bathroom lighting ideas, big shades or fixtures shouldn't be out of the question. 'Oversized lighting makes a statement, creating visual impact and a sense of grandeur,' Camilla continues. 'It makes the room seem more expansive whilst filling and adorning what is usually the sparsest area – the ceiling.'
Now that's out of the way, what about rooms? Since oversized lighting is all about pairing style and functionality, think practically about which spaces a large light could benefit. ‘Kitchens obviously need to work hard and so does your kitchen lighting,' says Scarlett Hampton, Niki's co-founder at Lights & Lamps. If you have high ceilings, choose two or three industrial-style pendants that look disproportionately big compared to your island. This will create a focal point while also flooding the countertop with plenty of light.
A bold design choice like this shouldn't be reserved for spaces that other people don't see. Use it in social areas of the home where you frequently host guests. ‘Oversized lighting especially lends itself to entrance halls,' adds Camilla. 'For example, a beautiful lantern can make the entrance to a home incredibly welcoming and becomes a point of interest that’s noticed by guests right away.’
Then, of course, there's living room lighting. Consider echoing the style of your overhead light in smaller ambient lighting features throughout your space. 'A statement lamp can have such gravitas in a living room whilst a similarly shaped lamp in a smaller scale can be a lot more practical in a nook or placed on a small shelf whilst still coordinating,' says Niki.
Go bold with this tripod floor lamp from Wayfair. The minimalist design means it's sure to look right at home in any space, no matter your style. It means you can just let the sheer scale of the magnificent lampshade do the talking.
Oversized lighting doesn't have to be stark
Design choices aside, you might think oversized lighting is simply going to look too bright in your space. Well, it doesn't have to be. Modern lights are designed to distribute light evenly, no matter the design or number of bulbs.
‘Larger fixtures don't necessarily mean heaviness or having more individual lights that omit excessive, stark brightness,' says Scarlett. 'Rather, the overall design and material of an oversized pendant can make as much of a statement as the light itself.'
Consider a linen or rattan shade for soft, warm glow that allows light to gently seep through the small gaps in the material. As Scarlett notes: 'This kind of pendant works cleverly above a round or square table for dining room lighting.’ For larger, chandelier-style fixtures or flush ceiling lights, consider making them dimmable.
Don't forget floor lamps
When we speak of lighting it's easy to forget about floor lamps, but their contributions shouldn't be overlooked. More and more interior design buffs are now opting to light their spaces without any overhead ceiling lighting at all since freestanding lamps can do all the work.
In fact, oversized floor lamps can actually make better accent lighting than overhead lights since we're less likely to come across them on an exaggerated scale and they're more well integrated within the other furnishings of our rooms. 'When choosing one, consider how tall your ceilings are,' Niki advises. 'For a home with very high ceilings and dramatic, vast windows, an extra-large tripod floor lamp helps soften the atmosphere, giving the space a cozier, more lived-in feel.'
Floor lamps can also help create a cozy atmosphere, just be sure to consider the brightness level. 'The light’s intensity will depend on the opacity of the material used for the lampshade,' says Niki. 'Think of lighting like the sun. Big and bright in the day, becoming lower and softer by night. When ceiling lights are no longer needed to see by, switch on a larger floor lamp.' They're the perfect way to cozy on down while still making a striking design statement.
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Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. 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.
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