Lighting has always changed throughout history. From candles and gas lamps to electricity’s promise of instant illumination through a light bulb, it’s easy to think that there’s not much we haven’t thought of doing when it comes to lighting a room, but you’d be proven wrong.
Lighting is becoming softer and softer as designers and DIY experts continue to develop lighting. We see light sources hidden and many are eschewing the traditional pendant structure for something more subtle. In short, lighting is experiencing a renaissance in interior design, and we’re here for it.
The benefits of this new school of lighting are simple but effective: by masking the light source, the light appears less harsh and more ambient. Your interior design as a whole appears calmer and more welcoming, not to mention more open with less need for traditional wall fixtures. We take a look at some of the ways interior designers are experimenting with the minimalist approach to lighting and how you can bring these lighting ideas into your home.
1. Create an illusion with your own wall
This softly lit space hides the living room’s lighting and shows that it can be subtle and stunning at the same time. Hiding the light source behind a curved screen creates the illusion of an existing architectural element but also provides a focal candle-like feature to this scene.
‘Creating simple, diffused lighting nowadays is a must! It creates a very relaxing ambiance in the space, say Vlad and Karina Dyachuk of design studio Dyachuk Architects. ‘In this concept, we arranged the lighting to be distributed throughout the room while also illuminating the plants from below, providing multiple lighting scenarios simultaneously. Furthermore, the back panel acts as a torch and a decorative element on the wall, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal.’
Layering as the designers mentioned is a key element to consider when using a softer approach to lighting, think about how your lighting fixtures will work side by side and not just individually.
2. Find the perfect decal piece
Plaster walls, furniture and lighting continue to grow in popularity as designers and their clients seek to create calm and peaceful interiors. Sculptural sconces that hide the light source and blend into the wall are a great solution for those seeking to add simple lighting to their spaces but don’t want to incur the cost and time associated with making major architectural changes.
“Transforming my artistic practice into designs for the home, specifically lighting, came from an interest in blending art with people’s surrounding environments,” says Los Angeles-based artist Cassandra Thatcher. “It’s great when art stands as a focal point, but what’s even more interesting to me is when art seamlessly becomes part of the story of the home, which for many is a favorite space.” This synergy between lighting as wall decoration and interior decoration is a key element of this new approach to lighting and is something to take into consideration when creating your own interior design.
3. Find a custom solution
This living room designed by MKCA for its Carnegie Hill project showcases a minimalist architectural style. Custom fixtures on either end of the fireplace provide an ambient glow but also add an interesting sculptural touch to the wall.
“The sconces are a collaboration with our sculptor friend Christopher Kurtz,” explains Michael Chen, founder of MKCA. “We were interested in developing a light fixture that had an ambiguous connection to architecture, as it would be difficult to tell where a wall ends and a sculpture begins. This was partly to allow for the possibility of an artwork above the mantelpiece, but also to create something subtle that still had a presence to hold the empty space on its own Same. We like to create moments of intentional emptiness inside. I think this is important, especially in a city like New York, where one is always stimulated.
This fascination with the absence of objects in favor of curated simplicity gives this project a sense of minimal opulence – it’s all about the power of negative space. “The installations were carved from wood and glued to the wall,” Michael adds. ‘It’s lit by a flexible LED that glows on the inner surface. That’s what gives the opening a soft glow. There are access panels for the lighting fixtures hidden in millwork on the other side of the wall.’
To recreate this look, be sure to consider lighting early in the design process and discuss it with your architectural contractor and interior designer to get an idea of what is possible within your space.
4. Light the ceiling
While tradition dictates that we should always light down, uplighting your ceiling can create a beautiful, subtle display of light for your home. Spanish architects, Balzar Arquitectos, demonstrate how subtle, subtle lighting can help guide the eyes and create a sense of drama with their Avenida del Oeste residential project. Coffered ceilings feel romantic and relaxing with this lighting system and there are no harsh light fixtures to break up these beautiful lines.
“Lighting is achieved through indirect light integrated into the pit,” reveals Laura Moreno Albuixic of Balzar Arquitectos. “This is our usual way of working to keep roofs clean.” Taking the designer’s advice, it’s worth consulting experts to make sure the lighting is hidden in the best way so that the result looks elevated and not patchy.
5. Blending light with art
Simple lighting solutions are also seeing a greater focus on multi-functional lighting fixtures. These sculptures do more than just illuminate their surroundings, but create a space for communication, contributing to what is revealed as an emotional interior.
“The concept behind this sculptural light is certainly to provide clients and designers with the opportunity to integrate it seamlessly into existing walls,” says artist and interior designer Mattia Biagi. “The goal was to create a captivating installation effect on site rather than just traditional lighting fixtures.”
By choosing to create a collection of light sculptures, you can blur the lines between lighting and living room wall art. Another benefit of this approach is that it can be designed to fit your interior architecture, blending into the wall to highlight surrounding elements.
material: stainless steel
Contemporary cylinder shaped hall wall light
material: glue material