365 Objects Of Design

Lighting Trends 2018

15th May 2018
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Over the last three weeks I have run pieces on the main trends that emerged from Milan Design Week when it came to sitting rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. And that, I thought, was that. And then lighting experts John Cullen contacted me with some information they had put together on lighting trends for this year and offered their report to me exclusively. And I thought it was interesting and that you might like to read it and see if it gives you ideas. So here we go.


Polespring downlight and Lucca uplight from John Cullen Lighting

Polespring downlight and Lucca uplight from John Cullen Lighting

More and more projects are using a large scale decorative light as a focal point of a scheme. Many are almost sculptural in their design and help to create the wow factor. However, as John Cullen point out, these lamps often won’t give out enough light to be practical and you will need to supplement them with discreet background lights – perhaps using LED tape hidden in architectural features or under shelves as well as table and task lights for more focused work.


Jordaan Hanging Lamp from OKA

Jordaan Hanging Lamp from OKA

If you have decided that you do want to have a large decorative lighting feature there are two ways to go about this. One is to hunt for the perfect light. This can also blow a hole in the perfect budget so the other thing to do, they suggest, is to buy several lights and hang them in a cluster. You can also hang them at different heights. Then you can either buy a multi-outlet ceiling rose or hang each light on a separate rose and position them you want. Don’t forget you can also do this in the corner of the room to create a focal point or replace a floor lamp – it doesn’t have to be in the middle of the room.


soho wall lamp by lightpoint from the conran shop

soho wall lamp by lightpoint from the conran shop

This is about using wall lights to give light but also double up as a sort of installation. Using several in this way will give off a kind of soft glow which can be beautifully atmospheric. You can also create this effect by lighting any shelves you have in the room. This draws the eye to anything you might be wanting to display but also gives off a gentle illumination when you turn off the other lamps in the room. This can work in a kitchen diner if you want to have friends for supper but don’t want to see the washing up.


The goal of many a kitchen and bathroom where downlights, while being the most practical, can also be ugly and give off a distracting glare. The aim here is to create bright lighting that illuminates the room without you being aware of where it is coming from. I don’t mean that literally, but in the sense that you can see what you are doing but don’t feel the need to look up at the ceiling. This works for the first point where you might need extra light to boost the decorative pendant you have installed. Spot lights are becoming smaller and more powerful so they are also more discreet. Make sure they recess into the ceiling and have a black baffle (bulb surround) which lessens the glare and produces more of a glow.


Credit Cambridge Country Cottages, Cambridgeshire

Credit Cambridge Country Cottages, Cambridgeshire, available to rent

This is about using warmer LED lights rather than the cool white ones. This creates a more cosy atmosphere which is perfect for evenings. John Cullen says that integrating warm linear stripes into the joinery is a huge trend and says you can now buy tape that is tuneable – meaning that you can have a bright white light in the day and change it to a warmer, softer version at night.


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  • Monica 15th May 2018 at 10:06 am

    Hello Kate!
    A timely post in our household as we are in the middle of a lighting dilemma. Our living room was recently painted a lovely muted grey green. I was advised to change the halogen downlights in the builtin shelves and to use LED lighting instead. I matched these (small black squares) with two warm white LED ceiling lights. The result is simply AWFUL.

    I believe the reason is the color of the walls. I am convinced LED lighting works well on white walls but not on these grey green ones. By the way, what manufacturers call warm white (3000 kelvin) is actually pretty darn white and makes my newly-stripped and oiled oak parquet look like a stage setting waiting for a singer. The problem is most of the products on the market are 3000k so it’s tremendously difficult to find a warm, yellowish white. So wish I hadn’t switched from halogen!!
    Any suggestions for a soft discreet effect for two ceiling lights? Right over the two sofas! I would love to hang two small chandeliers but am getting resistance from my husband…..
    Thanks for any ideas!

  • Jane Dale 15th May 2018 at 10:05 am

    Having forgotten to include my email address first time round, I think I need to start my comment all over again…… What fab, annnd useful, ideas in this gem of a post, especially the blessed relief of ‘warmer’ LED lighting…..annnd……oh, my glory, that wonderful INVISIBLE LIGHTING! This, from an adventurous, inveterate lighting freak. Thank you….thank you :))

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