If you own a historic or period home or a traditional house that you decorate with rustic charm, lantern style lighting makes for a beautiful and somewhat expected lighting choice. The rich metals, the vintage detail, and the curls and scrolls complement the lines of these homes. However, if you have contemporary home, will lighting designed centuries ago fit in with today’s style? Depending on the lines of the lantern, the answer is a resounding yes!
Defining Contemporary Design
The concept of “contemporary” design varies over time but is generally considered to reflect what is popular now and in the immediate past (with the last century.) Homes with contemporary styling are often marked by:
- Sleek, simple lines
- Open floorplans
- Formal or informal overall look, but never fussy
- Minimum of detail or carving
- Sharp lines and gentle curves
- Smaller furniture pieces to fit smaller spaces
- Various tones from light to dark
- Emphasis on natural materials such as unpainted wood, leather, metals, and natural fibers
- Mixed materials that range from traditional to non-traditional
- Reflective surfaces such as glass, steel, or chrome
- International stylistic influences, especially Asian and Scandinavian
- Minimalistic and uncluttered so that “form follows function”
Variations of “contemporary” include mid-century modern, urban, retro, art deco, and casual contemporary, all styles that have unique characteristics, while incorporating many features from the list above. Some people may go eclectic and add a piece of furniture from another era, but the overall look should remain simple. Carrying out a contemporary look require consistency that shows up in the paint colors on the walls, the fabrics used on window coverings and furniture, and the lighting.
Remembering That Less Is More
The goal of decorating in a contemporary style is to make the space inviting and uncluttered but not cold, and minimalist without the room looking as if it were missing something needed for comfort and appeal. The way to avoid making room seem impersonal is by drawing attention to architectural elements that add character such as exposed piping, original brickwork, and high ceiling by using bold blocks of color to draw attention to them or neutral colors to make them blend in, minimal window treatments, and most of all, adequate lighting.
Proper lighting showcases simple furnishings without carving, floral prints, skirts, fringe, or tassels, often upholstered in neutral colors such as black, white, or beige with color brought in with pillows. Hardwood or tile floors are ideal, although you might want low-pile commercial carpet. To add color, texture, and interest to the room, add area rugs in solid colors or geometric patterns along with large plants or flowers in simple containers.
Keeping the contemporary vibe requires the judicious placement of art on the walls or place in the room – too many pieces or shelves full of collectibles detract from a clean look. Bare space on the walls allows each décor piece to stand out.
Why Lantern-Style Lighting Works For Contemporary Homes
Lanterns have the potential to be the perfect lighting fixture for homes with contemporary styling. Why?
When left uncoated, their soft copper color adds warmth to a cool, uncluttered room. At a time when metallic finishes in general are popular, the lanterns blend in while making a subtle statement. The beauty is in the metal, not in elaborate styling.
The sparseness of lantern design is a perfect for a contemporary décor that values simplicity, clean lines, and an uncluttered, geometric appearance. While beautiful, lanterns are no-nonsense fixtures that are versatile and can be sized to fit any space. Whether you need light over a dining table or island or need illumination for a dark hallway, lanterns can do the job with style. Custom copper fixtures from Lantern & Scroll can be made in any size to accommodate your lighting needs.
Lantern style lighting is characterized by a metal frame that supports the light. Traditional lanterns, as captured by the styling of the Charleston Collection from Lantern & Scroll have glass sides and tops that are truncated triangles. They may have loops and scrolls that had to their flare. Fixtures with more angular lines in both the glass and the metal, as shown in the Yacht Basin or the John Street Collection work well in more contemporary homes.
Depending on how they are positioned in a room, lanterns can provide excellent general ambient light or directional light to illuminate paintings and other pieces of art. They lend themselves on being the focal point of the room or demure and functional components of the room.
Lanterns are readily available for indoor and outdoor use, which means that you can enhance the exterior of your home as well as the inside with contemporary flair. Using well-placed lanterns on porches, decks, and patios illuminate your home with simplicity and elegance.
Planning Lighting For Your Home
If the idea of using lanterns in your contemporary home appeals to you, you might get some great ideas of what you like by looking at sites like Pinterest and Houzz. In 2017, Pinterest had a 75% increase in pins about home-related topics, so the likelihood is you will see some styles that will work for you. You will find over 1,600 photos there and over 429,000 on Houzz that show creative uses for contemporary lanterns in every room of the house.
Even if you plan on using a designer to plan and execute your home design, looking at sites like this are a treasure trove of inspiration that open your mind to ideas your interior designer might present. You will already be sold on using lanterns on patterned ceilings, in bathrooms, and other locations within your home and outdoors.
When you come to a lighting site like Lantern & Scroll, our owners and designers can help you visualize what would complement your space. Bringing along photos and blueprints of your home when you visit our showroom will help us work with you (or your decorator) to create the custom lighting fixtures that will be an integral part of your contemporary home.