The interior trend for exposed lighting, with its roots in european warehouses, has well and truly solidified itself in residential design. Magazine styled homes are full of drapped cords and sparkling bulbs, but translating this trend to your own home, needs careful consideration, and a little ligthing 101.
The key is to decide what the function of the light is going to be – is it mearly sculptural, do you need a punch of light, is it for a designated task? Installation, and more importantly the type of bulb fitted, both play a crutial task in getting exposed bulb lighting correct.
Think student flat, one central bulb – creating a flat, consistant, bright light. The very thing most lighting designer avoid in homes. Creating pockets of light, with sparkle, not glare, and ensuring that task lighting is correct, is the key to a beautiful and functional lighting design.
Our advice would be to approach exposed bulb lighting in two ways. Obviously the actual light fitting is of little consequence to the final light output, and the market is flooded with fittings of varying degrees of quality and price, with a miriad of materials and colours.
What really makes or breaks the fittings function and aesthetic, is the bulb choice. We recommend the following bulbs
These are essentially for decorative use. Great for living spaces where there is other sources of task and general light, as the output is fairly low, and using too many will send your power bill sky high. Bulbs with a regular incandescent filament, should be treated the same, with a very low wattage, or dimmable control. Below examples available from Paper Plane & Lighting Direct
2. Frosted or Fluorescent:
Perfect for those spaces that you want a high output of general light – office spaces, playrooms, laundries – some kitchens – although be careful in an open plan kitchen, as these can just result in overlighting adjacent spaces. If you can, invest in dimmable bulbs for control of light levels. Below examples available from Plumen and The Light Bulb Man
3. Crown Dipped:
These are a lighting designers secret weapon, and although they are heavy on power, only a few are needed to make serious impact. The bottom half of the bulb is dipped in a mirror coating, which completely blocks the light, forcing it upwards (or downwards for a table lamp). This creates a two fold effect – cutting any potential glare, and also pushing light up on the ceiling. This indirect light which is reflected back into the space, is the perfect soft, general light – then complemented by lights such as reading lamps and task downlights. These also work brilliantly in open structure pendants, enhancing shadows and patterns on the ceiling. Below examples from The Light Bulb Shop and Kiwi Living