Have you noticed that it seems like there are more choices in lighting than ever before? More than just a functional element, lighting has become an essential part of the décor or statement in the room. We talked with our lighting buyer, Michelle Nicholson, to get the skinny on lighting trends and our new fall favorites.
Ballard Designs: Is lighting having a moment?
Michelle Nicholson: Yes! It is a really fun time for lighting in home décor. There are so many interesting designs and fun fixtures than ever before. If you’ve been putting it off, now is a great time to update your lighting.
BD: Let’s talk about some of these trends we’re seeing.
MN: There are so many great looks, but there are a few trends we’re particularly excited about. One is antique brass. It’s warmer than silver and always elegant. We’ve added an antique brass finish option to the ever-popular Eldridge Pendant. And our new Halden Glass Orb Pendant is actually crafted of heavy cast brass.
BD: What other looks are you into right now?
MN: We love the open and airy designs, like the Orb Chandelier or our French antique-inspired Cosette. Two different looks, but a similar concept in terms of visual weight.
BD: When you choose a design like that you can afford to go really big and over scale in your space.
MN: Exactly. It’s not visually heavy, but it creates that eye-catching element in the room.
BD: We’ve noticed it’s not just the fixture that makes the statement. There are also a lot of lighting accents in the marketplace.
MN: A lot of fixtures today are designed without shades, so the exposed bulb look is hot right now. Vintage-style bulbs really complete the look, whether it’s an antique-inspired piece or something with a more industrial vibe. They give off a softer, warmer glow than standard bulbs, too. You don’t have to go out and buy a whole new chandelier to get this look. You can take the shades off your existing fixture and just replace the bulbs—a quick update without the hefty price tag.
BD: We like the sound of that. Jute also seems to be making its way into lighting.
MN: Jute rope accent is hot right now. It adds that extra layer of texture—it’s so chic. Our Laurenza Chandelier and Denley Pendant Chandelier are both crafted with hand-wrapped jute around the arms. But our Jute Rope Chandelier Pole gives you the same look with any lighting fixture. For even less of a commitment, our Jute Chandelier Shades create a similar vibe.
BD: We love that you can get a great look on any budget.
MN: You really can, especially if you love to update your style from season to season. We’ve always said replacing your lamp or chandelier shades are the easiest way to make a change. If you have solid shades, think about going with a pattern next time. We have some really fun patterns that add punch to any room. Also, many of our fabric shades are pulled from our Fabric by the Yard collection, making it easy to coordinate with your furnishings or pillows from room to room.
BD: We know how popular our Document fabric is, and now it’s on our shades, too.
MN: Yes! We’re quite excited about that. We also have crystal accents, finials and chain sleeves and cord covers that all help you change the look of your lighting. Ballard is the go-to place for accessorizing in the lighting world.
BD: Let’s talk about the new collection. What are some of your fall favorites?
MN: I mentioned Halden earlier. It’s crafted of solid brass and is fabulous. The Julia Pendant is something that came out of our travels last year. We saw these gorgeous hand painted pendants in a partner’s showroom and fell in love. We had them recreate the design for us using the patterns of these beautiful vintage fabric swatches we provided. There are three different patterns—they go anywhere and give a pop of color. They’re great in multiples, or you can hang them individually—or you can even mix all three together.
I also love the Luciana Table Lamp. We created a classic urn shaped base to show off the hand glazed terra cotta. We really worked with the vendor to get the right color of the glazes; it’s a soft, warm palette for fall. I would encourage people to look at the lamps online to really see the detail in the glazing. It’s beautiful.
BD: The Lasalle Lighting Collection caught our eye.
MN: The lamp and wall sconce both feature this oversized, elongated design that’s inspired by vintage candle sticks. It’s hand-forged—really beautiful quality. Many people think these lamps are machine made and come off a conveyor belt in some assembly line, but so much of what we make is crafted by hand and requires a lot of creativity and artisanship.
BD: That’s a great point. There’s also a lot of thought that goes into these designs before you even get to production.
MN: Absolutely. The Lasalle Lamps are actually a solution-oriented product for us, so the design is not always simply for aesthetic purposes. We have a lot of narrow consoles for small spaces that often don’t fit standard size lamps. The Lasalle Lamp is the perfect size for these tables that have a slimmer profile.
BD: What else inspires your lighting designs?
MN: So much comes from our antiquing trips, locally and around the world. Our Piedmont Lantern is a great example. The design is inspired by an antique we found, and we had the vendor develop custom finishes based on found objects—music parts, old pulls and knobs—I’ve collected from past trips to flea markets and antique shops.
We also find inspiration in nature. While traveling last year, we fell in love with the sea and the naturally harvested shells that are everywhere. We had our vendor there develop the Alessandra Chandelier, which is crafted of natural capiz shells.
BD: You’re making us jealous. Your job sounds like a lot of fun.
MN: That’s definitely the fun part of our job—taking random things and turning them into beautiful objects for people’s homes.
What lighting trends are you loving right now? Tell us in the comments below.