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When choosing lighting for a home, there are three types of light to consider—ambient (or general) light, accent light, and task lighting. The best designs incorporate all three. And thoughtful lighting brings the indoors out to include the deck, patio and doorways. Great lighting designs add highlights and contour shadows for a warm and welcoming feel, and we have just the right fixtures in a variety of styles to enhance your decor.
Table & Task Lamps
When you need accent lighting in a room, or just a good light to see by, turn to these types of lamps. Table lamps bring a spot of style and gentle pools of light when placed on end tables in a living room, nightstands in the bedroom, on top of a bar and console tables in hallways and entryways. Task lamps are less about diffusive light and more about direct light for a particular purpose, and are most suitable for desks, sewing or hobby tables, and any other space that need functional lighting. But you don’t have to choose practicality over style—our task lamps are designed to brighten a space with stunning design as well.
A crystal chandelier is opulence, pure and simple. But whether it’s rows of shimmering crystal, spartan wrought iron mimicking candlelight, or an antique-finished wiry piece that looks like something you might find at a Parisian flea market, chandeliers bring big personality and presence to a dining room, entryway, bedroom, or even as a touch of luxury over a vintage claw-foot bathtub. Classic chandeliers drip with crystals, while the more rustic wrought-iron designs are muscular with a Medieval feel. Or if you like, add a wink of that ’70s style with our inimitable chunky Amelia Wood Bead Chandelier.
These are ideal for rooms that don’t have hardwired lighting fixtures—not only can floor lamps pack an illuminating punch, they look remarkably beautiful doing it. Styles range from classic to rustic to art deco. Some are styled with vintage mercury glass, and some have an industrial vibe—such as the gorgeous Bodhi Task Floor Lamp. They can be set next to a lounging chair for reading, or next to a desk for the most elegant task lighting. By contrast, the styles with linen and burlap shades are wonderful for throwing ambient light around a room when you fit them with 60W bulbs.
Simply put, a pendant lamp is a hanging lamp. These types of lamps are among the most versatile—they come in so many styles from vintage to contemporary to rustic and even Parisian salon-style. Plus, they’re typically smaller, and they fit nicely into corners that need brightening with accent light. Or combine two or three of the same lamp, hung at even or differing lengths, to fill a larger area with ambient light (or mix different styles for an eclectic look). Pendant lamps can also be a creative solution for task lighting—a series of pendants over a kitchen island is practical and adds visual interest.
Flushmounts are lamps that are attached directly to your ceiling, usually in the centre of living rooms, bedrooms, at the top of the stairs, in hallways and at entryways. These are great lamps for ambient (or general) lighting, and can fill the room with a diffuse glow if light bulbs are covered with an opaque shade such as vintage milk glass. Or choose a style that highlights the twinkling industrial look of exposed bulbs.
Ambient lighting serves as the room’s primary source of light before any accent or task fixtures are brought into it. Different types of electrical lighting fixtures can be combined to create an ambient lighting plan—flushmount lamps, wall sconces, and floor lamps can all work together to bring overall balanced illumination to a room. The bulbs play a part too—safe wattage for particular fixtures and light intensity are essential considerations.
Sconce lighting fixtures are mounted to a wall, and come in a wide variety of styles—vintage schoolhouse, art deco, rustic, contemporary and more—that suit every type of decor. Sconces can take the shape of any type of lamp—be it a Flushmount tube, a bell-shaped pendant or a classic lamp shade—but attached vertically to a wall instead of a ceiling or table. Sconces make charming ambient, accent or even task lighting if placed over a desk, and offer a dramatic presence when flanking a decorative mirror or mantel.
This is a room where vanity lighting is needed. This is the lighting that’s placed around your bathroom mirror, and is often done with sconces. These can run along the top of the mirror, or placed at either side. Bell-shaped fixtures are elegant and classic looking, whereas tube lighting is clean and contemporary. Shade sconces work well in almost any style of decor—they’re charming when paired with moulded cabinetry, happy and bright in a New England beach-house look, and in contemporary bathrooms they offer clean lines and a touch of warmth—perfect if the room is on the verge of looking too sterile.
Star light, star bright—there’s nothing quite like outdoor lights. Whether it’s a pendant lamp, sconces, LED stringed fairy lights, or a chandelier—yes, an outdoor chandelier—accents that carve out the shadows of night bring an aura of warmth and celebration. Hang pendants in porches for drops of light, place sconces at either side of the front door or garage door for a welcoming glow, and string tiny lights in tree branches or over an outdoor dining area where they’ll blend in with the stars for a magical atmosphere.
Shades & Accessories
Sometimes you just want to switch up your style a shade. That’s why Pottery Barn offers a selection of lamp shades and other accessories for brightening up your look. Choose from burlap, linen and cotton chandelier and drum shades; filament bulbs for updating light fixtures with exposed bulbs to emit a retro vibe, and chic cord covers for hanging chandeliers that blend into the decor for a subtle finishing touch.