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Anna G. Larson, Published September 26 2012

Making the bright choice: Lighting trends changing quickly

FARGO - The ceiling’s the limit when it comes to light fixtures.

“Constant change and endless options are really the most significant lighting trends I see as a designer,” said Reed Malm, an interior designer with Total Picture Design.

Specific lighting trends Malm has noticed include an increased use of natural forms and materials, lighting as art, and simplistic, industrial-style fixtures.

Malm’s observances echo the lighting trends forecasted by home design hub Styleture.com. The website’s style and design gurus predicted 2012 lighting trends would vary from formal and polished to organic and natural.

“Like fashion, new trends appear in lighting about every six months – we’re a fashion industry,” said Lori Holden, a Certified Lighting Consultant and the lighting manager at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Fargo.

An artistic, branch-like polished chrome multi-light pendant in the Ferguson showroom represents the marriage of an organic shape and a modern material, Holden said.

“People often take their favorite light fixtures with them when they move,” she said. “It really can be like a piece of art.”

Integrating formal with fun is also a concept that’s gained traction this year, Holden said. The chandelier, in particular, is escaping its dining-room-only status and gracing the ceilings of bedrooms, powder rooms and even bathrooms.

“They’re contemporary and fun,” she said.

Shades have remained popular – rice paper lends a more natural look to the trend, while laser cut shapes add interest to otherwise plain shades, Holden said.

For a simple look, people gravitate toward Edison-style pendants, which are inspired by Thomas Edison’s historic light bulb, Holden said.

“The focus of these pendants is really the light bulb,” she said.

In the same family as the bare-bulb Edison-style lighting, industrial-style lighting has been a significant movement in the lighting world, Malm said.

“Simple fixtures and clean lines look fresh,” he said.

Lighting technology has come a long way since Edison’s time – today, LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs are the trendy new technology, Holden said. LEDs stay cool and emit a brighter glow than traditional bulbs, and they are one of the most energy-efficient lighting technologies, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“LEDs are the wave of the future,” she said. “Over the next few years, you’re going to see more and more of them. They have lots of oomph and sparkle.”

No matter which style of fixture or bulb a client may pick, Malm has one rule that he never breaks: Quality over quantity.

“I’d rather have one quality lamp than five lower-quality lamps,” he said. “The right lighting can really change a room.”