Lighting design can be more creative than you probably ever imagined. The possibilities have never been more evident than now — when looking at the top lighting trends for 2018.
Lighting designers have given us an overwhelming array of choices to consider. Some are futuristic in style, and others are inspired by the past. Even styles reminiscent of the past are being shaped by visions of what lies ahead for the future. Stylish new sustainable and energy-efficient options are becoming increasingly important for contemporary environments, even when decorating retro-inspired homes.
Let’s explore X major lighting trends for 2018 and beyond:
1. LED Lighting
LED lighting is the top lighting trend for 2018. This is a trend that, by all appearances, is still in its infancy. Based on projections posted by the US Department of Energy, we’re confident in predicting that the LED lighting trend is one that has staying power; we expect it to gain traction in 2017 and remain relevant well into the coming decades. The US Department of Energy forecasts that LED lighting will comprise 75% of all lighting sales by the year 2030.
This is one of those trends that makes perfect sense. When total energy costs are considered over the long term, LED lighting is both more affordable and more practical than other alternatives. While the upfront costs for LED lighting do tend to be higher, the overall energy costs associated with LED lighting are considerably lower when calculated over an entire lifespan of use.
According to the US Department of Energy website,
“Today’s LED lighting is six or seven times more efficient than conventional lighting and can last up to 25 times longer.”
“Switching entirely to LED lights over the next two decades could save the U.S. $250 billion in energy costs, reduce electricity consumption for lighting by nearly 50 percent and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon emissions.”
If you’re a homeowner, you can get in on this trend by evaluating and budgeting for a switch to LED lighting in your home. This is one of those tangible investments that you can both enjoy now and profit from in the long term — which explains why so many homeowners are jumping on the trend.
If you’re an industry professional, you’ll likely find it rewarding to educate your customers about the benefits of LED lighting. It’s a win-win solution for everyone.
Residential architects have reported an upswing in demand for LED lighting, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom. LED cabinet lighting is in especially strong demand.
There’s also significant interest in outdoor LED lighting. As consumers embrace the trend towards outdoor living, many are revamping their patios, porches, driveways and garden areas with additional lighting.
LED strip lighting is also trending upwards.
There are people who embrace the latest technology. Then there are people who head in the opposite direction. When it comes to lighting, significant numbers of people are currently interested in nostalgic details, as evidenced by the recent popularity of the vintage Edison bulb. These eye-catching incandescent bulbs harmonize well with a variety of different design aesthetics. They complement farmhouse style homes, industrial lofts, contemporary apartments, mountain modern condos and a wide range of other trendy interior environments. Retro Edison bulbs are available in both incandescent and LED-friendly models.
This is a carryover trend from 2017, and there are now people — particularly the early adopters of the trend — who are declaring it is now “over” and “outdated for 2018”. However, with the current art deco revival and all the interest in vintage and antique furnishings, I don’t think this particular trend has run its course yet. I believe it is still current for 2018 and will likely remain popular well into 2019.
3. Gold Colored Light Fixtures
Warm metals are trendy for 2018, and they’re making appearances in many places throughout the home. Many lighting purveyors are getting in on the trend, offering a variety of lovely gold-colored pendant lights and various gold sconces and lamps.
4. Pendant Lighting
Pendant lighting isn’t a new trend, but it remains in demand in 2018.
Some current pendant lighting draws inspiration from the past, while other pendant lamp styles are uniquely contemporary in design.
Bowl pendants and drum pendants are both important silhouettes.
Multi-light pendants are another important category, with many trend-setters choosing to incorporate several fixtures into their interior designs.
5. Industrial Style Lighting
“Urban industrial” is a relevant style trend for 2018. If this is your decorating style of choice, you’ll want lighting that captures the mood. Pictured here is an on-trend indoor / outdoor galvanized steel barn light that makes an ideal complement to the industrial style aesthetic. If you’d prefer a different finish, the same light fixture is also available in black, red and white.
6. RLM Lighting
“RLM” is an initialism that could mean multiple things. In regards to interior light fixtures it means “reflector luminaire manufacturer”. These initials can also refer to “reflected light microscopy”, a fascinating science for examining reflective metallic and other surfaces. The common element: downward-pointing lights are central to both types of RLM.
RLM light fixtures weren’t originally intended for residential use. They are the downward-pointing commercial / industrial light fixtures you’d typically see in business locations: restaurants, shopping centers, hotels and warehouses. This type of lighting evolved because of a need for diffuser-free light fixtures that reflect light downward.
RLM lighting commands a relatively small share of the residential lighting market, but it is currently trending up. Lighting expert Randall Whitehead attributes its upswing in popularity to the fact that some communities are adopting Dark Sky ordinances.
Dark Sky ordinances? I had no idea what that was all about, so I decided to research it. That turned out to be a thought-provoking rabbit trail.
Have you ever had someone turn a bright light on when you weren’t prepared for it? After that experience, you’re surely aware that light can be invasive. Yet perhaps you hadn’t given much thought to the possibility that light could be a pollutant — or that excess light could be harmful to people, the environment or wildlife. If these concepts are news to you, you aren’t alone; they certainly hadn’t entered my mind as possibilities.
In a nutshell, the Dark Sky ordinances are part of a larger initiative to reduce light pollution. People who are concerned with light pollution and its effects are taking steps to reduce it — and, apparently, RLM lighting is a popular solution with this crowd.
The goal is to focus light exactly where it is needed and eliminate wasteful use of light where it is not needed. RLM light fixtures do exactly that. They can be wall mounted, bracket mounted or pendant mounted, allowing you to focus light in the spots you want to illuminate. Regardless of where you stand (or don’t stand) on the issue of light pollution, being able to focus light where you need it is a good thing — so RLM light fixtures are worth taking a look at.
7. Chandeliers in Unexpected Spaces
While it isn’t a bad idea to put a chandelier in your foyer or dining room, you don’t need to feel like your chandelier placement is restricted to only these areas. Feel free to get creative. Some interior designers are moving chandeliers out of the dining rooms they decorate and moving them into kitchens instead. According to the American Lighting Association, chandeliers are making appearances in unlikely spaces like bathrooms and walk-in closets. I’ve even seen chandeliers being used for lighting laundry rooms lately.
8. Mini Chandeliers and Value-Priced Chandeliers
In general, there are a couple of other clear trends emerging in regards to chandeliers.
First, there’s significant demand for value-priced contemporary chandeliers that don’t compromise on style. Mini chandeliers fit into this category, with dazzling small-sized options being just right for limited-size spaces such as studio apartments, attic bedrooms and small mother-in-law suites.
9. Dramatic, Dazzling, Upscale Chandeliers
Next, there’s the segment of the market that wants dramatic, upscale, extravagant chandeliers. These consumers indicate that they’re willing to spend more if they can find exactly the look, style and quality chandelier they want. There’s strong demand for eye-catching traditional crystal chandeliers.
10. Lighting inside Drawers and Cabinets
Don’t you hate it when your cabinets or drawers are so dark that you can’t see the contents, and you can’t find what you need? Tired of using a flashlight when you need to venture into a dimly-lit space? Well, trendsetters these days have found elegant solutions to that problem: they’re adding lighting inside those formerly-dark spaces.
In many cases, when you open a drawer or cabinet, the light inside is triggered to instantly turn on.
11. Lighting in the Shower
Shower lights have been popular in the bathroom, and they continue to remain relevant in 2018.
12. Wireless Lighting and Security Control Systems
There’s strong current demand for functional lighting design that’s incorporated into the home security system. These systems are increasingly going wireless, and incorporating either outdoor or indoor lighting (sometimes both.)
13. Flower Chandeliers
In the past few years, we’ve seen a variety of interesting trends involving flowers: flower walls and plant walls became popular decorations for both weddings and homes. Flower crowns instead of traditional veils were on-trend for bridal attire, proms, parties and special occasions.
Now we’re seeing the next evolution: flower chandeliers.
14. Mid-Century Modern Lighting Elements
Mid-century modern design is a carryover trend that’s been relevant since the middle of last century. You would think it would go outdated at some point, but it hasn’t yet. This design style is still getting plenty of media coverage, and trendsetters all over the world are still incorporating lighting in this style in their decorating schemes. Both vintage and brand new lamps and light fixtures are available in this style.
15. Vintage Art Deco Lamps
There’s an art deco style revival happening right now. Along with it, collectors are once again becoming interested in the vintage lamps from the 1920s. There are bunches of interesting designs from this time period. Look for lamps that feature sculpted dancers, interesting geometric lamps and other unique styles featuring art deco lines and design elements.
16. A Future Trend in the Making: Human-Centric Lighting
People are becoming increasingly concerned with having healthy environments that promote restful sleep patterns. One tool that’s increasing in popularity: UV and LED lighting that can help to control circadian rhythms.
This trend is taking root in the UK in sectors other than the residential market. Right now this is not a big thing in residential interiors anywhere. Analysts predict that, by 2020, it will only have gained a 2 percent market share in residential interiors.
One reason for this expectation: Implementing the technology causes electricity costs to leap up dramatically. Nevertheless, there’s interesting research being done to see if the health benefits for this technology could outweigh its substantial costs in the healthcare, education and retail sectors. It’s a trend to track for the future to see what develops.
So that’s the inside scoop on lighting trends for 2018 and the future beyond. Now that you’re updated, you can use this information to ensure that you choose lighting that’s both on trend right now and also suitable for your family’s style and preferences. We wish you a brightly illuminated, dazzling and prosperous 2018. Happy decorating!
- At the Farnsworth Group Website — “Healthy Home” Could Be the Next Big Housing Trend
- At the US Department of Energy Website: Top 8 Things You Didn’t Know About LEDs; Energy Department Announces New Investments to Drive Cost-Competitive Next Generation Efficient Lighting
- At the LEDs Magazine Website: Research assesses the value of human centric lighting
- At the Elle Décor Website — Flower Walls Are Out; Flower Chandeliers Are In
- At the Elle Décor Website — Mid-Century Modern Lighting
- At the American Lighting Association Website: Selecting the right chandelier
- At the Florida State University website: Reflected light microscopy
- At the Residential Lighting Website: RLM Explained
- At the Sebring Services website: 7 Top Trends in Interior Lighting Design
- National Kitchen & Bath Association Design Trends Survey Forecasts More Spa-Like and Accessible Bathrooms.
- At the American Institute of Architects: Kitchens and Bathrooms Go Upscale. Article is by Kermit Baker, AIA Chief Economist.
- Homeowners Ramp-Up Spending on Kitchen and Bathroom Design, posted at the American Institute of Architects Website.
- At the American Institute of Architects: With Upturn, Homes Are More Specialized and Technologically Savvy. Article is by Kermit Baker, AIA Chief Economist.
- At the Residential Lighting Website: Lighting Trends for Kitchens and Baths. This article is by Mark L. Johnson, posted at the Residential Lighting website.
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This page was last updated on 3/11/2018.