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Lighting by Type

A Guide to Lighting Styles from Nicholas Engert Interiors


Whilst architectural lighting is concerned with the lighting built into the fabric of the building, for example downlights, decorative lighting covers light fittings that, as well as providing light, have a physical shape and presence in a room. They are therefore objects in their own right and are immensely important in defining the look or style of the room.

Broadly, decorative lighting falls into two styles - classic and contemporary - and they are not mutually exclusive.  In other words it is possible, with care, to use use both modern and traditional lighting elements in the same space. That said, it is easier to add a modern light fitting into a traditional space than a classically styled fitting into a modern setting.

Classic or Contemporary?

The classic style

There are numerous examples of light fittings that have been developed from designs of the past. Many today are interpretations of older designs that have been given a modern look whilst many can still be found that remain faithful to the original.

When selecting a classic style, develop an eye for what looks right and avoid that which apes the past in a kitsch or vulgar manner.  

Contemporary Lighting

There is a huge variety of contemporary lighting currently available but much of it lacks the right feel and look. 

We try to find items that are visually interesting that add colour and style to a room.  Look for the details of finish and shape and bear in mind the purpose of the fitting.

In a number of cases manufacturers, such as Catellani & Smith, are taking light to an art form - an object of interest  whilst allowing the light to create interesting shadows and patterns.