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Space Content Studio for ND Atelier
Lighting can make or break a room—and since we’re here to spotlight the bright side, we’ll focus on the former. Great lighting changes the way you experience a place for the better, whether it’s a mood boost thanks to exposure to natural light, circadian rhythm regulation as a result of ambient lighting with the right bulbs and dimmers, higher efficiency and increased safety from strategically placed task lighting, and most exciting, more visual intrigue brought by statement fixtures that double as architectural character, artwork, and/or dimensional decor.
So as a design editor, I’m always on the lookout for innovative ways designers are playing with lighting. Of course, a statement chandelier is always an option, but my new favorite trend is a little more interesting—not to mention, infinitely customizable. Plus, if recent examples are proof, it seems to have real staying power. I call it the staggered pendant effect. Though there are no distinct rules, there are a few characteristics that set it apart: 1) There are at least three pendants suspended from the ceiling in one room, 2) they’re either scattered around a room or clustered in one area together but always vary in distance from the ceiling, and 3) the composition is one-of-a-kind, even if the pendant itself is a mass-produced budget buy and not a customized investment.
Another fun twist is using pendants of shapes and sizes to play up that variation even further, but the goal is to create balance without relying on the standardized concept of symmetry as binary. Plus, the seemingly random orientation and combination make it feel like a happy accident. Much like wallpapering, mirroring, or painting a ceiling, this trend incorporates the fifth wall to really complete a room by creating depth and intrigue from above—except this time, in the third dimension. Ahead, see the different ways designers have experimented with this lighting trend and consider recreating your favorite version in your own home.
The large windows in this primary bedroom designed by Atelier ND and Carice Van Houten draw the eye straight ahead, and while the forest views are certainly calming, the light installation overhead also makes the interior space well worth admiring. The paint color, Pontefract by Paint & Paper Library, is so unique it defies definition—which is one of the many reasons the design team chose it, and it provides a lovely backdrop for the pendants sourced and repurposed from an old church.
Dining Room Hack
Globe-shaped rice paper globes light up this room designed by Chloe Aldrich of Redmond Aldrich Design. Here’s the best part: You can buy rice paper pendants for less than $10, so if you want to experiment with this trend and have the right wiring setup already, you don’t have to spend a ton to get in on the fun.
If you have high ceilings, or if your entryway leads right to an open stairwell, consider a statement installation like this one. One bold light fixture can do the trick, but hanging a few different pendants can be even more sculptural and grand. It doubles as art in a space that doesn’t have much usable floor room for other decorative accents while also drawing the eye up instantly. The chrome material used in this home designed by Heather Hilliard reflects the stairwell in every direction, giving it a wild infinity effect.
Nautical Home Bar Motif
Designed by Tamsin Johnson, this coastal home bar is both playful and sophisticated. She opted for sea creature-shaped rattan pendants, and suspended them at different heights to make it feel like you’re swimming under the sea.
Double Level Boldness
“I wanted to create a total surprise when you come through the first door,” says designer and occupant Eric Olsen. He designed a U-shaped layout around the courtyard that really allows the visual impact to land on the staggered rattan globe pendant lights, which were sourced from the Inner Gardens. “In the courtyard, the distance from the patio floor to the beams above is 20 feet. I really wanted the house to be designed around a dramatic two-story outdoor space so that it was visible as you circulated around all parts of the house.” You can see it throughout the home since there are so many floor-to-ceiling windows and interior glass walls throughout.
Open Floor Plan Split
Here’s another version of the trend in the same home. Caravaggio Pendants by Fritz Hansen “are hung the lights above the Dining table in a non-traditional way to accentuate the red cords and be a little bit more playful since this is a house filled with little girls,” says Olsen.
Galley Kitchen Drama
Take note of this bright white kitchen designed by Leanne Ford Interiors for a more subtle approach to the trend. Instead of alternating suspension heights, simply stagger the placement throughout the room. These Leanne Ford x Project62 pendants light up the galley kitchen for prep and cooking tasks, too.
Jutting out at different angles, the modern pendants over the vanity light up multiple areas in this bathroom designed by AP Design House. The all white matte monochrome color scheme evokes furistic moon dwelling imagery!
Unique Dining Room
Clearly, the dining room is a great place for a statement light moment. We’re loving the use of wooden cone shades in this rustic-meets-modern lodge designed by Kylee Shintaffer.
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