The 50 Best lights
From chic shades and pendants to glowing globes for your garden, Kate Watson-Smyth flicks the switch on the most desirable designs to brighten up your home
Made.com has engineered some canny collaborations with British designers. The ribbon detail turns this basic lamp into something more playful.
Made from an upcycled jar, this clear lamp was created to be completely portable. Take it where you need it, plug it in and drape or clip it to anything handy then move it again.
bouf.com, £69 each
This may be my favourite wall light of all time, although it does look better as a three than on its own. Perfect for a child’s bedroom or a landing to add some ambient light.
scp.co.uk, £43.50 per letter
Neon lights may be one of the trends that, by the time it reaches the mainstream, is already over. But, if you don’t mind that, it’s a great way to bring some funky lighting into your home.
The trend for industrial lighting shows no sign of waning and this is a great example. Its copper insert softens the harsh look a little.
Sometimes you don’t need a whole new light, just a more interesting shade. This is made from cotton and has a retro yet modern feel to it.
leebroom.com, £109 for thebulb, £189 with a brass fitting
Lee Broom’s pieces are highly prized. The cut-crystal bulb turns an ugly everyday object into a thing of beauty and does away with the need for a shade.
This unusual light allows you to reach through the side and insert some of your favourite objects to create a little display. Great for a child’s room.
If the Lee Broom is too pricey, this is a great alternative. This is modelled on those old lights with a glowing filament although it is also dimmable.
A simple globe pendant whose beauty rests on its size and simplicity. The glass is handblown and if it’s too plain, you could add a decorative bulb.
This wooden shade has a Scandinavian vibe, which, unless you have been living under a rock, you will realise is deeply fashionable. It’s a very affordable way into this trend.
Made from feathers, this is such a pretty pendant light that would look great in any room. It comes in two sizes but, in this case, the bigger the better. If you’re worried about dust, clean it with a hairdryer.
Guy Chevenix-Trench gives new life to bits of old farming machinery and found objects – such as this 1920s gramophone – by turning them into lamps, tables and benches.
Cluster lights are the new, more modern, take on a chandelier and will make a great statement in any room. Think of a pendant light as the earrings on an outfit – the finishing touch if you like.
skandivis.co.uk, from £170
Made from oak, this shade designed by Hanna Francis will make pretty patterns over the walls. The asymmetric shape makes it interesting even when it’s not turned on.
The designer has now added lighting to her range, including these elegant floor lamps which have a couple of shelves.
This almost doubles as a task lamp as well as a showstopper for the room. Handy if you want to sit on a comfy chair or sofa and need a bit more light to read or or work by.
A contemporary mix of wood and metal, this piece will have everyone amazed at where it’s from. But Bhs has been a good source of lighting for a while.
Simple, clean and contemporary, this has a heavy acrylic base and textured cotton shade. Choose from either classic white or grey, which is the modern neutral of choice.
greymoosedesigns.jux.com, £165 for large; £125 for small
These upcycled floor lights are made from the lights of a vintage car, a couple of camera tripods, vintage metal rulers and some natty red flex.
Etsy is fast becoming the place of choice for people looking to buy unusual items from small businesses. These stick figure lights are made in Romania but ship to the UK.
Sometimes all you want is a simple floor lamp that won’t dominate the room. Made from solid oak and varnished, the downside is the shade isn’t included in the price.
This elegant number should fit into any modern decorating scheme. Comes in a variety of colours including purple and red. It’s about 1.5m tall and makes a good reading lamp.
Designed by Benjamin Hubert, this fabulous design is made from mouth-blown opal white glass. Would look great in a contemporary home.
B&Q is another good place to look for lamps on a budget. This stylish floor lamp will both complement a modern scheme or fade discreetly into the background if you prefer.
Designers Young & Battaglia, perhaps better known for their trompe l’oeil wallpaper, have come up with this fabulous garden light which creates an indoor space outside.
Outdoor lighting can be very expensive, and if you’re only out a couple of times a year as last summer’s washout proved, you need something affordable. This is a good start.
Outdoor lighting has to do just as many jobs as indoor and yet we rarely afford it the same thought, or even budget. For a stylish light by the front door or over the deck, this is great.
This wall light is a bit different from the usual lanterns and comes with built-in LED bulbs that should last for around 50,000 hours. Fix to a wall to be seen during the day or it’s a waste of an interesting design.
If you need to light a path or want to throw light up a tree or shrub, this is the sort of thing you need. Comes in a set of four with 12m of cable from the transformer to the first light, and includes four bulbs.
This wall light is affordable, which if you want to fix several of them is a key factor, and can be turned to face up or down depending on where you want the light to be.
Given that outdoor lighting can be expensive, it’s worth trying to find a multi-tasking lamp – and this might be the answer. A row of these will create a pretty effect.
Buried lights are perfect for throwing light at a wall or plant to create an effect and won’t take attention from the object you’re trying to highlight.
tlc-direct.co.uk, £21 for 90 lights excluding VAT
Fairy lights needn’t be just for Christmas. Wrap them around a tree or along a wall and they create a party atmosphere.
If you don’t have the budget for expensive electrical work then candles can be the way to go. Tie these pretty glass sphere to the branches and fill them with tealights.
A bit of a showstopper, which will cast a beautiful light as it bounces off the base making a rather lovely ambient glow. The base is from mercurised glass and a shade is included.
A mix of retro styling in a modern finish, this desk light is pleasingly heavy, which a good task lamp needs to be, and can be angled sufficiently for most requirements.
Designed in collaboration with Elstead Lighting, this table version is classic in shape but the ridges on the base give it a really contemporary feel.
Melanie Porter makes fabulous furniture and lighting from wool. This classic lamp has been given a totally modern makeover with a knitted cover.
The dip-dye trend that started with celebrity hair has moved firmly to interiors. The newest recruit to the trend is Loaf.com whose pretty table lamps come in either grey or pink glaze.
A great little desk lamp in yellow or chrome. The stem is flexible so you can bend it to the direction you need. Great for a child who is just starting to do homework at a desk, or as a bedside lamp.
There are a lot of lamp bases in the shape of animals and other whimiscal ideas around at the moment. This is a pineapple – a historic symbol of luxury at an affordable price.
With an angled wooden stand and a frosted glass shade, this bridges the gap between task and table. It would be perfect in the spare room which often has to double up as an office.
zoedarlington.co.uk, from £85
Zoe Darlington uses vintage materials and traditional methods to create modern witty lamps. Sort of antique punk if you will. This is from the Sheila Bownas Archive, a collection of 1950s patterns.
These desk lamps are now a design classics. Made in England, the new collection includes this rather smart navy version. These are expensive, but they’re solid, stable and flexible.
Wall lights have come a long way in recent years. This has a pleated polycarbonate shade in a variety of colours and is a modern take on the more traditional pleated shade.
The PS range from Ikea is the slightly edgier, slightly more “ design” range. This wall lamp comes in black, white or red and uses an LED bulb.
There is a move towards wall lamps having longer arms and reaching out further to be a wall-mounted task light. It makes more of a statement.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to introduce some colour in an unexpected way. These Anglepoise wall lights come in a range of colours including pink, lilac, orange and green.
This light, which extends out from the wall, can be used as a task lamp, or pulled out over a small table for more ambience.
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