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17 Affordable Lights That Will Give Your Space A Glow-Up

Interiors

Here’s something every interiors expert will tell you: atmosphere is everything. But how do you achieve that? Lighting, lighting, lighting!

Not only does lighting enhance an already gorgeous room, it’s also a magic wand to beautifying those not-so-great interiors. Even the most random spaces look hot under a good glow! Lauren Li gives us a the lowdown on creating a dazzling light scheme without splashing a lot of cash (under $500 to be exact!), as well as hot tips on the best budget light options she can find.

24th May, 2021
Lauren Li
Monday 24th May 2021

Lighting is often an afterthought when decorating your own home. We may focus on the sofa, armchair and rug, even artwork as the centrepiece of a space; but however amazing these pieces are, they just don’t look their best without good lighting.

A lighting scheme should be thoughtful and considerate, and take into account the function of a space as well as the other pieces in it. We should consider lighting over the dining table (for gathering) and island bench (task lighting), next to an armchair (reading), in an entry area (where are the keys!?!) and, of course, beside the bed (for relaxing). This may sound overwhelming, but it’s easier than you think. And you definitely don’t need to break the bank in order to get a good atmosphere.

There are two big tips when beginning your research into the great affordable options out there: shed all your assumptions about a brand; and be prepared to scroll. Sometimes fancy brands have surprisingly affordable options, and sometimes ‘daggy’ mass producers whip out some really great designs. Cast your net wide, dig deep into their offering and don’t discount any brand from your search!

Once you find the ideal fitting, here are my tips for achieving the ultimate ambience.

Pendant Lights:

There is such a trend for big, low-hanging pendant lights over a dining table at the moment – so the biggest mistake is fixing it too high. When everyone is seated around the table, the light should hang just above eye level.

If you’re looking for a pendant light over a bench-top, then you want to the light to be directed down to that surface to illuminate whatever you are doing. Look for a shade that pushes the light downwards and covers the globe to avoid glare.

If your budget allows, even consider hanging them in a cluster for extra dramatic effect.

Layers:

It’s transformative to a space when the lighting is layered up. The best combination is a floor lamp next to a central piece of furniture, like a sofa or an armchair, alongside a pendant light over the dining table. Scattering lots of lamps around a room creates pockets of soft glow and  cosy ambience, but different fixtures emit a different affect.

Wall sconce: We usually don’t need a wall sconce for task lighting, it’s purely for the vibe, so look for a wall sconce that covers the globe itself. It could be a fabric shade, ceramic, wooden, rattan or frosted glass.

When looking for a floor lamp, consider if it’s to give the room a welcoming atmosphere, or if it’s for reading. This will help you decide if you need a directional light or an overall glow.

If you’re looking for a table lamp, the options are pretty endless, so consider how this can add personality to the room. Can it be sculptural, almost like a functional art piece, or is it purely for task lighting, i.e. reading in bed? How does it look when switched off and on?

Glow:

The most important element in establishing the character of your lighting scheme is choosing the right globe. Even high-end light fittings can be let down by using cool colour temperature bulbs, so make sure you opt for a warm colour temperature wherever possible. (Almost all globes will be labelled as either cool or warm.)

‘Cupola Hanging Black Lamp’ from HK Living. Photo – House of Orange.

‘Cone Lamp Base with Hexagonal Shade‘ from HK Living. Photo – House of Orange.

1. Cupola Hanging Black Lamp from HK Living

In an open plan space, placing a pendant over the dining table instantly creates a cosy zone that invites people to gather around. This black acrylic shade is slick and modern.

RRP $499, available from House of Orange.

2. Cone Lamp Base with Hexagonal Shade from HK Living

With a slightly retro vibe, this lamp and shade will inject any room with a chic, playful personality.

RRP lamp ($279) and shade ($170), available from House of Orange.

Terracotta Pendant Lamp from HK Living. Photo – House of Orange.

Chirezza Ceiling Pendant from Freedom. Photo – Freedom.

Metal Triangle Pendant from HK Living. Photo – House of Orange.

Chiappo Lamp from Freedom. Photo – Freedom.

3. Terracotta Pendant Lamp from HK Living

So if your cupboards are bursting with ceramics, never fear! Now you can also hang more ceramics in the form of a pendant light. Available in a few various styles

RRP $159 , available rom House of Orange

4. Chirezza Ceiling Pendant from Freedom

The warm cosy glow through the fabric shade gives any space a serious dose of hygge. The sculptural form paired with gorgeous texture helps soften a space and create a welcoming atmosphere.

RRP $120, available from Freedom

5. Metal Triangle Pendant from HK Living

A cute characterful cone shaped pendant that creates impact when repeated throughout a space. Seen lighting up the bench-top just where you need some good practical lighting, but also suited as a bedside light or even in the bathroom.

RRP $160 from House of Orange

6. Chiappo Lamp from Freedom

Ticking the boxes for colour and shape, this lamp delivers serious style on a budget.

RRP $150, available from Freedom

A selection of handwoven shades by Lana Launay at Shades Launay. Photo – Natalia Parsonson.

Paper lanterns from Pop + Scott. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

LED Disk Wall Light from Beacon Lighting. Photo – Beacon Lighting.

7. Handmade lampshades by Shades Launay

Sydney-sider Lana Launay handweaves shades from biodegradable materials like bamboo and coffee-stained raffia herself, commissioning local metalworker Maré Marine to make the stainless steel frames.

RRP $200 – $500 (shades) and $400 – $700 (full lamps), available from via DM at Shades Launay

8. Paper Lanterns from Pop + Scott

These paper lanterns in small, medium and large sizes deliver maximum impact for a modest budget. The large volume really can ‘fill’ the space and create a lovely soft glow in a room.

RRP $50-$90 (size dependent), available from Pop + Scott

9. LED Disk Wall Light from Beacon

This wall light is a simple wooden disk that is perfectly versatile for the bedroom, kitchen and basically anywhere inside the home.

RRP $135, available from Beacon Lighting

Eave Dining Column Table Lamp from MENU. Photo – MENU.

Arcade Pendant from Dowel Jones. Photo – Dowel Jones.

10. Eave Dining Column Table Lamp from MENU

This minimalist, dark bronze aluminium table lamp emits a soft and inviting glow in three different intensities. It’s also portable and can be moved around to any spot in the house, which is a big bonus!

RRP $375, available from Surrounding

11. Arcade Pendant from Dowel Jones

With 351 (!) colour combinations to choose from, this pendant light from the Melbourne-based brand is the perfect fit for an overhead fixture above a bench-top or dining table.

RRP $330, available from Dowel Jones

Wonboyn Pendant from Freedom. Photo – Freedom.

Straw Parasol Pendant from Tigmi Trading. Photo – Tigmi Trading.

12. Wonboyn Pendant from Freedom

This rattan pendant looks beautiful when the light is turned off, but when it’s on, it creates a lovely shadowing effect on the ceiling. It creates a lot of impact for a good price.

RRP $320, available from Freedom

13. Straw Parasol Pendant from Tigmi Trading

Adding a handmade element to a space gives instant character. These straw parasol pendants are handmade in Morocco and give a slightly rustic feel to a space, either in a cluster or individually.

RRP $189, available from Tigmi Trading

Shore Floor Lamp from Beacon Lighting. Photo – Beacon Lighting.

Tide Wall Bracket With Natural Shade from Beacon Lighting. Photo – Beacon Lighting.

Daisy Lamp from McMullin & Co.. Photo – McMullin & Co.

Leo Table lamp from McMullin + Co.. Photo – McMullin & Co.

14. Shore Floor Lamp from Beacon Lighting

We currently can’t get enough rattan and this lamp adds a dose of that gorgeous natural texture and creates a lovely warm glowing light.

RRP $329, available from Beacon Lighting

15. Tide Wall Bracket With Natural Shade from Beacon Lighting

This antique-style throws dramatic shadow patterns around the room when lit up, and creates a nice sculptural feature when off! Best of both worlds.

RRP $119, available from Beacon Lighting 

16. Daisy Lamp from McMullin & Co.

A perfectly chic lamp with pleated shade to compliment a neutral palette in the lounge room or bedroom.

RRP $349, available from McMullin + Co.

17. Leo Table lamp from McMullin + Co.

This terracotta toned, vintage-style lamp exudes a warm earthy glow for all those hygge feels.

RRP $229, available from McMullin + Co.

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