The Buyer's Guide to Modern Lighting | Articulate

The Buyer’s Guide to Modern Lighting

If you’ve ever attempted a selfie photoshoot during the golden hour, you know how important good lighting can be. While it’s one of the most essential elements of any space, lighting is also one of those things that often gets forgotten about in the excitement of designing a room. Your sofa or dining table enjoys all the glory, while lighting is usually an afterthought. No more, we say. 

In this post we’ll show you how to choose the best lighting for your space, and explore some of our favorite modern lighting options. Let there be — you guessed it — light. 

Julie Pierp's bedside table is shown with an Article Beacon Table Lamp
Designer Julie-Pier Pellerin illuminates her bedside table with the Beacon Table Lamp in Brass.

The power of modern lighting 

Just like any other design decision you might agonize over for weeks, lighting has the power to completely change the look and feel of a room. If you’ve ever walked into a hotel lobby or a friend’s home that just has a certain je ne sais quoi and can’t put your finger on exactly why it looks so great, the secret is most likely good lighting. 

The best designers (including you, now) know that lighting can change the perceived size of a room, the overall mood and tone, and the way colors appear in a space. A color could appear navy under natural light, but then as black in a more dimly lit space (a phenomenon known as metamerism). 

Peet Rivko's offices feature the Torch lamp from Article.
Skincare brand Peet Rivko puts the Torch Table Lamp to work in their modern head office space.

When designing your space and picking out paint and furniture colors, it’s important to consider the kind of lighting you’ll be using. Let’s take a look at some modern lighting options, from pendant lights to floor lamps, that will help you set the mood in your space. 

Ambient lighting

The trick to getting that perfect, ambient light in a space? Mix it up. A well-lit room will include a mix of various light sources that can be individually controlled as needed. When designing your space, consider a balanced combination of recessed lighting, ceiling pendants, sconces, and floor and table lamps

This expertly-layered mix of lighting sources allows you to switch things up (pun extremely intended) to fit whatever mood you’re going for. Perhaps you’re hosting a whiskey-tasting evening and want to evoke a speakeasy feel, so you turn off the overhead lights and have the warm glow of your Perforate Table Lamps and floor lamp going. Maybe it’s time to finally watch the newest horror flick everyone’s talking about and you’re keeping the pendant lights over the kitchen island on. Just so you can see your snacks, though. Not because you’re scared. 

The living room of My Little Booktique is shown, featuring the Solae Sofa and Moon Gold Floor Lamp.
Thanks to the Moon Gold Floor Lamp, Haley of My Little Booktique can add a pop of light to her serene living room whenever the mood strikes.

On the other hand, you might find yourself hosting a slumber party for your daughter and her 10 closest friends, many of whom get homesick. In this case it’s all hands on deck — and all of the lights on. 

Task lighting

You’ve got stuff to do, and your lighting is going to help you do it. While pioneers relied on oil lamps and candles to work by, today’s modern lighting choices mean you don’t have to choose function over fashion. 

This living room designed by Emily Henderson features a white fireplace and Gira Lamp.
Sara Ligorria-Tramp’s living room is created with bookworms in mind. The Gira Floor Lamp is lightweight and adjustable so catching up on the latest bestseller is never a problem.

If you work at a desk, a plug-in table lamp like the Fila gives you purposeful, directed light. If you’ve got a partner who wants the living room lights dimmed while they catch up on the latest season of Selling Sunset, but you still need to work, a desk lamp keeps the peace. You get the light where you need it, while your partner doesn’t miss a moment of drama. 

Enjoy reading (or working) in bed? A lighting source like the Leap Sconce has a flexible swivel-head design and an adjustable shade so you can direct the light exactly where you need it. 

A golden retriever lays on a sofa with the Article Leap Sconce.
When he catches up on the finance section of the Sunday paper, Moses‘ lighting of choice is the Leap Sconce.

In addition to desk and table lamps, floor lamps are another great choice, especially if installing a permanent fixture might not be an option. The curved bend of the Heron and Crescent floor lamps mean you can place the base of the lamp in one spot, but have the actual light directed to another spot much like a pendant would. Whether you’re finishing a 1000-piece puzzle or drafting up designs for a new home, the right task lighting is there to help. 

Eclectic Prodigy's living room features a bright blue rug, white sofa, palm plant, and black Article floor lamp.
Blogger Eclectic Prodigy strategically uses the Heron Floor Lamp to direct light from above — and give her entire living room a refined glow.

Architectural interest 

As a more permanent fixture, pendant lighting can add architectural interest into the actual ‘bones’ of your space. In an endless variety of materials, styles, sizes, and shapes, a hand-picked pendant (or two) can change the whole feel of a room. 

If you’re struggling with adding character and architectural interest to a newer home — or even if you want to put your personal touch on a rental — adding modern lighting fixtures is a chic and cost-effective option. For example, if your neutral-toned space is looking a little blah and needs a little oomph, a wicker pendant like the Suru adds instant warmth and texture. 

Chloe Cleroux uses the Article Suru Pendant Light in her calm bedroom
The Suru Pendant Lamp adds boho interest in photographer Chloe Cleroux’s calm and neutral bedroom.

Are you a lover of a refined glam look? The black and golden brass Tangent Pendant Lamp speaks your language. Really feeling that mid-century modern vibe? The orb-like Jupiter Pendant has ’70s cocktail party written all over it. 

Today’s modern lighting takes us far away from the ugly ’80s flush-mount fixtures of the past. Instead of being a necessary design evil, lighting options provide an additional opportunity to show off your taste and style.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get new content, products & promotions in your inbox.