5 Lighting Trends We’re Excited to See in 2020

They say the holidays are the most magical time of year, but for us, it’s the new year that gets us excited! That’s because with each new year comes new trends, and 2020 promises to be a particularly exciting era within the interior design space. Lighting trends are more dramatic and distinct than they’ve been in years past, with emerging themes ranging from the factory-chic concept of “brutalism” to the reinvention of traditional aesthetics dominating the industry. Here are 5 lighting trends we’re most eager to welcome as we begin a new decade.

Ambiance Collection 17” Wall Sconce

1. Bring On Brutalism

The term “brutalism” might not sound like something you want to invite into your home, but it’s actually a celebration of the purity of raw materials.  This concept first emerged as a design movement after WWII, when architects and designers became smitten with raw building materials like iron, bronze, and concrete. Previously hidden by the pretty facades of buildings and homes, these materials were becoming more recognizable within popular culture as factories began popping up across the post-war American landscape. 

Brutalism is an homage to the rough, the substantial and the industrial. A brutalist design doesn’t mask the materials it’s made of; it celebrates them, with a sort of bold bravado. The sharp, jagged edges of patinated metal, the gritty texture of raw concrete and dark earth tones are all tell-tale characteristics of brutalism. 

One of our favorite brutalist pieces is the sharp rhombic shape of the Justice Design Ambiance Collection 17” Wall Sconce. The rough textures give it a tough, brutalist presence in modern interiors.    

Utopia 6” Mini Pendant

2. It’s Only Natural

Consider this a year of contrasts. While lighting that alludes to the roughness of industrial materials grows in popularity, lighting that’s inspired by the beauty of flowers, animals and other elements of nature also continues to be a hot trend.  For many lighting designers, nature has been and will always be a never-ending source of inspiration, on a variety of levels. 

Natural inspirations can influence a designer’s choice of:

  • Materials–Rattan/wicker, wood, ceramics, and even burlap are trending
  • Patterns–Designers go wild for animal prints, wood grain, leaf prints, and waves
  • Shapes–We see lighting that includes flowers, stars, lightning bolts, and animal motifs

Designers are always identifying new and exciting ways to sculpt light and use a natural material’s own inherent color and texture to create decorative appeal. The natural grain and various tones of the acacia wood in the Utopia 6” Mini Pendant give it movement and warmth, whether it’s on or off.

Alexa Wall Sconce

While the natural inspiration trend honors nature, it’s not always a literal interpretation. Lighting designers often take a bold, creative approach to representing the animals, plants and other natural elements that have inspired their designs.  We see this when iconographic natural elements are interpreted in unconventional ways, like the glass flower outline seen in the Alexa Wall Sconce from Mitzi by Hudson Valley

Cubic Large Pendant

3. Geometric Galore

With their clean lines and sharp angles, geometric forms are designed to bring a sense of balance and harmony to the home. With a minimum of flourishes, every line and detail of these lighting designs are deliberate and perfectly symmetrical (or perfectly asymmetrical, as the case may be). At their essence, geometric forms are the very foundation of modern lighting design.

Your mind may go toward austere triangles or simple squares, both of which certainly comprise a number of geometric designs. However, geometry can very easily go hand-in-hand with more decadent details, like the crystal facets fitted into each opening of the Cubic Large Pendant by Varaluz. Here, the clean lines provide an updated interpretation–but still with the desired sparkle–of a traditional crystal chandelier.

Grand 6-Light LED Chandelier

4. Introducing: The New Traditional

The concept of “The New Traditional” sounds like it could be an oxymoron; if it’s “traditional,” how can it also be “new”? This emerging design trend indeed encompasses a range of traditional designs. Yet, it’s refined for modern sensibilities. Why was such an evolution necessary? As we approach 2020, aesthetics have changed. With minimalism trending, an excess of decorative details can now come across as cluttered. Modern tastes still lean toward a sense of luxury, minus decadent detailing. But at the same time, there is still comfort and familiarity in traditional designs. 

To reconcile such contradictions, the overall profiles of New Traditional designs still suggest Colonial, Art Deco, and other time-honored design periods; the details are just pared down. High-quality materials, fine craftsmanship, and the best technology are what people take into account when considering a lighting design “high-end.”  By cutting back on the clutter, pieces like the Grand 6-Light LED Chandelier from Access Lighting still have distinctive decorative appeal (in this case, Mid-Century Modern), but are versatile enough to fit in with modern interior designs of all niches. 

Epic 30” Large Pendant

5. The Drama of Gold and Black

Both glamour and industrial inspirations will continue to reign supreme in 2020 lighting trends. So, too, will the colors so closely associated with both: gold and black. 

In pieces large or small, the application of a gold finish (or gold tones, like those of brushed or polished brass) instills a sense of luxury and warmth. When used deliberately in interior design, gold is certain to catch the eye. Meanwhile, black finishes (especially matte black) suggest strength and industry. While certainly more grounded than gold, black is no less dramatic a punctuation mark in white or otherwise neutral settings. 

You will see many designs that use these tones together to create at once an exciting sense of contrast and a pleasing feeling of balance. Take the Epic 30” Large Pendant by Troy Lighting, which uses both gold and black (or, respectively, Plated Topaz and Forged Iron) to make a bold statement.

We can’t wait to see how these trends continue to evolve as today’s most talented lighting designers explore this new era in design. If it’s possible, we are even more excited to discover how homeowners and decorators interpret the top 2020 lighting trends for their own lighting projects. It’s a good year to #LiveBrilliantly!


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