Let’s shed a little light on what to keep in mind while looking for farmhouse lighting solutions for your home!
The phrase “practical lighting” might bring to mind a light that seems sensible, functional, and not especially pretty. In theater, however, “practicals” are light sources that are meant to be seen. That beautiful lamp an actor switches on during a scene? Someone carefully chose that lamp shade in exactly that color. These light sources are not only light sources--they are part of the art. The same is true of your home. The number one tip about lighting? Choose lights because you like how they look, not just because you don’t want to sit in the dark!
It’s easy to keep using the drab ceiling light that was there when you moved in, or that floor lamp you’ve had since college. After all, it’s already there! But we promise, it is totally worth it to invest a little more time to find a light you really love. Everything else in your space will look better with great lighting, and the right lights can really solidify that farmhouse look.
Farmhouse style takes a great deal of inspiration, of course, from life on the farm. With lots of work to be done, there is an emphasis on durability and industrial design for objects intended for frequent use.
Cage lamps are those that feature open metal work either enclosing the light bulb or as the lamp’s base. As you might guess from the name, these geometric metal designs look like a small cage but friendlier, like an ornamental bird cage. Geometric patterns rendered in monochromatic metal are a perfect way to add striking visual detail without making a room look too busy.
Choose a more modern cage lamp to balance out antique decor, or a more traditional cage lamp to add another touch of old-fashioned charm.
Neutral Fabric Shades
Lamp shades are made from many materials, such as paper, silk, glass, metal, and more. If you’re going for a farmhouse lighting with a prominent lamp shade, a thicker fabric is the way to go. Linen, cotton canvas, and even burlap are great materials for a farmhouse lamp shade thanks to their visible textures. Farmhouse decor is all about textures, so choose a material that really lets you see the weave of the fabric.
Choose a textured shade with a tan, beige, or off-white color to emphasize texture and contribute to a light, airy feeling in your room decor. A light shade can brighten up a dark metal lamp base through contrast, or work in concert with a base in a different neutral hue and material.
To delve even further into the impact of a lamp shade, consider playing with scale. Perhaps a tall base with a small shade is right for the space, or maybe a small lamp base with a large shade strikes the perfect profile.
With the strong influence of country life on the modern farmhouse look, it’s no surprise that metal plays a prominent role in this decor approach.
While steel, silver, and chrome can be gorgeous, an overload of cool metal finishes can make a space feel a bit sterile. Since we’re going for a cozy, homey vibe here, warm metals can help add more welcoming tones to the palette. Find farmhouse lighting in brass, bronze, copper, gold, and rose-gold finishes to add a little color along with illumination.
Metal desk lamps and table lamps are available in a wide variety of design shapes that accentuate the smooth color of the material. Ranging from the graceful lines of task lamps to the powerful statement of an industrial lamp base, metal lamps can provide juxtaposition to your other farmhouse decor to round out the look.
In addition to the more ubiquitous metal and ceramic lamp bases, one of the ways you can play with farmhouse design’s love of texture is through less common materials.
Wood, of course, fits in perfectly anywhere in a farmhouse home. We see lots of wood decor, but wooden lamps are uniquely attention-grabbing. Select wood with a visible grain and knots or a classic whitewash finish for added extra country charm. If you’d like to bring in some color, try an accent of faded barn red or distressed blue.
Cement and concrete lamps can also be a pleasant surprise when used in home decor. Depending on the application and type, these materials can yield a variety of textures and colors. Cement lamps in smooth yet dynamic grey or a mottled and faceted off-white are both excellent industrial-inspired farmhouse lighting choices.
Unexpected hanging lights
A chandelier over the bathtub? A pendant light enclosed in a vintage farm crate?
Pairing a chandelier with rustic decor tones down its formality, and stick to wood and metal rather than crystal for a more casual, homey vibe. For a really farmhouse touch, incorporate natural materials like antlers and tree branches, or go more industrial with dark metal and vintage style glass.
The remarkable thing about pendant lighting is its versatility. Suspended from the ceiling on a strong but slender line, pendants open up your space. Because there’s no need for a weighted base, pendants can be more sculptural without being too bulky. This is a great opportunity to introduce some compelling shapes into your room decor. Geometric and diamond shaped cage lamps, rustic crate pendants with visible filament bulbs, and electric lanterns are all eye-catching farmhouse lighting options. And industrial pendant lighting in distressed metal is, of course, a classic!
Pendant lights provide both focused and ambient lighting, so hang a pendant light above a reading chair, dining room table, or kitchen island. Pro-tip: place a chandelier or pendant light opposite a mirror for truly magical diffused light. Pay attention to the height while hanging these lights, because the right placement will make your ceiling feel higher.
This last approach to farmhouse lighting might just be our favorite, because it can bring vintage charm to almost any light.
The hallmark of a vintage style light bulb is a visible filament. Modern light bulbs typically feature opaque glass, or are even LEDs that don’t have a filament at all. These antique reproduction bulbs, however, have elaborate glowing filaments that give off a gorgeous warm light. These are called “Edison bulbs”, as they were initially popularized by the Edison Electric Light Company all the way back in the 1880s.
Edison bulbs come in a variety of shapes, from the classic elongated vintage light bulb shape to round globe bulbs to chandelier lights. The filament designs vary too, from simple loops to the ornate “squirrel cage” style filament.
What’s great about these bulbs is they can completely transform any lighting fixture. Breathe new (antique) life into a tired lamp by removing the shade and swapping out a standard bulb for an Edison style bulb. Just imagine a vintage filament bulb glowing warmly in a pendant light or table lamp while you settle down for an evening in. It sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
Does your home lighting showcase any of these approaches? Are you excited to try one in particular? Let us know in the comments!