If this was your house… What lights would fit?

Part 1 - The Entry and Living Room


My friends bought this house in the Northeastern US and have been thinking of what fixtures and furniture they should choose for the interior.   I thought it would be fun to play a little with what light options I would recommend for it.  They have a more traditional style, but I couldn’t stay away from pushing the boundaries into the transitional/modern/contemporary to mix in with the traditional.  (“Transitional” being a style that can bridge the gap/find a home between traditional and contemporary).

There is a fair amount of architectural detail in the house already, so I want to keep the light fixtures relatively simple and classic, but capable of holding their own in the house.  I have broken this out into two posts, given all the light ideas I have.  Starting from the outisde in, here we go.

Porch Light

I like both of these lights for the porch light, it just depends on the height of the porch ceiling.  The Babs with Glass Pendant light by Julie Neill is a more classic look, but still with a contemporary feel.  I love the simplicity, and the mini-candelabra of lights to welcome you in.

Babs with Glass Pendant

Babs with Glass Pendant

Simpatico Pendant

Simpatico Pendant

The Simpatico One Light Semi-Flush Mount is more contemporary, and a little busier in the design of the surround, but simple with its one light.  You could have fun with vintage light bulbs on this one.    I think this porch ceiling on this house is of the lower variety, so for that reason the Simpatico One Light is probably the best option of these two.


Choosing a light for the entry way partly depends on how tall and wide the entry is (see my post on lighting guidelines and tips), as well as the look and feel you want to present upon the first entry to your home.

I like the Apple chandelier from Treillage for its decadence without being over the top.   The lines of this light fixture are very sculptural, and I think it would give a warm and inviting, while elegant feel to an entryway.   It is 40” wide, so it needs a tall entryway that is fairly wide as well.

The Reed Chandelier light fixture and the Vendome chandelier are more simple, light fixtures that are graceful and beautiful in their lines but won’t attract the same attention as the Apple light, especially if you have artwork or furniture that demands attention.  Being less tall, they can also fit in an entryway with a shorter ceiling.

Reed Chandelier

Reed Chandelier

Vendome iron Chandelier

Vendome iron Chandelier

Both of these would give a graceful, elegant feel to the room, slightly more on the feminine side - which could be balanced with furniture if that was of interest.  However, the Vendome light fixture is 36” wide, so it still requires a wide room.    The entryway of this house has a high ceiling, but is the width of a wide hallway so I think the Reed Chandelier at 26.5” would be a better option.   I also like the curves of the lines of the Reed Chandelier, which would offset the angles in the house.

The other option, for an even simpler yet still sophisticated look would be the beautiful Bryant Chandelier in the small size (26” wide), and I would choose the bronze finish to go with the wood in the house.   I think this would give a more masculine, sophisticated feel to the foyer.


Hallway vignette

I love this vignette from Camille Styles blog for a house of this style -  an elegant console table flanked by two floor lamps.   I like the twist on not having the traditional table lamp on the table (or a pair), and yet it feels very at home in a traditional design.  There isn’t an opportunity for this vignette in this house given where the staircase is located in the hallway, but I thought it was worth noting.


Living Room – Floor Lamps

This is the light I would choose.  I love this floor lamp, it has graceful lines, wonderful presence, and a beautiful overall shape.  It has a more modern feel to it, but not too much for this house I don’t think, and it would be a great statement piece.  Unfortunately the site I originally found this on is no longer offering it and I didn’t note the manufacturer.  However, I will keep searching and will update the blog if I find it.


Second choice, but a happy one, would be the Monolith Floor Lamp.  It can hold its own in a house with a lot of architectural detail, it has a current feel, and yet it’s classic enough to fit into a traditional house.


I am including the Perno fixture here for contrast and to show how when mixing more contemporary and traditional, you need to consider the presence of the light.    The Perno is a great lamp, but I think is too simple for this application, and doesn’t fit as well with the other light fixtures I have chosen here.


One last option, if you’re into a little more drama in your settings, this combination would be a fun one.  You could hang the Biham Pendant in a corner, over a table lamp next to a sofa, or over a round table of diningheight if you were splitting the room into multiple sections.  It would relate well to the Obi Floor lamp, which could go anywhere (but I would be careful to balance them in the room, you wouldn't want them to dominate just one area and leave the rest out in the cold).

Biham Pendant Light

Biham Pendant Light

Obi Floor Lamp

Obi Floor Lamp


The Living Room- Table Lamps(and for the Library and Guest Bedrooms)

There are so many great table lamps out there (check out my table lamp page for more options for your home), it’s hard to choose.  However, here are my top 4 favorites for this house – respecting the transitional style, and some of the other lights I have chosen.

Reminiscent of the Monolith lamp but with details to differentiate – visible screw heads and plates at the bottom – the Porter Table Lamp would be a great light in the living room or the library.  In the living room where the walls are currently cream this would fit nicely with the décor, and provide a contrast to the darker wood walls in the library.


I have mentioned this Tall Dixon lamp before, and I think it could be great in this house, particularly in the living room (with the cream walls) to add some contrast.  Probably not in the library with the dark wood walls.


The Possibility table lamp from Currey & Co is also a favorite for either room.  I think the mercury glass base could reflect in the library (though you would really have to try it to see), and it would definitely add a nice touch in the living room with its rounded shape and the patina of the metal base.


Finally, the Rutherford Table Lamp, also from Currey & Co.  I like the color of the base and the brass plate at the bottom.  It has a nice warm feel and hits the midpoint of contemporary and traditional for a house of this style.  Full disclosure though – the base has sharkskin embedded in clear panels as the base, so you have to be ok with that and the resulting texture.


But what is life without options?   I couldn’t stop there, without also offering up some lights that push the envelope of contemporary/transitional, yet I think would still fit the house.   If they push it a little too much for your main living spaces, these could work well in for guest rooms or an office  - areas you want to have your style flow to, but where you can branch out a little because you and your guests are not always in them.

The White Linen Etched Cylinder glass lamp from Arteriors is definitely pushing well into a contemporary style, but I think the classic shape and the use of glass would make this a spectacular lamp for a guest bedroom with more classic furniture.


I know I’m really pushing it for my friends by suggesting this light, but I love the play of the Martha Sturdy Brass Wire Sphere Lamp.  In my opinion the colors would fit in well with the house, though admittedly it probably wouldn’t work well in a room with really traditional furniture.


The Crispin Table Lamp is a crisp feeling lamp, similar to the Paper Tier lamp I will recommend in the next post.    I like the contrast of the silver and the dark color of the base.  Note:  This one really depends on the finishings you have on the other lights you choose, and throughout the house.  I am a big proponent of being able to mix finishes, but it only works if you have a variety, not if, for example, this light was the only silver finish you have.


Lastly, the Ong Abacus lamp from Thomas O’Brien.  This one I would recommend if you had furnishings and other accents from around the world, and wanted to layer in a little more worldly patina with a lamp as well.   Again, it’s unusual for a traditional house, but in one that was more contemporary/transitional I think it would be a very interesting light.