Achieving the ‘California Casual’ Style: Lighting
Today we are talking lighting, more specifically lighting when trying to achieve the “California Casual” style we have been breaking down on the blog the last two weeks. In case you missed the previous posts, click through to California Casual: On a Budget, California Casual: Furniture, and California Casual: Art to get the gist of where we started. And yes, the style might not be for you (or for everyone for that matter), but today’s post will cover some pretty basic rules that apply to all styles when it comes to lighting. So although you might not be ready to run out and grab a Serge Mouille sconce for your wall, read on as we do have some tips for getting the right light for every space, and a bit more on who this Serge character is.
While shopping online can be daunting, lighting is one of the only things you don’t have to touch, see, feel, and experience in person to confidently click “add to cart”. So, let’s start with the most common type in everyone’s home, table and floor lamps and talk about what makes them work and necessary in just about every space.
In general, table and floor lamps are one of the easiest and most affordable pieces to add lighting to your home. They are essentially “plug and play” in the fact that you take them out of the box, plug them in and they are ready to go. No screwing them into the wall, no calling an electrician to wire them up to the ceiling junction box, so they can be one of your greatest assets when trying to add some artificial light into your space. But, there are a few things to keep in mind as all lamps are not created equal. Before you start shopping you need to decide what type of lighting you are looking for, ambient diffused light, directional task light, or purely decorative light – as there is nothing worse than having a beautiful lamp that casts a spotlight on your toes and no where else in the room. Typically you will want both your table and floor lamps to have fabric or paper shades unless you are using them as task lighting where in that case it could be a metal shade.
The diffused shade will not only create an ambient glow but it is the most forgiving on your eyes and the room it is in. When it comes to the “California Casual” style for table and floor lamps you are wanting to look for anything with very simple graphic shapes, thrown pottery bases, wood bases, or metal accents. No fancy scrollwork, no fringe, no extra baubles or pulls, and definitely no bright colors. The lamps of this style are all fairly utilitarian looking in both appearance and function although tend to have a hand made look to them with refined and beautiful shapes. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Orine Table Lamp | 2. Bella Skirt Lamp | 3. Coleman Lamp | 4. Ceramic Table Lamp | 5. Tripod Wood Table Lamp | 6. Ceramic Cut Out Table Lamp | 7. Ellis Table Lamp | 8. Chet Wood Table Lamp | 9. Modern Home Table Lamp | 10. Morton Table Lamp | 11. Nixon Stick Table Lamp | 12. Gracelynn Table Lamp | 13. Trumpet Lamp | 14. Metal Wood Table Lamp | 15. Alpert Table Lamp | 16. Totem Table Lamp | 17. Tapered Ceramic Table Lamp | 18. Copper Lamp | 19. Wood Barrel Table Lamp | 20. Stick Table Lamp | 21. Aliso Lamp | 22. Bamboo Table Lamp | 23. Teardrop Table Lamp | 24. Harllow Table Lamp
1. Elena Floor Lamp | 2. Mulberry Tripod Floor Lamp | 3. Grasshopper Floor Lamp | 4. Henderson Floor Lamp | 5. Holstebro Style Floor Lamp | 6. Hugo Barbell Wood Floor Lamp | 7. Hektar Floor Lamp | 8. Great Jones Floor Lamp | 9. Racavan Stork | 10. Tripod Wood Floor Lamp | 11. Paddy Floor Lamp | 12. Oak Wood Tripod Floor Lamp | 13. Dual Function LED Floor Lamp | 14. Giraffe Floor Lamp | 15. Kima Floor Lamp | 16. Petite Shade Floor Lamp | 17. Wilkie Floor Lamp | 18. Tripod G5 Floor Lamp | 19. Holmo Floor Lamp | 20. Astrom Task Floor Lamp | 21. Walnut Tripod Austin Floor Lamp
Next up we are moving up to the walls. Wall sconces are a great addition if you are looking for overhead or at eye level lighting which is great for giving the room an overall glow if you don’t have any overhead lighting that is built in. If you don’t already have junction boxes on your wall, then you can always opt for a plug in wall sconce that you can easily screw onto your wall and plug in just as you would a table or floor lamp. Generally the rule with wall sconces is – they should be hung at about 6′ above the floor or 6-8″ higher if you have taller or vaulted ceilings. Besides the distance from the floor you will also want to hang them about 8-10 feet apart in your room so that it casts an even glow throughout the space and won’t create any dark pockets.
Now, when it comes to the “California Casual” style the same installation rules apply but stylistically you will find sconces with metal shades, exposed bulbs, or wood detailing on them. They do take some cues from mid-century and industrial design. Choose exposed fabric wires (for plug in options) or thin metal tubing (for hardwired options) with metal shades if you really want to get the look.
If you have noticed the below sconce popping up in just about everyones homes recently then you’ve been paying attention as the Serge Mouille sconce of the 1950’s has been gaining popularity among the “California Casual” look for some time. His designs were simple, angular, and insect like and although an original will set you back a pretty penny (but are totally timeless and worth the investment) there are quite a few similar look-a-likes coming onto the market as well that can still give you the same vibe.
Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Crane Light | 2. Cypress Articulating Sconce | 3. Chelsea Double Sconce | 4. Ava Wall Sconce | 5. Nelson Cigar Wall Sconce | 6. Ellinor Black Wall Sconce | 7. 265 Wall Lamp | 8. Workstead Wall Lamp | 9. Concentric Flush Dome | 10. View Wall Lamp | 11. Lodge Wall Sconce | 12. Industrial Sconce | 13. Cylinder Task Wall Light | 14. Enok Metal Wall Sconce | 15. AJ Metal Wall Sconce | 16. Half Dome Wall Lamp | 17. Flynn Single Wall Sconce | 18. Simon Adjustable Sconce | 19. Mantis Wall Sconce | 20. Swing Lamp | 21. Medium Swing Sconce
Next up, ceiling and pendant lighting. These are the lights that typically will be installed above a dining table, kitchen island, in a stairwell or in the center of a living room. Overall they provide a lot of light when they have a fabric or paper shade and can be a great way to light an entire room if you don’t have any built-in recessed lighting. Keep in mind the rule we touched on above about using fabric vs. metal shades as using a metal shade in the wrong area can mean a very concentrated stream of light that might not work best for the space or for hiding those wrinkles on your face.
When it comes to “California Casual” overhead lighting, the same rules apply to those in the other styles. Anything handmade looking, like the pendant below, anything that is woven like the pendant above, or anything with a large gauzy fabric shade are all fair game. You will also notice a lot of swagging of pendants in this style, which means the light may be installed from a junction box in the center of the room, but then swagged across to hang more in the corner of a room or above a reading nook or similar feature.
Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Basket Weave Bamboo Pendant Lamp | 2. Open Weave Pendant | 3. Hood Pendant | 4. Edie Pendant | 5. Lodge Chandelier Two | 6. Folk Abigail-Soft Cone | 7. Haleigh Wire Dome Rod Pendant | 8. Mid-Century Long Arm Chandelier | 9. Nelson Ball Pendant | 10. Cord Chandelier | 11. Folk Abigail Angular Cylinder Pendant | 12. Holstebro 3 Light Ceiling Lamp | 13. Beaded Necklace Pendant | 14. Edmund Light | 15. Bungalow Pendant | 16. Hazel Large Banded Cone Pendant | 17. Minna Three Tiered Chandelier | 18. Solleftea Ceiling Lamp | 19. Sinnerlig Pendant Light | 20. Hektar Pendant Lamp | 21. Wood Bead Pendant | 22. Barcroft Angled Pendant Light | 23. Natural Macrame Deja Drum Pendant | 24. Tiered Drum Pendant | 25. Habi Pendant | 26. Beadcraft Chandelier | 27. Capitol Pendant Light
So, which ones out of the mix are your favorites or have you tried? And let us know if you have any questions on the right lighting for the right space.