Lighting + Fans
Modern Lighting + Ceiling Fans
Illuminate your space with functional, design-forward home lighting. Through the innovative use of materials, modern light fixtures create welcoming pools of light or offer a warm, ambient glow – without producing glare or harsh shadows. While function is a primary tenet of midcentury design, it’s also common to find Bauhaus industrial influence and elements of Scandinavian design in midcentury modern lighting.
It’s no surprise that some of the most well-known midcentury lighting designers – Arne Jacobsen, Poul Henningsen, and Hans Wegner, to name a few – came from Nordic countries. Long, dark Nordic winters drove designers and architects to design fixtures that produced artificial lighting, which was critical in the absence of natural light.
Similarly, modern ceiling fans combine form and function. Designed with sleek, minimalist silhouettes, the best ceiling fans are quiet, efficient, and contribute to a cohesive design scheme. At Design Within Reach, explore an assortment of lamps and ceiling fans that represent the best in modern design. But first, learn more about the types of light fixtures to find what’s right for your home.
Types of Modern Lighting
The best fixtures for illuminating an entire room or spacious area, ceiling lights offer ample ambient light – and many are dimmable. Recessed, flush-mount, and semi-flush-mount ceiling lights, as well as track lighting fixtures are optimal choices for bright overhead lighting in entryways and other utilitarian areas, such as a laundry room or pantry. If you’re looking for a decorative hanging light for your living room or dining area, consider a chandelier or pendant light. Nearly all ceiling lamps are hardwired and can be operated via wall switch.
Supplement overhead lighting with wall lights. Some wall lamps mount flush to the wall and produce soft, ambient light, while other wall sconces feature arms and shades that can be adjusted to direct illumination where you need it. Many modern wall lights wash the surface of the wall with light, bathing the entire room or space in a glare-free glow. Keep in mind: Most wall lamps are hardwired, but some easy-to-install fixtures feature a plug-in design.
Tall and freestanding, floor lamps allow you to illuminate small areas – such as a reading nook or work setup – within a larger space. Most floor lamps are approximately five feet tall and feature a weighted base for stability. While some floor lamps are simple, with a vertical center pipe, single bulb, and fabric shade, other modern floor lamps showcase unique material combinations and innovative designs, such as multiple tiered bulbs, a dramatically arched center pipe, or an adjustable arm. Floor lamps are an easy way to bring light to a space – most are corded and plug in to standard 110-volt electrical outlets, with in-line switches or handy cord pulls.
Brighten any tabletop – a console, credenza, or side table – with a small, easy-to-operate table lamp. Available in a wide range of silhouettes, many table lamps incorporate contemporary features for added convenience, like touch controls, USB ports, nighttime settings, and more. Like floor lamps, table lamps give you the freedom to position a light source nearly anywhere in your home with access to an outlet.
Similar to table lamps, desk lamps are small, freestanding, and easy to place on desktops and work surfaces. However, while table lamps are usually a source of ambient light, desk lamps emit task lighting. Many desk lamps have adjustable arms and pivoting shades that allow you to direct light where you need it most. Modern desk lamps may also feature convenient charging ports – at the base of the lamp – for small devices.
Bring the convenience of indoor lighting outside with modern outdoor lighting. Outdoor light fixtures are durable and weatherproof, designed to withstand the elements. Some outdoor floor lamps and table lamps are corded, but most outdoor wall and ceiling lights are hardwired for convenience and safety. If you’re looking for portable outdoor lighting, shop battery-operated outdoor lamps and lanterns that last for hours on a single charge.
The best ceiling fans are designed with a reverse switch so that they suit all seasons. Depending on the height of your ceiling, choose a flush-mount ceiling fan, ideal for rooms with low ceilings, or one with a downrod – a smart choice for tall ceilings and lofted rooms. Ceiling fans are available with different blade sizes, shapes, and counts for various room sizes and efficiencies. Many come with an optional light fixture as well. If you’re looking for a ceiling fan that can circulate warm air in the cooler months, choose one with a reverse switch and convenient wireless remote.
How to Choose Light Fixtures
Consider lighting types.
To choose the right light fixture for your home, consider the type of lighting your space requires. The two primary types of lighting are ambient light and task light.
Ambient Lighting: Ambient lighting is ideal for illuminating large areas. Flush- and semi-flush mount ceiling lights, wall lamps, chandeliers, and modern pendant lamps are optimal for illuminating large areas of your home. You can also use smaller ambient fixtures, such as floor lamps and table lamps, to supplement the lighting in spacious rooms, like a large living room or open concept floor plan. Chandeliers are an excellent choice for living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms. Similarly, pendant lights are ideal for living and dining areas; these are commonly hung alone or in multiples above a seating arrangement or dining table. Wall lights and wall sconces are frequently installed in pairs, with one on either side of a central feature of a room, like a mantel, buffet table, or bed.
Task Lighting: Task lighting illuminates small areas, usually a workstation or desktop. A floor lamp next to a lounge chair can provide light for reading or laptop work, while desk lamps are ideal for home offices or other workspaces throughout the home.
Consider modern light fixture materials.
Midcentury modern designs emphasize accessibility and ease of production. As a result, many midcentury fixtures are crafted of materials that are easy to produce, including metals such as brass, stainless steel, and polished or powder-coated aluminum. Many of these fixtures often feature a minimal aesthetic, but they’re not devoid of artistic elements. From straight-edged silhouettes to organic shapes, and traditional fabric shades to sculptural diffusers in frosted or sandblasted glass, modern lights come in a diverse array of styles. Like light fixtures, modern ceiling fans are crafted of easy-to-produce materials, featuring metal, solid wood, or lightweight plywood fan blades.
Should light fixtures match throughout the house?
Light fixtures don’t need to match throughout your home. However, you should try to choose light fixtures that contribute to a cohesive design scheme. Whether they’re made in the same style, incorporate similar materials, or have similar shapes, cohesive light fixtures can make your home feel unified and complete.
Where to buy light fixtures?
For the best in authentic modern lighting and ceiling fans, shop at Design Within Reach.