Experts Convey Trends in Lighting

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The top trend in decorative lighting has little to do with style, shape or shade choices. Instead, it focuses on the new mindset of the consumer.

The top trend in decorative lighting has little to do with style, shape or shade choices. Instead, it focuses on the new mindset of the consumer.

“People have realized you’re not buying just a lamp or a sconce or a chandelier – you’re buying an accessory that lights up,” says designer Sergio Orozco.

Decorative lighting rates today as one of the best accessories you can buy. “If chosen correctly, it is as important to a room as your best piece of furniture,” says Orozco, a New Jersey-based furniture and lighting designer. “It reflects your taste and adds the finishing touch.”

Fixed or portable, lighting has become an all-important interior design feature. “Homeowners are beginning to seek out lighting as decorative elements,” says Jody DeVine marketing communications manager for Sea Gull Lighting Products, the New Jersey-based lighting manufacturer.

According to the experts at the American Lighting Association, there are three major movements:

*Casual Elegance continues the creation of warm, relaxed and cozy environments, with casual lighting that is a little more upscale in design.

*Soft Contemporary is still, clean, modern and simple in style. While architectural in design, these fixtures are no longer cold.

*Simplified Traditional removes the excess. “While still a traditional look, this look is not ornate,” says Orozco. “There is now a simplification. Decorative lighting here may still be solid brass, but stripped down and rich with an antique patina.”

In step with home decor trends, the lighting industry is experiencing an explosion of design options and material combinations. “Eclectic is really the word that best reflects the range of colors, styles, shapes and sizes of decorative lighting available,” says Joe Rey-Barreau, educational consultant for the American Lighting Association and assistant professor of interior design at the University of Kentucky.

This season’s savviest styles have common design elements. “There has been a big move recently to more daring designs and material combinations -- wrought iron with crystal, polished brass with colored glass,” says Rey-Barreau. “At the same time, traditional product is still available. Today, if you want a Williamsburg polished brass fixture, you can find it. But if you are looking for a Murano glass medusa head with a low voltage bulb to light up a room, you can find that, too!”

Finishes range from rich and refined to lustrously weathered. “We are moving away from shiny brass and china to more burnished, brushed and hand painted finishes,” says DeVine.

Hand painted doesn’t mean simply white enamel with painted flowers. Instead, think multi-toned finishes with depth and texture -- layers of color; hand-rubbed, burnished metal; finishes flecked with gold or silver and rubbed so color shines through.

“There is also a move toward heavy iron, and rust finishes are still important as is oil-rubbed bronze,” says Dennis Davenport, Vice President of Fort Worth, Texas based ceiling fan manufacturer, Monte Carlo Fan Company. “Amber glass is becoming more a preference for homeowners, as well.”

Other fresh features to look for in decorative lighting include:

Larger Size Fixtures: “More large-size fixtures is a result of the move to larger homes,” says Rey-Barreau. “Homes with large interior volumes need larger lights and the industry has complied.”

Chandelier Resurgence: Once confined to dining rooms and entry halls, chandeliers are hanging around almost any room in the house. “The trend is back to light in the center of the room,” says Rey-Barreau. “As a result, you are seeing chandeliers everywhere -- bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, hallways -- anywhere one will fit.”

Quality Materials: The focus shifts to the real deal as consumers opt for true glass instead of plastic, stainless steel instead of aluminum. Look for beautiful marble, supple leathers and tactile iron.

Lower Cost: A benefit of recent manufacturing trends is the deflation of price in decorative lighting fixtures. “What cost $1,500 five years ago may be found today for $900,” says Rey-Barreau. “At the same time, there are incredible lamps available for $30.”

Energy Efficiency: From adding dimmers to using the latest low-voltage bulbs, consumers are looking to save energy when they can. Cost-effective fluorescent bulbs become more important in all aspects of lighting.

About Sea Gull Lighting

Headquartered in Riverside, New Jersey, Sea Gull Lighting Products, Inc., is a leading manufacturer and marketer of decorative and functional lighting for residential, commercial and architectural applications. The 85-year-old company provides more than 3,500 product designs spanning 15 categories to a multi-national network of electrical distributors, lighting showrooms, furniture and gift specialty stores as well as various niche markets. These products are marketed worldwide under the Sea Gull Lighting®, Ambiance Lighting Systems®, Monte Carlo Fan Company®, PGA TOUR® Home Collection and Carolyn Kinder Lighting brand names. Sea Gull Lighting is also a proud partner of the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Program and was recently named 2004 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year.

Sea Gull Lighting product photography is also available at http://www.seagulllighting.com/media.

Media Contact:

Jody DeVine

856-764-0500

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