Friday, 4 December 2015

How to Select Lighting for a Coastal Look

1. Beach style dining room by  Burnham Design

I believe that our homes and surroundings definitely affect our moods, and thoughtfully styled interiors can help promote a feeling of relaxation, especially if you opt for a Hamptons/coastal look. Finding suitable furniture for this style of interior is not difficult but finding the right light fittings can often become a challenge.

Living in New Zealand can be a little bit restrictive when sourcing certain items, especially lighting, often I will spot an image on Houzz or Pinterest but fail to find a similar item locally. Recently, however I was introduced to an international on-line store that ship worldwide. As they are US based I was a little worried about the wiring however, after enquiring they said they cater for both US and EU wiring. They have a fabulous range of designs, including a wide range of lights that would look great in a coastal interior, with the added bonus, shipping is free if you spend over US$50.

When looking for lights for a coastal interior, think materials that will work with your furniture and the architecture of your home. Certain shapes and materials suit a coastal atmosphere, glass, wood and iron work well, especially bell shaped or bottle shaped glass and white washed wood. Rusty iron is more suited to a rustic beach home whereas black wrought iron suits a traditional Hamptons or Nantucket style home. Don't rule out those industrial style lights as they can also look great in a coastal style interior. Also think about the architecture of your home, do you have high ceilings or low ceilings, a large or small space, all these points are important in selecting not just the style but the correct size lights.

Let's explore some specific areas in your home and see what style of lights would work to achieve a coastal look...


  • If you have a high stud ceiling then choose a chandelier or large pendant light that will make a statement for that first impression. Obviously the overall size of the pendant will depend on the height and width of your hallway. 
  • Go as big as your room allows making sure you keep the proportion of the light correct for the height and width of the space. 
  • As far as materials are concerned think wood, glass and iron. 
  • If you have a long hallway you may want to repeat the light at intervals so you have two or three

2. Above: Hallway design Archer & Buchanan

Below: lighting examples from Parrot Uncle that work with coastal in mind...

3. Above: This glass pendant lamp is industrial but will also work coastal. You could hang two or more in a vertical line down a hallway or a single one in a small hallway. This light would also look good as two or three equally spaced above a kitchen island

4. Above: a Globe Shaped Wooden Pendant definitely has a nautical touch about it, circular shapes work well in coastal interiors but you would need a high ceiling in a hallway for this style
5. Above: Rustic coastal look -  Dempsey Hodges
6. Above: This five light wooden pendant (also comes in 6 lights), the light is also from Parrot Uncle and would look fabulous hung from a raked ceiling in a hallway, living room or above a dining table similar to the image above. This style of light is definitely rustic so you would need to make sure its design compliments your interior style.

Kitchen Islands

  • Pendant lamps or a long bank of lights look great above island benches
  • Make sure you measure the length of your bench/island to select the appropriate size lights, don't go too small, three small lights over a long, deep bench in a large open plan space will simply look lost so think as big as your space will allow. The lighting in the image below is small but it is in perfect proportion for the size of the island.

7. Above: Perfectly proportioned lighting - Interior Design -  Burnham Design

8. Above: A similar light from Parrot Uncle, combines light grained wood and metal. This light would also look good in white, especially above a black granite bench top

9. Above: Perfectly proportioned large lights - Interior design, Hampton Design
10. Above: A 4 light industrial style pendant from Parrot Uncle. Think 'statement' not 'understatement'. This style of light would also look good over a rectangular table and suits the coastal look (see similar example in image 1)
11. Above: Rustic bamboo pendants can suit coastal, however a little more difficult to clean in a kitchen situation
12. Above: Industrial but also coastal and a popular Hamptons style using two or three above an island bench.  Alternatively you could use larger, more curvaceous glass domes

Wall lights

Inside, wall lights can be used beside fireplaces, bedsides, or beside or over a bathroom mirror. They can also be used above artwork although there are specific lights for placing above artwork
13. Above: Interior design by boutique design company Shophouse
14. Above: For a similar look, Vintage Industrial Style Double-layer Iron Wall Sconce from Parrot Uncle
15. Above: The shape of this light replicates a ships bell and has a nautical feel
16. Above: White definitely works for a coastal look. This style of light is a little more modern, however it still has a traditional shape and the industrial style bulb adds a vintage touch

There are many hundreds of styles of lights that would work for a coastal look, I have only touched on a few discovered on Parrot Uncle. If you are not necessarily a fan of coastal style and prefer something more industrial, Parrot Uncle also have a range of vintage style industrial lights
17. Above: Industrial light from Parrot Uncle

Leaving you with a few lighting tips...

Lighting Tips:
  • Where is your light going to hang? If it is to hang above a kitchen island make sure is the right size for the length of the bench top. Will two lights be sufficient or do you need three to make a statement
  • If you have a high vaulted/raked ceiling make sure the hanging length is right, not too high or too low. The same applies above a dining room table, make sure it is not too low that it gets in the way of family dinners, yet at the same time you want it to be a feature
  • Personally I would choose the biggest light your room will take, don't use a lot of small lights in a large space, it is better to have two large feature lights 
  • With a small room, again one large light will look better than several small lights
  • Have a dimmer switch fitted in a living or dining area to create a softer mood
  • If you are building a house and are having LED downlights, make allowance for a few suspended lights. Maybe a chandelier fitting in a bedroom or over a living area and definitely above a kitchen island as downlights will not be sufficient lighting in a kitchen.
I hope this post has been helpful for you to choose the right lighting for a coastal look and don't forget that the furniture and soft furnishing is just as important as the lighting in creating a coastal feel. I encourage you to visit Parrot Uncle and browse their full lighting range, there are some beautiful designs and styles and they include great deals and sale prices. 

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