Updated: May 31, 2021
Walk into any store or look through any catalog. Look at the lights, and the fixtures. Examine the textures and the styles that you see. Think about how the colors and the designs jive with what you want to see, and what you could see if it all comes together the way you envision. You’re putting together a picture of your lit up life.
We often don’t realize that the way we design our lives speaks volumes about us. The way we decorate is indicative to others of our style. The way we upkeep our yards and homes share a window into what we value and what we prioritize. Everything we do with our designs and homes is a glimpse of our deepest psyche.
So, speaking of lights: what do they say about us? What does a bollard mean that a deco light doesn’t? What would a path light say that is different from a hanging or garden light? What does our choice of bulb and illumination style say that shows something more than the usual thing? What does natural rust finish mean to us?
These are some of the many considerations that go into making design and lighting choices. We know intuitively what we like and what we don’t like when we’re putting furniture and yards to work. We know what we value in appliances and electronics (they need to work the way they’re supposed to) and we know values we admire in the houses and designs of friends and family.
Natural rust texture fits different personalities. Aged bronze can speak of strength and classicism; deco is for those who hold a bit of nostalgia close. Path lights, or our Hip to Be Square lights, are for confident and self-assured personalities. Silver is a lovely look perfect for complimenting any environment. Gold is a strong color, and not right for every location. But when it lands in the right spot, it not only sets a mood—it ties the whole environment together.
Lights are frequently moved and adjusted to find the perfect location. It’s a safe bet to invest in lights that you can move and adjust yourself, so you can make the perfect atmosphere with your creations. You also want to place them in places where they’ll be of the most use, and that can be a process of adjustment and trial and error. LEDs and low voltage lights are helpful to prevent overheating, and they keep the lights from burning you or your pets and children if you’re to move or touch them, another safety concern.
Many people use them on paths and near areas like pools or walls. It keeps your guests and family safe, and also can light hardscapes and softscapes in gorgeous arrays. Underneath tree canopies and near flowers also provides a lovely experience. Children at play in the evening can see better if the lights are near common obstructions like rocks, bricks, or other potential hazards.
Pathlights not only illuminate the landscaping and hardscaping decisions in your backyard—they also keep your guests and you safe at night when you’re walking. They provide ambience and a sense of atmosphere and compliment the vegetation. If you have a pool, they can rest by it and gently illuminate the lapping waters. Tangled vines can overhang and create lovely verdant shadows. Golden light can set a mood for romantic occasions, and it can provide a safer alternative to torches.
Lights are romantic. From candlelight to gentle fireplaces, when we think of light we think of romance and mood. Bollard and deco lights serve a similar function and work well outside as naturalistic fixtures. There’s no reason why we can’t set a mood outdoors; every lived space we have should function the way we want, and be tailored to our spirit.
When you pick a light or several lights, it’s important to complement and uplift the environment in which you place them. You want to create an experience for your area that sets it apart pleasingly from other similar spaces. Be mindful of elements like form, line, texture, and colors. Ensure the elements work together, and that the light fits into it and draws the eye to the desired focal points.
There’s no such thing as a wrong choice when it comes to a light, provided the choice speaks to you personally and is in harmony with what you want and what you want to do. Any light or environment can be tailored to your needs and style—it’s just a matter of finding the best way to express yourself.