Everything You Need to Know About Scoring Flawless Lighting Online

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Lighting a home can feel like a never-ending project. From ceiling fixtures to accent lights, this design feat is equal parts decorative and practical. So where do we even begin? To help get the ball rolling, we reached out to Sheva Knopfler, co-founder and creative director of Lights.com, a premier online lighting manufacturer and retailer. Whether you're wondering what to consider before purchasing online or figuring out how to make affordable pieces look expensive, Knopfler has blessed us with her insider business knowledge and interior design expertise. Keep scrolling for exclusive advice, and the 16 best spots to shop online for this home decor staple.

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Expert Advice From Sheva Knopfler

What are the most important things to consider before purchasing lighting online?

  1. Size and scale: Take into consideration the ceiling height, size of the room, size of the table, size of your vanity or mirror, and so on.
  2. Light output: Consider what the main purpose of the fixture is. Is it purely decorative, accent lighting, or will it be the primary light source in the room?
  3. Style, finish, and taste: Take into account the finishes of your vanity, faucet, door hardware and the like to find lighting that coordinates. And of course, consider the overall style of the room to help narrow your focus when searching through the endless online inventory.

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Can you find good quality, high design pieces that are affordable?

Many high-end fixtures are made of solid brass, but you can get a very similar look with plating a less expensive metal. Be sure to opt for plated over painted finishes. The former looks high-quality (almost like real brass) and the painted finish can look like a DIY. It may not be immediately recognizable, but when you look closely, it really makes a difference.

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Which lights are best in which spaces?

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  • Use pendants or linear fixtures over a kitchen island.
  • Opt for mount or semi-flush lighting in hallways, bedrooms, and small entryways.
  • Place vanity light fixtures above your bathroom vanity.
  • Incorporate pendants or wall lights next to the bed. There are great plug-in options if you don't have a junction box.

In her own home, Knopfler recently used the Castell 3 Globe Pendant in matte black in her son's bedroom, since it works well with their natural wood-toned furniture. "The fixture gives off a great amount of light and adds a nice design element to the room," she said. The creative director also uses the Prospect 6-light Chandelier over her dining room table. It currently has Williamsburg LED bulbs, but they can be swapped out any time she wants to refresh the look.

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Can you mix decor styles and finishes?

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"Absolutely, but be careful," warns Knopfler. "When crossing styles you want to select products that are simpler in design and form ... Make sure the products are not too intricate and filled with lots of little details that can conflict with each other." She suggests mixing finishes. "For example, if your door hardware is brass, feel free to use a satin brass or a matte black ... This can be a nice combination."

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What are the biggest tips for lighting your home?

  1. Always use dimmers, in any room. Not only do they help provide an ideal environment and space, but they are more efficient and increase the lifetime of your light bulbs.
  2. When searching for the correct brightness, go bright! Then the light is available to you, but you are now using a dimmer so you can control it.
  3. Leverage specialist and expert retailers that focus on lighting.
  4. Pay attention to color temperature which is shown on the Kelvin scale. Do you prefer a warm light? A bluer light? More similar to daylight? And then make sure your color temperature matches in your other fixtures and bulbs, especially if they are in the same room.
  5. To achieve the best lighting solution, your room will have multiple layers of light. One layer will be functional light, one layer will be accent light, one layer will be decorative or design focused, and one layer will be task lighting.

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Where to Shop

Lights.com is the ultimate online shopping destination. Quality craftsmanship, easy installation, ethical production, and the direct-to-consumer model are just a few of the many reasons this retailer is at the top of our list. Shop here for design-forward, everyday pieces that will last a lifetime.

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Our pick:Lights.com Greenwood Pendant with Mirrored Smoke Glass, $129

With over 50,000 designs — from name brand beauties to exclusive pieces — Lamps Plus is the nation's largest lighting retailer. It's stocked up with budget-friendly buys that don't read inexpensive and is a one-stop shop for everything from outdoor lighting to accent lighting, statement chandeliers, and anything in between.

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Our pick:Franklin Iron Works Eldrige 4-Light Bronze Pot Rack Chandelier, $399.99

Hop over to One Kings Lane for luxury pieces across all price points. From unique pieces to vintage finds, the site is easy to navigate and offers a good variety of options without feeling overwhelming.

Our pick:One Kings Lane Rowan Beaded Table Lamp, $145

Perigold's selection is pure eye candy. And if you're willing to splurge, we truly can't recommend the retailer enough. Elevated, unique, and quality are just three of the many words we would use to describe its pieces.

Our pick:Galilee Lighting Cloud 1-Light Single Globe Pendant, $360

Hit up AllModern for affordable, contemporary designs. From midcentury modern floor lamps to eye-catching geometric chandeliers, this is your spot to shop. The selection is endless and the website is always running great sales.

Our Pick:AllModern Jeremy 2-Light Hardwired Armed Sconce, $132

Everything at Rejuvenation is cool, and there is certainly no exception when it comes to the retailer's lighting selection. It almost feels like you're sifting through the most elevated pieces at a vintage estate sale. While it's on the pricier side, the brand is built on its dedication to quality craftsmanship, and the selection is timeless and very unique.

Our pick:Rejuvenation Folk Abigail Soft Cone Pendant, $449

No one will be surprised that Wayfair offers a huge variety of on-trend pendants, wall sconces, and lamps at a fraction of the price of its competitors. With styles ranging from midcentury modern to farmhouse and traditional, there will undoubtedly be a slew of lights you'll love.

Our pick:Wade Logan Arboles 10-Light Unique Modern Linear Chandelier, $135.99

Birch Lane is the place to go if you're creating the traditional haven or farmhouse escape of your dreams. Its pieces are timeless yet unique and really will stay with you for years to come. If you're drooling over weathered woods, neutral finishings, and pieces with classic charm, you've come to the right spot.

Our pick:Birch Lane Viraj 8-Light Kitchen Island Linear Pendant, $537

If you're seeking out a vast selection of the most current lighting, YLighting is a no-brainer. Need proof? It's the largest online store dedicated to modern and contemporary lighting. The site contains all the hottest brands you can think of and is known to run sales from time to time, so be sure to keep an eye out.

Our pick:Seed Design Castle Muse LED Mini Pendant Light, $270

Joss & Main is where contemporary meets classic. You'll find affordable picks for the entire house, with an exceptional selection of wall and ceiling lights for outdoors and indoors. Owned by the same company as Wayfair, AllModern, and Birch Lane, you can expect the same massive selection with frequent deals on already affordable pieces.

Our pick:Joss & Main Tivoli 1-Light Gold Armed Sconce, $215

Schoolhouse's indoor and outdoor fixtures are favored by decorators for their high design takes on iconic pieces. If you gravitate towards handcrafted statement pieces, period-inspired buys (specifically midcentury modern), and simple yet elegant designs, Schoolhouse is the first place you should look. It's also a great place to go for powerful, yet subtle pops of color.

Our pick:Schoolhouse Kepler Medallion Sconce, $479

12. Lumens

Lumens is another great destination for modern lighting. There are over 30,000 picks from an assortment of global brands. Plus, the site offers tons of excellent inspiration for your contemporary home along with quick shipping and really stellar customer service.

Our pick:George Kovacs Cosmet Chandelier, $434.95

If you're a West Elm lover in general, there's no doubt you'll be a West Elm lighting lover. From neutral wood and terracotta desk lamps to midcentury modern sculptural masterpieces, it's an easy destination if you're generally a fan of the retailer.

Our pick:Champignon 6-Light Chandelier, $699

Urban Outfitters sells on-trend sconces and statement pendants, but where it really shines is the novelty lighting category. From whimsical string lights to dreamy mushroom lamps, Urban is the ultimate destination for boho escapes and dorm rooms alike.

Our pick:Urban Outfitters Ansel Table Lamp, $89

15. Amazon

It's no surprise Amazon has an endless selection of home lighting. While you definitely have to sort through some not-so-cute options more than other sites that are solely dedicated to trendy lighting, there's are some serious winners in the mix. Not to mention, they are shockingly affordable.

Our pick:HJ.Luyo Frosted Black Modern Sconces (set of 2), $49.99

The Home Depot is a go-to spot for house project materials, but it has a surprisingly stylish selection of fixtures, too. Be sure to check out the detailed product reviews before making your purchase.

Our pick​: Artika Essence Globe Modern Hanging Mini Pendant Light, $89.97

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