Blog posts of '2018' 'December'

What’s Illuminating the Way in Lighting for 2019?

The clocks have gone back; days are shorter, nights are longer, and we’re grateful to have lighting to keep our homes and businesses illuminated and functional. Electrical lighting is an indispensable item for modern living, but far from being purely functional, we love to adorn our homes with beautiful pieces that not only give us the light we need but also style and a touch of glamour too.

As the old year hurries towards its conclusion, let’s take a look at lighting trends for the New Year and see what will be illuminating our lives in 2019.


Natural Lines and Natural Materials

One of the most popular lighting trends of 2018 was a return to simple, natural designs and this shows no sign of disappearing in 2019. Simple, clean lines with clever functionality are the keystones of this trend, with Scandinavian inspired designs leading the way. Despite their simple appearance, these lights are clever and adaptable.

Think wood, concrete and marble combined with energy efficient bulbs and controllability via apps and you’ll be getting the picture.


Opulent Lighting Reminiscent of Another Century

If you’re not a minimalist at heart, you’ll love the more opulent designs that take us back to another era. Retro styles are still very much in vogue, and yet, while they may look like lighting from former years, their performance is bang up to date incorporating state-of-the-art technologies and energy efficient features.

Made from glass to give a clear bright light, this style of lighting reminds us of bright, glittering jewels that are always the focal point in any room. Choose from clear or coloured glass to send glittering shards of light around your room.


Look to the Future

Lighting is no longer just a functional necessity; it can be an artwork in its own right. Imaginative, futuristic designs with cylindrical bases, angled lines and shapes reminiscent of UFOs work well in minimalist homes to give a focal point that’s simple but eye-catching.

Check out modern overhanging floor lamps, complete with elliptical shaped diffuser shades. They’re the perfect option as a reading lamp or as a main source of light over your dining table. Or take a look at the Backwell floor lamp with its twisted cylindrical shade – it’s sure to be a talking point!

Romance is Far from Dead

If sleek, futuristic lighting is not your style, you may prefer to fill your home with lights and lamps that are softer, more curved and made from light, natural materials that allow the light to shine through to create a warm and welcoming ambience.

These styles radiate warm, indirect light to add a cosy glow and make any room more inviting. Made from Birch wood veneer and Copper Aluminium, the Decorum with its organic closed tulip shape offers a warming radiance that’s as atmospheric as it is beautiful.


Metallics are Here to Stay

The popularity of metallic finishes shows no signs of diminishing and metallic lighting, whether gold, chrome or brass, is still as alluring as ever. Metallics go with every kind of furnishings and can be used in all kinds of colour schemes.

Prefer something cool and icy – go for chrome – if you need to tone the metallic down you can opt for brushed finished. If you want to warm up your colour scheme, coppers, gold and brass are the perfect choices.


There’s a Lighting Style for Every Home

Trends come and go, but creative lighting designs will always be a staple. Whatever kind of home you live in, whether it’s large or small, traditional or modern, well chosen lighting can make all the difference to the ambience that you want to create.

Take some time to browse our entire collection of lighting designs and get in touch with us if there’s something we can help you with.

Untangling the History of Christmas Lights

Are you the kind of person who methodically puts away your Christmas lights each year in January making sure that they’re still working and that they’re neatly stored for easy access the next time you need them? Or do you shove them in the storage box, and hope that the tangled mess will continue to twinkle for years to come?

Whatever your preference, have you ever given a thought to why we decorate our Christmas trees with lights and how they became a staple decoration at Christmas time?

It All Started with Candles

People decorated trees with light long before electricity was invented. It’s said that the pagans used evergreens and lights during their winter celebrations and rituals, and their yule log still forms part of the Christmas celebrations today.

In the 17th century, Christian Germans brought their yuletide tree indoors and illuminated it with candles that were carefully attached with a pin or melted wax. A lit candle was also placed in the window of their house to show that it was a Christian house and that fellow Christians were welcome to visit and worship Christ together with the residents, a tradition that spread from Germany throughout Eastern Europe.


From Wax to Electricity

Fast forward to 1880, and we see Thomas Edison displaying the first outdoor electric light at Christmas outside the compound surrounding his laboratory. As the compound was near to a railway line, many people were able to see the new miracle of electricity.

A couple of years later in 1882, Edward Johnson, one of Edison’s protégées created the first string of electric lights with 80 red, white and blue bulbs, each of which was the size of a walnut. By 1890, the lights were in mass production and were displayed in department stores throughout the country. By the end of the century, the displays spread from retail stores to government buildings, and as the lights became more affordable over the following decades, they were seen adorning private homes too.


An Expensive and Dangerous Display

While Christmas trees twinkling with lights look beautiful, the dazzling displays did come at a cost. Not only did it take time and effort to decorate a tree with electric lights, it also took quite a sum of money.

For this reason, many people still used the traditional way of lighting their tree by attaching candles to the branches. However, unlike today’s modern displays, trees were usually only put up a few days before Christmas Day, and the candles would only be lit for a maximum of thirty minutes during the evening. Even so, every wise householder kept a bucket of water close by to the display in case the tree caught alight.

For those lucky enough to be able to afford to drape their trees with electric lights, unsurprisingly they chose to display their tree in the window so that people outside could also admire the display. The first lights could cost anything up to $300 dollars, a sum which equates to more than £1,500 now, as the wiring of these lights required the services of a wireman to hand wire each light onto the tree and the use of a generator.


Christmas Lights for the Masses

In 1925, the Sadacca brothers formed a company called NOMA (National Outfit Manufacturers) by uniting 15 existing Christmas light companies. One of the brothers, Albert, had been inspired to create safe and affordable Christmas lights after a devastating fire caused by Christmas tree candles in New York City.

NOMA mass-produced Christmas lights until 1968 when the company hit bankruptcy and finally closed its doors due to the increasing competition from other companies and foreign imports.


Today the Sky is the Limit

Today’s Christmas lights are an affordable option for all, and the availability of a wide selection of white and coloured lights makes it possible to create amazing displays both inside and outdoors. Many people set up magnificent displays outside their own homes, with everything from flashing neon reindeers to twinkling icicle strings.

Advances in technology have meant that LED lights which are energy efficient and help to reduce carbon emissions are both effective and affordable and come in many permutations and power options, from solar powered to those that are powered by batteries, USB or electricity.

And it also seems that Christmas lights are no longer the reserve of Christmas with many people choosing to adorn their homes both inside and out with ‘fairy’ lights throughout the year.

But whether you believe lights are for Christmas only or you keep your lights up all year round, you can always experience the magic of amazing lighting in your home by visiting our Christopher Wray showroom for some illuminating inspiration.

From Remembrance to Festive Cheer in London

Light has the ability to affect us in more ways than just visually. It also has psychological and biological effects that can have an impact on our health and wellbeing. Light can improve or disrupt our sleep. It can affect our cognition skills, and it can heighten emotions.

Light’s ability to affect our emotions has been much in evidence in recent weeks in London, where various forms of lighting have been cleverly used to not only help us remember and reflect but also to give us hope for the future and something to look forward to.


Light as a powerful symbol of remembrance

November 11th, 2018 marked the centenary of the end of the First World War. All over the UK and beyond, people came together to commemorate and remember the millions of people that gave their lives throughout the conflict. In London, the fallen were remembered in many different ways, but perhaps none more poignant than through the new installation at the capital’s iconic Tower of London.

Anyone who was lucky enough to brave the crowds to see ‘Beyond the Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers’ will have been struck by the moving ritual where 10,000 individual candles were lit to acknowledge the lives lost during the conflict and the ultimate sacrifice made by so many; a spectacle which took four hours to evolve into a breathtaking display of flames and a powerful symbol of remembrance.

Despite the enormous crowds, anyone who attended couldn’t help but be touched by the flickering lights. By lighting these candles as symbols of eternal life, it meant that their lives wouldn’t be forgotten, and that their sacrifice would always be respected.


Light as a symbol of celebration and hope

During the same week, London was bathed in more twinkling lights as the city’s Christmas lights were turned on. From Oxford Street to Carnaby Street, the famous London thoroughfares became awash with festive cheer, and over the next few weeks, more and more lights will appear as darkness falls.

During holiday periods, we love to fill our homes with shimmering lights, but the tradition started centuries ago when people lit candles during ancient winter solstice celebrations as a way of remembering that spring would soon be on the way.

As Christianity took hold, candles were lit to represent the star of Bethlehem, but other religions also use light to add cheer during the winters, including the Jews who light up a menorah during Hanukkah and the Hindus who have their own Festival of Light, Diwali.

And so, when special celebrations come around, we feel the need to fill our homes with light, both inside and out.


Lights are not just for Christmas

In modern times, battery and solar powered lighting ensures that we can illuminate our homes during the holiday season without needing to light candles. But, of course, lights are not just for Christmas or other religious celebrations; they’re an integral part of modern living and interior design.

So why not ring the changes this Yuletide by installing lighting that will last longer than the advent period? From traditional antique brass finish star lanterns to magnificent chandeliers and pendants that glisten and glitter as the light catches the crystals, there are so many beautiful light fittings to choose from which will give your home a festive feel all year round.

Whether you prefer a modern or traditional aesthetic in your home, or your tastes are flamboyant or minimalist, you’ll find an impressive array of stunning centrepieces that will illuminate your home in style throughout the year. So why not visit your local lighting store in London, choose a new light installation and dedicate it to someone you love this Christmas?

How Lighting Can Impact Your Emotional Health and Wellbeing

Have you ever thought about how light can affect your mood?

You’re probably aware that you feel better when the sun is shining or that you’re more creative when the light is more subdued, but different lights can impact our emotional health and wellbeing too, by affecting everything from your mood to your appetite.

Sunshine Equals Happiness?

While we can’t guarantee that being in the sun will make you feel happier, it does make a big difference to your wellbeing. Researchers have found that people who are exposed to natural sunlight during the day exercise more, sleep for longer and feel much better than people who get little exposure.

Getting your daily dose of daylight will help your body to stick to its natural circadian rhythm and help it to know when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to sleep.


Natural Light May Help Reduce Symptoms of Depression

Getting outside during daylight hours may also help to reduce the symptoms of depression. A 2013 study reported that volunteers with both depression and a Vitamin D deficiency found that their symptoms were reduced by increased exposure to sunlight.

The good news is that this effect can be replicated with the use of a lamp that’s designed to mimic natural outdoor light, which can prove particularly helpful during short, dark winter days.


Bright Light Heightens Emotions

Researchers have suggested that being under bright light can heighten both our positive and negative emotions.

Following a study in 2014, in which participants were given a number of tasks in either a brightly or dimly lit room, it was found that their senses and emotions were more intense when in a bright environment.


We Feel More Energetic Under Blue Light

Being exposed to blue light can give us more energy, make us feel more alert and help us to become more productive. Volunteers in a recent study were found to complete reasoning tasks more quickly and accurately when they were exposed to blue light in comparison to the control group.

Interestingly, this heightened state of alertness continued for at least thirty minutes afterwards.


But Blue Light Will Keep Us Awake at Night

As you would expect, if blue light gives us more energy, it’s not the best light to be exposed to if we want to sleep. Smartphones, laptops and other screens emit blue light that is known to suppress melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. So, it’s no wonder that you’re finding it hard to sleep if you take your screen to bed with you!


Light Can Affect Your Appetite

How fast we eat, how much we eat, our perception of flavour and our choice of food can all be affected by the kind of light we’re exposed to.

In general, we tend to eat more slowly and consume less food when we’re in a dimly lit environment, although we may be tempted to order more unhealthy options. This may be because we feel more relaxed and less alert when the lighting is more subdued.

However, light can affect our taste buds too! In a 2009 study, researchers looked at how different levels of light affected the participants’ preference for a particular wine. Although, they did conclude that the results could have been influenced by the way in which the wine changed colour in the light.


Light Up Your Life!

So, as you can see, we need good levels of light to ensure that we feel at our best, and it’s no surprise that we often feel down in the dumps in winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a recognised problem that’s caused by the lack of bright light.

Fortunately, it’s easily treatable with light therapy using specially designed light boxes – but even if you don’t suffer from SAD, it’s a good idea to bring as much light into your life as possible!