Interior Design

My Favorite Lighting Trend Gives You Permission to Be Lazy

May 24, 2016

Evidenced by the heartbreaking (but highly practical) tradition of cutting holes in fancy rugs just to get a lamp cord out of sight as surreptitiously as possible, exposed electrical wires aren't usually thought of as decorative. More like necessary evils, best hidden: When I recently bought a cord for my wok lamp, the employee in charge told me to choose whatever would "become invisible" against my walls, which are white.

But I went with a black cord.

What I envisioned for this pendant lamp was a long cord that looped a few times over a hook or ring in the ceiling and then came down at an angle towards the wall, the black line creating a sort of triangular drawing in the airspace of our apartment. Hiding that shape, by using a white cord or even hard-wiring it, wouldn't have been half as fun.

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I admit that I have a strong, twitch-like proclivity for doing the thing I have just been expressly told not to do. But in this case I was just as much emboldened to by the fact that I'm seeing more and more designers using electrical cords—with their unpredictable, snaking kinks and contrasting colors—in decorative ways.

Easy-lovers, rejoice: Your cords and wires can come out of hiding.

Call it permission to be lazy if you like—but the vine-like, twisting lines of a lamp cord are strangely beautiful. They add texture, visual interest, and dimension where normally you'd have none. Here are some of interesting ways I've seen them used, recently:

Braided, hanging down the wall below sconces:

Just float #holmessconce #schoolhouseelectric (via @rspny) / Shop our feed - link in profile

A photo posted by Schoolhouse Electric (@schoolhouse) on

...even if they are hard-wired:

Custom hardwired Otis lamp we made with a Noguchi shade for a cool client! Photo by @ejockel #oftstuffincoolplaces #happyfriday

A photo posted by Logan Hendrickson (@one_forty_three) on

Trailing off workspaces:

Draping, like a canopy:

Unabashedly colorful, in otherwise neutral rooms:

In a graphic design, pinned against the wall:

Wrapped in bold or subtly-colored yarn, like this bubblegum pink:

En masse, so much so that the cords become the design of the light fixture itself:

Exposed cords: Would you or wouldn't you? Give me your take in the comments.

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Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

Professional trespasser.