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My Favorite Lighting Trend Gives You Permission to Be Lazy

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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.

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When Life Gives You a Rusty Wok, Make a Lamp
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When Life Gives You a Rusty Wok, Make a Lamp

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.

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.

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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.

Tags: lighting, cords, interiors trend