Home Decor

The Lighting Trick Your Kitchen Is Missing

Think: soft, warm, welcoming glow.

December  7, 2020
Photo by Chad Zellner for Rebecca Gibbs Design

I have big-time Nancy Meyers aspirations for my home. There’s just something about all the interiors featured in her films (think: Something’s Gotta Give, The Intern, Father of the Bride, et al)—they feel collected and lived-in and cozy, while still boasting a thoughtful, design-forward aesthetic. Architectural Digest even wrote an article on the psychology behind the Nancy Meyers dream home, so clearly I’m not the only one here.

But I digress—I got on this topic for a reason, and that reason is kitchen lamps. According to my research (consisting of many purely indulgent, non-scientific viewings of The Holiday and It’s Complicated) rule #247 when it comes to achieving that Nancy Meyers vibe comes in the form of ambient lighting—and lots of it. There’s nothing like a soft, slightly-yellowed glow to make your home—and any room in it—feel totally welcoming and warm. And in no place is it more difficult to achieve that vibe than in your kitchen, where harsh top lighting or single pendants over the island reign supreme.

The good news? There’s a very charming, very bite-sized solution to your ambiance problem, and it can be spotted in many recent projects from some of my favorite designers: petite table lamps. As it turns out, they’re just the Meyers-touch our kitchens need. In a room that typically only ever boasts overhead lighting, small-scale countertop lamps can be a great way to play around with scale and add charm. Not to mention, they’re an ideal way to upgrade the style of your space without spending a ton of money like you would have to with overhead fixtures.

Here then are a few lamps I’m considering snatching up for my own space—I’d like to think Nancy would approve.

1. Petoskey Table Lamp, $50

This first pick from Wayfair gets a lot of things right. I love how the unique ceramic base boasts handmade texture and touches, and the almost-grey, almost-green glaze would look great in practically any kitchen. And, clocking in at just 15 inches tall (including the shade), it’s versatile enough to be stashed on an open shelf or styled atop cookbooks.

Photo by Wayfair

2. Mushroom Lamp, $77

Etsy is always a treasure trove for on-the-brink design trends and accessories, and I pretty much cannot handle the cuteness of this little guy. I love its round base, its pleated shade (another up-and-coming trend, might I add), its neutral color palette and its miniature size (just around 11 inches, counting the oversized shade). Needless to say, this may be finding a home in my kitchen very soon.

Photo by Etsy

3. MIMA Lamp, $175

If your style tends to lean more modern, you’ll probably love this next pick. Clocking in at just four inches tall, the exposed bulb feels a little bit industrial, but the ceramic base warms up the shape just enough to make the piece extremely flexible style-wise. Plus, with its slew of sophisticated shades (that rust, sigh!), it’s a subtle pop of color for your space, too.

Photo by Food52

4. Uma Fluted Glass Lamp, $68

This gorgeous, glowy pick from Anthropologie (sitting at a perfectly petite 10 inches) is the ideal way to warm up a kitchen. Plus, thanks to the unique combination of amber glass and a gold finished base, it almost looks like a vintage find, so be prepared to field a ton of “Where did you find that” questions from guests.

Photo by Anthropologie

5. Mini Metal Cordless Lamp, $250

Made by Modern Lantern, this next style is a bit pricier, but well-worth the splurge if you want to get in on the kitchen lamp trend but your space doesn’t boast any available outlets. This tiny gilded pick (which is under 10 inches tall) comes with a rechargeable battery, granting you the flexibility to style it everywhere from the interior of a built-in to the top of your island with ease.

Photo by Modern Lantern

Overhead lighting, pendants, table lamps—or all three? Tell us in the comments.

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