Painting is the first "low expense, high impact" project most decorators recommend for home improvement, but lighting can make just as big a difference. It's all too common to live with one ugly overhead fixture for years without realizing that a few well-placed lamps can make a home SO much more livable. If lighting is on your home's shopping list, here are 20 places to look — from high-end stores to budget sources.
Best High-End Lighting Stores
Based in Britain, Anglepoise has been making their classic architect's lamps for over 70 years. George Carwardine designed the first Anglepoise, which incorporated a series of springs in the base to make the light more flexible. Pricing starts around $150.
This Italian lighting store was founded by Ernesto Gismondi in 1959, and now has locations throughout the world. They specialize in high-end, high-design lighting, like the Dioscuri Table Lights, ranging from $170 to $600.
This independent Ohio store has a unique selection of new and vintage chandeliers — you'll find a lot of pieces and styles that you don't see everywhere else. Prices average in the low thousands for a large fixture.
This Italian store creates beautiful, high-end home designs, and their all-time best seller is Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni's Arco Lamp, which sells for $2,696. Its distinctive arc allows the piece to function as both a floor lamp and an overhead light.
If you're into designer lighting, this store is the place to go. They're the largest importer and distributor of contemporary lighting in the US, and their Chicago store is a glass-walled building enclosing 15,000 square feet of showroom space.
Lite Brite Neon
This New York store is in the black books of decorators, window designers, and retailers in NYC and across the country. They've done custom neon chandeliers and sconces for everyone from DIA (the contemporary art foundation) to Marc Jacobs.
For 40 years, they've made their business not so much about traditional lighting (lamps, bulbs, and fixtures), but about what they call "lighting control." Their product range includes everything from simple plug-in dimmers for table lamps to whole-home systems.
This Los Angeles manufacturer and retailer makes the classic mid-century bubble lamp, designed by George Nelson in 1947. The collection includes a variety of sizes and shapes, including cigar lamps, saucers, ball lights, and pear-shaped pendants.
Jeremy Pyles is the mind behind this Brooklyn-based shop. Niche makes simple, modern pendants and ceiling lights from hand-blown glass with exposed filament bulbs. Prices start around $500 for a pendant.
This online lighting store has a HUGE selection of hundreds of lights in pretty much every style available. They focus on higher-end fixtures, but they also have a good selection of track and recessed lights for renovators.
Based out of Savannah, Georgia, Circa (formerly Edison Lighting) has a great webshop full of traditional and modern styles. They're a manufacturer, and they team up with designers to create exclusive lighting collections. Prices are in the mid-to-high range.
Best Mid-Range and Budget Lighting Stores
Their lighting selection is small but good, and they update it seasonally with trendy new task, table, floor, and ceiling lamps. Styles are basic and modern, and pricing starts around $50 for a table lamp, $100 for a pendant.
Crate and Barrel
A mainstay for decorative table lamps, Crate and Barrel has a wide selection of quality, mid-range lighting. Their Haley Table Lamp, $229, is a perennial favorite — its mirrored base manages to feel contemporary and classic at the same time.
They've had some ultra-popular lines over the years, most of them inspired by famous mid-century styles. The Knappa is a knockoff of Danish architect Poul Henningsen's lighting designs, but while his Le Klint Pendant 172 costs around $500, the Knappa is $30.
Based in Aquebogue, New York, this small company has some nice, distinctive lamps. Our favorite is the mod Cobble collection, which comes in several colors and sells for $150 - $375. They have seasonal sales, when you can often find good deals.
This online lighting store carries a bunch of pendants, floor lamps, track lighting, and even swag lamps in styles from tasteful to tacky. They're a great resource for renters, as they carry plug-ins in a variety of styles, including pendants and sconces.
Portland-based Rejuvenation is a solid source for all kinds of hardwired fixtures (indoor and outdoor). They specialize in period-authentic lighting, hardware and house parts, and their products are handcrafted in the USA.
They replicate more than 100 light fixtures from the last century using original cast-iron moulds in styles as diverse as art deco, arts and crafts, art nouveau, and colonial revival. Order online or visit their retail showrooms in Portland, OR or Tribeca, NYC.
Their lighting selection has improved a lot in recent years, and they now carry a good group of simple, modern task lamps, pendants, floor lamps, and sconces. Another good resource for renters, West Elm has a wide variety of plug-ins.
Top Photo: Niche Modern Solitaire Pendant