Even in custom homes, lighting is often the thing that gets scaled back or cut as a project winds down. But today even with a limited budget you can get stylish lighting options that won’t break the bank.
Different construction professionals have different strategies for light specification on a shoestring. Some architects, for example, think more strategically and use pricier fixtures in the main spaces, such as the dining room or kitchen, and les expensive ones in the bedrooms and guest bathrooms.
In some cases, designers might go barebones and simple to make the architecture speak for itself.
“With low budget lighting, it’s crucial that the fixture be very simple,” says Francesco Berganze, a partner in the New York-based architecture and interior design firm Spazio Primario. “You can get an inexpensive but nice wall-mounted bulb holder in metal or ceramic, and then use a carefully chosen light bulb. Schoolhouse Electric and Nud Collection have great solutions.”
The socket (sans shade) with a bulb look is not for everyone, but in the right application and the right space it makes a nice statement and is very affordable.
Some suppliers have their own advice about getting good lights on a budget.
“Large fixtures make a style statement and are necessary in large rooms with high ceilings, but they often come with an equally large price,” the website Overstock.com says. “If something large is not in the budget, try hanging a few small fixtures together. Three similar or identical light fixtures, hung at different heights, would make as much of a statement as one large fixture.”
The supplier says you can save money by choosing brass fixtures (if they work with your interiors). “Brass tends to be lower priced than other finishes, so you can often find incredible deals.”
Overstock says when a lighting trend gets popular, manufacturers are quick to make affordable versions to keep up with the demand. “This means you can find versions of the style that are very affordable, as long as you're willing to settle for materials that aren't as expensive as the original. For example, a chandelier may have glass beads instead of crystal; it will still be beautiful, and you won't have to spend as much on it.”
No matter what type of budget lighting you choose, keep energy efficiency in mind. “An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy budget to lighting,” the U.S. Energy Department says, adding that switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. By replacing the five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the Energy Star, a homeowner can save $75 each year.
Here are 12 that won't break the bank.