What Exactly is Barn Lighting?
The term “Barn Light” is a broad classification with a few basic guidelines. As indicated by their name, barn lights originated in agricultural settings, like silos, barns, and farmhouses. These lights performed utilitarian tasks in rugged settings, and their designs reflected this functional mentality.
Shades were designed to focus light downward or spread illumination throughout a space, and were constructed with durability and longevity in mind. In time, these lights developed into their own distinct style, one that steadily gained popularity throughout the century. With simplicity at their heart of their designs, barn lights have remained relevant even as modern styles continue to evolve and adapt.
Not limited to country properties, barn lighting contributes a grounded character and sense of timelessness to recently constructed suburban homes and urban businesses, along with a hint of authenticity to restoration projects.
Types of Barn Light Fixtures
Despite a reliance on vintage designs, barn light fixtures are easily assimilated into contemporary décors. With an endless assortment of shapes and sizes, these lights adapt their appearance to conform to anyone’s desired look.
What Types of Finishes Are Available?
Where Are Barn Lights Used in Homes?
In outdoor locations, barn lights provide warm illumination and a welcoming sense of security to homes, while simultaneously imparting the memorable character that establishes a house’s curb appeal. With two gooseneck lights or wall sconces flanking the garage door, residential properties embrace a transcendent aesthetic. Sometimes a single gooseneck light is positioned above the garage door itself for a look reminiscent of a traditional barn.
On front porches, sconces by the door greet guests with a classic style, and stem mounted pendants makes a covered front porch a space where occupants can relax late into the night. Gooseneck lights and sconces carry a home’s style to spaces not visible from the street, like backyard patios and decks.
For continuity in the outdoor spaces separate from the house — long sprawling driveways, seating areas around fire puts, and pathways leading to detached garages — post mount lights grant a uniform look throughout an entire residential property.
Foyers and interior entryways set the tone for the rest of a house’s aesthetic. Accordingly, these spaces require bold features to capture visitors’ attention the moment they enter the home. Chandeliers and pendant lights, hanging from tall vaulted ceilings, leave a lasting impression as the focal point of these spaces. In smaller areas, flush mount lights fulfill a similar role while compensating for the more restrictive spatial requirements.
Kitchen lighting strikes a balance between its practical purposes and its decorative obligations. Multiple pendant lights are installed above large kitchen islands, and a single ceiling pendant is positioned over the table in breakfast nooks or dining areas. For additional sources of light, creative homeowners and designers employ goosenecks above the kitchen sink and built-in tables. In dining rooms, an oversized chandelier above the table communicates grandiosity, and discreet sconces lining the walls and space above credenzas and buffets serve as accent pieces.
Most of the lighting used in living rooms is employed for its aesthetic benefits. These lights coordinate with the carefully selected furniture, fabric, paint colors, and accessories to dictate the room’s feel and overall atmosphere. Mounted as pendants or sometimes as goosenecks and sconces, shallow bowl shades subtly command focus as they spread light throughout the space. Situated on end tables or next to chairs, table and floor lamps outfitted with the look of barn lighting support the room’s overall style from the background.
Similarly, barn lights for bedrooms offer the touches of style that ultimately define the space. An immaculately arranged night stand includes a table lamp or task lamp for late night reading; although, to free up space, substituting a wall mounted sconce or even an undersized pendant light presents a more innovative look. To facilitate relaxation, soft light from these fixtures creates a calming atmosphere within the room. Elsewhere in the room, a pendant light — or sometimes a chandelier — imparts a dramatic flair into the bedrooms décor while operating as the room’s main source of light.
Bathrooms, particularly those without windows or access to natural light, require practical, yet still highly fashionable, lighting fixtures. Perched above or bordering the mirrors, vanity sconces — fixtures that join multiple lights to a single backing plate — brighten morning and evening routines. In smaller bathrooms, a single vanity light provides enough illumination for the space, but larger rooms need a flush mount light for more general lighting.
In more utilitarian settings, like hallways and laundry room, barn lighting doubles as a useful and decorative addition to the space. Diminutive sconces, flush mounts, and other fixtures intended for tighter areas brighten hallways and supply traces of character to these often under decorated areas. Laundry rooms incorporate a sconce or gooseneck light above the washer and dryer, making this too often barren room more inviting and stylish.
Where Are Barn Lights Used in Commercial Decor?
Many commercial venues, both nationwide franchises and single location family-run businesses, uncover their brand’s own distinguishing identity with the assistance of barn lighting. As opposed to recessed lighting, which lacks a basic visual purpose, farmhouse fixtures contribute to a commercial building’s architectural character, giving it a sense of personality. With simplicity at the core of barn lighting’s style, these fixtures offer a blank canvas for business owners, architects, and designers to imprint their exact vision into the lighting’s structure. This helps barn lights adapt to a venue’s specific décor, and perform various tasks within a business.
In outdoor spaces, lighting offers practical benefits and decorative contributions to a building’s curb appeal. During the day, fixtures—usually gooseneck lights, sign lighting, and post mount lights—provide subtle focal points that command focus and develop a memorable commercial look. At night, these same lights provide customers with a sense of security, and wash the property with the light that invites pedestrians to wander in and attracts the attention of passing cars. Cascading down awnings and facades, the light produced by goosenecks and sign lights functions as an enticing decorative embellishment. For practical lighting, crucial in every business, sign lights illuminate logos, awnings, and other corporate markings, while post mounts and goosenecks make parking lots and sidewalks decidedly more hospitable and welcoming. Wall sconces softly brighten outdoor entrances, waiting areas, and dining rooms.
For interior settings, barn lights enable the designers and business owners’ desired style. Spaces replete with lighting fixtures, in various mountings, embrace their own demonstrable charm. An oversized chandelier in a building’s entryway offers grandiosity to a design, and other fixtures distribute the preferred style throughout the rest of the venue. Mounted from high above, pendant lights commonly function as the primary source of illumination in businesses like restaurants, office buildings, and retail department stores. However, when occupying the space directly above individual tables in restaurants, pendants, along with goosenecks and sometimes sconces, supply a warm atmospheric glow that makes the dining space feel intimate. Other fixtures fulfill more practical obligations. By illuminating menu boards and artwork, angle shade sign lights accentuate the specific areas business owners wish to emphasize.
How Are Barn Light Fixtures Constructed?
Historically, barn lights—as with many other products from the time—were constructed entirely by hand. With the advent of new technologies and mass production techniques, machine-produced lights and shades began to replace the handmade options. While this greatly expedited the manufacturing process, the original attention to detail was lost, which caused the overall quality of the shades to suffer. However, the demand for quality transcends specific eras, so eventually new companies emerged to continue the legacy of craftsmanship found in vintage barn lights.
These modern manufacturers borrow the processes used to fabricate historic lighting. Much like those originals, flat pieces of high-quality metal are spun at a high speed on a lathe, and are meticulously hand-sculpted around a mold until the metal assumes the desired shape. By working the materials entirely by hand, paying careful attention to the finer details along the way, these modern barn lights are imbued with an assurance of quality and dependability.