Contemporary Outdoor Lighting

Contemporary outdoor lighting usually comes in bronze, black, or steel finish. It places an emphasis on clean, simple lines without curlicues, filigree, or other complications. The globes are most often cylindrical and made of frosted glass. The framings for the globes tend to involve straight lines as well, arranged in grid patterns to hold the lamps in place.

Given that basic description, and many small departures from it, contemporary outdoor lighting offers an incredible variety of style. A simple cylindrical globe may be held in place at the side of a steel finish pole. The steel finish bands that surround this globe may vary in thickness with a thicker middle band and smaller bands at top and bottom. Or all the bands may be of the same width, producing a neat, lined effect. Intersecting these bands with vertical ones running up and down the cylinder will produce a grid pattern. Lose the horizontal bands and keep the vertical ones for a streamlined effect.

A variation on this style would use bronze bands rather than steel finish for a softer, sleeker look.

This same style may be attached to a simple sconce or wall mount to allow the lamp to adorn either side of a doorway. Or it may be turned into a hanging lamp. In this case, the simple cylinder may have a rounded bottom to it. Put a wide-brimmed cap on top to complete the effect and make sure that the light is reflected downward.

Or downlighting may be achieved more directly with a flattened white cylinder that mounts flush against the underside of an overhang. Alternatively the lamp may be a flattened white hemisphere. Either way, the globe may be encased in bronze or polished steel grid. For a more dramatic effect, the lamp may descend from overhead like an upside down wedding cake-three cylinders each slightly smaller than the one above it. This effect may be extended in both directions if the lamp is wall mounted, cylinders growing smaller toward top and bottom.

In another contemporary style, the globe itself may be a white ceramic half cylinder mounted flush against the wall. Or the half cylinder may be brushed nickel with perhaps a few wide horizontal slits to let the light escape. The same effect with horizontal slits may be achieved with a white painted metal casing.

Other more elegant effects can be achieved with wall mounted or hanging metal ovals that encase white globes. Rounded triangles around globes can also look beautiful, with or without a vertical crossbar running down the center.

Sometimes, especially in contemporary lighting, the simplest styles are the best. A wall mounted rectangle with a couple of bulbs and a shade. A white globe atop a black pedestal. A clean bronze tube attached to a simple wall mount. These easy, understated designs may provide all the appeal you're looking for.

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