Lighting expert Anita Summers is the associate principal and lighting expert of The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry, which has the reputation for producing some of the nation’s most forward-thinking restaurant designs. As we close out 2017 (finally!), Anita shares her predictions for 2018’s biggest trends in restaurant lighting – and shares her tips on how these looks can be brought home. 

Technology will be the biggest influence in lighting in 2018, giving the user ultimate control. Through remote controls and apps, restaurants will be able to control singular bulbs in any part of the space from switching on or off, dimming and changing color. The good news is that similar apps are available for homes. Technology is getting simpler and more flexible. Being able to have a system that automatically controls the lighting with the time of day or having a dimmer control system for the whole house is easy as changing out the wall switches. With wireless technology, this won’t require re-wiring the whole house too.

Mid-century Modern is back in a big way and very much so in lighting. Fun, modern, geometric shapes with wood and brass have replaced drum pendants and industrial lighting. Atomic age spheres, starbursts and apparatus details are the new trend, creating warmth, comfort and a memorable experience.

The Johnson Studio often partners with artists to create exclusive hand-crafted, custom lighting pieces that add personal, human touches to a space, adding warmth and giving a space personality. These custom pieces also provide a unique design element that leaves a lasting impression on guests. For homeowners, there are so many art festivals, craft fairs and art exhibits that are exhibiting light fixtures for purchase. Purchasing fixtures from venues such as these give a home a more personal touch and one that is not found in a catalog. Restaurants use custom fixtures so that they are unique from any other restaurant but the same applies in a home setting.

In 2018, warm LED lighting will become more affordable with even more options for dimming and changing color temperatures as it dims. Due to advances in LED, this lighting can now mimic the warm light that could not be achieved when LED was first introduced. LED lighting is changing and it’s getting easier to put in LED lighting that feels warmer.

2018’s final trend? Restaurants that feel like Home and homes that look like restaurants. To add a personal, homey feel in restaurants, to imbue comfort and warmth, more restaurants will be adding elements from home – bookcases, table lamps. Lighting will be important to showcase these comfort features as a natural element within a restaurant. In reverse, stylish homeowners want to bring some of the sophisticated look of their favorite restaurants home. Homes already have the bookcases, floor lamps, artwork, personal objects, etc. that make a room feel welcoming. To make it feel more like a restaurant, those elements should be highlighted with spot lights or table lamps. The common rooms in the house, especially the living and dining areas should be dimly lit with the tables and artwork having the brightest pop of light. Adding candles to a bookshelf or side table is instant restaurant atmosphere.

See some of Anita’s work at The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry in the slideshow!