After a decade of fashionably "concealed" lighting — with ceilings peppered with tiny downlights, the pendant lamp is making a spectacular comeback in eye-catching sculptural shapes.
And thanks to new technologies Jake Dyson (son of James; jakedyson.com) can give us elegantly slim lighting sticks, while new compact fluorescent bulbs stay so cool lights can be made of paper.
Designer Tom Dixon has fashioned his light, Etch, in intricately pierced metal using cutting techniques developed for printed circuit boards (tomdixon.net); and cutting-edge Ben Rousseau is turning metal strips and acrylic rings into lamps that seem to come from outer space (from £390; rousseau.co.uk).
Tom Kirk has made a stunning shade of shiny steel shards for Innermost (but it costs £4,000-plus; innermost.net); and Liam Hopkins, genius shape-maker, has shades from only £60 — he cuts PVC sheets into futuristic forms that are inspired by marine creatures (lazerian.co.uk).
Neat ideas from Shiu Kay Kan, a leading London lighting designer for 30 years, include a wire-framed large exposed bulb with glowing filament, sold "to go" with a 1.5-metre coloured braided flex and a ceiling rose for £69, or with a five-metre flex and plug for £129 (skk.net).
Exuberant and joyful are new neon light sticks at the Conran Shop in white, blue, green, pink, yellow or purple (£170; conranshop.uk.com). Clip them on the wall any which way for your own sculpture. Four will fit in a normal socket with an extension lead.
American label Graypants makes eco-lamps from scraps of corrugated card, now at Liberty and a lot nicer than they sound.
Young Londoner Benjamin Hubert was in at the beginning of the new craze for "heavy" shades with his terracotta-coloured "chimney" lights for Clerkenwell's Viaduct, slip cast from clay (from £300; viaduct.co.uk).
Tom Dixon's Lustre stoneware pendants are handmade in a Dutch family factory (£360) and sport a top-secret glaze packed with minerals and precious metals which makes them shimmer like peacock feathers. Innermost has new concrete pendants, called Portland, by Tom Bartlett (£200).
You don't have to spend a fortune, though. Bhs has long been noted for its lighting, while relaunched Habitat has good ideas in its branches in W1, SW3 and NW3. Ikea will have LEDs (85 per cent less energy and 20 times longer life, but expensive bulbs and generally lower light) in all its lights by 2016.
Big exposed bulbs, and lights inspired by factory and warehouse lighting, are very fashionable. Last month saw the final demise, by law, of the much-loved traditional incandescent bulb, but replacement low-energy bulbs often give poor lighting results. Halogen bulbs give a better effect. They do not save as much energy and they cost up to £5, but they last a long time.
Shopping tips for lighting: by Luke Thomas at John Cullen lighting
* Explore lightbulbs-direct.com, pop into SKK Lighting in Lexington Street, W1, or visit Philips's new lighting design/advice store at 45 Westbourne Grove, W2, for ideas.
* Consult an expert in a good lighting shop, or a lighting/interior designer. Use an electrician who is a member of an approved trade organisation such the NICEIC or ECA.
* Living rooms: "layer" lighting for different activities/moods, using a mix of downlights, pendants and table lamps. Install lights on a separate five-amp circuit.
* Halls: angle lights to wash over walls — a trick to widen a narrow space.
* Stairs: small lights set into walls to light the treads smarten up the most meagre of staircases, and make stairs safer.
* Bedrooms: use a two-way switch for bedside lamps — turn on at the door and switch off in bed. Add a small directional light to shine on a book for unobtrusive reading.
* Bathroom: avoid unflattering overhead lighting. Two wall lights either side of the mirror are ideal lighting to the face. PIRs (passive infra-red) react to movement, automatically turning on lighting when you enter the room.
* Kitchens: task light is essential, shining directly on to where you work. Use individual spots or strips of LEDs fitted under cupboards.
Luke Thomas, designer at John Cullen, 561-563 King's Road, SW6 (johncullenlighting.co.uk; 020 7371 3400.). A lighting consultation for one room costs £150 plus VAT.