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Anyone who has rented an apartment, visited their parents never-renovated home or inherited a dated design is familiar with the flush-mounted ceiling lights commonly referred to as “boob lights.” This was the go-to fixture for many years, but it has since become the butt of all interior design jokes. Whether the sensible, economical option is most hated for its suggestive shape, outdated style or boring nature, we are unsure, but this common fixture adorns ceilings in every style of home, and most homeowners are eager to replace them. If you are among the many ready to rid the world of this basic, punny style, you are not alone. Thankfully, many contemporary counterparts are readily available as alternatives.

The right lighting can drastically improve a room’s look and functionality, especially rooms with smaller square footage. Southern lighting retailers Circa Lighting, Mayer Lighting, and Graham’s Lighting all accepted the challenge to find overhead lighting fixtures that are far less controversial and much more stylish. Here are the trends they’re currently enjoying.

Lighting Experts: Circa Lighting

Circa Lighting has become a resource for homeowners across the country with more than a dozen existing locations. The company was founded in Savannah, GA. Today, showrooms can be found in Atlanta, Austin, Charleston, Charlotte, and Nashville, where the business has a 5,561-square-foot gallery in Nashville Design Collective. Showroom manager Kyle Taylor led us to three flush-mount fixtures that range from affordable to splurge-worthy and surpass the boob lighting in style.

Cristol Small Single Flush Mount 

A single glass orb is a simple solution that works well in smaller spaces, including closets and bathrooms. It won’t crowd the room, but it adds enough interest to jazz up the design. The fixture is available in polished nickel and hand-rubbed antique brass finishes. Both options ring in at $369.

Cristol Small Single Flush Mount light fixture from Circa Lighting

Cristol Small Single Flush Mount, $369, at Circa Lighting | Image: Circa Lighting

Prescott Medium Semi-Flush Mount

If you are replacing old lighting in a larger space, consider a semi-flush mount. Falling somewhere between a chandelier and a single flush mount, this fixture style works well in walk-in closets and dining rooms. Choose between polished nickel and soft brass with white or clear glass orbs for $655.

Prescott Medium Semi-Flush Mount from Circa Lighting

Prescott Medium Semi-Flush Mount, $655, at Circa Lighting | Image: Circa Lighting

Quincy Small Flush Mount

Don’t abandon interior design in your closet. Cover the walls in wallpaper, throw down a statement rug and add interest to the ceiling with an eye-catching fixture. This fixture is reserved for those with a higher budget because it has a price tag of $1,149. If you don’t want to hide it away in a closet, we think it would also look great in the powder room. Take your pick of polished nickel or antique-burnished brass.

Quincy Small Flush Mount light fixture at Circa Lighting

Quincy Small Flush Mount, $1,149, at Circa Lighting | Image: Circa Lighting

Lighting Experts: Mayer Lighting

Mayer Lighting is another multi-location source for all your lighting needs. Birmingham is home to one of three showrooms where you can explore the selection of chandeliers, sconces, outdoor lighting and lamps. Showroom manager Susan Burks helped us identify three light fixtures that would liven (and lighten) up any space.

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Two-Light Semi-Flush Mount

Low ceilings pose a lighting challenge, but a decorative fixture draws the eye up and tricks you into thinking it’s larger. This star-shaped fixture shines bright, and its bold design, with clear seeded glass and a natural brass finish, would feel right at home in a closet. This two-light fixture is $270.

Two Light Semi Flush Mount at Mayer Lighting

Two-Light Semi-Flush Mount, $270, at Mayer Lighting | Image: Mayer Lighting

Three-Light Ceiling Mount

If you appreciate the minimalist look of the boob light, you will gravitate towards the clean, tailored, timeless design of this fixture. With a double white silk shade and metal trim, it is versatile and functional — and it rings in at $300.

Three Light Ceiling Mount light fixture at Mayer Lighting

Three-Light Ceiling Mount, $300, at Mayer Lighting | Image: Mayer Lighting

Four-Light Ceiling Mount

Layers of wrought iron leaves comprise this unique ceiling light. Susan thinks it is well-suited for a space with transitional or modern interiors. It can be used in the closet or anywhere that needs a touch of elegance and glamour. The fixture is available in the antique silver finish for $430.

Four Light Ceiling Mount at Mayer Lighting

Four-Light Ceiling Mount, $430, at Perigold (also available in antique gold)

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Lighting Experts: Graham’s Lighting

Pendants can boost your interior design in hallways, closets and bathrooms (spaces commonly in need of lighting updates). If your ceilings are high enough and the light fixture is far enough away from your sweaters, swap your boob light for a small or mini pendant. Graham’s Lighting has two Memphis area showrooms — in Cordova and Midtown — with a good selection of pendant lighting. Take a look at a few favorites.

Mini Pendant

This mini pendant boasts an industrial look that complements urban design or adds spunk to traditional interiors. This fixture is available for $194. Consider pairing it with a vintage-style Edison bulb to match the industrial design.

Mini Pendant at Graham’s Lighting

Mini Pendant, $194, at Graham’s Lighting | Image: Graham’s Lighting

Ombré Light Pendant 

Soften your space with pendant lighting in a beautiful linen fabric with a hand-dipped ombré design. This pendant comes in multiple sizes, but we think the mini pendant ($529) would work best in a closet. The larger sizes are better suited for the dining room or hallway.

Ombré light fixture at Graham’s Lighting

Ombré Light Pendant, $529, at Graham’s Lighting | Image: Graham’s Lighting

Nolan Small Pendant

Although this pendant is small in size, it is big in personality. Say goodbye to the boring boob light and hello to something sleek and striking. This fixture ($1,391) will not blend into the background so let it shine. Of course, it would work in a walk-in closet, but we think it would make a great first impression in your entryway, too.

Nolan Small Pendant at Graham’s Lighting

Nolan Small Pendant, $1,391, at Graham’s Lighting | Image: Graham’s Lighting

Now, who’s ready to replace their boob lights?


For more interior design inspiration, visit our archives.

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