What are Barn Lights?

Three barn lights on a porch

Two barn pendants and one gooseneck barn light on a country porch. Image from Cobblestone Farms.

In recent years, barn lights have emerged as a hot lighting trend. Their sustained popularity suggests that they’re here to stay. What is a barn light, and why might you choose it for your home or business?

Broadly defined, a barn light is a downward-facing light fixture with a wide, simple shade. Typically, when people say “barn lights” they mean gooseneck lights: wall-mounted fixtures with long arms that sort of look like (you guessed it) a goose’s long neck. Some pendant lights are also called barn lights because of the shade style. Sometimes, people call other rustic-looking light fixtures “barn lights” as well.

Like industrial-style lighting, barn lights are all about simplicity. They recall the rustic fixtures common on early 20th century barns and farm buildings. Barn lights can add a vintage touch to any setting without looking fussy. They’re highly functional but don’t sacrifice form.

Barn fixtures are typically manufactured from a tough, weather-resistant metal like powder-coated aluminum. They may also be made of porcelain enamel for a truly old-fashioned look. Either way, they will be suitable for indoor or outdoor applications.

Designers use barn lights in a variety of ways. For commercial settings like retail stores and restaurants, they can focus additional light over tables and displays. Their shades can add a splash of color or a bit of metallic shine. Barn lights also make great sign lighting. A quaint shop might install a row of gooseneck barn lights over its wide sign to ensure that passers-by can see it.

Barn lighting over a bar

Barn lights add a warm glow to this rustic restaurant. Image from Brooklyn to West.

More and more interior decorators and home owners are adding barn lighting to their houses in all kinds of ways. Outdoors, barn light fixtures can add a welcoming glow to porches and decks. Mount barn shade goosenecks along the side of the house to light a walkway for added safety, or over the garage door to make parking a breeze. And of course, if you have a barn, it goes without saying that barn lights are the perfect choice.

They have uses in indoor settings, too. Barn lights are most often used in country kitchens and rustic bathrooms. We love the look of a galvanized metal barn pendant hanging over the kitchen table, and we like to replace traditional vanity lights with a row of small barn sconces. Some adventurous designers branch out into other rooms of the house, using barn sconces to frame the master bed or to add task lighting to a living room or study.

When choosing a barn light, you have lots of options. Gooseneck arms come in dozens of lengths and shapes, and pendant lights can hang from simple cords, old-fashioned chains, or sleek stems. Factor in all the available finishes, and you’ll find that you can personalize your barn light in hundreds of ways.

So what’s your style? Browse through Architect Design Lighting’s barn fixture selection and find the perfect one for your project. Our selection includes hanging barn lights, gooseneck options, and barn-style sconces.

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