A Sleek Light for Your Southern Library and Beyond

How to use a staple of the gallery scene to shine a light on just about anything

Resourcefulness isn’t a uniquely Southern trait, but it is something we’re known for, whether it manifests in the form of a beloved quilt made from repurposed scraps or in our stubborn refusal to pitch bacon grease. We know how to use things in multiple ways, multiple times.

I’m certainly that way when it comes to decorating. For example, I’ve always loved utilitarian picture lights—the kind you might see in a gallery to highlight an artwork—for their original purpose, sure, but for use in other ways, too.

The traditional method: A picture light called the Raval by Urban Electric hangs above a framed image in a room by Studio Tim Campbell.

In contrast, a neat row of picture lights installed along the top portion of built-in shelving offers the perfect way to illuminate books and objects in a library, as seen in the photo below.

photo: Brie Williams
A brass picture light in a Charleston library.

Or perhaps you might try adding picture lights to a powder room—an unexpected choice that looks tailored, bookish, and fun.

A paneled bathroom with the Raval picture light by Urban Electric.

Should you find yourself inspired, here are some of my favorite resources for and examples of lovely picture lights for you to try.

Clockwise from top right: Mitzi; Urban Electric; Circa Lighting; Restoration Hardware; House of Troy.