John Castaldo grew up in the family business, working weekends and vacations at the iconic Hi-Light lighting store founded more than 40 years ago. With more than 25 years in the biz—including at a second store, Lite Plus, which opened in Rockland County about five years ago—Castaldo has seen a lot of trends come and go with the proverbial flick of a switch. He was even featured on the HGTV hit show Selling New York. But one thing has always remained the same, he says. “Lighting has always been—and always will be—the jewelry of the room, the finishing touch.” These days, people “are using recessed lighting for task lighting and in kitchens,” he says, “but they still finish off the room with a decorative chandelier.”
So what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to the jewelry of home design? “Overall, we are seeing less traditional and more contemporary and modern,” says the retailer. “Super-traditional is on its way out, and very ornate, traditional crystal is not as popular as it was only a few years ago.” What’s trending is a cleaner look, adds Castaldo. “We’re selling a lot of Hudson Valley, Visual Comfort, and Robert Sonneman brands.” Customers, he says, “are also going to natural materials, like rope, stone, iron, and recycled glass,” he says. And then, just as in fashion, there are the trends that come back. “At one time everything was brass,” he recalls. “Then a couple of years ago, there was not so much brass, and now, gold tones are coming back, with gold and brass on the rise.”
But perhaps most exciting to Castaldo is that he sees his customers “becoming more daring in what they are using,” noting that his store is selling “more outrageous, high-style fixtures,” like Corbett’s particularly high-style designs featuring “completely different materials and combinations never used before in ceiling and wall lighting—like twisted metals, different types of crystals and glass, chains, and shells.” The styles are not just different, though, says Castaldo. “They are really spectacular designs.”
Bright Idea: Hang different sizes of the same fixture cascading down an entrance hallway for a spectacular first impression, suggests Castaldo.