Aug 14, 2023

IKEA wins the cozy 'backlit' lighting trend with these lamps

This lighting trend is appealing to a generation who have outlawed turning on the 'big light', and makes for a subtle, serene lighting scheme

Winter may be well and truly in the rearview, but cozy homes are here to stay this spring. Yes, you may have closed the log burner for the last time and put the winter-spiced candles away for another year, but ambient lighting should always be a mainstay in our spaces. Right now, it's all about using backlit lamps to set the mood, and IKEA has some of the best you can buy for less than $100.

Backlit LEDs have been on the scene for some time already. Many of us have opted for warm strips behind mirrors, headboards, and even recessed ceiling panels, but now the backlit wall lamp is bringing a more subtle look to the table (or, should we say, 'wall'). These lights offer the same contemporary feel of backlit strips but with all the coziness of a sconce, and if there's one thing our Scandi-cool friends at IKEA do best, it's contemporary comfort.

'I wanted to take an unexpected approach to explore how lighting functions within the home, inspiring people to consider new shapes and elements which highlight different types of interior spaces in new, bold, and artistic ways,' explains Sabine Marcelis, the designer behind IKEA's VARMBLIXT lighting collection which includes two striking backlit lamps. Here, we shine a light on this cozy lighting trend and list some of the best buys you can get your hands on right now.

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to sharing articles that help readers find the best budget buys and hacks that make your home as comfortable as it can be. For this piece, she takes a look at the backlit lighting trend and the best buys IKEA has to offer

Until now, backlit lighting - be it a bathroom mirror or a recessed living room lighting idea - has been used to create a luxe, modern look in our homes, proving how statement lighting can instantly elevate a space.

‘We have seen the use of backlit lighting becoming a trend because of its ability to transform an ordinary space into one with a warm yet modern ambiance,' explains Niki Wright, co-founder of lights & lamps who offer their own adjustable backlit wall lamp called the Santi. 'One of the most significant advantages of this type of lighting is its unobtrusive design. Often using LED technology, it can be subtle in its form yet full of statement in its function with the ability to control the color and/or intensity of the light, allowing you to adjust the mood of the room.'

Besides a cozy atmosphere, backlit lighting also helps to create a sense of depth and dimension in a room, especially when used on the walls. 'By placing the lighting behind objects or features, such as artwork or furniture, you can create a stunning visual effect that adds depth and interest to the space,' says Niki. 'This technique can be particularly effective in smaller rooms, where the use of backlit lighting can make the space feel more expansive and open.'

The Swedish powerhouse that is IKEA knows a thing or too about minimalist comfort, and that's exactly the vibe their range of backlit lamps help to create. Here are our favorites from their collection.

The VARMBLIXT collection, released last month, was created in collaboration with award-winning designer Sabine Marcelis. Through unusual sculptural fixtures and stylish accessories that play or interact with light, the collection urges homeowners to make lighting an integral element of their designs, rather than just an afterthought. It's designed to inspire a new interest in how light can transform the look, feel, and emotional atmosphere of our homes.

A highlight is the limited edition VARMBLIXT LED wall lamp. An elegant rod-shaped lighting fixture, this lamp is backlit with a warm strip that spreads a cozy mood light at an angle out from the wall while casting shadows upwards. It can be fixed vertically or horizontally depending on your preferences or the space available, and offers a soft pleasant light perfect for the bedroom or living room. For a brighter effect, you could even place several in a row for a kitchen wall lighting idea.


This versatile, rod-shaped wall lamp can be fixed horizontally or vertically depending on your preferences and casts a warm glow along your wall for a hygge feel despite its contemporary design. For a statement look that offers more light, try fixing three of these lamps in a row across your wall.

The curved cousin of the VARMBLIXT rod lamp, the circular VARMBLIXT LED is a permanent addition to IKEA's collection. A round, white fixture with two-thirds of the shape backlighting the wall, this LED wall lamp offers a glow akin to a solar eclipse. I love the halo effect it creates that's almost futuristic in appearance, and certainly befitting for lovers of curved lines.

'Entrance halls or landing corridors, as shown above, are a great place for backlit lighting,' says Niki. 'Often used in multiples, it can be a great way to light your path between rooms without overloading the senses with overly bright light.' To update your entryway or corridor, replace tired vintage-looking sconces with LED lamps like these for a more minimalist approach to lighting that's still cozy and avoids being stark.


If you prefer curves lines over angular shapes, this circular wall lamp is for you. With a glow that mimics a solar eclipse, it offers a backlit feel that really is out of this world. You never have to worry about changing a light bulb either as the LED light sources are built right into it.

A bit of an outlier on this list, the OBEGRÄNSADLED floor lamp is a freestanding backlit light source. Easily moved and with no installation necessary, it's the perfect way for renters to enjoy the effects of backlit lighting. You'll need to be quick if you want to get your hands on one, though - this industrial-looking lamp is limited edition.

The tall floor lamp measures 70 inches and spreads an atmospheric light across the height of your wall or the entire room itself if turned to face the other way. This lamp has three levels of light intensity that you can easily be adjusted to create a softer ambiance for a hygge feel or a brighter light when functionality comes first.

When used against a wall, this lamp helps to highlight the different textures and patterns in a room. 'By illuminating textured surfaces, such as limewash, concrete, or brick, backlit lighting can bring out the details and create a beautiful, natural-looking effect,' says Niki. 'This can add an extra layer of coziness and warmth to a room, making it feel more inviting and comfortable.'

If you're wondering how to make a living room feel more cozy, start with backlit lighting for a layered approach to contemporary comfort that's sure to endure for years to come.


Out of context, this floor lamp looks like it belongs in a professional photography studio (or an episode of Star Trek). When placed in the home, however, the OBEGRÄNSADLED offers three different lighting levels to help you set the mood. It can be angled towards the wall for a backlit effect, or into the room for functionality.


Modern minimalist, but make it comforting. This simple backlit rod LED wall light has a matte black finish for a contemporary look but a warm glow for cozy feel. Like IKEA's rod, it can be installed horizontally or vertically to suit your space, too.


For a full moon effect, try this round backlit LED wall lamp from Amazon. This circular lamp adds a modern touch to your minimalist spaces with no wires on show - simply tap the lighting panel to turn on the light instantly.


Add a sleek, contemporary design to your walls with this matte black flush mount sconce. The simple rectangular silhouette has rounded edges for a softer look, with a soft backlit glow cast on your walls from the spaces at the top and bottom.

Lilith Hudson is the Junior Writer on Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news articles for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration that you need in your home. She discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. Lilith now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London (a degree where she could combine both) and has previously worked at the Saturday Times Magazine, ES Magazine, DJ Mag and The Simple Things Magazine.

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