For most consumers, the acronym “RLM” may be a puzzle, but those in the lighting industry know its origins trace back to the Industrial Revolution when factories first began to transform America’s production capabilities. In order to help workers perform their tasks comfortably and with less error, overhead lighting fixtures that could direct light downward onto the specific areas where they were working were created and called, aptly enough, “Reflector Light Microscopy” as an engineering-based explanation for the process. Over the years, the term has been adapted to mean “Reflector Luminaire Manufacturer.”
RLM lighting – recognizable for its simple metal shades that reflect light downward and often attached to gooseneck or vertical stems – has been the go-to lighting style for the exteriors of restaurants, retail shops, and other commercial buildings for decades because they are made of strong metal and coated in a hardy, UV-resistant, powder-coated color finish that holds up to harsh weather elements without fading or flaking.
You Can Customize RLM Lighting
The simple shapes and wide selection of bright colors (even custom-matching capability) have made RLM-style lighting a popular choice among many top interior designers when outfitting a city loft or Modern Farmhouse space because of the uniqueness – it’s not a look found everywhere – and the additional nostalgic charm of a bygone era.
RLM’s assortment of mix-and-match parts – different sizes and shapes of interchangeable arms, stems, and shades – is ideal for putting together a customized look that specifically complements your décor. With the RLM style, you can essentially build a fixture from scratch in a variety of finishes from bright glossy colors to galvanized steel as well as the classic choices of black or white. The hardiness of the commercial-grade components holds a lot of appeal among homeowners who enjoy its authentic ruggedness.
Where to Use RLM Lighting
There are cities and towns all over America with abandoned factories that, as manufacturing moved overseas, have been given new life as residential lofts. In most cases, the historic details of these buildings are kept intact with their existing high ceilings, exposed brickwork and concrete, oversized windows, structural beams, and ductwork. Even former warehouses and high schools have been transformed into living spaces. RLM lighting has the physical scale and the Industrial-style aesthetics to enhance the character and grittiness of these previously commercial buildings.
In addition to renovated historic or repurposed spaces, interior designers are finding that RLM lighting works especially well in homes with a vintage Country or Modern Farmhouse feel. Whether that ambiance is rooted in the architectural bones of the structure or is just a decorating style that speaks to the homeowner, the relaxed casualness of the Country or Farmhouse look is a good fit for RLM lighting. Where designers are employing the style most often is in kitchens, mudrooms, and laundry rooms; however, it can also be a nice design complement in living rooms and other areas.
How to Use RLM Lighting
It is important to remember that R stands for “reflector,” which provides a specific function. The shade reflects the light directly downward and not out to the side or over a wide area to illuminate the entire room as a chandelier would. For this reason, RLM fixtures are best positioned above an object (i.e. a kitchen island or table, highlighting artwork or a detail on a wall, or signage on a building). The RLM fixture will not be the primary lighting source in any room, but it can serve as an attractive way to enhance other design elements present.
You Can Find What You Need at LightsOnline
If you are interested in exploring the look of RLM fixtures, LightsOnline has a variety of styles that captures that aesthetic simply, beautifully, and affordably. Shop their selection of RLM lighting now.