Buying lighting online? 7 tips for success in 2023

There can be many pitfalls to buying lighting online. We believe there needn’t be and that they can be avoided with a bit of thought and care. One option is to buy British lighting, where there is more control over the details.  The current situation means we are shopping online even more and set to do so for a while. So tell us, how many of these problems have you experienced?


1. “Oh….it looks nothing like the picture!”

Wonderful, your beautiful new light has arrived, you are so excited to open it. You carefully unbox it (don’t we all love unboxing?!) and, oh…you are instantly deflated, it looks nothing like the picture. So disappointing and it’s back to scouring the internet for a new light. Although you don’t quite have the energy to do this. You know you have to return this one first and what if the same thing happens again?



The website should have high quality images, with products shown from different angles. Close up images of the light and fittings gives you confidence that the products will be as shown. Ideally they should have a combination of light-box images, and in situ images.


2. “It’s plastic, I thought it was metal or wood!”

Surely for the price point it would be a metal ceiling rose? It certainly looked like it in the picture. You love the light but, are disappointed by the lack of attention to detail. Why haven’t they followed this through to the entire product. The ceiling rose is plastic – it isn’t worth sending it back, but, you’re going have to spend money & upgrade it yourself. Let’s be honest it will just annoy you otherwise. More money to spend and it can’t go up straight away.



Look for descriptions of the materials for the light and fittings. Don’t be afraid to drop them a message to check anything you aren’t sure of. Good companies will know what every part of the product is made of and be more than happy to help you.

loom brass wall light


3. The quality is poor

The fittings feel cheap and even worse look cheap. It feels flimsy and not the quality that you were looking for.



Seek out companies that use high quality materials and fittings. If they are, they will be shouting it from the rooftops and be proud of it, so it should be pretty obvious. Look for metal ceiling roses, braided cable and solid brass  or copper fittings. And again look for close up images.  British lighting is often better quality so it is worth searching out those. Ask yourself, how can the retailer confirm the quality of a product made 3000 miles away.


artem hand patinated brass wall light

4.  Excessive packaging that isn’t recyclable or reusable.

You open up the package and there is more plastic than you know is needed. Yes, the lights need to be protected during delivery but you’re sure there is a better way. We are all consuming so much more. You feel that retailers have a responsibility to reduce unnecessary packaging and also ensure the packaging is recyclable or re-useable.



Take a look in the FAQs. Are they using recyclable, compostable, reusable or sustainable packaging? If they are, they are likely to mention it. Again, if you aren’t sure drop them an email or message them on social media.

Plastic free tape from Plastics Free in Cornwall
Plastic free tape from Plastics Free in Cornwall


5.  No one answers your emails or phone calls.

So, you have a query or a question. A part is missing, where is your order, all those questions that come up and need answering. But no one is answering or replying to your emails. You are in the dark and it is so frustrating.



This is harder to figure out. But, see how responsive and helpful they are when you ask a question. Look for positive customer reviews. Check their FAQs for contact details and ways to contact them. On their Facebook page you can see how responsive they are, a great sign.  Your business is worth much more to a small British lighting company and you can be sure they will want to talk to you.


6. It’s scratched or damaged

Again, you love the light but there is a scratch where it has been poorly packaged. Or not checked over carefully before it was sent out. The light was the finishing touch to your room before Christmas. But now you don’t have time to send it back and get another one. Annoying and frustrating.



Look for companies that go the extra mile with their checking and packaging. For example, all our lights come in cotton dust bags, to protect the lights and ensure they arrive safely. A beautiful handbag arrives in a dust bag, why not a beautiful light! Check out their social media, they are sure to have talked about it somewhere!


7. It’s a right pain to install

This is a big one and the cause of many an argument (we have all been there!). The light is beautiful, you’re chuffed to bits with it. You come to install it, but no one has thought about how to make it easy to put it up. You are pretty sure the designer hasn’t ever had to install one of their lights (….you’d love to see them try). You manage to install it but you have shouted, sworn, got frustrated and been close to giving up. It has generally left a bitter taste in your mouth.



Check out their reviews, people are pretty quick to comment if they aren’t happy. The product description should refer to the installation process. Pointing out any things that the company has done to make it as pain free for you as possible.


ARC Single Pendant in Black & Brushed Brass


We get all these problems! Truly we do, as we have experienced all these things. We have a passion for British lighting but we have also made it our mission to design and deliver lights to you that arrive exactly as you want them to arrive.

Please let us know what else we could do to make the experience a joy. We would love to hear from you:


ARCFORM is an independent family business that handcrafts luxury and bespoke lighting to illuminate your home.

Made in our Warwickshire studio in Leamington Spa.

View our lighting collections here.


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