Do you have flashbacks from your childhood? Nostalgia has a funny way of bubbling up when you least expect it, and interior design is no exception. The same way high-waisted jeans made a comeback after nearly 40 years, the Edison light bulb has returned to home décor – and it shows no signs of fading to black.
After all, these vintage light bulbs don’t just light a room. Thanks to their exposed filament design, they are themselves a design statement. Not sure you’re ready to make the switch? Keep reading to learn more about this trend and get a taste of your Edison-filled lighting options.
A Brief History of the Edison Light Bulb
Many have dubbed Thomas Edison as the inventor of the light bulb. But to be more accurate, he is the creator of the first commercial incandescent light bulb, which he built in January 1879. Incandescent lighting is characterized by an electric light with a wire that heats up to temperatures so high it sparks a visible light. Thomas Edison’s incandescent electric light worked by passing electricity through a platinum filament in a glass vacuum bulb. The protected vacuum environment delayed the filament from melting, but the lamp still only burned for a few hours.
Then, one day, Edison was mindlessly playing around with a piece of compressed carbon, which set his overactive brain in motion. After relentless research and experimenting, Edison tried a carbonized cotton thread. This type of filament seemed to last the longest at around 15 hours. Of course, Edison didn’t stop there. He tested other types of carbon filament and various conductive materials. Each time, the filaments burned a little bit longer. Eventually, he patented the Edison electric lamp, which is still the most common type of lamp used in homes today.
What Makes an Edison Light Bulb Shine
While everyone can appreciate the functionality of the Edison light bulb, it is really the vintage feel that has made this home essential become a hot lighting trend in the 21st century. The exposed wire filament is artistically interesting and meshes well with other old-time revivals, like Mason jars and chalkboard signs.
In addition to its chicness, the Edison bulb has taken hold of the lighting world because of its temperature, ambiance, and versatility.
Every type of light bulb has a color temperature, which is measured in degrees in the Kelvin scale. On the warm end, bulbs burn at about 2,700° K, while cooler light bulbs can be over 5,000° K. Edison bulbs take things to another level, though, burning around 2,000° K. This very warm color temperature is what gives these filament bulbs their signature warm glow.
It is because of that vintage warm glow that the Edison bulb emits a cozy feeling. It lights a room much like a fireplace in the dark of night. Edison bulbs may not be your first choice for task lighting, but they are certainly strong hitters when it comes to creating ambiance at your dinner table or around your soft, sectional sofa.
Edison bulbs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, which means they easily incorporate into almost any room or lighting style. You might see globe bulbs with squiggly lines in the center or a tubular with paper-straight filaments. While they are a favorite among the best patio lighting ideas, filament bulbs can also be seen in sconces, chandeliers and more.
7 Edison Light Bulb Fixtures to Brighten Your Home
If the thought of Edison light bulbs only musters up string lights at a barn-side wedding for you, then you’re in for a real treat. We’ve curated a collection of stunning fixtures that display what filament lights are capable of achieving. From rustic industrial to sleek contemporary, these lights go well beyond expectations.
1. Dakota by Crystorama
Speaking of versatility, the Dakota Chandelier is the perfect example. There are 15 filament bulbs blooming from the round center, sending light in all different directions. But it’s not just the shape that stands out. This fixture features a charcoal bronze frame that says rustic, while the simplicity of its overall design says modern minimalism. We recommend saving such an eclectic piece for a room that greets a lot of guests.
2. Rialto by ELK Lighting
If you’re looking for warm and cozy, the Rialto should be your first pick. Not only does it have five tubular filaments in a classic candelabra arrangement, but it’s finished with an aged brass that could not be any dreamier. Adding to its sultry appeal is a transparent metal mesh that gives away just enough light to put your mind at ease. You’ll definitely want to hang this mini-chandelier in your living space or master bedroom.
3. Feiss Lennex by Generation Lighting
A pure industrial home will appreciate the Feiss Lennex Suspension Light. In billiard-table fashion, it holds three Edison lights in a row. Each one is covered by a slate metal cage, which is yet another throwback to the 18th and 19th centuries. You might also notice the gooseneck arms that mimic exposed pipes in a warehouse. Industrial pendants like this one belong over your kitchen island.
4. Quentin by Hinkley Lighting
The Quentin Suspension Light looks like a beautiful marriage between vintage string lights and a contemporary chandelier. The filament bulbs sit in a perfect line and are completely exposed like the outdoor lights you see in a hip coffee shop. The difference is that can’t help but follow. Use this unique blend of old and new in your transitional-style home, especially above a long wood dining table.
5. Bodega Bay by Maxim
The intersecting globe is a popular choice in farmhouse lighting. But when you add bulging Edison bulbs, it takes the design to a whole other level of comfort. With six incandescent bulbs and an antique pecan finish, the Bodega Bay Chandelier is the most inviting light fixture you’ve ever seen. Of course, it can be hung above your entertaining space to set the mood. That said, we would also suggest that you consider putting this ball of bliss in your foyer to welcome guests inside.
6. Tavern by Quoizel Lighting
As its name implies, the Tavern by Quoizel has some smoky undertones. It starts with the staggered filament bulbs, flickering like candlelight in an old, underground pub. Then you look at the craftsman combination of wood-look rubber and dark bronze accents. Suddenly, you’re thirsty for a cold pint and a salty pretzel. If that’s the kind of old-world charm you crave, position this pendant over your built-in bar or high-top kitchen island.
7. Reel by Varaluz Lighting
Lights, camera…action! The Reel by Varaluz Lighting is always ready to put on a show with its vintage film wheel-inspired profile in a rustic bronze finish. And even though this large pendant only has three incandescent light bulbs, the filament design gives off such a warm glow. It’s exactly enough light to set the mood for a dinner party, where you’ll make a movie’s worth of memories. As for incorporating this Edison light, no home theatre is required. You can place this light reel in your eat-in-kitchen or intimate living space.
Re-invent Your Home
Remember the wise words of Thomas Edison:
“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
In other words, the next time you’re looking for some design stimulus, experiment with these Edison light bulb fixtures. A light bulb may seem like a trivial element, but those defining filaments will add timeless character to your home.