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Design Trend:  Nostalgic Light Bulbs

Design Trend: Nostalgic Light Bulbs

It’s hard to believe, but the incandescent light bulb has already been dubbed “nostalgic.”  Only a short time into the “ban” on incandescent light bulbs (you can see a series of posts I wrote on the subject last year here), nostalgic or Edison light bulbs have reached new heights of popularity.  

Nostalgic bulbs have the look of the original bulbs Edison designed in the early 20th Century.  While their light output typically isn’t terribly high, they are really meant more for decoration than for task lighting.  With their exposed filaments and shaped glass exteriors, nostalgic light bulbs are meant to be used out in the open – not hidden behind frosted glass globes or fabric shades.  At a price of $10 (more or less, depending on type and shape), you wouldn’t want to hide these beauties!

Edison bulbNostalgic BulbNostalgic Chandelier bulb

Since the wattages are fairly low, resulting in a lower light output than many modern bulbs, nostalgic bulbs work best for decorative lighting such as chandeliers, pendants or wall sconces.  Supplemental lighting is often needed to bring the lighting level up to modern standards.  They come in lower wattages to avoid problems with new federal regulations that require bulbs to meet certain energy-efficiency requirements (although these requirements seem to be moving targets, as the “ban” is not currently being enforced).  They also look better in lower wattages, since a bright bulb would make viewing the shape of the filament nearly impossible.

It isn’t for every room, but I love the look of these bulbs.  They could work in historic homes, as well as eclectic “steampunk”-style homes.

An interesting “insider” tidbit:  Lighting designers, electricians and designers refer to ‘light bulbs’ as ‘lamps.’  So, if you are working with a professional, and they refer to the type of lamp you need to buy, it would be safe to assume they mean ‘light bulb’ and not ‘table or floor lamp.’  Now you know. 


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