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Sylvania's 100w Equivalent LED Light Bulb

LED light bulbs – will you ever spend $50 on a bulb?

Sylvania's 100w Equivalent LED Light Bulb

Sylvania’s 100w Equivalent LED Light Bulb


Yes, $50.  I can imagine most of you area saying “never” or “not a chance.”  But don’t dismiss it out of hand without considering the benefits.    (and not all of them are $50)   LED lighting is the next wave of lighting technology, and one of these bulbs might actually be worth it.  Why?




  • It’s LED – so it lasts for years and years.  That means while you’re paying more up front, you’ll save more later (and no changing light bulbs!).
  • It looks like an incandescent bulb – no otherworldly blue tint of previous LEDs or cold white light of the CFL.
  • It doesn’t have the problem of mercury like CFL bulbs do.  No more difficulty in disposing of those old bulbs (because you don’t put them in the garbage, do you?  Find local recycling options at this site:
  • You don’t have to change the bulbs as often – terrific, especially for those hard to reach lights over stairwells.
  • It requires nothing other than that you screw it in – no special adapters or anything.  Some are a little longer than most bulbs, but they anticipate it will fit most lamps.
  • You can now find them at hardware stores like Lowe’s  and Home Depot, as well as Amazon. With their economies of scale and improving technology, the bulbs are getting cheaper  (some of the lower wattage ones are $10-$15).   And until it’s as cheap as you would like it, you can get the feeling of contributing to a better planet now…

There are two drawbacks currently:

1)   They don’t seem to have produced LED tri-light bulbs (the ones that have three light settings).  LEDs can dim (which is great), but for our table lamps without dimmers, it’s the CFL or the good old incandescent bulb for now.   So for now put these in your pot lights, hard to reach lights, and lights with dimmers!

2) The highest output is equivalent to a regular 100W bulb at the moment.  I am sure it will change quickly as the technology improves, but for now we’ll just have to enjoy looking better in low light.

Tips on picking LED light bulbs:

If you want to change but aren’t sure what level of bulb you need, manufacturers for the most part have put the wattage equivalent clearly on the packaging.  But in case you run into a website that only talks about lumens (the measurement of light output), I am re-printing below the best selection guide I have found, produced by the Lighting Association.  They haven’t published a new one which catches up with the fact that you can get LED light bulbs up to 100W, but it gives you a sense for the lumen output you’re looking for.

how to pick a light bulb

The Lighting Association Light Bulb comparison chart

Acrylic chandelier for a children's room

Gummy Bear Chandelier

A quick post for today.  A reader sent me this link (thank you reader) for a chandelier (or as they call it “candelier”) made out of 3,000 acrylic gummy bears by the designer Kevin Champeny.   It’s certainly on the more expensive side, the large chandelier is $6,500 and a small chandelier is $2,400.  But for those with enough disposable income, it could be a fun addition to a child’s room.

Acrylic chandelier for a children's room

Christmas outside light ideas

Holiday Decorating Ideas

I am officially in the holiday spirit and was looking for some ideas to change things up, and have found some great inspirations for inside and outside the home.


Christmas outside light ideas

Courtesy of DIY Network

I love this idea, especially for a holiday party or for Christmas Eve.  I think the candles are so pretty, and especially lighting the way at dusk and into the dark.  I have friends who do luminaries every year on both sides of their street, using paper bags, a little sand, and votive candles.  The pretty site will definitely bring your neighbors outside.

You can find some well-priced hurricanes at – modern straight walled ones, and more traditionally shaped ones with 12 hour votives.





While the holidays shouldn’t be all about presents in my opinion, it’s still fun to see well wrapped packages.   Having them illuminated outside is really fun and special, and a nice addition or change to lights on the house.   I think scale here is important, and grouping them together will make the best impact.

I have yet to find any for sale that look this good, so here are the instructions to make them courtesy of






They called this one “holiday fence” and I love the idea.  Simply using plastic garden edgers and white Christmas lights, you can bring the light all around your yard to celebrate the season and welcome guests to your home.  I also love the simplicity of the lights in the windows shown here as well.  So simple, and yet so elegant and beautiful.   Use LED lit candles if you don’t want to worry about the fire hazard.








Moving inside, here is a fun way to create a secondary tree in your house or even the main tree if a full tree isn’t in the plans this year.  They suggest the hallway and I love that idea.   Add a timer, and it will make your life festive and easy.

You can make your own felt stars, or buy them here.




Holiday decor pinecones in glass hurricanes

Credit to Real Simple



I love pinecones, and making them the centerpiece in clear pedestal hurricanes (or any other glass vessel you have) is a great way to make a statement.  I love the natural look, but for some sparkle (or to fit into a silver color scheme) you could spray paint them with silver paint like the ones in front.

Here are some great hurricanes at West Elm.  For the pinecones, if you can gather them in your area, so much the better.  But if not, Amazon has some.




modern christmas tree with vintage ornaments



This one is my idea.  I bought this modern yarn wrapped Christmas tree from West Elm and the mini vintage ornaments from Restoration Hardware.  I love the juxtaposition of the vintage and modern, and the tree has the advantage of being crafted by the fair trade women’s organization Rupalee.    A variation would be putting the ornaments on red ribbon so they hang a little lower (it may yet still happen in my house).




Christmas card display ideas

Credit to Real Simple



Every year I try to think of somehow creative to use holiday cards in my décor.  For the last few years I have been using pinecones and sticking the pictures in them, but you can only fit so many in each one.  I like this idea of stretching a string or ribbon between two vases or other décor elements and hanging the cards on them by clothespins.





holiday door decor tips

Credit to Country Living



Sleigh or Jingle bells are such a characteristic sound of this season, and I think hearing them upon opening a door puts me in the mood.   You could put this decoration up halfway through the season for a nice addition (and so you don’t go nuts with them before Christmas comes).





Christmas decorating

Credit to Country Living



An image to highlight the beauty of simple wreaths.  These wreaths are often dried (so they can be used next year as well – a big bonus!), and I love the natural simplicity in the season typical of excess.






ornaments moss balls and votives


I love the sparkle of ornaments, and I do not typically have a full tree in my house.  So I like putting them in some sort of centerpiece (bowl, long tray, etc).  This year I interspersed them with green balls of moss and some twig balls, spread around a red & mercury glass votive.  I love it.



Alternative christmas tree skirt ideas

Credit to Country Living



I love this idea for the Christmas tree base, using a basket instead of a traditional skirt.  It’s a neat change, and I have seen it two ways.  In this image they have taken a basket, turned it upside down, and cut out the bottom to put the tree base through.  The other way is to have the basket right side up and put the tree in that way.   It decreases your space underneath the tree for presents, but I like the freshness of the idea.





Happy Holidays!

grey and white table lamp

10 Great Table Lamps


grey and white table lamp


1. Simple Sophistication

I love the understated elegance of this light, the Lens Table lamp from Best & LLoyd.  The decoration on the base creates interest without being overbearing, and the colors are chic and elegant.  I personally think this light would be perfect in a bedroom, either for a lucky guest or to enjoy every day in the Master.

These first three lights are from Best & Lloyd, a UK firm which sells in the US through George Smith, a retailer to the trade.   Unfortunate for those of us without a link into that special world, but if you are working with an interior designer or have your own retail license, lucky you.  I’ll keep looking to see if they expand their distribution.


Silver sparkle table lamp


2.   Bringing sparkle

This second lamp from Best & Lloyd, the Cardin, would add some sparkle to your home, andis a wonderful table lamp.  The scale they have chosen for the silver disks on the base is just terrific – it gives it some pizzazz but isn’t too busy and suits the scale of the lamp overall.  Too many of these lights would be a lot, but one in a well placed spot would be terrific.




Porcelain base table lamp


3.   Simple and Elegant

I love the color combination of this Jar Table Lamp from Best & Lloyd the soft blue with the white with a little grey, and the shape of the base in contrast to the shape of the shade.   I think this would be wonderful for a living room where you’re trying for a style that is warm and inviting.  It’s a timeless lamp, one that will always be in style.



Whimisical Think Table Lamps4.   On the Whimsical Side

I first saw these table lamps on One Kings Lane, and I love the playfulness, and how they make you think (and not just because that’s the word on the lights).  They are the Inglebert Porcelain Lamp Set from Arteriors.  I like the idea of having them in the bedroom on either side of the bed.   “Think” isn’t exactly what you want to do when you’re heading to sleep, but these make me smile and I think that’s a good thing.  Plus, if you’re sleeping with your partner, I think they remind you to look over and smile at them.


Oyster Shell Organic Base


5.  Reminiscent of nature

I love the interest the base of the Amalfi lamp from Currey & Co creates.  Made from oyster shells, it brings an organic, natural feel to the roomin addition to its rounded shape.




Porcelain table lamp


6.  Natural Serenity

I like the natural look of the Tristan Table Lamp from Currey & Co.   The ivory crackle finish on the porcelain base gives it an interesting texture, and the fluted lines on the base gives it some presence.  I think this lamp could be used in a traditional style design, or in a home that mixes style (including Asian)


Iron Etched Table Lamp white lampshade


7.  Forged in Iron

The Strata Table Lamp from Hubbardton Forge is a great modern/transitional  lamp, with interest created by the horizontal etching on the lamp base.




Grey handwrapped zinc base


8.  Suited up for Fall

I love grey as a design color.  While it’s all the rage now, I don’t think it’s ever going to end up like avocado from the 70s (looking dated a decade later).   This Malcolm Table Lamp from Crate and Barrel uses it well.  It says bedroom to me, or den – cozy warmth for where you want to curl up with a book or go to sleep.


Modern night table lamp


9.  Future Oriented

Designed in 1967, this light from Artemide (the Eclisse Bedside Table Lamp) is still current today in style and design.  With a great feature for controlling the amount of light that shines out (great for anyone who is a late night reader and doesn’t want to disturb someone else), this light is a fun and stylish one for any bedroom or desk.


Silver base lamp with white shade



10.  Affordable Elegance

This Ceramic Silver Lamp from Target caught my eye.  I love the shape of the base and interestingly the way the short distance between the base and the lampshade.  For $19.99, this is a great design

modern ceramic light

Top Pendants for Modern Kitchen Island Lighting

A friend and faithful reader (thank you!) requested a post on lights to go over kitchen islands, for a modern house.   I haven’t seen the image of the house design, so I am flying a little blind.   But, I have picked lights here that I think could work depending on the feel you want.  Without further adieu, here are my top 15 favorites.


Aluminum Pendant with diffuser


1.        Dome Pendant Light  – $350

I LOVE this light.  I love the simplicity of it, and the small detail of the light shining out the top near the cord.  I think that distinguishes it from other similar lights, and I would choose this light for the house.




Vintage inspired metal pendant


2.       Hudson Valley Pellham light – $650-$850

While this one is typically thought to be more vintage, I think it is an interesting contrast to the modern look.  I think it would add a different element to the style and design of the house, and I am a fan of mixing and matching styles.  This would add a little more industrial vibe in this setting, but not so far that it wouldn’t fit.


For looks similar to these:

And by the way, the light in this one is great too.  It’s the Small Goodman Hanging Light.   (credit here to Benco Construction for the kitchen design)





Or this look which is the Powell Street Pendant from Tech Lighting (credit here to picpics for the picture)





Modern Glass pendant with smoky glass insert3.    Tribeca Pendant Light – $230

Modern glass pendants could add a little industrial feel to a modern style house.   I like the Tribeca Pendant for its clean glass lines and the interest of the inner tube (a bit of a theme in the following lights).   This one would be great in a kitchen with some darker accents – either darker wood cabinets, a darker countertop, or even a darker floor.



Modern glass pendant light fixture


4.   Mega Bulb Pendant – $280

The mega bulb pendant is a real cross between modern and vintage.  I like the unique shape of this light, and the double lines created by the outer glass dome, and the lightbulb (note you’ll have to find that light bulb to make it work.



kitchen pendant light


5.  Ktribe S3 Suspension Light – $895

The Ktribe pendant is very modern in its style.  I love the shape of the inner white glass, very organic and soft vs the crisp, sharp shape of the outer clear glass shade.   I think this is a nice combination and could be a great light over a modern kitchen island.




cylindrical glass pendant light with black metal

 6.  Bleecker Street Pendant Light – $330

The Bleecker Street Pendant is aother great option for a glass pendant.  From Sonneman, the cylcindrical couble glass cones are simple, sleek, and elegant.  I love the unique feature of seeing the metal from which the bulb hangs.  And you can have a lot of fun with this light and all the new, unique lightbulbs there are that show the filament.



Contemporary Glass Pendant light fixture


7.   Inner Fire – $280

This pendant light comes in a few different colors of the inner bulb.  I think the lines are very graceful and the light will be soft with the diffusion of the inner milk glass casing.   The key question for this light will be the dimensions of the island and the light, and how many of these you need.   If you’re going to do more than 2 lights, I think it’s always nicest to have an odd number of fixtures in this setting.


Honorable mention:  I have already suggested the Echo Pendant ($340) recently in my If this was your house Part 2 post, but I think it’s so versatile and I love the warm light with the opaque inner glass tube.


These lights can give you a look like these:









Modern ceramic bowl light fixture


8.  Bliuna Pendant – $3,250

I love the soft shape of this pendant and the splash of color it would add to the space.  It looks like ceramic, but it’s actually painted metal.  It looks like it’s generally available on Lumens in Black, Grey, or sand-beige.  But maybe you can get the blue by contacting ddc directly.




This adds a little color to the room:



(credit to San Francisco Architect Levy Art & Architecture)







linen pendant light


9.  West Elm Linen Pendant – $149

Or you could go big with linen pendants with diffusers.  This is leaning a little more to a classic look, rather than purely modern but the clean lines of the linen lights is still very modern, and I think the warmth of the fabric shade would be a nice contrast to a kitchen with a lot of hard surfaces (granite or quartz countertops, acrylic finishes on cabinets, tile, etc).


The West Elm Pendant and the Biluna pendant could be used in a look like this:






contemporary light fixture


10.  The Mini Ball Pendant – $435

This is the light to go with if you want some drama in your room, and want your lights to catch the eye when someone comes into the kitchen.  It is metalized on the inside, to allow the light to project a soft beam of light through the bottom glass opening.  I think this would give a very cool effect, like these lights in the below image where the bottom of the light glows.




FYI – the lights in this image are the Fucsia Pendants By Achille Castiglioni For Flos





modern ceramic light


11.   Beehive Pendant Light – $1,136

I love the lines in this light, and how they give texture to the light that shines out, and a unique dimension to the pendant itself.  It also comes with a diffuser on the bottom, so it will be a soft glow without the light shining in anyone’s eyes.  Made of polycarbonate, it’s also tough for the kitchen.  At 15” in diameter, it is on the larger size so you need fewer of them, which is nice given the price.



Modern White Glass globe pendant light


12.        Rico Espinet Buster Globe Pendant – $209

I think the simple white globe with the nickel finish is quite striking.  It’s a little more classic in look, not quite as modern as some of the other choices here, but it won’t look out of place.   I think this glass pendant is best for someone looking for a mix of styles, or to soften a very modern space.




White glass orb with red cord


13.        Cleo Pendant – $240

I love the splash of color the red cord brings (orange and grey are the other options), and it’s constras with the pure white orb.  It comes in two sizes (10’in diameter or 21”) so it gives you the flexibility of hanging two of the large orbs, or three of the smaller, of course all depending on how big your island is.



This could give you a look similar to this:






Tip:  One idea to help you figure out how many to go for.  If you have the island already in your kitchen, use old cereal boxes to make lights the size of the fixtures you are considering and string or rope to hang them from the ceiling.  Keep it that way for a few days, and see how it strikes you every time you come into the room.   There is nothing quite like experiencing it.  If that option is not available to you, draw up a diagram of the island to scale, and then draw the fixtures in on the island (to scale and evenly spaced), and you’ll at least get a sense of the size ratio.  Graph paper with the squares is great for this.


white laser cut out pendant light


14.        Tilly Pendant  - $428

The Tilly Pendant is pretty for it’s unique shape, and how the light will come through the cut outs as well as down the bottom, so you will get downward as well as ambient light from this fixture.   I haven’t seen this light in person, and it is described as having a pyrex glass diffuser on the website, so it should mean the light isn’t too direct.



white and nickel finish pendant


15.        Hampton Mini Pendant Light  – $179

The final choice for this post.  I like the this light for the interest the metal stems create off the rod.  Coming in both Nickel and brushed bronze, you have some flexibility depending on the colors you are using in your other finishes.



A few other looks I like


I like the mix of recessed lighting and the simple pendant over the table







I like the clustering of bulbs in this kitchen:


I think the varying heights is interesting here

Modern dining room chandelier

High/Low – The Bar Chandelier


Options for a Modern, Rectangular Chandelier with Crystals


HIGH  -  $5,995

Modern dining room chandelier

A friend of mine who recently moved pointed out this light to me and how much she likes it.   It’s the Cellula Chandelier at Design Within Reach, it’s $5,995, and it is beautiful.  I love the simplicity of the bars at the top, offset by the details the lights and crystals below offer.  It is well proportioned, and as my friend commented, would give off a great effect through all the crystals.  And sometimes when you just love something, if you’re going to look at any other light you buy and wish you had bought the one you love, you should just buy that one you love.


But sometimes that just isn’t in the budget.  So, after looking around the web here are some options that give a similar effect, but don’t come with the same price tag.   They aren’t the same, mind you, but still great in their own rights.



LBL chandelier with hanging crystal discsLBL Bling Chandelier – $1,280

From LBL Lighting, the Bling Linear Suspension Light.  This light is a little different in that the light comes from the bar, the lights are not mixed in with the crystals crystals (all 26 of them), but the crystals still reflect it off in different directions.  It also has the advantage of being a low voltage light, saving you on electricity bills.


I found four other lights that had lights and crystals hanging off bars.  I could only find ones with the single bar, none with the rectangle shape.   However, I wonder what it would look like if you hung two of them side by side?  That could be interesting.  My only hesitation is how it would look from either end of the rectangle (with no bar across), but it could work.


Crystal and Light Bar Chandelier for the counter

Cellula Chandelier – $1,345

This light also has Cellula in its name, and I suspect may have been designed by the designers of the one offered on DWR.  DWR doesn’t highlight the designer’s name, but this one was designed by Nunzia Carbone and Tiziano Vudafieri from Milan in 1997, so it’s safe to say this is the original that started off the craze.    This one has a lot of varied crystals amongst the lights, which would add extra color to the patterning of the light through the crystals.  The designers were apparently striving for a modern reinterpretation of the classic chandelier, and I think they hit the nail on the head with this one.



Modern chandelier with bling


Broadway Collection Bar Chandelier – $1,060

This Brodway Collection light is similar to the previous examples in that you can clearly see the row of light sockets before the bulbs and crystals start.  It’s different in that there are many smaller lines of crystals among the lights.



Bar Light for the dining room with crystals and lights



Clear Crystal Chrome Chandelier – $799.99

Similar to my other choices in that it has one bar and hanging crystals, the Clear Crystal Chrome Chandelier  mixes in the crystals and the light sockets so you see less of the sockets and it appears to be a little more one unit, but also a little less modern.



Krystelle Linear Chandelier – $300

I think some of the reason for the dramatic difference in price of this light is they are not using Swarovski or Austrian-made crystals for the light, so the quality of the materials is different.  But you get a similar look, though this light has the crystals and lights a little more mixed at the same height, with no space between the lights and the bar like the last option.



Dining Room Pendant TransitionalDanolite Dain Light – $426

Deviating now from the exact look as above, the Dain light covers the lights and crystals with an organza shade, for a more muted but still pretty look to it.  And, there are crystals hanging down at the bottom so it will still have that pretty light-through-the-crystals effect on the chandelier as well as the light on the walls and table.





Vintage Feel light for over the dining room tablePanorama Chandelier – $399

From West Elm, this is a complete departure from crystals and lights, but I think it has some of the similar sparkle effect to it, with the golden mercury glass.  It’s modern with the shape and the bronze finish around the edges, but reminiscent of times past with the mercury glass giving a great effect to the light – having it brighter in some places than others.



IM House

If this was your house… Part 2

Part 2 –  Dining Room, Kitchen, Den and Bedrooms


100+ Year old Northeastern House

Remember the house…







Now here are my thoughts for the rest of the house.


Dining Room

So many choices for the Dining Room!  As mentioned in one of my previous posts (Lighting Guidelines and Tips), there are design guidelines for the selection of a dining room light (based on the size of the room, your table, and height).  Not having any of this information (except in my memory), I have selected some lights that I think would be options.

Iron chandelier with 9 lights

Rose Tarlow Iron Chandelier



The Iron Chandelier by Rose Tarlow has very gracious lines and a more traditional feel to it.  It is a large light, with a 50”diameter and 30” in height, so the room needs to be large enough to accommodate it.  I know they have the height, but I’m not sure about the dimensions of the room (it would need to be 25 feet by 25 feet or some variation thereof).




Iron aged chandelier with lit candles



The Florentine Chandelier by Currey & Company harkens back to a more rustic time but still feels contemporary, and if the room had enough height to accommodate it, I think it would be a cool choice.    (30” high, 30” diameter)




Bluma Pendant Light with steel shade and gauze fabric



The Bluma Pendantis the one to go with for some drama in your dining room.   Still subdued enough with the black lampshade, the light on the crystals would create very interesting shadows on the walls, and provide very pretty light to your tabletop when entertaining.    (28” in width , 14” high, 12” depth)



contemporary oval light fixture



The Puri Racetrack Pendant by Sonneman is classic in its shape, yet with a more contemporary feel given the materials.  I think this would be my choice.  (8” in height, 36” in width, and 12” in depth)







For the kitchen, I pulled a number of light options, all of which I think could work in a house this style, but i have to admit they don’t work together, so this is an either or choice.


Vintage designed hanging light fixtures in the shape of jars

Glass Jar Pendant

What is vintage is modern at this point in history, and I think these Glass Jar Pendants by West Elm would fit well into this house.   I think they would definitely feel “of the era” in the house, but because vintage is a very current style, they would still go with a contemporary vibe.  I would pick the left–most light for the kitchen, as in this particular kitchen the cabinet and countertop are on the darker side, so the dark steel accents would tie in well but not be lost with the lighter colored walls.  3 of these would be my pick for this particular house.  You could actually try doing three of these over the exposed counter, and then the shorter height light over the kitchen table.



Hand blown glass pendants with metal accents

Silver Line Pendants


I love these Silver Line Pendants by Holly Hunt Studio, and I think they would work well from a style perspective.  My only concern would be that this particular kitchen has a very high ceiling, with a high counter for these to hang over, and they might be the wrong scale.  While the XX  accent on the glass gives it presence and weight, it might not be enough.


milky-white cased glass pendant with diffuser and nickel finish



I love the Clemson Classic pendant from Restoration Hardware, and while we’re seeing a lot of it in magazines today, I’m not tired of it yet and I think it will hold up for a number of years to come.  This would work best if the kitchen also had either stainless steel appliances or polished nickel fixtures (or both) to tie in with the polished nickel accents on this pendant light.   Since this particular kitchen has a beautiful black soapstone counter and cherry cabinets, this probably isn’t the best choice.  But for this style of house but with a different color scheme in the kitchen, this would be beautiful.



Hanging glass pendant light with internal white case glass cylinder



While the Echo pendant by Tech Lighting is very modern, I think it could work well in this space, and be a nice contrast with the older home.  This would only work if the furnishings and other fixtures were also contemporary and mixed throughout, I don’t think you want to walk from one era into another in the same house.   What I like about this light is the internal white case glass tube that lends a soft light.  I think three over an island or exposed counter would look terrific.  This would be my pick if it were my house, but knowing my friends and their style, for them I would stay with my choice of the vintage jar lights from West Elm.



Hand Blown Glass Pendent bowl shaped Light fixture

Hanover Pendant


I think the Hanover Light paired with a vintage-style light bulb could be really great over a kitchen table.  The glass light shape is fairly traditional, but I would be made more modern with the vintage style bulb – a great combo in seeking the transitional style.

Vintage style light bulb








Mobius Arc


I love the Mobius Arc floor lamp from Hubbardton Forge.   It manages to be feminine and masculine at the same time, and while it has a beautiful arc shape, it’s not the arc light you’ve seen in all the magazines.  Plus, the use of the black finish would help it fit into this house.




Vintage adjustable articulating desk lamp

Antique Drafting Lamp


The Antique Drafting light by Barbara Cosgrove is a classic, and would be great in an office where you have a large desk to work at, and can give this light a lot of space.





Derrick shaped Antiqued Brass base Table Lamp



The Derrick Tower Table Lamp provides a little punch with its bright brass base, and I love the complexity of the design on the base, mimicking the old oil derrick towers.    If you pick the Mobius Arc light though, this isn’t the light for the room.  I don’t think the brass finish and the black or iron finish of the Arc light go well together.




Table lamp with steel base and blown glass shade

Ray T



The Ray T Table Lamp has a similar feel to the Derrick Tower table lamp but it’s lighter base materials and more simple design would be good in a room where you want the light to look good and function well, but you have a lot of other patterns, textures, or design going on.



Silver nickel movable task light



Finally, a classic swing arm task light in the Pask Pivoting Light.  Easily movable to focus where you need it, but with a soft brushed nickel finish for some warmth.   This reminds me to mention that while I have suggested a mixture of brass and nickel finishes here, it would entirely depend on the furnishings of the room and any fixtures you choose as to which finish works.




Wall Sconces – Library, Dining room, Hallways

Traditional style wall sconce



I like the Reed Double Sconce.  It has soft, graceful curves, and I think the aged brass finish is such a warm feel.  This definitely has a more traditional feel to it, and I think it would be wonderful in a library if you had the horizontal space on the wall to accommodate it.





Brass Small square wall sconce

Small Aspect Articulating


This Small Aspect Articulating sconce also fits with the angular shapes of some of the other light fixtures, but is definitely in the traditional/more classic style of the house.  The size and scale of this wall sconce also works well when you have less horizontal space to play with, say between bookshelves, or in a hallway where you want the light but don’t want people to knock their head.






Iron and brass wall double sconce



The other sconce I love in the brass color family, is the Base Wall Sconce in rough iron and Soft Brass.  I think the name is an apt one, as the lampshades really do appear soft, and are accented very nicely with the black bars supporting the lights.



Vintage style wall sconce



For something different, the Chelsea Wall Sconce would be a great choice.  A vintage style that is very in vogue today, but I love the lines on this light and the vintage lightbulb.  It could also be an option in a guest bedroom, with a pair flanking the bed for bedside reading lights.   It mght be slightly impractical as there is no shade so the light would be bright (as opposed to diffused at all), but I think it’s the right balance of vintage and modern for a house like this.  And, unless your guests stay for a long time, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.


Modern Black Iron silk shade wall sconce



The Ashdown Sconce is definitely the most modern of the sconces I have chosen, and plays well with some of the other angular shapes of the lights – if you chose the Paper Tier light in the master bedroom, the Weymouth pendant for the bathroom, and/or the Monolith lamp in the living room).   It does take up more space vertically, so it will have more of a presence.





Master Bedroom

Bedroom Table Lamp in metal, wood, and linen Thomas O'Brien

Studio Paper Tier


I am fixated on the Studio Paper-Tier Table Lamp from Thomas O’Brien for the Master Bedroom, so it’s the only one I will recommend for this room.  I think it’s just perfect for this house and these occupants.   There is a masculine feel to this lamp, which is great for men, but would also work well in a room occupied by a man and a woman.  It could be balanced with soft bed linens, for an example.  But I also love the interest in the design of the lamp, but it also has simple lines which makes it unfussy and uncomplicated – perfect for a place of rest.




For floor lamps in the bedroom (this one is definitely large enough to have a sitting chair and I think the soft glow from a floor lamp in the bedroom in the evening can be beautiful and relaxing), I have a few options.

Living Room Floor Lamp designed by Thomas O'Brien




I think the Hannah Floor Lamp by Thomas O’Brien plays the best with the Paper-Tier lamp, not too surprising since it’s the same designer.   I like this lap for the traditional materials (an aged iron base) but with a more unusual shape to it.  I think this would be beautiful.




Modern floor lamp by holly hunt

Bronze Column


Another light I like for the room is the Bronze Column lamp by Holly Hunt Studio (sadly only to the trade).  I love the proportion of this light – the base and the lamp shade, and the detail on the wires out from the base to support the lampshade.  Not that you have to be matchy-matchy with your lampshades, but I think I would a more linen-color shade would go better with the Paper-Tier lamp.


modern tripod floor light with black shade

Tripod G5


The last option, also in an unusual shape, could be done in linen or in a black shade.  Tip:  with black lampshades you don’t get as much ambient light out from the shade itself, so they’re good to use when you only need the light straight down (if this stood over a reading chair) or don’t need it to provide a lot of ambient light at all but rather want some drama or accent with the light – say in the corner of a bedroom.  Again, a more contemporary light but I like how light it feels with the tripod base, and  I think it would still fit in a house with a transitional style.





I like going a little lighter in the bathroom, I like bathrooms to feel fresh and clean (aren’t those the most important things in a bathroom after all?)

Linen and metal pendant from currey and company



Per some of my other posts about using unusual lights in spaces, I would suggest the Weymouth pendant – one on either side of the mirror.  I think it would look lovely – these are traditional lights, but it’s a modern application – a great blend of traditional and contemporary.  And these lights are 100W each, so I think it would be enough light if you have two of them.  Plus, hanging the lights at face level really does provide the best lighting in the bathroom.





If pendants aren’t the way to go, I like these wall sconces as options.   The Sadler wall sconce by Currey & Co is a graceful wall sconce, which I think would fit easily into this traditional house.  The polished nickel finish is crisp, and its nicely finished off with a white shade in contrast.




Modern polished nickel finish wall sconce



The Hardy Cylinder Sconce by  Thomas O’Brien would be going a little more contemporary.  Still with the crispness of the polished nickel finish for the clean and fresh look, but the frosted glass gives it a little more muted feel.    Given that both of these wall sconces are only 60w each, you would have to augment them with some recessed lighting.  (I prefer the idea of recessed lighting rather than an overhead light fixture in this case because the guest bathroom I’m thinking about isn’t that large, and you wouldn’t want it to feel cramped.



See my Pinterest board for other lights I considered but didn’t include in this post:


IM House

If this was your house… What lights would fit?


Part 1 – The Entry and Living Room


My friends bought this house in the Northeastern US and have been thinking of how to interior design.   I thought it would be fun to play a little with what light options I would recommend for it.  They have a more traditional style, but I couldn’t stay away from pushing the boundaries into the transitional/modern/contemporary to mix in with the traditional.  (“Transitional” being a style that can bridge the gap/find a home between traditional and contemporary).



There is a fair amount of architectural detail in the house already, so I want to keep the light fixtures relatively simple and classic, but capable of holding their own in the house.  I have broken this out into two posts, given all the light ideas I have.  Starting from the outisde in, here we go.


Porch Light

Julie Neill designed iron and glass lantern light fixture

Babs with Glass



I like both of these lights for the porch light, it just depends on the height of the porch ceiling.  The Babs with Glass Pendant light by Julie Neill is a more classic look, but still with a contemporary feel.  I love the simplicity, and the mini-candelabra of lights to welcome you in.




Curvy Wrought Iron Porch Light Fixture semi-flush mount



The Simpatico One Light Semi-Flush Mount is more contemporary, and a little busier in the design of the surround, but simple with its one light.  You could have fun with vintage light bulbs on this one.    I think this porch ceiling on this house is of the lower variety, so for that reason the Simpatico One Light is probably the best option of these two.






Choosing a light for the entry way partly depends on how tall and wide the entry is (see my post on lighting guidelines and tips), as well as the look and feel you want to present upon the first entry to your home.

Curvy iron chandelier

Apple Chandelier



I like the Apple chandelier from Treillage for its decadence without being over the top.   The lines of this light fixture are very sculptural, and I think it would give a warm and inviting, while elegant feel to an entryway.   It is 40” wide, so it needs a tall entryway that is fairly wide as well.



Nickel and paper chandelier

Reed Chandelier



The Reed Chandelier light fixture and the Vendome chandelier are more simple, light fixtures that are graceful and beautiful in their lines but won’t attract the same attention as the Apple light, especially if you have artwork or furniture that demands attention.  Being less tall, they can also fit in an entryway with a shorter ceiling.





graceful entryway light fixture



Both of these would give a graceful, elegant feel to the room, slightly more on the feminine side – which could be balanced with furniture if that was of interest.  However, the Vendome light fixture is 36” wide, so it still requires a wide room.    The entryway of this house has a high ceiling, but is the width of a wide hallway so I think the Reed Chandelier at 26.5” would be a better option.   I also like the curves of the lines of the Reed Chandelier, which would offset the angles in the house.



Elegant iron chandelier for foyer



The other option, for an even simpler yet still sophisticated look would be the beautiful Bryant Chandelier in the small size (26” wide), and I would choose the bronze finish to go with the wood in the house.   I think this would give a more masculine, sophisticated feel to the foyer.






Hallway vignette

Console Table and Floor Lamps


I love this vignette from Camille Styles blog for a house of this style –  an elegant console table flanked by two floor lamps.   I like the twist on not having the traditional table lamp on the table (or a pair), and yet it feels very at home in a traditional design.  There isn’t an opportunity for this vignette in this house given where the staircase is located in the hallway, but I thought it was worth noting.





Living Room – Floor Lamps


This is the light I would choose.  I love this floor lamp, it has graceful lines, wonderful presence, and a beautiful overall shape.  It has a more modern feel to it, but not too much for this house I don’t think, and it would be a great statement piece.  Unfortunately the site I originally found this on is no longer offering it and I didn’t note the manufacturer.  However, I will keep searching and will update the blog if I find it.


Bronze rectangular floor lamp




Second choice, but a happy one, would be the Monolith Floor Lamp.  It can hold its own in a house with a lot of architectural detail, it has a current feel, and yet it’s classic enough to fit into a traditional house.




Articulating adjustable floor lamp fixture



I am including the Perno fixture here for contrast and to show how when mixing more contemporary and traditional, you need to consider the presence of the light.    The Perno is a great lamp, but I think is too simple for this application, and doesn’t fit as well with the other light fixtures I have chosen here.




Black glamour Floor Lamp


Pendant Light in Black Acrylic with glass crystals


One last option, if you’re into a little more drama in your settings, this combination would be a fun one.  You could hang the Biham Pendant in a corner, over a table lamp next to a sofa, or over a round table of dining  height if you were splitting the room into multiple sections.  It would relate well to the Obi Floor lamp, which could go anywhere (but I would be careful to balance them in the room, you wouldn’t want them to dominate just one area and leave the rest out in the cold).



The Living Room  – Table Lamps  (and for the Library and Guest Bedrooms)

There are so many great table lamps out there (check out my table lamp page for more options for your home), it’s hard to choose.  However, here are my top 4 favorites for this house – respecting the transitional style, and some of the other lights I have chosen.

Brass lamp designed by Thomas O'Brien



Reminiscent of the Monolith lamp but with details to differentiate – visible screw heads and plates at the bottom – the Porter Table Lamp would be a great light in the living room or the library.  In the living room where the walls are currently cream this would fit nicely with the décor, and provide a contrast to the darker wood walls in the library.



Espresso Leather Base paper shade modern table light



I have mentioned this Tall Dixon lamp before, and I think it could be great in this house, particularly in the living room (with the cream walls) to add some contrast.  Probably not in the library with the dark wood walls.




Round Mercury Glass Table Lamp



The Possibility table lamp from Currey & Co is also a favorite for either room.  I think the mercury glass base could reflect in the library (though you would really have to try it to see), and it would definitely add a nice touch in the living room with its rounded shape and the patina of the metal base.




Contemporary Table Light



Finally, the Rutherford Table Lamp, also from Currey & Co.  I like the color of the base and the brass plate at the bottom.  It has a nice warm feel and hits the midpoint of contemporary and traditional for a house of this style.  Full disclosure though – the base has sharkskin embedded in clear panels as the base, so you have to be ok with that and the resulting texture.




But what is life without options?   I couldn’t stop there, without also offering up some lights that push the envelope of contemporary/transitional, yet I think would still fit the house.   If they push it a little too much for your main living spaces, these could work well in for guest rooms or an office  – areas you want to have your style flow to, but where you can branch out a little because you and your guests are not always in them.

Contemporary Glass light fixture

White Linen


The White Linen Etched Cylinder glass lamp from Arteriors is definitely pushing well into a contemporary style, but I think the classic shape and the use of glass would make this a spectacular lamp for a guest bedroom with more classic furniture.




Brass sphere table lamp

Brass Wire Sphere


I know I’m really pushing it for my friends by suggesting this light, but I love the play of the Martha Sturdy Brass Wire Sphere Lamp.  In my opinion the colors would fit in well with the house, though admittedly it probably wouldn’t work well in a room with really traditional furniture.



Contemporary dark and nickel table lamp



The Crispin Table Lamp is a crisp feeling lamp, similar to the Paper Tier lamp I will recommend in the next post.    I like the contrast of the silver and the dark color of the base.  Note:  This one really depends on the finishings you have on the other lights you choose, and throughout the house.  I am a big proponent of being able to mix finishes, but it only works if you have a variety, not if, for example, this light was the only silver finish you have.



Ong Abacus Table Lamp designed by Thomas O'Brien

Ong Abacus

Lastly, the Ong Abacus lamp from Thomas O’Brien.  This one I would recommend if you had furnishings and other accents from around the world, and wanted to layer in a little more worldly patina with a lamp as well.   Again, it’s unusual for a traditional house, but in one that was more contemporary/transitional I think it would be a very interesting light.


Shopping for Lampshades

Lampshades are a great, easy way to impact the look of your room.   When I was looking for one to update a table lamp in my living room, I first tied the offline world, and found two shops in the Bay Area.  At one shop, the gentleman there thought that the lack of lampshade stores are because everyone is decorating from Pottery Barn and people don’t care about selecting different lampshades.     But I found that the stores typically have older and less contemporary shades, so I’m not sure which is the chicken, and which is the egg in terms of why people don’t change their lampshades.

The nice thing about a physical store is that you can take your lamp in and actually try the shade on in the store, which is the ideal way to buy one I think.  Which means that if you buy it online, check out the return policy and see if you can send it back if it doesn’t work.  The scale of the shade to the light really makes a difference, and generally the objective is to have the shade come down to the neck of the light.

In the online world, I found that a variety of sites have some selection of shades.   Here is my survey of some of the places I looked at.  If you’ve found a great source, please add a comment to let everyone know where to look.




Simon Pearce – Limited selection, very clean lines, some classic and some more contemporary



Pottery Barn -  Limited selection, nice shades.  Frustratingly don’t tell you what the hardware on them is.  Some are internet only





Horchow – Limited selection but they’re very graphic and distinctive.  Worth checking out.





School House Electric - All glass, vintage style shades, a lot of shades for flush mount ceiling lights





Browns Lampshades –  more traditional selection, but gives a nice overview on the types of shades available (Drum, Empire, Bell, Rectangle, etc)





BlancheField  –  Classic shapes and styles, custom-made, on the more expensive side





Etsy – Lots of creative people out there and I found some fun, updated shades that weren’t too expensive.   If it’s not as economical for the larger stores, it’s a perfect place for the smaller stores.  LampShadeDesigns was one of the nice ones I found.



LampsPlus –   By far the largest selection here, the issue is finding the one you want.  Luckily they do have functionality to narrow what you’re looking for with criteria to narrow it down (some don’t apply, but enough do).  They also have the ability to build custom shades.



Not available (I checked – as of this post – and you won’t find them here)

Room and Board

Restoration Hardware

West Elm – They only sell their lampshades in stores, and it’s hard to find images of the selection online, so they too ended up in this section.

Crate and Barrel – ok, they actually have three types of “Chandelier Shades”  but there are three and they are small to cover the lights on a chandelier, so limited that I had to put them in this section.




Iron Swing Arm Sconce with grey shade

Swing Arm Wall Sconces

Swing arm lights (also sometimes referred to as a type of wall sconce) are a great lighting option – for bedside reading, in place of desk lamps at a desk, in a reading nook, and as a possibility in some of those hard-to-light areas in your home.    Here is a variety of stylish options across the style spectrum.


Iron Swing Arm Sconce with grey shade


Black Simple Iron Swing Light

I think this light would look beautiful in any Master Bedroom or Den where you’re going for a peaceful, warm atmosphere.   The dark grey microsuede lampshade looks so soft and warm, and the shape is simple and classic – and the dimmer switch is built in!  $444 at



Swing Arm wall sconce


Cord Swing Light

A modern swing light, this wall sconce has a beautiful simplicity to it.  I think this would be great as a pair of lights by the bed in a bedroom (just note how far out from the wall they come), or in a reading nook, or in a place where lighting is unique to figure out – say in an open place under a stairwell.  $220 at




Gus Modern Vintage Swing Arm Lamp  VIntage wall sconce with single bulb

Another modern option that has a vintage feel (how’s that for contradiction), similar to the Cord Swing light, but with even more simple lines given that it only has one arm from the wall.  I think it would work similarly in a bedroom, as a reading light in a living room, or under that stairwell.  $575 at All Modern



Silver Nickel Wall Sconce with linen shade


Small Aspect Articulating Sconce


Not all the way to a true swing arm wall light, this sconce is beautiful in its simplicity, and can still be moved to shine more light where you want it.  Would be great in a library or den with a small scale, or in a bedroom where you don’t have a large headboard.    $378 at




Vintage wall sconce


1950s Factory Scissor Sconce

This one is for a retro look, and it immediately comes to mind for the guest bedroom in a white washed classic beachhouse – I think the contrast in colors would be great, and the style would work in that setting.  $199 at Restoration Hardware




Traditional style wall sconce in antique brass


The Hudson Reversible Swing Arm Wall Light

This light is more on the traditional side, both in look and functionality.  I think it’s beautifully proportioned and would add a note of elegance to so many rooms, in particular as reading lights for the bedroom, or in a more traditionally designed home office as a replacement instead of a desk lamp.  $588 at Visual Comfort





Traditional style wall sconce


rc Swing Arm Light

I love the combination of the iron and the lampshade in this image (it’s Terra Micro Suede, there are 6 options to choose from).    The curve of the light is so graceful.  It sits quite close to the wall, so would be good in a place where you want the light fairly close to the wall.   $348 at Ylighting




Black Brass wall sconce

Perno Wall Lamp

This swing arm light has a lot of presence and strength in its design.  I like the detail of the extra metal at the end of the handle where you’ll adjust the light.  It also comes in Satin Nickel in addition to the Black Brass (pictured) for a completely different look.  $500 at Ylighting





Vertial Articulating Wall Sconce


Gilbert Wall Lamp

For a completely different movement, the Gilbert wall sconce folds vertically from extension to folded.  It’s a more modern/slightly industrial look, but could als  $214 at Ylightingo be great with a transitional style.  $214 at Ylighting





Black Powder Coated Metal Wall Sconce


Walker Swing Arm Sconce

For the last in the list today, I love the contrast in this sconce of the powder coated metal and a light shade.  But if prefer less contrast or different colored shades, there are about 30 different options.     I have featured the Walker Table lamp previously, and this sconce takes the same shape, complete with the graceful curve and the extra metal piece over the shade.  $160 at Ylighting