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: www.earth911.org)
  • 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
how to pick a light bulb

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 15,000 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.

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.  

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 Amazon.com - 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 marthastewart.com.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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).


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.


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.





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!

10 Great Table Lamps

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.


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.


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.


4.   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. (no longer available)


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 room in addition to its rounded shape.


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). (no longer available.)


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. (no longer available)


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. (no longer available)


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.


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. (no longer availalbe)