Lampshades are becoming increasingly optional in today’s industrial, post-apocalyptic chic aesthetic. From throwback Edison to chrome-tipped, certain bulbs can easily stand on their own when hung from a simple cord set or displayed in a transparent shade. Here are some of our favorites as inspiration.
Nostalgic filament bulbs may be overplayed, but they still look really pretty lit up in a clear glass shade. This Squirrel Cage bulb from Rejuvenation is $16.
30W Squirrel-cage Tungsten Filament Bulb, $16
The sandblasted pattern on this Confetti bulb casts fun shadows on the wall when lit. Equally stunning when unlit, all you’d need to do is string it from a simple cord set (a good thing, as they aren’t cheap!) Finnish Design Shop €34.
Light Shadows bulb, Confetti
Chrome-tipped bulbs reflect light backward to avoid glare. This makes them popular as vanity lighting, but they also look classy exposed from a sconce in a hallway or in an open pendant in the kitchen. $5 from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
Silver Tip Bulb, $5
If you want to be energy conscious but hate how normal CFL bulbs look, then the Plumen is for you. Its cleverly twisted tubes look graceful peaking through just about any fixture, and they use 80% less energy than normal incandescents. $30 from the MoMA Store.
Plumen 001 Bulb, $30
I’ve always been fascinated by bulbs that can flicker like a candle! The ultimate in mood lighting. $15 from Rejuvenation.
Carbon-filament Flicker Bulb, $15
I’m all for dim mood lighting, but sometimes you need a bright watt or two in a particular spot. Get light right where you want it with one of these adjustable light fixtures.
Many sconces blend right into the wallpaper, but not this bright red number from IKEA. Thanks to its ultra-thin LED lamp head, it can fold right up next to the wall when not in use. $49.99.
IKEA PS 2012 LED Wall Lamp, $49.99
Pull a 180 with this hardwired brass sconce from Anthropologie. It swivels up, down and all around. $198.
Moving Light Sconce, $198
These versatile little work lamp look like something you’d swipe from your dad’s workbench. Swing one over a rafter or string a few on a table. $99.99 and up.
Work Lamp, $99
This bendy gold clamp lamp would look sharp on a white desk or headboard. I also see it clamped to a kitchen cupboard wherever extra light is needed while cooking. $59.
Modern Clip Lamp, $59
CB2’s wood and steel Bruno task lamp angles high and low on a solid cast iron base. Its clean lines will encourage you to keep your workspace tidy. $79.95.
bruno task lamp, $79.95
Restoration Hardware’s 1950’s scissor sconce extends to an impressive 40” long and pivots right and left. I picture it in an industrial-chic dining room or Steampunk living room. $199.
1950s Factory Scissor Sconce, $199
I recently met up with a good friend visiting from San Francisco. We covered all the usual topics—work, travel, mutual friends—and then she mentioned that she finally got around to buying a new kitchen table. It was the Verona from World Market, and she was a big fan. World Market what? There aren’t any retail locations in New York, and I only knew them through online ad imagery that, quite honestly, conjured bad Pier I Import flashbacks.
I trust this friend’s judgment, as well as her low tackiness threshold, so I decided to conduct some online investigation of my own. From what I can tell, they offer some pretty stylish pieces, and at absurdly low prices. So low, in fact, that I can’t imagine being heartbroken were I to order something and what arrived turned out to be only so-so. Here are some pieces that caught my eye.
The Jackson Dining table, with metal legs and a solid wood top, is quite a steal at $329.99.
Jackson Rectangular Table with Metal Base
I imagine this Lime Penelope Spindle Stool looking quite at home in a bathroom, where it could function as a perching spot for towels, candles or books. $89.
Lime Penelope Spindle Stool
Frame your flat screen and hardbacks with this crafty Easel Media Stand. $179.99.
Easel Media Stand
With shapely turned legs and soft upholstery, the Ravenna Chair has the makings of a beloved bedroom or entryway chair. On sale for just $139.98.
Goldenrod Ravenna Chair
The nailhead detailing and muted upholstery on the Hara Screen would add polish to any space in need of some dividing. $199.
Hara Upholstered Screen
This Distressed Gray Metal Pendant is perfect above a kitchen table or island. $89.99.
Distressed Grey Metal Pendant
Made in Kenya, the Black + White Soapstone Platter would make a great catchall for keys and mail. $19.99.
Black and White Soapstone Dot Platter
I want this White Canvas Horse. I have no idea what for, but I do. $29.99.
White Canvas Horse Decor
The best way to upgrade a bathroom fast is by replacing the standard medicine cabinet. Often overlooked, the medicine cabinet is the first thing bathroom-goers see when they enter the W.C., and admiring their reflection is the last thing they do before leaving. Here are some options to get started.
The Broan Metro’s oversized build is perfect for product junkies. Or, recreate Damien Hirst’s pill cabinet art piece, pill bottles not included.
Broan Oversized Series Classic, $225
Add glam and perfect bathroom lighting in a cinch with this mirrored medicine cabinet, which comes equipped with its own light bulbs.
Nutone Tri-View Frameless Medicine Cabinet with 5 Lights, $220
Or, try the Broan with a built in top light for a more masculine effect.
Broan Surface Mounted Cabinets w/ Built-In Top Light, $137
This beveled model is a perfect addition for a retro bathroom.
Nutone Single Door Recessed Medicine Cabinet, $123
The Commodore is a classic storage cabinet for those bored of the normal medicine cabinet look. Or, mount on a side wall for extra storage.
Nutone Commodore, Storage Cabinet, $114
For a mid-century bathroom, the Kingston Solid Wood Medicine Cabinet is an excellent finishing touch.
Kingston Solid Wood Medicine Cabinet in Oak, $121
You don’t have to be OCD to love the organizational high of labeling everything in sight. And there’s something still so charming about the label makers manufactured back in the 70’s and 80’s, before digital budged its way in. Such old-school labellers are so textural, so boldly colored, so painfully retro. Score one of your own on Ebay (Exhibit A) and start labeling all kind of things besides just cupboards, files, etc.
Wine Glass Markers: Even those wine glass bangles start to look alike after a few. Labeling party guests’ glasses with their own name leaves little guessing work.
Tiny Door Labels: Dress the doors in your home with colorful—albeit elfin-sized—labels. This helps guests differentiate between a bathroom door and a closet door without helping them too much.
Last-Minute Greeting Cards: Label makers are especially great for whipping up a birthday or get-well card in a jiffy. Simply type out the subject (i.e. “Sorry you broke your leg, you big klutz!”), stick it on the front of a blank card, scribble a heartfelt line or two within and voila.
Book Labels: Never let book borrowers doubt for one second who that book belongs to by plastering your labeled name inside each cover. Pseudonyms are fun too.