This weekend we will turn our clocks back one hour to Standard Time. While I’m looking forward to the extra hour of sleep on Sunday, I’m not eager for the dark mornings and early evenings that winter brings. Now is the time to stock up on candles and clean the chimney if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace. But sometimes these options aren’t practical and that is when good lighting comes into play.
(Photo: West Elm)
Last year I finally replaced the cheap light fixtures in my condo with pot lights which, when they are all on at full strength, light the place up like a modern art gallery. But sometimes you just need individual lights to brighten a workspace, to illuminate that great book you can’t put down, or to create a romantic mood.
I have been to lots of lighting stores and they all seem to offer the same generic pieces. I’m looking for something more unique and thankfully the Internet provides several options, including many excellent DIY projects.
Droog Design’s Milk Bottle lamp uses 12 recycled bottles to provide a warm, inviting light that I think would be a perfect over a kitchen table. Remodelaholic provides a tutorial on how to do something similar with wine bottles; to get the sandblasted effect all you would have to do is spray the outside of the bottle with a frosted glass spray, which is available in craft stores.
The so-called Edison light bulb has been making a comeback, which is not surprising given the almost sculptural line of amber light they emit. But while they look super cool, they aren’t exactly environmentally friendly.
That’s why I prefer the Plumen alternative, which maintains the sculptural quality of the Edison while using 80% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb (each bulb has an 8-year lifetime!). Usually I hate the glaring white light that CFL bulbs emit but the Plumen provides a softer glow. They can be used with lampshades but why would you want to hide the six funky designs?
I would love something romantic for my bedroom and I have seen dozens of ruffled, bulbous pendant lights that would provide the ethereal glow that I am looking for. However, Zipper 8 Lighting’s version wins my vote for being made from recycled plastic bags while still looking soft and fluffy.
(Photo: Zipper 8 Lighting)
Allison Patrick, the designer for Zipper 8, is generous enough to provide instructions for this and many of her other creative lamp designs on her outstanding blog The 3 R’s. The great thing about this project is how easy it would be to customize it by using different coloured plastic bags. I love the bits of text that show up here and there on the example above but you could also use plain bags if you wanted to focus on the textural aspect of this lamp. If you want to see Allison in action, she also has an excellent video on how to make her whimsical Cocktail Umbrella Lanterns on Etsy.
I have considered buying a couple Grönö lamps from IKEA for my sideboard since they are simple, cast a good light, and are ridiculously cheap. However, I have held back because they are little boring. Thanks to Claire Chauvin of Poopscape Projects, I now know how to modify it them to make the perfect statement piece in my dining room. With the simple addition of film negatives she creates a lamp that is both stylish and personal. Thankfully my husband used to be a photographer, so I will be raiding his stash to make this one.
(Photo: Poopscape Projects)
The days may be getting darker but my future is bright thanks to the stunning lamps I will be adding to my space this fall. What about you? Do any of these projects turn you on?