It cannot be denied that the humble light bulb is one of the modern conveniences that has changed the way we live. At the simple flick of a switch we can have instant, trouble-free illumination. I’m sure there are few among us who would care to return to using smelly, dirty animal fat candles, oil lamps or gas lighting. It has been the practice for many years to cover naked light bulbs with shades and in fact many people really did not like seeing the bulbs at all. Exposed light bulbs were only seen in industrial factories and warehouses and certainly not in home interiors. All this has now changed as we are seeing exposed light bulb fittings being used not only for hospitality lighting but for lighting in the home too.
Bare bulb lighting puts the humble light bulb very much centre stage and it is looking like this trend is going to be with us for some while. So, is this style for you? Should you bare all or stay covered up? There are a surprising number of ways to incorporate the bare bulb look into your home without it looking like you have just moved in. Lighting designers are certainly getting creative by using a whole host of materials – wood, metal and even concrete which they are combining with old-fashioned Edison filament bulbs along with colourful and vintage cord cables. These fittings have a straightforward simplicity with their stripped-back utilitarian look. They are a great way to add some unique flair and will easily blend with modern, urban chic, rustic, vintage and farmhouse settings to name but a few.
Three very different exposed bulb light fittings that show just how refreshing it can be to go naked. The aptly named ‘Lean On Me’ book end table light, shown on the right above, incorporates a delightful mix of form and function. It literally turns the concept of traditional table lamps upside down! The curved metal stand reflects the light from the upturned bare light bulb. Designed to fit snugly on a shelf to support your favourite books. The circular Theatre Row wall light, shown in the centre, is from our Broadway American Collection and is the epitome of Uptown New York elegance. It certainly pays homage to American born Thomas Edison with the use of an exposed vintage light bulb. Great for those who appreciate innovative, cutting edge designs that are comfortably liveable. The Rad pendant shown on the right is a bare bulb ceiling pendant with a quirky touch of industrial humour. Again designed to showcase the beauty of vintage light bulbs. Great statement lighting for industrial themed coffee shops, bars and restaurants.
This style of lighting is all about the bulbs and in recent times light bulbs have taken on a whole raft of interesting shapes
and styles that are just crying out to be exposed rather than being hidden behind lamp shades. Instead of simply choosing a standard pear shaped bulb consider a more sculptured bulb that is designed to be shown off. Old-fashioned Edison filament bulbs will
transform a space with antique warmth and vintage old-world charm. Technically Edison bulbs are not any different from standard bulbs and the only real difference is that the filament is stretched
out into various shapes and designs to create a visual sensation. In order to avoid glare it is important to consider the colour and brightness of any exposed bulbs and you may wish to opt for a bulb that casts a softer yellow glow or one made from frosted glass as these will give a softer ambient lighting effect.
A trio of LED bulbs, available from Bespoke Lights, that combine good looks with low energy consumption. They are perfect for decorative lighting effects with their timeless vintage elegance. The gold tinted bulb on the right has a rustic charm that is perfect for more traditional light fittings. The two larger LED decor bulbs are long lasting Calex bulbs with a beautiful pearl finish – they are not the cheapest bulbs around but a growing number of customers are realising the great decorative lighting effects that can be created with these beautiful eye catching filament bulbs. These bulbs that are definitely designed to be displayed!
Bare bulb pendants, with their clean stylish looks, are a popular choice for lighting in kitchens. Kitchens need good bright lighting which naked bulbs can provide. Use single pendants over small tables and breakfast bars or opt for a row or cluster of pendants over larger tables and kitchen islands. They can be hung at staggered heights to inject some personality and flair.
Clusters of exposed bulb pendants are a great way to fill any awkward spaces – not only will they create an eye-catching visual display but they also make the space seem more cohesive. Don’t be afraid to add a little personality to your exposed light fittings. If, for instance, your pendant hangs a little too low simply tie a large knot in the cable – this can look really effective and works well if your pendant has thick old-fashioned braided or rope cable. Alternatively, you could wrap the cable around overhead beams or hook the pendant up onto the ceiling using a small discrete ceiling hook – these little tricks work well if your pendant does not hang exactly where you want it to.
Two examples of cluster pendant lights. The Tower ceiling pendant is shown above a kitchen island and has 6 black open frame box shades with copper lamp holders hanging on black cables. Although modern in design it takes its inspiration from the robust old fashioned industrial light fittings of former times. The Praia 6 light cluster fitting has a central bronze ceiling rose with 5 separate ceiling hooks that allow you to position each light individually in any design you choose – -particularly effective if you have an off-centre ceiling rose as the lights can be hooked up and hung where you want. The exposed bulbs are surrounded by bronze cage shades which open like a flower at the bottom to allow you to alter the shape.
One of the reasons exposed bulbs have become so popular is our current love of all things industrial. If you are concerned that this no-frills look is just a little too bare and you are not happy going totally naked you could consider opting for an open metal frame pendant, a clear glass pendant or chandelier that would still allow the beauty of the bulbs to shine through. Our final two selections from the Broadway American Collection show just how versatile bare bulb light fittings can be.
The Carnegie chandelier has certainly been given an updated 21st century New York look. It features straight bronze rods radiating from the central frame which, combined with the use of exposed bulbs, creates an explosion of light rather like a singer bursting onto the world famous Carnegie Hall stage. Unusually, this chandelier can be fitted onto angled ceilings – the specially designed ceiling rose fits onto the sloping ceiling and allows the light to hang straight down. Shown here in a traditional room setting using vintage bulbs which complete the look perfectly.
The Trilogy range features a collection of charming nostalgic ceiling lights and a matching wall light that combines old world charm with modern elegance. They sit happily in both modern and traditional settings. Our image shown the 3 light fitting hanging over the dining area of this lovely kitchen, whilst two single pendants have been hung over the workstation.