Flirting with Filament

Made to look like Thomas Edison’s original light bulb, the Edison bulb of today comes in many styles. Local design professionals shed some light on what they think of them.

By Moe Godat 



The Edison bulb has become a staple for an elegant look to warm up any room with its warm glow. It emulates the warmth of a candle and can be very flattering, making a warm and cozy look, no matter what your style, be it Victorian, Farmhouse or turn of the century 1900s. Incandescent  Edison filament uses 5 -10 times more power than any bulb on the market. We now have LED Edison bulbs that are far more efficient than the incandescent filaments. They offer a warm color as the incandescent, coming in at 2000K. The standard Edison will last 3000 hours compared to 15,000 LED. The shape is also more appealing than our standard incandescent bulb. Elizabeth Darrish, Amini’s.

Thomas Edison’s contribution to the electrical and lighting industry cannot ever be diminished or overlooked, it changed the way humanity lives. So, I say yes, the Edison Vintage Lamp deserves to be a part of every advancement in design and style! Mike Craft, Metro Lighting.

The Edison bulb is a classic because it can work in many different designs, whether it’s a modern eclectic look, a rustic farmhouse vibe or a streamlined transitional design. Our customers who want a return to authenticity are drawn to the nostalgic look of the bulb. Many of our customers enjoy the look of the Edison bulb cluster together in a foyer or over a dining table. The only location to not use the Edison bulb is the main bathroom in that amber light is not ideal for applying makeup or shaving. Lars Johansen, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.

I feel this look is timeless. With the number of outdoor kitchens, living areas and wineries being so popular, we believe this look will be around for a long time and is a classic. Michael Horwedel, Mary Tuttle’s.


Craze. We are always looking back at history for inspiration, seeking a different take on the mundane. And let’s face it: light bulbs are not at the top of your decorating list, but they are an element in the design of every room. Adding an Edison bulb to the clear glass hanging pendants over your island instantly changes the look. They are fun and of the moment, but the public will grow tired of looking at the mechanics and eventually switch back to frosted bulbs to create a softer illumination for their rooms. CJ Knapp, Yours By Design.

The Edison light bulb is a craze that is on its way out along with the "farmhouse" and "industrial" design fads that you normally see them in. I have never used these lamps simply because they are incredibly inefficient, producing far less light output (lumens) per watt than other standard lamps. I also think they look "busy" and detract from the light fixture itself. I tend to select lamps that distribute light evenly and are easy on the eyes if exposed. Kerry Russell, Youtopia Designs.

Edison lighting is totally trendy.  The biggest draw in using the exposed Edison bulb is the squiggly filament, which emits an amber or orange-ish glow for a vintage look.  The exposed Edison bulb has been a popular choice in restaurants that want an old-time, almost candle-like atmosphere.  The light emitted from an Edison bulb provides a very unique ambient glow but is not an ideal choice for task lighting.  If using Edison bulbs in a residential space, other layers of light are needed. Again, Edison lighting is a trendy lighting choice that works well in certain applications but is not a classic design element. Barbara Collins, Barbara Collins Interior Design.


Both! Many light fixtures have been designed specifically for the use of exposed Edison bulbs, so though it may have been a craze for the past few years, we think people will continue to use Edison style lighting in the future. Mary Price, Brody’s.