You've probably heard by now that the much-hyped light bulb phase-out begins this fall in the United States, which means it's high time to switch out any old energy-guzzling incandescent light bulbs you have for more energy-efficient options. Not sure which energy efficient light bulbs are best for you and your sophisticated design sensibility? Don't reach for that CFL bulb just yet! Light-emitting diode (LED) technology has advanced considerably over the past few years in terms of efficiency, durability, and appearance, which means today’s LED light bulbs are hands-down the best choice for design-savvy consumers who want to save money on their energy bill without sacrificing light quality or aesthetics. And because LED bulbs last up to 22 years, not only do you not have to worry about changing the bulb constantly and fiddling with your lamps – you’ll also save additional money from not having to buy new bulbs every year.
Wondering what types of lamps work best with the new generation of LED light bulbs? We’ve rounded up 24 of our favorite green, designer lamps that go well with low energy LED bulbs. From dramatic ceiling lamps and chandeliers, to floor lamps, task lamps and table lamps, read on for our top green lighting fixtures.
From simple fitted ceiling fixtures to elaborate chandeliers, ceiling lamps offer a great way to efficiently illuminate an entire room while adding drama and visual flare. They also offer a great way to light up smaller rooms where floor space is in short supply. Depending on the size of your room, we recommend fitting most ceiling lamps with 12.5 watt AmbientLED Bulb (that’s equivalent to a traditional 60W incandescent) or, if you need a lot of illumination, try a brighter 1100 lumen 17 watt AmbientLED bulb (equivalent to a 75W incandescent).
Constructed with hundreds of recycled soda can tabs, this textured drum shade is dynamic in both its design and visual impact. During the day the cool metal shimmers, reflecting the light of the sun. In the evening, when it’s illuminated, the lamp emanates a warm, playful light. The fixture can be used as a hanging pendant or as a shade for a standing lamp – the metal frame fits either setup and measures 14.5 inches in diameter and 9 inches in height. The shade is carefully constructed by hand by designer Allison Patrick of Zipper8 Lighting, and it’s designed to fit a traditional 60W incandescent bulb – swap that out with an equally bright 12.5W AmbientLED bulb to save money on your energy bill.
This quirky hanging light made from a recycled glass milk bottle was designed by Dutch design icon Tejo Remy. The sandblasted glass bottle comes complete with a light inside and it’s finished off with a stainless steel cap. The fixture hangs from a 10-foot black cord, takes any A-shaped bulb (such as a low-energy 8W AmbientLED light bulb), and would look great in your living room, kitchen, or even a nursery.
Seattle design studio Graypants Inc fashions these gorgeous pendant lamps made entirely out of recycled cardboard boxes. The idea for the lamp came to Graypant’s designers Seth and Jonathan when they were refining the their line of cardboard Scrap Chairs. They loved the variety of light and the shape of the shadows created by the corrugated material, so much they harnessed the effect with a beautiful new lighting fixture. Twist in a low-energy, low-heat 12.5 W Philips LED bulb and these lamps will glow beautifully in any space. LED lightbulbs are, in fact, the perfect bulb choice for paper lamps, since they emit less heat than incandescents or CFLs, making them the safest light bulb option in terms of fire safety.
If you’re looking for the perfect statement piece for your home, this paper origami pendant light from Zipper8Lighting should definitely be on your list. The geometric paper construction comprises hundreds of mini folded fortune tellers – better known as “cootie-catches”. The round shade measures approximately 18 inches (45cm) across and includes an 11-foot light-bulb cord that accepts any a-shape bulb – we’d recommend trying a Philips AmbientLED 12.5 watt for a warm, bright glow with no heat (heat + paper = not a good combination).
Imagine hanging this gorgeous wine glass chandelier from your dining room ceiling. Designed by Bjorn Stillefors, Jorgen Pudeck, and Gunnar Cedervall, the chandelier provides a sturdy structure for you to hang either 16 or 40 wine and champagne glasses upside down. By selecting which glasses you’d like to hang, you not only get to design your own fixture but your lighting effect, as well, as the glasses refract light and sparkle just like a crystal chandelier. We think a dimmable 40 watt equivalent LED bulb would help lend a cozy atmosphere to romantic nights spent dining in. Cheers to that.
It’s hard to believe that this intricate spherical lamp comes flat-packed in a box just over an inch thick, but New Zealand eco designer David Trubridge proves that great things can indeed come in small packages. His stunning Coral Painted Pendant is made from bamboo plywood: the interior features a range of vibrant colors while the outside remains in its natural state. This fabulous lamp can be easily assembled with little effort and would work spectacularly with an 8-watt (40-watt equivalent) LED bulb for just the right amount of illumination.
Eco-conscious coffee drinkers will dig this stunning chandelier that repurposes thousands of plastic coffee stirrers to create one spectacular lighting fixture. Designed by Studio Veríssimo, the ultra-luxe chandelier can be fitted with a 60 watt incandescent equivalent LED bulb that will cast beautiful shadows as light passes and refracts through its crystalline shapes.
The Grand Trianon is a modern beehive-like pendant made of post-consumer coated Tyvek. When illuminated, the Grand Trianon emits a soft checkered glow from behind its woven surface, creating a dazzling effect on surrounding walls. Lightweight and simple by design, this lamp will meld perfectly with any decor – install an 8 watt LED bulb for ambient lighting or a 12.5 watt LED bulb to more fully illuminate a room.
Floor lamps offer a great way to light larger rooms, especially when you don’t have built-in ceiling electrical, and they’re more flexible than ceiling lamps since they can be easily moved wherever they’re needed most. For high illumination we recommend fitting floor lamps with 12.5W AmbientLED bulbs (that’s equivalent to a traditional 60W incandescent) or even a 17W AmbientLED bulbs (equivalent to 75W incandescents) for maximum brightness.
The Lights Up! Meridian Floor Lamp is an elegant design that stands straight up and illuminates any room with an omnidirectional pillar of light. Designed by Rachel Simon, the lamp is customizable with 100% recycled PED fabrics, which means you can dress it up in colors and patterns if the standard white linen model is too stark for your style. The Meridian Floor lamp is a great match for any A-shape LED bulb – for high illumination we recommend a Philips 17W AmbientLED light bulb.
The 72-inch-high Possini Light Blaster Torchiere is a great option for lighting large spaces that require a lot of lumens. The chrome and brushed steel floor lamp features four sockets that accept standard A-shaped bulbs – deck it out with 4 17W Philips AmbientLED bulbs for maximum brightness, and use the integrated high-low switch to fine tune light output for any situation.
Forget what you’ve heard about opening an umbrella indoors – the Pablo Umbrella Light is clearly a bright idea. This fun surrealist lamp is fully adjustable and when paired with a 60 watt equivalent LED bulb (like the Philips A19 AmbientLED) it produces a warm swath of light – even when it’s dark and drizzly outside.
A modern twist on a classic form, the Mooi’s Paper Floor Lamp updates traditional Victorian decor with its paper construction and larger-than-life size. Designers Studio Job combined a wooden base with a beautiful layered paper finish. Pair this clever paper lamp with an a-shaped 60 watt incandescent equivalent AmbientLED bulb to provide both ambient and direct illumination.
Table lamps cast omnidirectional light and often feature beautiful forms that work well for accent lighting. Since these lamps are smaller and are often used as secondary sources of light, we recommend fitting them with an 8 watt LED bulb (40-watt incandescent equivalent) or a 12.5 watt LED bulb (60-watt incandescent equivalent).
Never lose your page again with this clever Book Rest Lamp. The lamp’s frosted-glass construction gives off a soft, diffuse light, providing the ideal amount illumination for reading. Just place your favorite book on top of the point when you need a break – and hey, you’ve also created a cute house! Use a low-energy 8 watt LED bulb (instead of a 40 watt incandescent) to keep the pages of your latest read from getting too hot!
It doesn’t get any cuter than Craighton Berman‘s Coil Lamp, which consists of a light bulb, an extension cord, and little else! The form of this quirky table lamp is created by wrapping its electrical cord around a laser-cut clear acrylic form – how’s that for a brilliant, simple idea? You can purchase this lamp as a DIY kit and customize it yourself with a 12.5 watt Philips A19 LED bulb and a colorful cord of your choice.
Reminiscent of old-fashioned accordion party ornaments, Kouichi Okamoto’s Honeycomb Paper Lamp is a sophisticated design made of Denguri paper, a local product from the Shikoku region of Japan. The lamp’s delicate yet durable honeycomb construction diffuses light, and it is available in both red and white. We recommend using this lamp with a 12.5 watt LED bulb, which will provide just the right amount of reading light.
With the flip of a switch, this gorgeous Paper Table Lamp by Fiyel Levent will transform your drab living room into an ultra-luxe palace with some Byzantine flair. Lasercut from white watercolor paper, this stunning lamp measures 6 1/2 x 28 inches and can be fitted with any low-wattage a-shaped light bulb – we recommend an 8-Watt AmbientLED bulb.
An Inhabitat favorite and the winner of our 2010 Spring Greening Contest, British designer Sarah Turner has made an art out of recycling used plastic bottles into dazzling, low-energy lamps. Considered to be her signature piece, the ‘Cola 10‘ is handmade from 10 reused Coca Cola bottles – and it lights up brilliantly when illuminated with a 60 watt incandescent equivalent LED bulb. The bottles have been cleaned, sandblasted, hand-cut, then sculpted into new forms that are completely unrecognizable from their state.
Gilles Eichenbaum sees the beautiful in the beaten, turning old kitchenware into incredible lighting fixtures. His Andropause lamp transforms a dated and disused metal pot into an eye-catching perforated lamp. Paired with an 8-Watt (40W incandescent equivalent) LED bulb, this gorgeous lamp glows even greener!
Task lamps are built for getting down to business – they offer a concentrated beam of light that is perfect for focusing on a small area (like a desk or a table) when you are reading or working. Since task lamps tend to be small and their beam focused by the form of the shade, we recommend fitting these lamps with an 8 watt (40-watt incandescent equivalent) bulb or a 12.5-watt (60-watt incandescent equivalent) bulb.
Victor Vetterlein’s ‘Trash Me’ lamp is a great way to remind yourself to cut back on your daily waste. Each lamp is constructed from four paper egg cartons that have been blended with water, poured into a mold, and smoothed by had to form a section. With an 8 watt Philips AmbientLED bulb, this clever lamp will last you for decades. Bonus: At the end of its useful life, the Trash Me lamp can be tossed into the recycling bin.
Clean, modern, and classic, the shiny Type 75 Task Lamp offers a focused beam of light that is perfect for working on small projects or reading your latest novel. Designed by Kenneth Grange, the lamp features aluminum arms, metal joints, and a weighted table base for extra stability. It accepts any A-shaped bulb, but we recommend using a 12.5 watt LED bulb for serious brightness. A wide range of movements makes this lamp perfect for reading in your armchair or working in your office or studio.
TAF Architect‘s Wood Lamp provides a nice contrast to sleek, metal, same-ole, same-ole task lamps. This rustic lamp offers a sense of simplicity through its honest use of materials – it’s made from, pine wood, visible screws and bolts, and a green cord for a splash of color. The Wood Lamp stands tall at 19.5 inches, accepts an 8 watt LED bulb, and is fully adjustable to meet your task-lighting needs.
Wall sconces are perfect for adding discrete accent lighting in larger rooms or for illuminating smaller space-challenged areas such as hallways or stairwells. We recommend fitting most wall scones with a low wattage 8W LED bulb (equivalent to a 40W Incandescent bulb) or a 12.5W LED bulb (equivalent to a 60W Incandescent bulb), depending on how much light you need.
This chic wall sconce from Regina Andrew takes a silver finished lamp arm and juxtaposes it against the weathered look of a reclaimed-wood wall mount. Perfect for rooms without a lot of space but in need of ambient light, this beautiful lamp will bring a natural element into your home while brightening it up with an 8 watt LED bulb.
Appealing to those who love a classic look, the Arc Wall Sconce by Regina Andrew features a beautiful silver finish and an eye-catching curve. The sconce works well with with a 12.5 watt LED light bulb for overhead lighting, or with an 8 watt LED light bulb for subtle accent lighting.
Marivi Calvo‘s SEMIGEA is a versatile wall light that takes the shape of a half-moon. The shade is handmade exclusively from a natural wood veneer that has been treated throughout each step of the production process, giving it its unique, striated finish. Pair the SEMIGEA sconce with a low-energy 8 watt LED bulb and it will glow with a lovely ambient light.