Lighting your home seems simple enough, right? Just pick up a box of bulbs at the dollar store, screw them into the appropriate sockets, and forget about it. But if you’re after a look for your home that’s a bit warmer and more subtle than the average DMV lobby, you’re going to have to put more thought into your bulbs.
A lot has changed since the incandescent lightbulb—still the cheapest and most common type around—was invented in the late 19th century. These days you can choose from halogen bulbs, an extrastrong but dimmable type of incandescent; warm-hued, energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs; and super-energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs.
Exciting, right?! OK, they’re still just lightbulbs. But what if a bulb could actually help you go to sleep—or wake up? How about one that looks like a crystal goblet, or a piece of modern sculpture? If you’re willing to drop a pretty penny, they can be yours. Read on to see six fancy models that might help illuminate your path.
Original Plumen 001
The Original Plumen 001 LED lightbulb is designed to be “a centerpiece, not an afterthought,” in your home (though, hopefully, your decor is not in danger of being figuratively outshined by a lightbulb). The sculptural design is included in the permanent design collections of the Museum of Modern Art and other prominent museums.
Price: $34.95 each
Buster Bulb by Buster + Punch
The somewhat ominously named Buster Bulb is an amber-colored LED pipe inside an elegant smoked-glass bulb, which manufacturer Buster + Punch says creates “subtle ambient light” while also illuminating a selected spot in your home you wish to highlight.
Price: about $60 each
Crystal Bulb by Lee Broom
The Crystal Bulb is an energy-efficient LED bulb set in a delicate, hand-cut lead-crystal pattern (available in either a clear or frosted finish) that maker Lee Broom says was inspired by the patterns found on old whiskey glasses and decanters. Which is fitting, since you’ll need a stiff drink after you see how much these cost.
Price: $180 each
Only 1 Biei Molten Lava Light
The Biei Molten Lava bulbs from Only 1 and designer Toshiyuki Yasuda are unique LED creations that look as though they’ve melted into a surprisingly graceful mass of glass—creating a surreal “dreamy sense of reality” as the light is gently diffused by the air bubbles and imperfections in the glass.
Price: about $300 each
Sleepy Baby Biological LED Lamp
As any parent knows, the average baby sleeps roughly 15 to 20 minutes a year—which is somewhat less than the 7.5 hours of sleep doctors say the average adult needs each night to help avoid an eventual mental and physical collapse. The Sleepy Baby Biological LED Lamp from Lighting Science is designed to help fix that by emitting just the right amount of light to fool your infant’s biological clock into thinking it’s dark and time to sleep—but still providing enough usable light that you can change diapers, fold laundry, prepare food, or just stare numbly into the middle distance, all without messing up your own internal clock.
GE Align AM LED Bulb
If, on the other hand, you’re a person who has a hard time getting going in the morning, the GE Align Bulb may help. It may not look exciting, but the LED bulb is engineered to provide a bluish-white light in the morning that GE says suppresses the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that causes drowsiness. Using this bulb (in place of other lighting) for 30 minutes each morning can help your body maintain a natural sleep-wake cycle, GE claims.
Or you could also try going to bed earlier.