One new innovation in home lighting that combines contemporary tech with old-fashioned aesthetics is the vintage LED light. While the modern look works great for many different interior designs, more and more people want to create an old-school aesthetic look.
Below is a complete guide to understanding and implementing vintage style lighting to improve atmosphere and aesthetics. Here’s everything you need to know about this throwback style of lighting, including pros, cons, and how to incorporate them into your home or place of business.
Farmhouse style bathroom featuring Edison & Victorian style lighting
Vintage bulbs began as an item of nostalgia for individuals who couldn’t quite leave those old incandescent bulbs behind, but many companies decided to capitalize on this trend by developing unique LED vintage lighting.
With the amount of vintage LED options available today, there’s no limit to what homeowners can do with these fixtures. This guide will cover how to shop for these vintage bulbs and use them in the home to upgrade the home or space with a look that’s uniquely yours.
When It Comes to Vintage LED, It’s All About Aesthetics (Interior Design Guide)
Lightbulbs today are built to last. Even a bulb that only costs around five dollars can last for many years, which means that homeowners don’t need to worry about changing out their bulbs as frequently as they used to.
The incorporation of vintage lighting gives incentive for people to purchase new lightbulbs, if only for aesthetic reasons. However, you won’t generally find vintage bulbs to be any better regarding functionality than standard LED lights.
If you’re considering integrating vintage LED lighting in your interior design, it’s all about the look you want. These bulbs are particularly popular at restaurants and bars that want to create a more old-school look where the bulb is visible.
You won’t have any trouble finding top-quality vintage-style bulbs in many sizes, shapes, and designs, from elongated bulbs to larger, round bulbs. You can even find vintage bulbs as big as a basketball. There’s no shortage of choices if you want to get into this trend.
How Vintage Designs Impact the Look of the Home
A majority of vintage LED lights feature a unique look that entails stringing the diodes together to create fake filaments within the bulb. The arrangement of the filaments can greatly affect the room’s overall look when switched on.
For example, if you want to give the room a more industrial aesthetic, you can use vintage bulbs that feature organized columns of filaments. Filaments can also twist into a double helix in a Feit bulb or another pattern for a more artistic look. One added benefit of a Feit bulb is their ability to evenly disperse light without shadows, which is due to the fact that the design ensures that each diode shines directly outward.
Dimming is Trickey
Dimming is a concern that some might have, particularly since the bulb is exposed so any flickering will be more noticeable. Many options available are dimmable, but keep in mind that many LED lights, vintage and standard, may be susceptible to flickering when dimming, which results from electromagnetic interference from the dimmer switch. While this may be an issue with many vintage LED bulbs, you will be able to find certain models that won’t flicker when using a dimmer.
Dimming performance will also depend on the type of switch used and several other factors, so it may not be the bulb that’s at fault.
Vintage LED Bulb Brightness
Another element to keep in mind is brightness. The fact is that many vintage-style LED bulbs aren’t as bright as manufacturers claim them to be. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise because these bulbs are designed to be exposed without a lampshade or other buffer that might otherwise dim the lighting to a degree.
Despite these bulbs’ dimmer lighting, packaging may advertise “60W replacement” or something similar that could mislead you into thinking that the bulb is as bright as a traditional 60-watt bulb. In reality, many of these bulbs won’t even approach that brightness.
Instead, take lumen count into consideration when purchasing a vintage LED bulb, as this will truly indicate the bulb’s overall brightness. If lumen count isn’t visible on the front of the bulb’s packaging, you can flip the package over and review the label that details “Lighting Facts.” Consider that 450 lumens won’t be brighter than an accent light, so if you want vintage lighting to provide more visibility as task lighting, you should look for a bulb of at least 800 lumens, which will actually be the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb.
Depending on the type of light you want, you can find LED bulbs with as much as 1,500 lumens, which are some of the brightest available in retail stores.
Take Color Quality Into Account
Most vintage LED bulbs will feature a low or warm color temperature to help maintain that old-school look, which means these bulbs will appear more orange or yellow in color. Other bulbs may achieve this look with tinted glass, which can amplify the orange or yellow hue.
TCP Edison bulbs are known for producing a warm and nostalgic environment.
If you want to create a more natural look, you’re better off purchasing bulbs without a tint. You can create many appealing designs with a clear bulb.
The Ability to Automate Vintage LED
If you want to use vintage-styled LED bulbs in a smart lighting installation, you can easily accomplish this. Every LED light will work with smart switches from some of the biggest manufacturers like Sylvania. You can even automate smart plugs to switch LED fixtures on and off at set times or via voice command. Something strange about saying, “Hey Siri, turn on the light” and you’re instantly transported to a simpler time.
If you’re trying to find the ideal vintage LED light bulbs for your home or business, there are plenty of
options out there. The following are 10 of the best vintage light bulbs available.
- 6 LED filament bulbs that can replace 60W incandescents
- Design mirrors that of traditional Edison bulbs, with 700 lumens at full brightness and over 20,000-
- Direct installation into fixtures such as pendants, chandeliers, and sconces
- Environmentally friendly with no lead, mercury, IR, or UV
- ETL-listed to help prevent shock and fire hazards
- Bright without being harsh
- Dimmable and non-dimmable options
- Warm to daylight options to optimize brightness
- No flickering for most
- Too bright for some, but could benefit from light covers
- Some customers reported flickering when adjusting the dimming for the dimmable bulbs
- 20,000-hour lifespan when used 3 hours per day with less heat output
- High compatibility with many dimmers to allow for better dimming experience
- Unique retro and steampunk look for any space with contemporary LED filament in traditional Edison
- Designed to avoid flicker and strobe effects
- Eco-friendly materials without mercury or UV
- Plenty of brightness options depending on preferences
- Great quality for the price
- Accurate color temperature
- Smooth dimming using different types of dimmers, including Z-Wave dimmers
- Great customer service
- Some orders come with bulbs that flicker
- Several bulbs burned out quickly for some, within days in a few cases
- Dimmable bulbs are silent, devoid of flickering, and come with smooth dimming capabilities
- Retro Edison look with modern LED filament for quality and energy-efficiency
- Bright but warm amber light for ambience
- Can save as much as 90% on electric bill and replace 40W incandescent bulbs
- 20,000-hour lifespan when used for 3 hours daily
- Comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty
- Fit them into any E26 or E27 base for standard home lighting sockets and pendants, indoor or outdoor
- Full-range dimming capabilities as advertised
- Consistent color variation
- Warm hue for a more relaxing and inviting atmosphere
- Affordable without any compromise in quality
- Some report of damaged bulbs arriving with shipment
- Fast burnout in some cases
- Unique squirrel cage filament with warm amber color
- Can produce 200 to 400 lumens of warm light
- Last for up to 30,000 hours
- Fully dimmable with nearly any dimmer switch
- Ideal for installation in chandeliers, sconces, pendants, kitchen islands, and antique squirrel cages
- Great combination of high quality and low price
- Secure and safe packaging to preserve products
- Appealing retro look
- Useful for many settings and applications, including steampunk fixture designs
- A few reports of flickering
- Thick glass, high-quality filament components and LED driver
- Replace 60W incandescents with up to 800 lumens for each light
- Ideal for creating retro atmosphere with teardrop top design
- No UV, IR, lead, or mercury for safe installation in a home or business
- Over 25,000-hour lifespan with a 2-year unlimited warranty
- Plenty of brightness for any space without being too harsh
- Don’t heat up
- No flickering or humming
- Appealing vintage look
- Fast burnout in some cases, but manufacturer was quick to send replacements
- Not dimmable
- Instant lighting with 0-100% dimming capabilities
- No flicker or noise
- Compatible with nearly any dimmer switch
- Natural daylight white 4000k with up to 80+ CRI for a bright atmosphere
- 20,000-hour lifespan with minimal heat output
- Mercury-free without IR or UV to eliminate eye exhaustion
- 3-year warranty with 100% replacement or refund
- Ideal for use as task lighting without being too bright and harsh
- Consistent quality
- Perfect color temperature that rivals incandescent lighting
- No humming or flickering, as advertised
- Brightness level is too high without dimmer
- No ETL, TUV, UL, or other listings to guarantee safety
- US-based company with reliable customer service
- Compatibility with nearly any dimmer switch, but most compatible with Lutron and Leviton dimmers
- Energy-efficient LED filaments use only 6 watts of power
- Standard-sized base meets most application needs
- Clear glass and Edison design make these lights great for a more retro throwback look with a modern
- Bright white lighting ideal for daylighting
- Good price
- No buzzing or flickering at any setting
- One report of bulbs exploding or domes coming loose shortly after installation
- Fast burnout after days for some customers
- Not as bright as 60W incandescent bulbs, as the manufacturer claims
- Bulbs are manufactured and UL-listed to maximize safety and ensure compliance with quality
- Compatible with new and old dimmer switches for complete control over lighting levels
- 20,000-hour lifespan with unique internal fixture designed to optimize performance
- Weatherproof and suitable for outdoor applications along with indoor fixtures
- Come with 1-year warranty and satisfaction guarantee from Gordon & Bond
- Unique candelabra look makes it ideal for vintage fixtures
- Warm and inviting light
- Avoids flickering, heating up, and buzzing
- Secure packaging
- More expensive than other similar options
- Some customers report fast burnout within hours to months
- Retro amber glow with a color temperature range of 2200K to 2400K
- Fully dimmable with optimal results using Leviton or Lutron dimmers
- Lifespan of up to 25,000 hours and ability to save up to 80% on electric bills
- Prompt customer service
- No flickering and safe use with RoHS and CE authentication, without mercury, UV, or noise
- Comforting warm glow with quality glass construction
- Look great in open lamps for an antique appearance
- Great customer service with the ability to provide quick replacement for broken bulbs
- Great energy savings
- Not weatherproof, reports of burning out in rain when used outdoors
- Smooth dimmable performance that works with most dimmers
- Generates 600 lumens for a 2700K LED light
- 20,000-hour lifespan with 3 hours per day of use, can save up to 90% on electricity expenses
- Retro Edison style makes them ideal for use in many fixtures from lamps and sconces to pendants and
fixtures with exposed bulbs
- Perfectly safe to use, mercury-free and without UV to protect eyesight
- Attractive warm glow with a clear look
- Not vulnerable to cracking or breaks; durable construction
- Reduced energy use
- Lack of flickering
- Some reports of strobe effect when dimmed
Depending on what you need for your residential or commercial application, you’ll be able to find the ideal
light from these and many other top-quality options.
Uses for Vintage LED Bulbs in the Home
Now that you know more about what to look for in your bulbs when shopping for them, let’s consider the ways you can utilize these bulbs in the home to create an original and appealing look throughout the home.
Install Them in the Kitchen
First, you should understand the basics of how lighting works in the kitchen as it relates to interior design.
You can use vintage LED bulbs in the kitchen to meet all three elements of lighting, including accent, ambient, and task lighting. You can use them in lieu of traditional pendant lighting fixtures, using single wires to hang the lights at varying lengths over a kitchen island or table for a uniquely asymmetrical look.
Creating chandeliers like the one above is a fun DIY project, or you can find it here at WayFair.com.
You can also create a chandelier with wire, wood, and vintage bulbs that hang and different lengths. On the other hand, if you want a unified design, you can hang these lights evenly.
Use Bulbs in Original Crafted Lamps
If you want to draw more attention to your home’s lighting and make it stand out as an artistic interior design element, you can craft various table or floor lamps using vintage LED bulbs.
One aesthetic that frequently utilizes vintage bulbs is “steam punk, which entails a kind of sci-fi look incorporating steam-powered technology. Whether crafting vintage lamps to create a “steam punk” home or simply add a more traditional look, there’s no limit to what you can do with these bulbs.
For instance, you can create a lamp made of an old fan, replacing the blades with bulbs. Don’t be afraid to get creative and incorporate other design elements to get the most from your vintage bulbs.
Use as Reading Lights
You can also use vintage-style bulbs to create one-of-a-kind reading lights using a simple cord and a larger bulb. When using a bulb for this application, measure the ceiling beforehand to avoid hanging the bulb too high or too low. If installed right, you can create a lighting fixture in the bedroom that’s aesthetically pleasing as much as it is useful.
Vintage Event Decor
If you’re planning on hosting a dinner party or another event at home and want to create a more vintage look, you can also use vintage LED bulbs for this application. You can use bulbs of various shapes and sizes and hang them at varying lengths for a vibrant look, and use a combination of chandeliers and pendants that are strung together. Whether indoors or outdoors, you can do a lot using these bulbs for any event.
Make the Bar Stand Out
If you want to give your bar a vintage look that rivals that of the hip neighborhood haunt, you can use these bulbs as pendants over the bar or lamps that help illuminate your shelves.
You can impress your guests with a bar that looks unlike any other and can even serve as a conversation piece in and of itself.
Illuminate Your Bathroom
With the right level of brightness of around 800 or more lumens, you can use vintage LED lightbulbs as task lighting that’s also comfortable for use as vanity lighting in the bathroom.
Include a few bulbs lined above the vanity, and you can create a look that matches other parts of the home utilizing vintage lighting.
Install Vintage LED Lighting to Stand Apart with Your Interior Design
There are plenty of ways to integrate vintage-style LED bulbs throughout the home. Regardless of where you want to install them or the various styles you want to create, these bulbs can serve as integral design elements that will wow your guests and make the home even more comfortable, with plenty of warm options of various brightnesses, shapes, and sizes.