Industrial Inspired Decor: Fill a Vase with Vintage Light Bulbs

Sew a Fine Seam

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Decorative vase fillers: totally unnecessary. Why buy a box of manufactured pine cones or plastic stones to fill a decorative vessel? A better and more cost-effective idea is to use something you've collected or scavenged personally, like corks from wine opened in celebration or shells collected during a coastal vacation. Or, for someone who's modern, industrial, and maybe just a little bit steampunk: used light bulbs.

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It's a popular look around the holidays, when old bulbs are gathered to fill glass bowls and columns on a mantle, as artfully displayed in this shot of Pottery Barn's Vintage Bulb Vase Filler. But bulbs can make a great accent year round.


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Jill of Sew a Fine Seam is a fan of industrial styling, and found a creative way to incorporate old bulbs into her home. After she found a few vintage bulbs while cleaning out her late grandfather's shop, she now shows them off as a decorative detail for an oversize snifter on a display shelf.

Interested in incorporating the look into your home? There are a few ways to source bulbs for your own decor:

  • Buy them new. Buy new bulbs in bulk to fill a vase. Mini globe lights, like the kind used in market light strings, can be had for less than $1 a piece.
  • Search antique markets. Jill found bulbs at her grandfather's shop. Search antique stores for cheap vintage bulbs.
  • Collect your own. It's living decor: as bulbs burn out around the house or patio, add them to your vessel. Of course, certain bulbs offer a more aesthetic appeal than others. We've yet to see a collection of used CFL bulbs used as decoration!

More info and images: Sew a Fine Seam

(Images: 1, 3 Sew a Fine Seam 2 Pottery Barn)