Patio lights as a room-lighting, indoor fixture?
September 23, 2019 4:53 AM   Subscribe

We'd like our bedroom lighting to look like patio lights -- the kinds with edison bulbs on strings. The room has exposed beams, and we'd string the lights on them. But all the strings we've found are made to be plugged in, and I don't know if they're bright enough to light a room. Can we get that look, but hardwired to a switch and made for lighting a room?

These are the kinds of lights we like.

This is the bedroom (though that's before we bought it, so the furniture and layout are all different now).

The closest we've come is something like this... which isn't that close. We've already found a lot of choices about that close (so no need to re-post them), but we haven't found any that really look like the patio lights we like.

Why aren't these more widely available? Is there an inherent reason why they're not bright enough, or that they can't be hardwired? Or are there some that are bright enough, and could an electrician safely hardwire them in for us if they don't already come with that intent?
posted by daisyace to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Can you get one of those wireless switch things? You plug the actual patio lights into a box that plugs into your outlet, then you attach the wireless light switch to the wall. If you need to attach a lot of strands just plug them into a power bar first (and plug the power bar into the wall thing that goes in the socket). These are easy to find at Home Depot etc
posted by andreapandrea at 6:06 AM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

Splicing a plug fixture to feed from a lamp outlet should be a five-minute job for someone who knows what they're doing, it's just a question of connecting wires. But if I remember my physics correctly, serially connected lights will always be fairly weak.

You can buy Edison bulbs with standard bases easily now, including LED ones. Find a fixture that you like with standard E27 bases - maybe a spider chandelier like this - and switch the bulbs.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 6:14 AM on September 23, 2019 [6 favorites]

If you want them to be your bedroom lights, you should just get them. It's not that hard for someone to switch them to be hard wired. Is there a switch in the room already? What does it control?

You could convert that fixture to an outlet as well if you like. Shoot, in my basement, I have a fixture that takes a bare bulb and has a grounded outlet on it as well. You could do that and put an Edison bulb in that. Shoot, they even make outlets you can screw in instead of a bulb.

If you are worried about not enough light for this or that, add task lighting there. I find having a mix of lighting is what makes a room looks really well styled/
posted by advicepig at 7:15 AM on September 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

You can have outlets controlled by a wall switch. Please look for LED edison lamps; big electricity usage saver. No reason why these can't be your room lights; I love string lights. I would still have a bedside lamp if you read in bed.
posted by theora55 at 7:22 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Loving these ideas so far -- thank you! We're weighing the kind of spider chandelier that I claim sanctuary suggested against actual patio string lights as others are suggesting. For the former, we'd run the wires invisibly along the top of the beam and just barely drop the lights, evenly spaced, along the edge of the beam. To get more specific about the latter option -- are there string lights with (or compatible with) dimmable, replaceable, LED edison bulbs, with enough brightness to light the room? (Other responses to the original question are still very welcome, too!)
posted by daisyace at 9:14 AM on September 23, 2019

Apparently you might be looking for external garlands for outdoor parties. This lot takes e12 lightbulbs like these.

Also regarding string lights as lighting - I have cotton ball lights as bedroom mood lighting and even with those ball shades they're more than bright enough to see by to find your water glass or read on screens with a backlight like a Kindle Paperwhite without eye strain. I do have to turn on a brighter spot light to read a paper book.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:42 AM on September 23, 2019

LED for sure, wiring outside lights to a switched circuit should be easy. I would make sure they are dimmable as they are likely too bright for mood lighting even if they aren't bright enough to be the only lights.
posted by jclarkin at 11:37 AM on September 23, 2019

And on the compatibility question, if the strings are socketed and they support the same or greater wattage than you want, then they should be compatible with bulb with the same socket as long as the bulbs don't exceed the wattage rating. I suspect that won't be an issue with LED lights are they are very efficient.
posted by jclarkin at 11:39 AM on September 23, 2019

The great thing about buying the string is that you can test it out to see if it will be bright enough before you have an electrician hard wire it.

We have these industrial Edison lights in our backyard, they are pretty bright and also very yellow. They also are not at all energy efficient, being incandescent. Though they are great in the backyard I'm not sure I personally would like their used car lot ambiance in my bedroom, so definitely try them out before doing anything permanent.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:17 PM on September 23, 2019

Thanks everybody! Glad to know we have several good options for approaching this.
posted by daisyace at 9:11 AM on September 25, 2019

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