Lamps with Personality

We all need light in the darkness, but the variety of lamps available can boggle the mind. Anything can be made into a lamp, if you can attach a battery or run an electrical cord through it. The lamps you display in your home say something about your personality, so choose carefully. Here are some I've taken a shine to.

The Abduction Lamp was designed by Lasse Klein and is not yet available for sale. Otherwise, I'd have one ordered already! The cow or a human will be an add-on accessory.

MFtrampLamp.jpg
Kelly Butler at Tramp Lamps (a "dangling bordello of unmentionables") makes lighting out of vintage lingerie and corsets. What looks like either a work of art or a public display of laundry during the day will fill a room with a sultry glow at night.

More illumination, after the jump.

435_spinelamp.jpg
Gooseneck lamps can be made to resembled anything flexible or somewhat curved. This Spinal-column Lamp has become somewhat of a hit in chiropractors' offices. Flexible? Of course!

418robotlamp_.jpg

I bought this Robot Desk Lamp by Holmes for my brother for Christmas. It shines a light from its face, and holds your pens and other tools in its adjustable arms. It was once in stores all over, but doesn't seem to be avilable anywhere now.

MFwetmain.jpg
The Wet Lamp has a light bulb submerged in water! A silver rod acts as a dimmer switch when it is adjusted into the water. This might scare you (it does me), but the site says it is safe. Still, I can imagine a cat or a child knocking this off the furniture and watching it shatter while plugged in.

435_Lamp_Lamp_4.jpg
A lightbulb doesn't have to have a shade when it's this clever. The Lamp Lamp is a 30 watt lightbulb that can be used in any standard socket, guaranteed to draw stares and smiles.

430_miniz_desk.jpg
Sleekness and usability come together in the Mini-Z LED Desk Lamp. It has six adjustable joints, 40 energy-efficient LEDs, and takes up almost no room. Too bad it's not available right now.

MFlavalamp.gif
Make your own White Trash Lava Lamp from a glass jug and an old saucepan. The point to this would be mainly to prove you could do it, but the author cautions that it could be dangerous. I'd take his word for it.

435_trashlampIUM.jpg
Instructables will show you how to make this lampshade out of trash. Trash meaning printed paper and coffee grounds.

MFcd_lamp2.jpg
You might have a stack of old CDs, or possibly all those discs AOL is constantly sending out. Recycle them into a lamp! The plastic used to make a disc thick enough to handle is horizontally transparent and a flourescent tube gives a soft glow. Jim Watters has instructions for making your own, using either an AC cord or batteries.

MFtheAnimex.jpg
TheANIMEX is a new lighting system inspired by the bioluminescence of deep-sea animals, a process combining two chemicals to produce light without heat. TheANIMEX features an LED layer and a reflective layer, which combine to produce 3D effects in space. It can be designed to cover a variety of surfaces, such as buildings, walls, and even furniture!

nextArticle.image_alt|e
IKEA
arrow
Design
IKEA's New Collection for Tiny Apartments Is Inspired by Life on Mars
IKEA
IKEA

Living in a city apartment can feel claustrophobic at times. As Co.Design reports, the Swedish furniture brand IKEA took this experience to the extreme when designers visited a simulated Mars habitat as research for their latest line of housewares aimed at urbanites.

The new collection, called Rumtid, is tailored to fit the cramped spaces that many people are forced to settle for when apartment-hunting in dense, expensive cities. The designers knew they wanted to prioritize efficiency and functionality with their new project, and Mars research provided the perfect inspiration.

At the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, scientists are figuring out how to meet the needs of potential Mars astronauts with very limited resources. Materials have to be light, so that they require as little rocket fuel as possible to ferry them to the red planet, and should ideally run on renewable energy.

IKEA's designers aren't facing quite as many challenges, but spending a few days at the simulated Martian habitat in Utah got them thinking on the right track. The team also conducted additional research at the famously snug capsule hotels in Tokyo. The Rumtid products they came up with include an indoor terrarium shaped like a space-age rocket, a set of colorful, compact air purifiers, and light-weight joints and bars that can be snapped into modular furniture.

The collection isn't ready to hit IKEA shelves just yet—the chain plans to make Rumtid available for customers by 2020. In the meantime, the designers hope to experiment with additional science fiction-worthy ideas, including curtains that clean the air around them.

Air purifiers designed for urban living.

Furniture joints on bubble wrap on black table.

Modular furniture holding water bag.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of IKEA.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
DIY
5 Simple Seating Tricks That Will Transform Your Living Room
iStock
iStock

Seating arrangements can make or break a social event. Whether it's a cocktail party, a book club get-together, or a Game of Thrones binge night, you want a setup that makes socializing easy and enjoyable. The right combo of comfortable chairs, tables, and other furniture is the key to making your abode more inviting and homey. We’ve got five ways to hack your living room seating for social occasions or everyday life.

1. MAKE THE TV THE FOCAL POINT OF THE ROOM.

When people are over to watch the season finale of your favorite show, the TV becomes the obvious focal point of the gathering. You can easily calculate the optimal viewing distance for your seating based on the size of your TV. For 1080p screen, double your TV's diagonal measurement to get the proper distance in inches, which you can then convert to feet.

Let's say you have a 43-inch TV—multiply that by two and you get 86 inches, or about 7 feet, as your best viewing distance. A 48-inch screen, which is one of the most popular sizes for living rooms, will allow you 8 feet of viewing space. If you have a higher-def 4K TV screen, you can sit a little closer: Experts recommend a distance of one to 1.5 times the screen size.

Now that you have the right distance in mind, arrange your couch in front and place other chairs at varied heights at the sides and behind it. Have plenty of comfy floor cushions for those who don’t snag a sofa seat so that everyone has a good sightline to the TV.

2. CREATE A CONVERSATIONAL CIRCLE.

When the social event doesn't require everyone to face the same direction, arrange the seating in a circle around a central point. This setup works best for book club meetings and gatherings where casual conversation is the main draw. Opt for a round table at the center for setting drinks and snacks. “At a round table you can see everyone at once, whereas at a rectangular table, there’s a chance you’re not seeing the faces of people on your side two or more seats down, making it difficult to chat with them,” Whitney McGregor of Whitney McGregor Designs in Greenville, South Carolina, tells Mental Floss.

A 2007 study suggested that people are drawn to circles and softer organic shapes because the rounded edges are perceived as less dangerous than sharp edges. Create a similar feel of safety, comfort, and inclusiveness in your living room with a set of chairs around a circular coffee table or a large tufted ottoman.

3. LEAVE SOME SPACE—BUT NOT TOO MUCH— BETWEEN SEATS AND TABLES.

Seating arrangement with turquoise curtains
iStock

To keep conversation flowing, leave at least 3 feet of space between each seat (not including couches, where people are expected to chat more intimately). For example, place arm chairs about 3 feet away from the ends of the sofa or 5 to 6 feet across from the sofa. The coffee table, whether round, square, or rectangular, should sit about 14 to 18 inches from the front of the couch—far enough to provide comfortable legroom, but close enough to set a drink down without getting up.

These cushions of space prevent guests from feeling like they're sitting on top of one another, according to Apartment Therapy. But a stretch of 10 feet or more is too much to converse easily, so pull out the tape measure as needed.

4. FRESHEN A STUFFY ARRANGEMENT WITH ASYMMETRY.

It's possible to switch up the whole feeling of your room—without purchasing new furniture—by changing the existing seating and accent tables from a symmetrical to an asymmetrical arrangement, and vice versa. “Asymmetry versus symmetry can be a fickle thing,” Christy Davis of Christy Davis Interiors in Columbia, South Carolina, tells Mental Floss. “Symmetry gives a sense of wholeness and completeness, whereas asymmetry makes you think a little more because it’s not as common as symmetry.”

Do you crave that whole and complete feeling? Put two matching chairs on either side of a table to make the room seem more visually balanced and formal. For a casual look with more energy, take those same two chairs and put them in a random order: One to the left of the couch as a discrete conversational seating area, and the other on the opposite wall and farther down in the room, along with a side table and lamp, as its own smaller conversation nook.

5. ADD SURFACES FOR DRINKS AND MORE.

With every good seat comes the need for a place to set a drink, your phone, or the remote control. While you want your coffee table at least 14 inches in front of the couch, the rules for accent table placement are a little looser. Try sitting in each location in your room and checking if there’s a place to set your glass within each reaching distance. If not, add a side table or garden stool, then dress it up with plants and photos. According to The Spruce, the side table should be about the same height as the arm of the seat it's next to.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios