Home lighting tech continues to evolve, including the arrival of new OLED fixtures that look like something straight out of "Star Wars." Design-centric builds are nothing new, though. Look to the world of LEDs, and you'll find dozens of bulbs that rethink the way a light should look. Click through for some notable examples.
Philips SlimStyle LED
One of the first big name LEDs to sport a high-concept build was the Philips SlimStyle, which flattens things out and distributes the diodes along the horseshoe-shaped perimeter of the bulb. This helps with thermal management, eliminating the need for bulky heat sinks and making the bulb cheaper to manufacture.
Cree's 4Flow LED also puts a design emphasis on thermal management. It isn't flat like the SlimStyle, but it still manages to eliminate the heat sinks thanks to a clever convection-based design. It's also built to look as much like an old-school incandescent as possible, especially when turned on.
That last bit isn't uncommon with today's LEDs offerings. More and more look like regular, old light bulbs -- and that's exactly the point. Osram's 40W and 60W replacement LEDs do a particularly good job, with simple, seamless designs that don't stick out.
Other bulbs take a flashier approach on recapturing incandescent appeal. The Philips Clear LED sports a shapely, crownlike plastic filament in the center of the bulb. The diodes shine up through it, creating a sparkling effect that's ideal for exposed bulb aesthetics.
Ikea's low-cost Ledare LED is another bulb with a clear-globed, fake-filament aesthetic. It also boasts a surprisingly high color-rendering score, which can help the tones in your home pop a little more.
For something significantly fancier than that $5 Ikea bulb, you could take a look at the Buster Bulb from British design label Buster + Punch. With tinted glass surrounding a "resin light pipe," it's about as design-minded as light bulbs come.
Here's another European spin on the modern LED -- an LED dandelion powered by a 9V battery. And yup, those are real dandelion seeds hand-glued onto the tip.
For an LED that puts more of an emphasis on making your home look good, check out the GE Reveal BR30 LED floodlight, which won our Editors' Choice Award distinction by cranking up the color-rendering score.
The SlimStyle found a new competitor in the Cloud LED, a futuristic-looking floodlight from Green Creative. The Cloud LED sports an innovative, hollowed-out build that "floats" the diodes above the base of the bulb. This makes it incredibly light for a BR30 LED, and also safe to use in enclosed fixtures, where heat tends to build up.
For an LED that's more of a standalone fixture, there's the cereal-bowl-shaped Philips Hue Go. Not only does it change colors on demand using the Philips Hue app, but it also boasts a built-in battery, letting you unplug it and take it wherever you like for hours at a time.