string lights as everyday indoor lighting


The great blog Ouno recently documented a visit to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyds Wright’s winter home and the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. A photo of  the “dinner cabaret room” caught our eye: strings of tiny lights glowe3d on the ceiling. We don’t know if this is a Wrightian touch or an innovation of the current caretakers (more images below). But it got us thinking about using string lights as actual indoor lighting…not Christmas lights, but strings of lights with bigger, more illuminating bulbs.

So, we went on the hunt for ideas and sources, to explore the possibilities.

We love these lights hung vertically to make a partition and define a room…

…These work as ceiling lights if you don’t have recessed lighting…

There are a number of string and bulb styles to consider. If you want to keep it simple, Pottery Barn sells 18′ sets that take 7-watt, type G bulbs (though we’re not crazy about the green wires):

The best source we’ve found is, which offers a huge variety of cord sets and bulbs that you can configure as you please (including for LED, solar, outdoor and commercial use – commercial ones comes in green, white and hard to find black). We especially like their globed sets with clear bulbs, like the images above (though you can get them in a wide range of colors and sizes)…

Here are a couple more images of Taliesin’s string lights:

string lights Taliesin W via


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6 Responses to string lights as everyday indoor lighting

  1. Noreen Sullivan 01.31.2012 at 5:10pm #

    love this idea!

  2. DEBORAH D'AMELIO 02.01.2012 at 10:04pm #

    Maybe Wright’s choices of lighting left a lot/light to be desired as he did in certain other details that weren’t what he considered decorative and someone added these lovely additions.

  3. Lindsey 02.02.2012 at 9:35am #

    These string light ideas are gorgeous. I’m going to be using mini lights in my home to duplicate some of these ideas.

  4. Breunor 05.19.2012 at 1:24am #

    I was really impressed by most of the details at Taliesin West when I visited, the cabaret was sooo cool during the hot day we were there, and sound traveled extremely well too. I’m always looking for ways to add touches of FLW design into my home.

  5. Marti 12.12.2012 at 6:57pm #

    My husband is an LED light enthusiast. He has been experimenting with warm white LED Christmas lights in our permanent lighting. This includes imbedding the light string under the deck railing of our house and replacing long fluorescent tube fixtures with plugs and the string lights in light trays. They are warm, efficient, and long lasting!

  6. Sally 12.14.2012 at 9:23am #

    I’ve been thinking about LED Xmas lights, wondering how they look. I wonder if you could tell us the brand you are using, so we can check em out. I love your plan of replacing fluorescents with them. Thanks!

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