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Oyster Lights are Interior Design’s Greatest...

Oyster Lights are Interior Design’s Greatest Ever Failure

phillips led oyster lights in living room with beige sofa

Oyster lights are interior design’s greatest ever failure.

In fact, I reckon they were originally released into the market as a prank, to see how many poor souls would actually purchase them.

In putting this post together, I trawled the internet for imagery of oyster lights in rooms. And you know what? There were close to none. That’s because nobody in their right mind has them in their home. Or if they do, they certainly haven’t got the guts to photograph them for the world to see.

Oyster lights are not only quite horrendous to cast your eyes upon, but I’m certain they also prevent great relationships from forming.

eglo oyster lights in interior design patterned oyster light

Like Leggings, the Oyster Light never Lies

Remember in your younger years, when you were at a nightclub getting up close and personal with a beau you’d just spotted on the dancefloor? They looked gorgeous in that dim, disco gleam, didn’t they? But all too often, when you exited the club, they revealed their true form in the brutal honesty of the street lights.

Oyster lights bring that same, raw moment of truth with them, but on a delay. Like three dates in.

The oyster light also seems to be installed with a bulb that’s colder and more fluorescent than 7-Eleven lighting. They reveal every complexion sin you’ve ever tried to hide. There is no masking anything under the raw illumination of the oyster. And I’m certain that people have been three or four dates in, brought their squeeze home, flicked on the oyster, and run for dear life.

The oyster light has a lot to answer for.

oyster light with warm yellow light bulb on roof

Living with the Oyster; it’s not Pretty

Last week I took you through the sheer horror that is the vertical bling (see that post here), but I believe oyster lights are worse. And before you suggest that I’m being a judgemental snob, let me reveal this: my current home contains oyster lights.

It’s a true burden for me to carry, and they haunt my every waking moment. So I’m more than qualified to call out their pure, unparalleled evil.

Having purchased my home toward the end of the off-the-plan process, all of the fittings and fixtures were already decided upon. And boy did the builder cut a few corners. The cheap carpet has already been replaced. The vertical blinds are soon to bid a fond farewell too. And that just leaves the hideous oyster lights, which are in all bathrooms and bedrooms.

Oyster Lights: Cemetery for Bugs

Thankfully the living areas have downlights installed. But that is only providing me with a contrast with which to compare the oyster lights against. And good Lord are these two lighting types worlds apart.

If you’ve ever owned an oyster light you’ll also know that bugs and dirt get trapped in the base of them. The transparent base, that you and everyone that comes to your house can see through. Yes, it’s a communal burial ground of flies, moths and mosquitoes – and everyone’s invited to the funeral.

Who would anyone invent a light that required so much upkeep? Who wants to take down their lights every month to empty out the dead insects?

oyster lights used in hospital corridor

Oyster Lights used in a hospital corridor. I think that says it all.

Let’s #OutTheOyster Together

I understand why builders put oyster lights in homes. They are so so cheap. You can get them for under $30 each and I imagine when you’re building houses en masses they are an easy, budget solution.

What I don’t understand, though, is why they put cold bulbs in them. There are warm bulbs that would make a room (and the people in it) so much more appealing. I mean, you should still never choose to put one of these lights in your home, but if you’re renting and stuck with one, take out that cold fluro-like bulb and replace it with a warm one. It will help.

All in all though, we need to band together to #OutTheOyster. And yes, that is a hashtag I just made up then. But the world needs to put its foot down when it comes to the oyster light. There is no room for it in any modern home.

What do you think of oyster lights? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Perhaps you actually love the oyster light. I’d be very interested to hear about it!


Outside of his work as Editor of The Life Creative blog, Chris is also an interior stylist, presenter and author. His first book, Sydney Precincts, is out now. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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  1. Lorna

    17 April

    I totally agree with you on the oyster lights. Now I’m wondering what you would suggest as a replacement? You had me going there.

  2. Lisa

    21 April

    Oh my goodness yes. Our house was a rental before we bought it and filled with the cheapest of everything, including oyster lights in nearly every room. We immediately took them down; bare bulbs were so much better, we still haven’t replaced a few of them, eight years on… why is it so hard to find nice light fittings, though? We’ve really struggled to find some that are affordable, which is part of why we still have a bare bulb in our bedroom…

  3. Karina Murray

    21 April

    Bizarre timing, I was just looking at my bug cemetery this morning! Sadly I have three of them, and one day I’m going to have to get a ladder and remove those cremated bugs. Joy. Despite the fact that I rent, I would replace those hideous things if I could. The stuff of nightmares…

  4. Jus

    21 April

    I wholeheartedly agree. Our rental had them and I skipped with joy at the price of replacing one that broke. Then I moved in and immediately factored “lighting” in our renovation budget. Their only saving grace is that my husband wanted to try out wireless LEDs that can be set on a schedule for turning on/off and dimming. The bulbs don’t come in a down light so Oyster lights are perfect for that and we do not have to expensively rewire. But note that I frequently come home to find that he has turned our living room into an 80s music club for over 40s. He has the lights cycling through colours in time with his loud music. I am dreading the argument that we are going to have when it comes time to renovate!

  5. Sue

    22 April

    I have one in my bedroom love to get rid of but can’t decide on a replacement..

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