Remember Bob Clark’s 1983 film, A Christmas Story? It’s a hard flick to avoid this time of year, but in case you’ve forgotten here’s a refresher. The two most memorable scenes in the movie involve A. a tongue and a frozen flagpole and B. the arrival of cinema’s most notorious anatomically correct piece of furniture: “the Leg Lamp.” I’ll be the first to admit, the Leg Lamp worked in an “amazing-as-long-as-something-like-that-never-enters-my-home” kind of way. Call it high kitsch, call it a disaster, or call it sublime, the thing wouldn’t even look good as décor in the slummiest of frat houses or in a TGI Friday’s washroom.

The Leg Lamp is an extreme example of bad lighting fixtures, but it does remind me that giving the gift of light is indeed a risky business. Like any other piece of interior décor, one’s aesthetic taste in lighting can vary wildly. This is what makes Inhabit’s BuiltBy Lamp (from $168) such a bright idea: you can’t go wrong with 1,607,045 possible design combinations. Exercise complete creative control by custom designing your BuiltBy Lamp from a vast selection of shapes, finishes, and colors. Not feeling inspired? Choose from a pre-designed model. The lamp bodies are crafted from recycled wood fibers with no added formaldehyde and the paints and stains used are VOC-free. It’s up to you as to what kind of 60-watt light bulb you choose, but I’m thinking to keep in line with the eco-friendly, DIY spirit, go with a CFL. 

 Image: Inhabit

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) reports on design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.