Break Free From the Norm: Beautiful Vintage Lighting Ideas

Break Free From the Norm: Beautiful Vintage Lighting Ideas

Lighting is one of the easiest ways to add character and comfort to your home. Combining decoration and function, home lighting design is as important to your well-being as your morning run or smoothie bowl. 

Since the invention of electricity, nearly a century and a half ago, light features and designs have been constantly innovated. Providing us with numerous vintage lighting styles to choose from today. The 20th century saw creative pioneers push the boundaries of lighting design to new and exciting places. From art nouveau to post-modernism, every design school of the last 100 years has influenced interior lighting ideas. 

We take a look at how to curate your own interesting lighting scheme, with a special focus on table lamps in our article below.

A multicolour glass chandelier in front of a black wall.

Image: Multicolour Murano glass chandelier. Vinterior Seller: ArtInLife

What is the best lighting for each room?

When it comes to indoor lighting ideas, there’s no limit to finding inspiration. But when you’re confronted by perfectly polished social feeds, it can be difficult to break down your light ideas into a manageable project. That’s why we recommend tackling your vintage lighting inspiration one room at a time. Building your home lighting scheme slowly will help you master what you need from your lighting and what light features you want to create.

Ideas for living space lighting

We use each living space very differently, which requires us to think about living space lighting schemes carefully. A kitchen, for example, needs a lot of functional lighting as you’ll likely be doing tasks (like cooking) there. 

Alternatively, setting the mood with interesting or cool lighting is best reserved for dining or living rooms. Think about hanging antique pendant lights low over your dining table for an intimate feel. In a living room, create separate spaces defined by light features. Whether that’s lamps or wall sconces is up to you.

A floor lamp with a red satellite-shaped lampshade next to a wire chair.

Image: 1960s floor lamp. Vinterior Seller: The French House

Ideas for bedroom lighting

Bedrooms are the perfect place to escape the world. In theory, they should have really limited functional lighting and focus on creating lighting moods. For the morning, you might want to invest in pendant lighting that diffuses light softly, much like a sunrise. Ideas for lighting your bedroom at night could include low-wattage table lamps or a floor lamp next to an armchair or chaise longue on which to read before switching off for the day.

Ideas for hallway lighting

Less frequently used than our living spaces, hallway lighting ideas are still worth considering. These are the areas you’ll pass through from room to room and they’re often the first impression guests get of your home. A pair of lamps on a striking sideboard add soft lighting to a hallway at night. But if you have a grand, period entrance hall, why not go all-in and choose a chandelier to hang overhead?

A Hollywood Regency chandelier with cut-glass tear drops adornments against a teal-coloured wall.

Image: Hollywood Regency chandelier. Vinterior Seller: The Old Attic

What are some of the main vintage lighting styles?

With 150 years of lighting design behind us, it’s easy to look into vintage lighting ideas for your home. Here are some of the most notable periods from which to source cool lighting for your home.

Art Noveau

Characterised by stained-glass lampshades, organic forms, curvaceous chandeliers, and exquisite adornments, art nouveau lighting speaks to the era’s design ethos. The most familiar piece from the period must be the iconic Tiffany lamp, a highly coveted collector’s item today.

A Tiffany lamp with a grape-vine motif stained-glass lampshade.

Image: Tiffany-style lamp. Vinterior Seller: Kernow Furniture

Art Deco

An era of grandeur and opulence, art deco lighting echos this mood with bold brass details, sculptural forms and excessive decoration. From fringed shades to etched glass adornments, this vintage light style remains popular today.

Mid-Century Modern

The post-war period spawned the design ethos of mid-century modernism. Focused on the sweet spot where form meets function, mid-century modern lighting utilised innovative metals to sculpt some of the 20th century’s most sought-after light styles.

Three mushroom-shaped pendant lights in orange, red and yellow, hanging from a ceiling.

Image: Mid-century modern pendant lights. Vinterior Seller: Patina

Lighting your home with table lamps

Table lamps are the perfect addition to bring your interior lighting idea to life. Placed next to armchairs, on sideboards, beside a bed or on a kitchen island, they add warmth and low-level lighting style to any space. They’re also an incredibly versatile lighting option, giving you the choice to create characterful lighting at will.

How can I make a one-of-a-kind lamp at home?

Creating a unique lamp for your home doesn’t have to mean becoming an electrical whizz. In fact, by pairing and mixing different lampshades with a range of bases, you can easily make a lamp at home. Ceramic bases paired with ikat-print shades look great in country house schemes. Slender brass basses with fringed shades add cool lighting vibes to a kitchen banquette. Or match your colours perfectly to create a cohesive look. There’s really no limit when it comes to creating a one-of-a-kind lamp.

Vintage table lamp styles for characterful interiors

A brass table lamp shaped like a palm tree.

Image: Brass palm table lamp. Vinterior Seller: Vintiques

Eclectic Table Lamps

Some vintage table lamps are pieces of art in their own right. Their eclectic forms are as original as any form we might find in nature. With diverse lighting styles to choose from, lovers of eclectic design will relish mixing and matching different pieces from our collection. So, give it a go and let unconventional table lamps inject intrigue into your home.

Anglepoise Lamps

The beauty of the Anglepoise is that there is no decor scheme it does not suit. Simply put, this lamp will sit as gracefully within a sleek architect’s studio as it will the bookish study of a country dwelling. 

A grey Anglepoise light illuminating a book on an antique table.

Image: Anglepoise lamp. Vinterior Seller: That Antique Stuff

Why is the Anglepoise lamp so iconic? 

The articulated frame enables you to easily adjust the posture of an Anglepoise lamp. As a result, it has proved to be one of the greatest pieces of lighting of the last century. Highly sought after, the gazelle-like limbs play a key part even today in the signature Anglepoise look. 

Rattan Table Lamps

Can a bohemian interior lighting scheme ever really have enough rattan touches? We think not. A tactical – and very durable – material, rattan adds warmth and texture to a room. Furthermore, rattan lighting is still quite unconventional and so it provides a great way to set your boho interior apart from the crowd. 

Postmodern Table Lamps

Sculptural and often mind-bending, post-modern table lamps are highly sought-after among design fans today. After the earlier abundance of maximalist detail, lamps from this later era are characterised by sweeping contours, geometric design, and minimalist frames. Most noteworthy is the celebrated ‘mushroom lamp’.

A post-modern table lamp with orange and yellow ringed lampshade

Image: Ettore Sottsass table lamp. Vinterior Seller: Kooloo Modern

Vintage Brass lamps

Adding unrivalled warmth, vintage brass table lamps feel very nostalgic. Often associated with old libraries and Victorian living rooms, brass creates a wonderful luminous glow and soft, warm mood. Stand a brass vintage lamp proudly on your sideboard, or next to a plush velvet sofa and watch it shimmer alluringly.

So, how will you light your home? Will you opt for streamlined functional light features? Adopt some characterful home lighting ideas from our list above? Or build a one-of-a-kind interior lighting scheme? Reach out to us in the comments below and share your lighting inspiration with our vintage-loving community.

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