How to Buy Vintage Lighting for Your Home March 01 2021

how to pick vintage lighting

All too often, lighting is an afterthought in the design of your home. Many people consider lighting to be just a utilitarian detail, there only to provide necessary light – but it can truly be so much more.

The right vintage lighting options should serve both form and function, adding aesthetic value to your space while also contributing a certain level of practicality. Ideally, you want to find something that doesn’t just look good but is also easy to use and adds convenience to your everyday life. There are so many options that offer both personality and purpose, from table and floor lamps to pendants and sconces.

If you’re shopping at your local big-box store or a typical online retailer, you might start to notice that you see the same handful of lights over and over again. Usually, major retailers stock a basic selection of what’s “on-trend” at the moment, limiting your options considerably. Unless you want the same light that’s in virtually every other home in your area, it’s time to broaden your home décor horizons and explore vintage style.

We’ve put together a quick and handy guide that breaks down how to choose vintage lighting for any space, providing our favorite tips and tricks for illuminating your home with a newfound sense of style.

How to Pick Vintage Lighting for Your Home

Our best piece of advice for selecting vintage lighting is to follow your heart – after all, your true sense of style is in there somewhere! But beyond that, a few useful tips can help you pick lights that balance aesthetics and functionality.

1. Create a Space to Match Your Style with Vintage Lighting Fixtures

Anytime you shop for vintage décor, you can count on finding items that are unique, wonderfully unusual, and built to last. Vintage light shopping is the perfect way to create a distinctly “collected” look in your home, rather than giving the impression that you simply copied and pasted a room from a generic catalog.

Even if the majority of your home is filled with standard pieces from furniture stores and the like, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a space that doesn’t feel like you – it’s never too late to add some character and charm with vintage décor. With the addition of vintage lamps, pendants, and sconces, you can completely transform the look and feel of a room.

2. Understand your options.

One of the most common mistakes people make when shopping for lighting is believing that a room only needs one type of lighting. For example, the odds are good that you’ve spent time in a space that relies entirely on harsh, too-bright overhead lights.

However, there are actually a few different types of light fixtures that should be featured in every space:

Ambient (or general lighting) is used to illuminate the majority of a room and typically comes from wall-mounted light fixtures, track lighting, or recessed lighting.

Accent lighting is designed to highlight a specific feature or focal point, such as a favorite piece of art. Picture lights, track lighting, and wall-mounted fixtures are all popular types of accent lighting.

Task lighting is exactly what it sounds like: a type of light fixture used to complete specific tasks. For example, desk lamps are a form of task lighting, as are the pendant lamps that might hang over the kitchen island where you prep dinner every night.

Since most modern spaces fulfill a broad range of purposes, it makes sense that you would want and need all three of the lighting types mentioned above.

3.  “Listen” to what the layout of a room has to say.

With these options for lighting in mind, now you can decide where and how to place light sources within a space. Here are a few good rules of thumb to follow when arranging lighting in each room:

Entryway: Combine an eye-catching vintage pendant light or chandelier, then add a complimentary table or floor lamp nearby.

Living room: Center the main seating area with an overhead vintage fixture, such as a statement-making chandelier. Then, address dark corners with vintage floor lamps or table lamps on side tables.

Dining room: One of the more straightforward spaces when it comes to lighting, a dining room typically needs a vintage hanging light over the dining table. Go for glamour with a glass and metal chandelier, or create a pop of color with a pendant in a vibrant shade.

Kitchen: Lighting in the kitchen should be practical, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have a certain level of charm as well. Overhead lighting provides the necessary illumination for cooking and contributes to aesthetics and mood when placed on a dimmer. One of the latest trends in vintage-inspired kitchens is the addition of a small countertop lamp, which can create a cozy vibe in the dark of night.

Bedrooms: A vintage table lamp is perfect for your bedside table and provides just the right amount of light for reading, drinking your morning coffee, and winding down before bed.

Office: Task lighting is important in the office, particularly if you regularly work from the space. A vintage desk lamp gets the job done, while quirky vintage floor lamps can be added to create a comfortable seating area.

4. Don’t be afraid to choose lighting that commands attention.

No matter your personal style, interesting lighting is a wonderful way to add fun and flair to your home. Think about what you want the space to “feel” like: do you prefer something cozy and classic or a space filled with unusual conversation pieces? Do you prefer neutral, understated pieces, or are you looking for vintage lights with plenty of color?

There are too many rooms that include boring and bland lights, simply because many people focus solely on “big” pieces like furniture and rugs. But even a small vintage table lamp can have an impact on any room – so give yourself the freedom to choose something that really speaks to your style. Mix it up with unusual materials, go crazy with color, or see how height and size can alter the aesthetics of a space.

5. Modernize your vintage lights when needed.

Sometimes, vintage lights need a little extra help to function in the 21st century. Switch out old bulbs for energy-efficient LED light bulbs, and think about smart bulbs for an extra, tech-savvy touch. If the wiring on a vintage light doesn’t seem up to par, an electrician may be able to help. Especially for pendants and chandeliers, working with a professional can be the best option for ensuring flawless functionality.

Shop the Biggest Selection of Vintage Home Décor in Long Beach at Urban Americana

One of the best parts of shopping vintage is that you never know what timeless treasures you might find – and with the always-changing variety of lighting, décor, and furniture at Urban Americana, the possibilities are truly endless.

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect vintage chandelier, table lamp, or sconce, you’ll find a plethora of pieces to choose from at Urban Americana. We have something to suit every style and space, from the classic to the quirky.

Visit our huge vintage home décor store in Long Beach to discover mid century modern lighting that will make your house a stylish home.

Image credit: elina.nova