May 24, 2024

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How To Find Great Vintage Lamps (7 Hot Tips and 9 EHD-Approved Online Shops)

9 min read
How To Find Great Vintage Lamps (7 Hot Tips and 9 EHD-Approved Online Shops)

A few weeks ago, a comment from Elizabeth, a reader, caught my eye: “I know that the lamp is vintage but can you please post places I can find lamps like this or fun vintage lamps? Thanks.” She was referring to the sweet vintage lamp in Em’s laundry room, but it got my wheels turning because Y’ALL. YOUR GIRL LOVES VINTAGE LAMPS. I adore the personality and quirk they add to a space, and have found them to be a really effective and affordable way to majorly change the look and feel of a room on a budget. I’d hereby like to present my current 5 favorite vintage lamps – 2 that you’ve seen before in reveals, and 3 new (to the EHD world, at least) pieces…

To that end, today I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite sourcing tips in addition to nine Etsy shops that I love (and can vouch for, too). My taste in lamps may be a bit different than yours (understandable), but I hope that this little collection of tips and of a few shops to check out can light the way for you (see what I did there?!). Let’s start with the tips, yeah?

photo by kaitlin green | from: the essentials we needed from the farmhouse – all from target (+ an exciting announcement!)

Learn What You Like

Ah, yes – it’s your resident broken record here, reporting for duty! Spend an hour or two cruising the listings on Chairish or 1stDibs and favorite any lamps that strike your fancy. Take notice of the language used to describe them – are you drawn to a certain designer? An era? A shape? A finish? (Weird lamps shaped like animals, maybe?) Use that information to inform the rest of your hunt. Google Lens is a great tool for Chrome users, too – try right-clicking an image, hitting “Search Image with Google Lens,” and adjusting the crop area to exclusively highlight the lamp in question. Google Lens will provide as much information as possible – similar lamps for sale, image matches (so you can see the piece in other homes), and more. It’s a great way to hone in on your taste!

Look Past The Photo

There’s no beating around the bush: most listing photos for vintage lamps are off-putting at best. And while it’s easy for me to look past the lampshade – I know that’s an easy swap! – I find that most folks get caught up on the aesthetics of the actual lamp socket (you know, the giant overbearing metal piece that is front-and-center on most vintage listings). Mentally chop that piece off and just analyze the base – could you see that lamp living in any of your Pinned images or bookmarked inspiration shots? If so, you may have found a winner.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: living room update – again

Search By Style Or Era

The bad news: there are about 150,000 vintage lamp listings on Etsy. Conversely, the good news: there are 150,000 lamps for you to fall in love with on Etsy!!! To narrow things down, try searching by decade (I personally stick with the 1950s-1970s – so “1970s vintage lamp” is a great place to start) or by general style (“Postmodern” or “Space Age” were my former go-to styles, but I’ve recently become a “Palm Beach Regency” kind of gal).

design by melanie burstin | photo by tessa neustadt | from: mel’s moto reveal

Search By Shape Or Motif

Get creative here! Sure, you can search for classic shapes, like ginger jars, but feel free to get really weird and prescriptive with it, too. I found my beloved 1950s poodle-shaped lamp by searching “vintage poodle lamp” (I know – groundbreaking stuff here, guys), but there are a ton of really unique options out there. If you can imagine a weird lamp, it probably exists – go get it, pal!!!

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design by velinda hellen | photo by veronica crawford | from: velinda renovated & furnished her “fixer upper” for under $55k…here’s how

Search By Finish Or Material

Wicker? Brass? Stone? Ceramic? Plastic? You probably already know what your space needs – maybe you’re on the hunt for some wood to warm up your room, or a hit of metallic shine to make your home feel a bit more polished and glam, or some luxe onyx to add an earthy-meets-elegant finishing touch…I mean, you get it. Feel out what materials would add to your home and use that information to search. EASY PEASY, YEAH?

design by caitlin higgins | styled by emily bowser | photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: caitlin’s long, dark hallway makeover

Look In-Person

I KNOW. I know this is a blog and that I’m supposed to share good resources with you – I definitely will!!! – but y’all, vintage lamps are just exponentially more affordable and far more easily source-able if you’re looking in the flesh. Drag yourself to your local Goodwill or flea market (or, like, joyously hop out of bed and get ready to enjoy a fun day – either way) and YOU’LL BE REWARDED. You know how much that lil’ triangle lamp on my dresser above costs on the internet? Like, $350, usually. You know what it cost at the Rose Bowl? TEN BUCKS. Lamps are plentiful in-person and competition is often REALLY low (read: non-existent), so your dollar stretches farthest when you actually show up to hunt (there’s a life lesson there, maybe?).

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design by velinda hellen | photo by veronica crawford | from: from “prison cell” to classic & collected: velinda’s budget diy bedroom and bathroom makeover

Wiring Can Be Replaced

Pretty easily, too! While you can grab a DIY wiring kit for under $40, you can also have lamps professionally re-wired for a similar price. (I’ve found it to be about $60-80 after tax here in LA, which is a great price to pay for the peace of mind that I haven’t accidentally incorrectly wired a lamp in a way that will, you know, burn a building down.)

Now that we’ve reviewed all the fun stuff re: acquisition, let’s talk about some of my personal favorite lamp dealers on the internet. I know there are tons out there, but here are nine shops that I’ve personally patronized (in some capacity, at least – I don’t have like, 300 lamps in my house) and that I can happily vouch for. Hopefully, this can be a fun jumping-off point for you on your lighting journey…

1. Vintage 1970s Dark Blue Pencil Pop Art Table Lamp | 2. Vintage 1940s Arts & Crafts Tiered Wooden Handmade Folk Art Wood Shop Lamp | 3. Vintage 1970s Plastic White Cylinder & Chrome Adjustable Desk Lamp

Lackluster Co: I’ve written about (read: screamed about, basically) Lackluster before in different roundups because IT IS THE BEST. If I was being punished and could only buy from one online vintage store for the rest of my life, Lackluster would win (literally do not know the circumstances that would warrant such an oddly-specific punishment, but the sentiment remains). I’ve purchased lighting here – the spiral floor lamp in the photo up top was a Lackluster find! – but the curated collection of affordable smalls makes this a must-follow for any vintage lover.

1. Murano Mushroom Lamp | 2. Blue Murano Swirl Lamp | 3. 70s Telescopic Desk Lamp

Vinteye: Wanna bring home a Murano mushroom lamp without the price tag? (Alternatively phrased: want to impress the Gen Z person in your life?) Vinteye ships from Greece and sources authentic Murano lamps at about half the price that you’d see from a vintage seller here in the US. While prices in LA have been running around $550, Vinteye stocks a similar inventory at half the price – HIGHLY recommended if you’re on the hunt for that perfect tiny finishing piece.

1. Antique French Wall-Mounted Sconces | 2. 1950s Antique Rose Glass French Ceiling Light | 3. 1950s Antique French Ceiling Light

Objets Uniques: OH MY GOSH, their antique French milk glass pendants literally MAKE ME WANT TO WEEP. They’re so sweet and special and the value is unbelievable – all lighting can be re-wired for US use, you can customize the cord and socket mechanisms, and wait – it gets better – YOU CAN DO ALL OF THIS FOR ABOUT $100 PER LIGHT. If you’re on the hunt for a great kitchen or island pendant, look no further!

1. Midcentury Table Lamp | 2. Vintage Cone Lamps | 3. NB100 Desk Lamp

Cosmic Design: If you’re looking for an unmatched selection…baby, you found it!! Cosmic Design is based in the Netherlands, and the depth and breadth of their inventory is incredible. They carry hundreds of table, desk, pendant, wall, and floor lamps (the whole gang’s here!) with a specific focus on art deco and mid-century lighting. While you’re there, be sure to check out the selection of glass vases and boxes – they’re SO pretty.

1. Tripod Teak Table Lamp | 2. Minimalistic Frandsen Desk Lamp | 3. Danish 1960 Table Lamp

Lubie: Lovers of Danish Modern (clean-lined, punchy, and a liiiiittle space-y – in the UFO-y way), rejoice! Martinne sources authentic Danish pieces (seeing as she, uh, lives in Denmark) and I looooove looking at her review photos – it’s so fun seeing how folks have brought her finds to life in their own spaces. (My favorite is the pendant being used as a table lamp. Such a fresh and creative idea!!!)

1. Vintage Walking Lamp | 2. Large LITA Wall Lamp | 3. Mid-Century 1940s French Vintage Lamp

Intemporel: This is another one of my favorite “little bit of everything” stores, y’all!!! There are pages and pages to peruse and Intemporel’s Etsy really scratches the “I wanna thrift” itch when going out is impossible. Pop in here for a huge variety – they stock everything from 1970s rattan to 1950s crystal to 1980s novelty lamps. HUGE FAN.

1. Vintage MCM Brass Tripod Small Table Lamp | 2. Vintage French Cottage Ivory & Blue Fruit Table Lamp | 3. Large Vintage Natural Alabaster Stone Table Lamp

The Eclectic Shire: If your cool, worldly, eccentric, brass-loving, (potentially imaginary?) grandmother had an Etsy store…this would be that Etsy store. I know most of my lamp store recommendations lean a little funky and modern – that’s just my lighting style right now – but The Eclectic Shire has a great selection for those looking for pieces that are a bit more traditional. You can imagine these pieces in a little cozy countryside cottage, you know?

1. Vintage Faux Wood Lamp | 2. Orange Orb Lamp | 3. Vintage Cast Metal Lamp

The Best Things: A constantly changing inventory (new items are uploaded weekly), negotiable pricing, AND free shipping over $75? IT’S THE FREAKIN’ ETSY JACKPOT, Y’ALL. Kelly sources everything from earrings to trivets to lighting and if the current selection isn’t a fit for you, just wait – she’s sure to have a great deal in your wheelhouse soon!!

1. French Mini Lamps | 2. French Lanterns | 3. Vintage Italian Oil Lamp

Bordeaux Brocante: The French do vintage and antique stores WELL. This is another pick for those whose decor tastes lean a bit towards the traditional or ornate. Here, you’ll find elegant crystal sconces, Italian chandeliers, and gilded French lamps – it’s everything you need to take your home to the next level (you’ll be feelin’ like royalty in no time!!!).

This is where I leave you for today. I know that photos of lamps, all shadeless and naked and sad, can often be a little depressing – but I swear that ANY of these would be stunning if given the room to shine in your home. For now…what say you??? Let’s chat about it 🙂 xx

P.S. From Jess: “Today is Caitlin’s BIRTHDAY!!!”

Opening Image Credits: Photo by David Tsay | From: Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, From Tabletops to Bookshelves

The post How To Find Great Vintage Lamps (7 Hot Tips and 9 EHD-Approved Online Shops) appeared first on Emily Henderson.

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