Reading Time: 3 minutes

The mid-century modern movement spanned from roughly 1933 to 1965 as response to a post-World War II environment. Designers and architects sought to create products that married the benefits of mass production and technology with more optimistic and human elements inherent in craft. It grew out of the International and Bauhaus movements, flourishing in the post-World War II era. Instead of fading away, this style has seen a massive resurgence in today’s modern home with authentic heirloom pieces mixed with contemporary furnishings and decor. 

While hunting for the right style in vintage stores or online sites (www.chairish.com, www.1stdibs.com, www.etsy.com, www.ebay.com) often results in an enjoyable weekend of new discoveries, you can achieve the mid-century style equipped with modern technology and safety coupled with mid-century warmth. How? You can achieve this look by blending mid-century styled light bulbs, vintage finds and reissued arc lamps with current safety and energy-efficient standards.

It is important to consider that well-designed vintage lighting from the 1960’s and 1970’s is currently selling for 20 times the original value at the time of purchase. You can review brands such as Herman Miller, NOVA of California, Modeline and Carl Hansen and note that they have increased in value 2000% or more since the time of sale.

1. Vintage Light Bulbs

In the early 20th century, light bulbs used a heated filament to provide a golden glow. These bulbs were extremely energy inefficient. Edison LED bulbs have been designed to replace these earlier vintage light bulbs. 

Edison LED bulbs use an LED light source instead of a filament to give off warm light. Along with energy efficiency, Edison LED bulbs give off the same golden glow, similar to the vintage light bulbs. Using Edison bulbs can be a quick solution to having a vintage style light in your home. Moreover, vintage light bulbs clearly show things the way they are. They have a clearer Color Rendering Index (CRI), increasing its luminescence rather than adding a green or blue tint due to impurities in the manufacturing process of incandescent bulbs.

Mid-century lighting features sleek and minimalist design

2. Vintage Lanterns

Lanterns make excellent decor for evenings at home with class and elegance. They are inexpensive fixtures that can provide that rustic feel. You can put your lantern on your dining table, in your bedroom, or even in the garden. Lanterns provide ambient lighting to any space or can be used just as art pieces. They can either be used as a flashlight or an atmospheric light.

Various designs exist for lanterns. Some have a unique feature that enables the user to choose the preferred flame or lighting mode. The decorative outdoor lantern can be controlled with a remote or a switch. Its portable nature increases its efficiency as it can be used even in an outdoor setting.

3. Mid-Century Modern Arc Lamps

The first arc lamp was designed in 1960by NOVA of California and conterminously by Flos, a lighting design company in Italy. The inventors of the lamp in the U.S. called it an “Arc Lamp” and the inventors in Italy called it the “Arco” floor lamp, but the concept was the same. The objective was to offer a hanging pendant that was portable and did not require an electrician to punch a hole in the ceiling in order to provide overhead lighting. This lamp has been featured in hit movies and tv series like “The Italian Job,” “Diamonds are Forever,” “Mad Men” and many others.

Mid-Century Modern Arc Lamps feature a sleek and minimalist design. The base supports the focal feature of the shade that is cantilevered over a sofa or a sectional. These can be great additions to décor either as statement pieces or can provide a more functional role of lighting. Arc lamps from NOVA of California usually incorporate plated metal finishes with wood detailing. Arc lamps coordinate easily and complement other types of lighting in a room. 

Before buying an arc floor lamp, assess any other types of lighting you have in your house. While you may have recessed cans overhead, they are not necessarily positioned where you need light most. Poorly lit rooms can be corrected by arc lamps. They provide overhead lighting without the need to hire an electrician and install a ceiling light. Most arc lamps have adjustable necks, suitable for lighting a workspace or placing over a sofa for reading.  

When buying an arc lamp, it is important to consider quality. This design cantilevers a relatively heavy shade over you and your guests and it pays to buy from a reputable manufacturer that has a history of quality. There are always poor quality, low costs substitutes in the market, but if you are looking to buy a piece that may well be a part of your life for decades, it pays to buy once and buy intelligently.

The mid-century style has transcended its time of origin as a classic interior design option. Homeowners increasingly choose this design style to warm up the home or to create ambiance when entertaining friends and family. While no hard-and-fast rules exist, mid-century modern lighting is an effective way of achieving this design choice. Consider a mid-century modern arc lamp to achieve a warm and cozy feeling in your den and bedroom, or a clear and crisp light for your desk or work environment.