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Design

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!!!

Velinda S House0886
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?).

Velinda S House0697
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

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Gabrielle
3 months ago

Very inspiring! Reminded me this is probably one of the easiest ways to get vintage flavor, patina, and personality into a home.
Even thou you covered so much, I would be so up for another deep dive into the different types, Eg wicker/rattan ones, earthward/ceramic ones, large scale/tall ones, perforated light ones, best personality animal ones, etc. You are onto something here!
Thank you!

K
3 months ago

Happy birthday, Caitlin! Always happy to read a post by you!

Lisa
3 months ago

OMG – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CAITLIN!!!!!! Thank you for your incredibly fun, insightful and just all around lovely presence on this blog – I hope you are having the best day!!!! I always enjoy reading your posts, they just really feel like sittin down with a friend for a coffee and have them chat at you for a while – its always lovely and today was no exception! 😀 Loved all your great tips for lampshopping – they really made me want to go out thrifting, but for know I’ll take the more comfy road of gazing at some etsy storerfronts (sidenote: I am really excited that some of these are based in your europe, so they might actually be accessible to a european based-gal like myself wohoooo!!)

Juanita
3 months ago

Yay, happy birthday Caitlin!! I LOVE this roundup. Another cool mod/space age Etsy lamp shop is Deerstedt – sadly the prices are above my budget (though not outrageous) but so fun to look 🙂

Nicola
3 months ago

Vintage lamps are my jam! I find great ones all over the place for cheap. I now have more than I need so I swap them around like other decor. No tips here except that lamps seem to find me when I’m not looking for them.

Misty
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicola

Nicola, same here! I have a garage stocked with lamps I love and no place for them. I wish buying lamps could be my profession. Lol Just last week a friend sent a listing for lamps and I responded NO MORE LAMPS. That weekend, I bought a set of purple glass (Murano look) lamps for $50 and rewired them. Like you, they just seem to find me!

Misty
3 months ago
Reply to  Misty

Before

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Sharon
3 months ago

Caitlin, you’re a delight. Your rooms always make me smile, and you’ve helped me move toward design that feels like an expression of personality. Thank you for this resource. And happiest of birthdays to you!

Sally
3 months ago

Happy birthday Caitlin. 🥳💃🍷.
Hope you have a great day.
Love the roundup. I like a slightly eccentric lamp to inject a bit of personality too, and I’m a HUGE Etsy fan.

Sally
3 months ago
Reply to  Sally

PS Hope we get to see your living room sometime soon! Looking forward to it!

Samantha
3 months ago

Happy Birthday Caitlin! This post is a goldmine; thank you!!

Bea
3 months ago

Only last week I purchased a 1930s base for a bedside lamp (a dark wood, barley twist design with the origin fitting (but new electricts) on eBay, which is more popular for that kind of stuff in the UK I think? I then purchased a brand new, pleated, liberty print lampshade in yellow with white flowers from the online shop Pooky.com. I am so happy with it and get such pleasure using it when reading my book in bed. And the best thing is the base was £30 and the shade £28 in the sale. A bargain.

Bea
3 months ago
Reply to  Bea

Said lamp

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Terri
3 months ago
Reply to  Bea

Adorable!

3 months ago

I’d been eyeing this amazing bright yellow mid-century tension pole lamp for my son’s room at a local shop. It was listed half the price of anything online and “as is” so I assumed the wiring needed to be replaced. Bought it anyway, waited for my dad to come down to rewire it and he asked “have you plugged it in?” “No…”

It worked. Nothing needed except to tighten some shades. Such a steal and it just MAKES his room! (The room is empty in the pic and the crown isn’t on yet, but you get it!)

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🥰 Rusty
3 months ago

Happy Birthday Caitlin! 🤗💞

Elaine
3 months ago

Finished up work, sat down with a cuppa to have a gander at EHD and before I even opened today’s post I just knew – it’s a Caitlin post, exactly what my noggin needs! And it was exactly what I needed this Friday evening.
And Happy Birthday too! 🎂🎁

Colleen
3 months ago

Happy Birthday, Caitlin!
Quick question – If you suspect a lamp needs re-wiring, do you call an electrician? Bring it to a lamp store?
Thanks!

Amber
3 months ago
Reply to  Colleen

If it’s a simple lamp, you can often just take it to your local hardware store. For more complex things (I had a sputnik pendant rewired, for example), I went to a shop that carried vintage lamps and they recommended a guy who specialized in lamp restoration.

Colleen
3 months ago
Reply to  Amber

Thank you, Amber.

Terri
3 months ago
Reply to  Colleen

A favorite place to get lamps rewired is my local vacuum cleaner store. He fixes vacuums, sewing machines, and small appliances. You do not need an electrician.

Colleen
3 months ago
Reply to  Terri

Thanks, Terri.

Karen
3 months ago

So I haven’t had great experience with putting new shades on old lamps. Is there some secret? They never fit properly it drives me crazy!

Beth
3 months ago

Happy Birthday!!! ✨❤️✨Your posts are always fabulous, incredibly insightful, and make me laugh.

Also, from one American Ginger to another, I’ve been spending some lovely and delicious time in Sicily (just married a Sicilian, by way of Bologna- YUM) and keep thinking how hilarious it would be to bump into you there. Any exciting plans to update us about? Xx

Sherri
3 months ago

Thank you SO MUCH for these links….I think. They may cause me to need a 2nd source of income.

Terri
3 months ago

I find wonderful lamps on Ebay, which sounds like it’s out of style, but you can search for some great deals. Ebay has sellers who don’t necessarily know what style they have. Once curated into a particular style, the price goes up. Just a thought.

Kim
3 months ago

Great post! I’m a little late to the party, but do you have any good resources for replacement lampshades? I found a cool vintage lamp at our local antique mall and while the shade isn’t in terrible shape It’s got a couple of blemishes. I’m not seeing much online that isn’t either insanely expensive or big box blah. Thank you!

Misty
3 months ago
Reply to  Kim

Etsy is a great source for this. I found a set of pink 1950s lamps without shades and ordered a “kit” instead of buying them completed and saved half. Got the exact color, shape, and size I wanted. Super helpful seller, too!

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Misty
3 months ago
Reply to  Misty

Also, the @athome store on occasion has good options. Rewired/painted this lamp for someone wanting rose gold for her daughter and found this shade there. It looks a little large in this photo due to the angle, but it actually fits well…. And it sparkles!

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