I have long had a love of lamps, the mid-century modern, futuristic looking lamps, that is. The kind that most of us grew up with or our grandparents still had when we were little. Coveted by collectors and interior designers alike, they have a look that never goes out of style, with classic lines, popular 1950s/60s colors, and some of the most creative lampshades imaginable.
While we take a breather from Bollywood, let us have a look-see at some fabulous examples of mid-century atomic design lamps, starting with my own, of which I have several stationed around my fourth floor 1950s era apartment.
This pink, rocketship shaped number is my prized possession (lamp-wise).
I found this lamp in the mid-90s at the semi-annual antique show held here in Salem. The seller actually had a pair, but at the time I could only afford to buy the one. Up to this point most of my mid-century items had come from haunting the Goodwill and other area thrift shops, but I just could not pass up this beauty and dug into my savings to the tune of around $30.00…a lot of money for someone who, back then, was working a low wage retail job.
The lamp shade is not original to this lamp. Rather I have traded shades from another of my lamps, as this one was a tad brighter and fitted the room’s other decor better. I have no idea the make of this guy, but I do often wonder who now is enjoying its twin.
This floor lamp I picked up two years ago when I moved to my current apartment. It was on sale at a downtown antique shop and the pink color went so well with the above lamp, that I knew it would be perfect for the opposite side of my living room.
The lampshade on this floor lamp is the original to the pink table lamp. I think it looks quite nice on this one.
This fantastic chartreuse ship was a find at Goodwill just a few years back.
It was on the shelf for just $12.99 and I snatched it up and plunked it into my cart the minute I saw it. I kept wondering why it was so cheap, and when I got home I discovered that one of the parts that sticks up, at either the bow or the stern, had broken off and been glued back on. However, it is barely noticeable (I certainly did not notice when I was in the store) and doesn’t bother me a bit, especially since I paid so little for it!
Here is one of my earliest finds, this Oriental or Asian inspired TV lamp.
This design was obviously very popular as there are millions of similar TV lamps everywhere you look! I don’t think you could go through an antique mall without spotting at least a dozen of these in various colors and decoration. They are certainly cute! Purchased at some thrift store (I think) back in the early 90s, I no longer use this lamp as it needs to be rewired. But it still looks attractive sitting in its cozy little corner of the kitsch kabinet.
For you creative types or those who like to mix modern with vintage, this lamp is a both.
The base is new, purchased from Target, while the shade is vintage and was found at an estate sale. I’d had the shade for several years before I found a suitable base. I think the sleekness of the lamp contrasts nicely with the swirly-ness of the shade. I keep this one in my office/guest bedroom.
Now, in my bedroom I keep not one, not two, but three lamps. Not that I like to keep it that bright or anything, it is just that I have no place else to put them all.
This nifty green number is one of a pair (the other one sits on my desk at work) that I found at the Salvation Army Thrift Shop around 3 or 4 years back. Again, a great find that I just lucked onto.
Back in the 80s and 90s, finding these in thrift stores wasn’t all that uncommon, but getting into the 2000s they get snapped up quickly, when they can be found. I think these two lamps were around $7 each…quite a good buy!
This tripod style floor lamp is another that I have had for years and while it was in my living room in my previous house, and before that my apartment, it is now in my bedroom in my current place.
If I recall correctly it was at an estate sale that I came across it. I don’t recall if this shade was with it, or if I bought it later, separately. I had to stop using it recently, as the wiring at the plug has started to crack and fray. One of these days I will take it in for rewiring.
Because the floor lamp by my bed is not in working order, I have this cute little guy on my dresser in the event want to read the latest copy of Filmfare magazine while lounging in bed.
This lamp is a bit plainer than my others, but I am just fascinated by the glass globe part. I don’t know why, but I love that. The globe does not light up, which would have been awesome, but it does give the piece a nice space age look.
Lastly, we have this newer lamp, which I purchased at Ross’ Dress for Less. It has a nice retro look and sits upon my fridge…..
…and I use it often because I am way too lazy to walk all the way to the dining room to flip the switch that turns on the ceiling light that the kitchen and dining area share.
Ok, now let’s take a look at lamps that I do not own, but wish I did!!!
Just look at these two beauts…sigh…just fantastic! You almost expect a flying saucer to whiz right by!
Here is a nice, but odd pair. The lampshades are to die f or, but I am not so sure about the lamp bases….hmmmm.
You can’t go wrong with turquoise. I would be more than happy to give this lamp a home!
Talk about your space age design, this little desk lamp looks as if it is about ready to blast off!
Similar to the two up above, this zig zag lamp is of the type I would love to get my hands on some day!
A nice little desk lamp that would brighten any student’s dorm room!
I actually put a bid on this next lamp on Ebay. Was outbid very quickly, however.
Simple and attractive with its bolt of lightening design, which I kinda like.
A fiberglass lampshade will improve the look of any lamp base, as you can see here.
A stunning design…
…which looks even more awesome lit up!
One more look, close-up (because it is really just that wonderful!)
And because I just can’t get enough of turquoise…
Love this lampshade!
Iif black is more your color, how about this pair?
This seems to be a fairly common design, but nice. Maybe not as bold looking as I like.
And speaking of bold, here is ‘my most wanted’!
Another black number. Very nice shade.
The little swatches of green on this shade are a nice touch. But I would most certainly be finding me a different base for it to sit on.
What can I say, I like this style!
Some day, when my time comes and they tell me to “go towards the light, Michael.” This is what I’d better be seeing!
Imagine the fun of searching for a lamp base to match up with this shade!
This would look awesome in my boudoir.
The green version is not too bad, either!
This one is perfect for a room done up in Danish Modern.
Unique. Not sure if I like it or not, but the red shades sure make it interesting.
Ah, a very, very nice little bedroom lamp. Dig the crazy shape of that shade!
If I actually had room on my office desk, among all the clutter and piles of stuff, this desk lamp would certainly look nice on it!
If coveting something is wrong….well, I am in a load of trouble ’cause I really want this one!
Pink versions of the lightening bold design. I am pretty sure I have seen this in several different colors, in fact. Hmmm….wonder if there are green ones?
This floor lamp leaves me speechless. I want it!!
A nice, simple tripod design.
This one certainly is majestic.
It took a lot of guts and luck to come up with this winner!
This desk sized lamp is sort like a little pagoda.
This one is just so unusual, you just have to love it!
More zig zag, anyone?
No need to even bother looking up at the starry sky when you have this lamp. Here you have the stars, the sky, and a satellite or two.
This little number is sort of cute. I like the little antenna like things on the base, and the design on the shade is cool.
Ah, now here is a real good looker. Don’t you love the round shade on the base!
I am pretty sure this one is straight from The Jetsons!
Somewhat different from the rest, but still interesting. The Egyptian lady twirls around, from what I understand.
The base is nothing to write home about, but that lampshade would do any lamp proud!
What an awesome pair!
Now this is a file holder I could use at work!
Another wonderful floor lamp.
More of the best.
And one last example of modern design.
I hope you enjoyed looking at these lamps. I will post more as I find them!