This article explores mid century modern bathroom light fixtures and lighting trends.
Mid-century modern design, originating in the 1950s, remains a timeless interior design movement. This style is characterized by its sleek lines, contemporary use of natural materials, and a strong emphasis on form.
One of the hallmarks of this design era is its distinctive modern lighting fixtures, which played a pivotal role in shaping interiors. During this retro period, fixtures with bold geometric shapes, vibrant colors, and eye-catching patterns took center stage.
Mid century modern bathroom light fixtures are highly sought after in vintage or antique shops. Online design auctions like 1st Dibs or InCollect list a great deal of ultra-expensive vintage lighting for every space.
Great mid century modern bathroom lighting can easily make or break a space so it’s important to layer it in lighting throughout your bathroom. Luckily, switching out dated lighting for new modern ones are some of the easiest ways to transform a space. Warm, ambient light created from multiple lighting sources creates a beautiful ambiance that will illuminate a space.
A few things to note about bathroom lighting: one major difference in lighting your bathroom compared to lighting other areas of your home is you have to pay attention to damp UL listings. Not all lighting is suitable for moist bathrooms so safety is one critical concern. Secondly, consider the metal substrate. Stainless steel, aluminum or brass are the best substrates to use in wet areas like outdoors or in the bathroom as they do not corrode as easily as nickel would.
Read on to learn about more mid century modern light fixtures and lighting trends.
Mid century modern bathroom light fixtures IDEAS
1. Wall Sconces
Wall sconces possess the remarkable ability to transform a plain wall into a statement piece. They don't just offer additional illumination; they have the power to craft an elevated artistic focal point. Mid Century wall sconces are often showcased in geometric forms in brass or chrome. True to the essence of mid-century modern design, these wall lighting fixtures blur the line between functional function and sculptural artwork.
2. Vanity Lighting
Vanity lighting demands a harmonious blend of functionality and design. In bathrooms, the lighting should serve a dual purpose - one for efficient illumination and another for setting a mood or ambiance. Vanity sconces, in particular, are often strategically placed alongside vanity mirrors, making a low-profile design essential.
However, orchestrating multiple light sources within a confined space can be challenging. For those seeking a classic mid century decorating aesthetic, consider opting for globe sconces crafted from milk glass. These fixtures inject a touch of design sophistication without overwhelming the space, perfectly aligning with the timeless charm of mid-century style.
3. Ceiling Lights
Ceiling lights play a pivotal role in defining the aesthetics of living rooms and dining rooms. Eminent among these fixtures are chandeliers and semi-flush mounts, known for their ability to establish captivating focal points and create a warm ambiance. Chandeliers in particular, excel in creating inviting spaces and directing attention upward.
With all mid century modern styles, design was centered around playing with modern forms. Thus, mid century modern ceiling lights vary greatly. Shapes like tiered chandeliers, linear branch-like or starburst fixtures were common. With larger scale fixtures, it is all the more important to use high quality materials like brass or chrome for metal and glass for decorative accents.
4. Pendant Lights
Pendant lighting fixtures are renowned for their space-efficient design, gracefully suspended from cords or rods, making them an excellent choice for areas with limited space. Their versatility shines when arranged in clusters, casting a warm and inviting glow over standing bathtubs.
In addition, designers and stylists are increasingly using smaller pendants by vanities, in lieu of traditional vanity sconces, as seen in the above image. Pendant lighting, although popularized in the mid century, continues to be a timeless and prevalent choice in contemporary interior design.
5. Accent Table Lamps
Just as the accent kitchen lamp became trendy this year, accent table lamps in the bathroom are also trending. Table lamps made from wood or metal often can be used in bathrooms and powder rooms to offer ambient, layered light. In bathrooms, smaller accent lamps can be added to vanities and side tables elevating both aesthetics and functionality.
Mid century lamps also had shades with distinct or unique proportions such as tall cylinders or pleated empire shapes. Table and floor lamps used unique shades in luxe fabrics such as linens or silks.
Mid Century Modern Bathroom Lighting Trends
With mid century modern design making such a large comeback, you can see specific design attributes making its way back in contemporary interior design. Take a look at some of today’s biggest trends that are rooted in mid century modern design.
1. Sputnik Lighting
One mid century ceiling fixture design that has never gone out of style is sputnik lighting. The sputnik style of lighting gets its name from the first satellite to orbit the earth and the sputnik style is now synonymous with 1960’s fascination with space. The multiple arms display a starburst-like shape. This lighting style still remains popular today. Similar styles and even originals of these pendants can be found on many retailer’s sites.
2. Saucer Pendants
In keeping with 1960’s fascination with the cosmos, the era witnessed a remarkable popularity of Saucer pendants in mid-century interior design. These distinctive pendants, often reminiscent of flying saucers in shape, were typically crafted from materials such as fabric or metal. They represented a modern and cost-effective alternative to traditional chandeliers.
While certain Saucer pendants may include fabric materials reminiscent of lanterns, their defining feature lies in their unmistakable saucer-shaped silhouette, an iconic hallmark of mid-century design.
3. Brass as a Material
Brass emerged as a highly sought-after material during the mid-century era and was quite popular in the mid century for hardware, decorative accents, as well as lighting. Pendants, chandeliers and lamps were made out of the materials. In addition to this luxe metal known for its strength and beauty - it's perfect if you want a touch of boho lighting too. The coppery, golden hue of brass makes it particularly beautiful as a decorative accent. Both lacquered and unlacquered brass are still used in today’s design landscape.
Without polishing unlacquered brass over time, the brass will darken in a beautiful patina that is highly sought after. Whereas lacquered brass represents a modern approach, designed to preserve the metal's original luster and prevent natural darkening. Both types are celebrated in interior design today.
4. Danish-Style Geometric Lighting
No one does 1960’s design better than the Danes. Scandinavian designers are regarded as some of the most inventive and forward thinking designers of their time. Danish MCM designs are still replicated to this day. Iconic Scandinavian brands like Louis Poulsen have left an indelible mark on the world of interior design since the late 19th century.
One of their most celebrated creations, the iconic PH-5 design, first introduced in 1958, continues to be a coveted piece that is readily available today as a pendant, sconce and even lamp configuration. Its mid century modern appeal transcends time, making it a timeless addition to contemporary spaces. Influence of this style in modern day design is a testament to its lasting influence on modern lighting aesthetics.
5. Globe Forms
Throughout the 1950s and 60s, an exploration of geometric forms gave rise to the widespread adoption of globe lighting. Spherical glass fixtures made of glass, including pendants, flush mounts, and sconces, became a common choice during this era. This trend even extended to lamps, providing a contemporary alternative to the traditional lamp base and shade design. Today, globe shapes remain a popular and enduring choice, enjoying a resurgence in popularity like never before.
6. Pleated Shades
One prominent mid-century trend gaining back momentum is the resurgence of pleated shades. Traditionally associated with a vintage aesthetic, pleated lampshades have been revitalized with contemporary prints and fabrics. The use of diverse shades and materials in pleated lampshades breathes new life into this classic trend, bringing the trend into the 21st century. It’s a traditional and chic look that remains classic.
The hallmarks of mid century modern bathroom light fixtures are a combination of high quality materials like wood, metals or fabrics, in addition to bold geometric shapes and bright colors. Mid century modern design is a timeless design style that will always feel modern yet familiar. The enduring charm and classic forms of mid century modern bathroom light fixtures are a testament to this period’s legacy in design.
And among the different areas of the home, the bathroom stands out as the ideal space to incorporate these enduring trends. We hope you’re able to incorporate these mid century modern bathroom lighting trends in your own home!