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10 Vintage Movie Lighting Ideas for Your Interior

Movie and TV set designers go to great lengths to bring the most authentic look for period dramas and epic movies. They frequently select iconic designer pieces to stand out and create the necessary ambiance for each scene. Next time you watch your favorite movie or TV show, try to see how many iconic vintage and antique chandeliers, table lamps or sconces you can uncover in the background. Here are ten amazing examples on how to find similar styles of vintage lighting arrangements for your own interior.

he great Hollywood classics always find a way to impress with epic grandeur. 'Gone With the Wind' gives us interiors with a refined southern ambiance where crystal chandeliers, sconces, and candelabras are omnipresent. Chandeliers of the same type can come in a wide range, from an extra-large Italian nine-light brass and crystal chandelier to a more size-effective mid-century Italian Marie Antoinette style chandelier. For a more colorful alternative with the same type of splendor, take a look at Italian art glass chandeliers, like a Venetian Murano glass opaline floral chandelier.

Another style of chandelier makes a memorable appearance onboard the spaceship Avalon in the movie 'Passengers', where the art deco-inspired Grand Concourse bar presents a pair of exquisite glass chandeliers. Similar styles of chandeliers were produced in Murano’s historic glass factories in Italy in the 1960's, such as this chandelier with Murano glass polyhedral prisms that reflect the light in a delightful multitude of ways. An interesting alternative of similar make is this mid-century staggered chandelier with Venini glass prisms.

Sometimes you have to watch a movie multiple times to notice all the surrounding decorative details. In other movies, light pieces play a major part of the ambiance and become iconic symbols of the movie itself. In the 1964 political satire 'Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb', the massive circular light ring hanging above the conference table in the Pentagon’s war room took on a life of its own.  For Kubrick fans on a decorating budget – not to mention a slightly smaller space, we’d suggest using a more scaled down version.  A mid-century chrome open circle pendant light or even a white metal ring chandelier designed by famed American designer Alvin Lustig can turn any space into a surreal cabinet meeting.

James Bond enthusiasts can find a profusion of design inspiration in many sets of the popular franchise. Famed movie set designer Ken Adam (also responsible for the Dr. Strangelove set design) knew how to create show-stopping light pieces. The Whyte Penthouse set from 'Diamonds are Forever' showcases an epic chrome tubular chandelier. For a more downsized real life space, a 1940's tubular ceiling fixture can certainly set the right tone.

For fans of the atomic age, the 2007 remake of John Waters’ 'Hairspray' takes us back to the 1960s when beehives and record hops were all the rage. Another fabulous phenomenon of the ages was the Sputnik chandelier, which features prominently in the movie’s television stage set. Sputnik chandeliers became very popular and vary greatly in style.  The midcentury Atomic Sputnik brass chandelier still remains the classic version along with different remakes and redesigns like this Sputnik chandelier with its bursting triedri prisms or this pair of 1980's Italian silvered metal Sputniks.

The 'Harry Potter' universe set the tone for a new wave of admirers of medieval and gothic style. Aside from fire-lit torches and candles floating in mid-air, there are also lots of candle-lit chandeliers and candelabras to light up the iconic interiors. If you plan on bringing a bit of the ambiance of headmaster Dumbledore's office into your own home, try going with an antique hand-forged five-light iron candelabra that you can either use with candles or have wired for electric lights. If you prefer something wired-up and ready to go, try a 1960's orbit chandelier with brass trim and verdigris finish.

Jaques Tati's 1958 masterpiece 'Mon Oncle' uses an intensely minimalist home interior for its comedic plotline. The very few pieces of designer furniture include a pair of modernist wall sconces and a floor lamp that were at the height of stylish French design during the 1950's. A pair of Italian 1950's Stilnovo Black enamel branched sconces can certainly help you turn your home into a contemporary Villa Arpel. For a slightly different look, an articulated Arredoluce style wall light can help you direct light into different areas and could certainly be useful in a home office space.

The 1960's TV series 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' and its offspring movies amazed their audiences with eclectic interiors that brought together a diverse mix of styles, combining exotic art and furniture pieces with pendant lamps, sconces, and candelabras. Similarly, unusual pendant lamps can be found in a number of styles and period designs, ranging from Art Deco hanging copper pendants to Victorian brass and stained glass lanterns and even small Victorian pendants with inserted multicolored crystals. You can create the same eclectic mix in your interior by juxtaposing sconces from a different time period, like a pair of mid-century Hollywood Regency sconces with gilded monkeys.

Table lamps with intricate designs and color palettes also made frequent appearances on the show's interiors. The more exotic ones are reminiscent of the style that James Mont is famously known for, like this pair of archaic Chinese vase lamps in the manner of James Mont.

One of the critically acclaimed recent TV shows that brought back an enormous interest in Mid-century Modern design was 'Mad Men', with its meticulously crafted and authentic set designs. In Roger's office, the lounging space uses a pair of table lamps with colorful ceramic bases with geometric patterns to add some unobtrusive color. Similar pairs of 'rainbow feather pattern' lamps were produced in the 1950's by Aldo Londi for Bitossi in Italy. For those that like something more textured, drip glaze table lamps can create an equally colorful mid-century ambiance.

In the reception area, primary colors take on a bold scheme, along with a pair of green glazed ceramic lamps. Try bringing a bright color scheme to your interior by selecting a pair of yellow Chinese ginger jar styled table lamps, or maybe even a pair of Blenko hand blown glass table lamps in electric blue. 

In the more recent 'Empire' series, the set designers actually built a custom made chandelier for Jamal's apartment in Chelsea. The designers appear to have taken inspiration from a number of mid-century modern styles, including the revered Italian lighting manufacturer Stilnovo. For any fans of the show with plans of redecorating their interior, a similar piece could be this vintage Stilnovo chandelier with brass and black enameled body and frosted glass shades.

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