Nautical Lighting

by Robin

Using the right type of nautical lighting can lend history and distinction to your home – both inside and out. Few other lighting options offer the possibility of using antique or vintage fixtures that are truly part of history. In this guide we’ll give you some ideas of how nautical lighting can be used in your home, from your kitchen or bathroom to the outdoors. We’ll also give you some pointers on locating antique or vintage nautical lanterns, which will take your décor to a new level.

Myth – Nautical Lighting Is Only For Coastal-Themed Homes

You may think that nautical décor lighting is only for homes with a marine or coastal theme, but the fact is that nautical lighting is styled in such a way that it can be used in many different types of home decorating.



Light fixtures with a coastal theme often feature clean lines which work well in contemporary or modern homes. You can also find antique nautical light fixtures that help lend to vintage decorating styles. And of course, if you’re going for a marine theme, there’s no other type of lighting to use besides indoor nautical lighting.

Where to Use Nautical Light Fixtures

Nautical Chandelier

Nautical Chandelier

There are hundreds of nautical home lighting options to suit nearly any decorating need. Here are a few suggestions of types of nautical lights that can be used in different rooms of the house.

  • Nautical Kitchen Lighting – Flush mounted ceiling fixtures along with matching nautical pendant lights can be a great addition to the kitchen. If you have an attached dinning room you can complete the look with a nautical chandelier.
  • Nautical Living Room Lighting – In the living room or family room a nautical ceiling light mixed with nautical lamps is a nice blend. Floor and table lamps will provide softer light in specific areas. There are some fun and distinctive coastal themed lamps available to accent your décor.
  • Nautical Bathroom Lighting – In the bathroom, nautical wall sconces on either side of a mirror work well as do nautical vanity lights installed above the vanity or sink.
  • Nautical Bedroom Lighting – In the bedroom a ceiling mounted, coastal theme light and fan combination is a great way to add style, light and air circulation to your bedroom all in one fixture. Nautical lamps for the nightstands will help add another softer light source to the room.
  • Hallways & Entryways – Sconces or other styles of wall mounted nautical lights are a good option for hallways and entryways. For larger, more dramatic entryways a nautical chandelier may be a good fit.

Outdoor Lighting

In many ways, nautical light fixtures are perfect for outdoor use. Many of the original fixtures were found on the exterior of ships, lighthouses and docks. Plus, because they were heavily used outdoors, vintage light fixtures are already weather-proof. Whether you choose lantern porch lights or bulkhead wall lights, including outdoor nautical lighting can help relate your indoor theme to your outdoor decorating.

Finding Authentic Fixtures

One of the great things about decorating with nautical light fixtures is that you can purchase fixtures that were actually used on board a ship, like marine navigation lights. There are a number of dealers who salvage light fixtures from old ships and resell them to homeowners and collectors. Many fixtures are from more recent freighters. However, some fixtures are occasionally found on an antique boat or lighthouse. These are truly a piece of history and can become a centerpiece or significant point of interest in your home.

Here are a few places that offer original nautical lighting fixtures:

Brass Ship Light

Brass Ship Light

  • Big Ship Salvage – They primarily carry brass light fixtures that are well suited to outdoor nautical lighting applications. However, if you’re looking for a nautical chandelier they do have a medium sized collection of pendant lighting chandeliers.
  • Antiques of the Sea – This outfitter has a decent selection of vintage nautical lighting. Most are wall sconces made of brass or bronze, but they also have a good selection of lantern style, glass nautical lamps as well.
  • Sea Junk – This marine merchant has some unusual nautical lights, and best of all they give you a little bit of information about where the light fixtures came from. Most of the time, when you buy vintage fixtures you don’t get much of the story or history of the fixture.

Any time you purchase fixtures that have been salvaged from a ship, particularly from an online merchant – be sure to ask plenty of questions. Find out of the fixture has been modified to work off of land-based power. Also inquire about their return policy if the lamp arrives damaged or if it simply is not what you expected.

Remember too that genuine fixtures are going to have some wear – that’s part of their charm. If you’re looking for nautical lighting fixtures that are in pristine condition, you’re most likely better off purchasing new reproduction fixtures rather than vintage or antique nautical lights.

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Authentic Nautical Décor

Adding authentic nautical décor is a great way to provide a distinctly nautical feel to your home. It will also provide character and originality to your home décor. Using a few basic decorating ideas you can create your own pieces or you can find creative people with a sense for these things who have made unique items from various nautical items.

Take advantage of these creative ideas for re-purposing items from ships that have been salvaged. These items can add a truly distinct look or your décor. Plus you can have fun collecting and creating unique pieces to use in your home. […]

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Nautical Lanterns

Using nautical lanterns either for decoration or as a light source can be a great way to bring a bit of history into your home. Whether you’re trying to find an antique centerpiece for a living room featuring nautical décor, or if you’re looking for a matching lantern to go with existing reproduction lighting.

As you begin investigating nautical lighting, you’ll find a wide range of products on the market from inexpensive reproduction light fixtures to antique lanterns that can cost thousands of dollars. There are advantages to each of these types of lighting, but it is important to find the right style for your particular home décor. […]

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Nautical Bathroom Lighting

If you’re looking to incorporate nautical décor into your bathroom a great place to start is with the lighting. But it is important to start with a plan and to decide exactly what you want to achieve. The first thing to decide is what is the scope of your bathroom update? Are you looking only to swap out your light fixtures for new nautical vanity lights, or are you looking to update the whole look of the bathroom? If you’re only focusing on lights you will have fewer elements to consider.

Even if you are simply changing the lighting there are some things you will want to consider. What is the color scheme and what color of finish would work best? Also are you looking for something sophisticated or something more playful? […]

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Marine Navigation Lights

Marine navigation lights may be the most important lights on a ship. By following the international navigational lighting rules ships are not only allowed to see each other during the dark hours of the night but they will also be able to tell the size and the directions other ships are traveling. This helps to prevent potentially disastrous collisions when traveling the sea.

The most important use of these maritime lights is for safety, but once they have been retired from use they can be salvaged from old ships, rewired and given a new life in a home. These ship lights can provide a fun way to add your nautical décor. […]

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