Nautical Lighting

by Robin

Using the right type of nautical lighting can infuse your home with history and distinction — 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 lights can be used in your home, from your kitchen or bathroom to the great outdoors. We’ll also give you some pointers on locating antique or vintage 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.

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. Here are some tips for evaluating your nautical bathroom lighting options and determining other ways you can incorporate a nautical theme.

Lighting Only or Whole Bathroom Makeover?

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 tie together so the task will be a bit simpler. However if you’re planning a bathroom makeover, Continue reading

Outdoor Nautical Lighting

If you’re looking for a way to bring a coastal look and feel to your home, consider using nautical lights to help you achieve this look both indoors.., and outdoors! Nautical lighting can lend itself to both contemporary and rustic decorating styles.

Types of Outdoor Nautical Lighting

The most common nautical outdoor lighting is reproduction or stylized lighting, but you can find some actual ship lights that have been converted for home use for a truly authentic look. Here are some popular types as well as ways to use this type of lighting. Continue reading

Nautical Kitchen Lighting

There are few rooms in the house that are in as much need of light as the kitchen, and there are few lighting styles that provide the clean lines and sense of history that nautical lightin can bring. When you choose nautical lights for the kitchen you’ll find that with just a few fixtures, you can radically change the appearance of your kitchen — and hopefully improve the available working light as well.

How to Incorporate Nautical Kitchen Lighting

The kitchen is the engine of most homes – the busiest room in the house, where meals are prepared and often consumed by families on the go. Due to the nature of the work done in the kitchen, it is the room that needs the best lighting. Here are some great ways indoor nautical lights can help make time spent in this ever-important room more comfortable and functional. Continue reading

Nautical Lanterns

Using the right lanterns either for decoration or for light can be a great way to bring a bit of nautical history into your home. Whether you’re trying to find an antique centerpiece for a nautical-styled living room or you’re looking for a matching lantern to go with existing reproduction kitchen nautical lighting, there are more options now than ever before.

Vintage vs. Reproduction Nautical Lanterns

Nautical Lantern

Nautical Lantern

As you begin investigating nautical lights, 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 nautical lighting. Continue reading