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
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.
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:
- 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.