41 midcentury lighting ideas – post lanterns, lamp posts, wall lanterns and landscaping lights

HERE IS A REALLY GREAT SURVEY OF VINTAGE OUTDOOR LIGHTING, from my 1961 Progress Lighting catalog. I started with this photo because: Just look at the little umbrella landscape light. It is phenomenal! The careful addition of outdoor lighting can be one of the easiest and relatively cheapest ways to improve the curb appeal of your midcentury ranch house, Cape, colonial or contemporary. At minimum, think: High quality, well maintained wall lanterns adjacent to or above the entry door and garage, and a lamp post either at the front of the driveway or closer to the house next to a walkway heading toward the door. Landscape around the lamp post – this is also a great piece of ‘hardscape’ to launch a decorative fence. Light are “sentinels”. Use them to ultimately draw attention toward your front door…they are tools to make your house say a big, warm “Welcome.”


All of these lamp post styles are “around” — except, as far as know, for the decorative steel one, #3. I did feature a metal post for a mailbox that might be able to be adapted for this use. I also must say, I am not quite sure where to get a post that includes the hanger thingy shown above on all the posts. We had to drill ours in, it was a real hassle. Finally, on this topic – I know where to get a nice, heavy duty custom name-and-number plate to hang on your lamp post. We have one! It is so cool! Will do a post soon. A post post tee hee.


1961 post lanterns. SO COOL. LOVE that guy in the upper right with the house numbers included. Swoonable.


A couple more. The three colonial styles can *pretty much* be found today. See my Lighting Fast & Easy Page. I like the white and gold, so scrumptiously cheesy. Seriously, I really like it!


Oh, and here’s some more. Nice! These lanterns – hmmm, nothing like them available today, I fear. ?


Wall lanterns to match. Hanover (see Fast and Easy Page) make lanterns with the scrolly thingys, like the example at the top. This style goes over the garage, center. You need to make sure you fascia is tall enough. Be careful about scale. In fact, scale is a very Important issue regarding all these lights: You don’t want your lights to be too big, or too dinky. You want them to be just right. One of my biggest pet peeves is the houses today with their gargantuan wall lanterns. Ugh. You want people to see your House. Not your Wall Lantern. These are like jewelry. Agonize over this decision, please.


More outdoor retro lighting. P5970 at the left, middle: You can get this from Rejuvenation – see the Fast & Easy page. Love 5973! Tim Wetzel: Can we have this one, please?


The three colonial style ceiling fixtures on this page – ubiquitous in the 50s and 60s. Everywhere! Easy to find replacements today. But they can be cheap looking. Spend a little extra to get solid heavy construction. It will subconsciously comfort you even though the inexpensive big box store lights look the same. Also: I always see LOTs of outdoor lights at the Re-Store. Tim: We want P5978, too, please – a lovely ‘colonial-modern’ bridge.

  1. matt says:

    I stumble upon 5967 shades now and then. Found a similar base at lowes. Which made a great more vintage look over the horrible brass 80’s lights on the home.

  2. Lauren says:

    I was able to find 5438, or a very close version- Made by Seagull lighting (Model # 8202-12). Not sure if that ones a favorite, but it’s nice to know it’s out there!! I’ve been hunting lanterns for two weeks or more online, and there are some very similar ones around if you have the fixation to search deeply 🙂

  3. Brian J. says:

    Lots of great lamp posts here. We have the P 5419 in the fourth pic from the top. It was destroyed in a hail storm a week ago. Any ideas where we can find one?

    1. Justin Kohl says:

      If you find one please let me know where. My aunt threw my grandparents away and I’ve been searching for one for over a year now and can’t find it anywhere.

      1. Pam Kueber says:

        A year? Buhahahaha. Try: Five. They do come up — ebay is the place to watch. Do lots of saved searches, then sit back and wait. I mean, don’t sit back — be ready to POUNCE!

  4. dorothy bryant says:

    This out side pole post lamp is old. Do all of the bases usually fit in the same fixture. The roofers threw shingles down from the roof
    shattered it and i don.t see a model number. It was here in the early
    60’s I see one i’d like to order in this add,

    1. pam kueber says:

      dorothy, this story is about vintage lighting – we were just taking a look at old advertising material as a reference. these items are not really for sale.

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