10 ways to add starbursts to your mid century modern home

retro atomic starburstAmong mid-century enthusiasts, the starburst is king. Vintage starburst hardware, clocks, mirrors and more can fetch high prices on ebay — making it difficult to procure these original, sought-after pieces. Luckily, there are several ways for starburst-loving souls to inject a little sparkle into their decor without having to enter a bidding war. Here’s our list of 10 ways you can easily add a little atomic twinkle to your home — using readily available reproduction hardware and decor as well as budget friendly paint treatments.

Atomic starburst hardware


1.  If a vintage Nutone starburst doorbell is on your must-have list, but actually finding one is proving too difficult a task, check out our story: Doorbells for a mid century house including atomic starburst — all about the starburst doorbells now available from Rejuvenation. 

mid-century-modern-star-door-backplate-from-rejuvenation2.  Add even more dazzle to your mid century entry door with 5 styles of mid century modern front door backplates — including the coveted atomic star — also from Rejuvenation.

atomic-star-towel-ring-rejuvenation3.  OUCH, this news is so hot we burnt our fingers — We announced just yesterday that Rejuvenation’s Perry line of atomic bathroom hardware (example above) is now out of production, only remaining stock is available. If you love the vintage Starline starburst bathroom hardware used in Kate’s retro pink bathroom, but don’t have the time or energy needed to seek out a vintage set of your own, Rejuvenation has dwindling stock available of their reproduction atomic star bathroom hardware in 5 coordinating pieces. Inventory is running out, so call Rejuvenation ASAP if you wanted any of the pieces in this line for your mid century home.

starburst-backplate4.  Want the starburst cabinet escutcheons instead? These reproduction chrome star backplate and knob combinations from Rejuvenation — great for a kitchen or bathroom — are very twinkly — assuming they are not also affected by the supplier issue. Note, though, we are waiting on confirmation from Rejuvenation whether these are affected by their supplier issue too — be aware; we fear the worst.

Starburst Decor


thin sunray mirror horchows5.  To make a big decor impact with starbursts, the sunray mirror is an all-time-favorite. Our story — 7 supersize sunburst mirrors — sources some of the biggest and best reproductions. An added bonus: Readers chime in with lots more starburst mirror source tips in the comments section. Note, Pam has the mirror above in her living room.

mid-century-sputnik-light6.  For an atomic starburst accessory that really shines, consider one of these stunning and relatively affordably priced Sputnik chandelier lights made today.

Elgin-Starburst-clock7.  And who could forget the ever-popular vintage starburst wall clock. These can be found at thrift stores, estate sales, Ebay and Etsy, plus many new reproductions can be found at places like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls — even Home Depot.

starburst-tile-four8.  If subtle starbursts are more your speed, these simply gorgeous Starburst tiles from Ann Sacks and Barbara Barry would make a perfect accent in a bathroom or kitchen backsplash. This just in — reader Jennifer has confirmed that Ann Sacks has discontinued this tile design. Drats.

Budget starbursts

starburst-stencils-49. As lovely as all of the above options are, sometimes our eyes are bigger than our budget. For just the cost of some metallic paint and a little of your time, these  two starburst stencil projects for your bathroom — including a free pattern — can help you get that starstruck look for less.

hand-painted-franciscan-starburst-wall-design10.  For a similar budget-friendly idea with a little more atomic googie feel, try making painted “wallpaper” of vintage Franciscan starburst style googies with tips from reader Lora.

So there you have it folks — 10 ways to easily add a touch vintage starburst dazzle to your mid century decor.

  1. Jana (Berniecat) says:

    Even though Pam reports that Rejuvenation is maintaining their commitment to carry other atomic/starburst products, there still may be trouble in paradise when it comes to starburst items from them. I ordered the Atlas (starburst) exterior door set the first week of November to put on my new Therma-Tru MCM front door. I have yet to receive it. I have been getting emails from Rejuvenation that it is on back order and it will be shipped soon, but after this latest news flash, I am getting worried that it may not be available at all. My Therma Tru door and side panel have been sitting at the Building Supply place for almost 2 months waiting for me to get the hardware so my contractor can pick them up and get them installed.

  2. tammyCA says:

    I noticed in the latest Architectural Digest a photo of one of the Brunschwig & Fils showrooms has a huge Sputnik chandelier over a tiger print antique Louis XVI chair..I always thought of B&F as classic wallpapers but in the article it says, “though it’s roots lie in France, B&F is synonymous with the golden era of Midcentury American decorating.” (It appears the new owners are looking in their archives and reissuing their classics.)

  3. Jennifer says:

    I just thought you should know that the tile has been discontinued. The people at Ann Sacks have been wonderful in trying to help me either find some still in stock or do a custom run, but I hate to see this keep getting put out there when I was so crushed to see it wasn’t readily available.

  4. pam kueber says:

    Drats! Thanks for the update, Jennifer. We hope that Ann Sacks can help you find some still in stock! Maybe you can even get a discount on the last of it!!!! Let us know how it turns out.

  5. I second Sam’s notes about the bulbs and how many folks have incorrect information. There are still incandescent, but they are being required to become more efficient (which usually means a halogen core.)

    I have several halogen incandescent bulbs in different spots in my house – they use less energy for the same brightness, give off the same light, and last longer as well. They are moderately more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs but since they last longer they cost the same.

    For example, this is a 72 watt halogen core bulb that gives you the equivalent light of a 100 watt bulb – the light produced looks and acts the same as a traditional incandescent: http://www.amazon.com/Philips-72-Watt-EcoVantage-Natural-Dimmable/dp/B001FA07UC/ref=pd_sim_hi_1

  6. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Have had an eBay search going for about a year for a starburst clock that seems to fit in with my knotty pine kitchen. I thought the ones with wood rays might be good. But nothing looked right–I couldn’t imagine any of the ones I saw in my kitchen. My house just didn’t fit with atomic, much as I wanted it to. Then yesterday I was in a consignment shop and the retro gods moved me to a clearance table, where I spotted a 1964 United Clock Company (Brooklyn division) “School House” clock with a round face set on an octagonal wood base. Similar ones are on eBay for $75 and up. It was on clearance, then there was a 50% store-wide sale. Bottom line, I got it for $3.50! This is so much better for my colonial ranch kitchen. The wiring is already in the wall for an electric clock, so it’s going up as soon as DH has the time. Good luck with your searches. I will enjoy everyone else’s starbursts vicariously. 🙂

  7. Summer says:

    Oh bummer! I reallllllly want to use them in my bathroom. Those tiles are just perfect! I am hoping I can stumble across some or at least similar ones! Thanks!!!

  8. RetoRanchORama says:

    I’m bursting with stars! It’s the theme of my time capsule ranch. I’ve got them all over the house.

    On The Walls:
    I loved the wallpaper, but stenciling wasn’t for me. So, I went the decal way. There were two I used, both from Etsy, but there were many to choose from. If your wall is textured at all, it will make a difference. It’s better to just get smaller decals, IMHO. Here are some of the listings:





    The last one was my favorite. They are all over my house!

    You can even get stickers on Amazon!

    As for clocks, and anything else I can get at a reasonable price, I love actual vintage. But as our buddy Pam has noted, what the heck on the prices people!?!?!? Besides, it’s up on a wall, you can’t get too close to it so who cares?

    Which leads me to … Amazon again! Look at all of these!



    This is the one I have. It’s pretty sweet! I was afraid it would look cheap. I mean, really, it IS cheap! But, it doesn’t look cheap at all.











    There were a ton more on Amazon! Just search for “starburst clock”

  9. Kathy G. says:

    Hi! There is a Threadbanger DIY post on Youtube that shows how you can make your own starburst mirror. It might be easy enough to put a clock in the center instead if you wanted to.

    It’s from Threadbanger and the title is: DIY Atomic Starburst Mirror, 50’s Decor it Yourself. I wrote this in because Youtube has a nasty habit of changing the URL of its videos.


    Hope this helps someone on a budget.

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