Colorful Dutch modern lighting fun: Fabulous vintage lighting from vintagebylisa on etsy

We see a lot of U.S.-made vintage lighting here on Retro Renovation, but how about: Vintage lighting — relatively low cost back in the day lighting — made in midcentury and postwar Holland? VintagebyLisa specializes in this lighting, and she can ship internationally (shipping costs don’t look too bad), so if you’re looking for something out-of-the-U.S.-ordinary, give these a look. 

I’m on a lighting bender this week, and spotted this etsy seller while researching painted custard shades and schoolhouse globes that were common in the early part of the 20th Century. I was taken by the different look of these Dutch fixtures — I don’t know that we had anything quite like them in the U.S. So fun!

I reached out, and owners Lisa and Peet sent a bunch of photos and explained:

Lisa and Peet wrote:

The ceiling light fixtures or wall lights in our shop are all Dutch-made, and we sourced them from various locations in the Netherlands.

These fixtures would be used in hallways, porches, bedrooms, kitchens, washrooms, laundry rooms etc.. Basically spaces that needed a light fixture, but people would not spend a great deal of money on to light them. Unlike living rooms, which usually had nice and expensive chandeliers.

What makes these vintage ceiling lights so attractive to modern buyers is their timeless, uncluttered design and attractive decorations, which are typical traits of Dutch post-war industrial design. Functional, but beautiful in an understated way.

The oldest date back to the pre-war period. In those days the shape of the lamp shades was influenced by the Art Deco movement. Common lamp shade colors were: opalescent green, opalescent white and beige. Some shades had elaborate decorations in the form of colored “veins” on a white or green background. The ceiling fixtures were black, brown or white bakelite.

In the fifties and sixties shapes ranged from simple ball shapes to elongated or squat. Decorations varied a lot. From relatively simple abstract geometrical patterns to elaborated, raised patterns pressed into the glass and hand coloration. Ceiling fixtures were still bakelite, although in the sixties the first plastic ceiling fixtures appeared.

The seventies saw the introduction of colored ceiling fixtures. Red, orange, yellow and green being popular colors. The shapes of the shades changed under the influence of modern design. Simple ball shapes were common and one of our most popular sellers is the mushroom shaped shade.

These mid-century ceiling light fixtures are very popular with our clients. We have many in stock which we haven’t listed yet.  

Best, Peet

Thanks, Lisa and Peet. And a reminder, dear readers, when working with vintage lighting, assess for vintage hazards; consult with pros – Be Safe/Renovate Safe.

Link love:

  1. Kathy says:

    Europe uses 220 electricity, so I wonder if Americans need to rewire these. I don’t know, because you can us US lamps with a plug adapter and a 220 bulb in Germany. Can any electricians out there give some guidance?

    I lived in Germany for 11 years ending 8 years ago, and you used to see this stuff sitting on the curb all the time, and lots of furniture too. Old folks would die and leave their house to a relative, then the young folks would want nothing of the old stuff and it went out on the curb for bulk trash pickup, sometimes torn apart into wood, metal and other piles.

    It was commonly accepted that it was OK to take what you want, especially under the cover of dark. I got yelled at one day for nabbing a vintage door out of a pile because it was “my trash, not your trash,” and that spooked me from doing much more trash diving. I already had a full house anyway! I still think about the modern mosaic coffee table that got away–too heavy!

    What you didn’t see on the curb you could buy at the fleamarket or go to Belgium for the big discount used furniture markets. I see that sort of stuff listed on One Kings Lane quite a bit and makes me wish I got more.

    European mid-century is different from American stuff, except for the Danish Modern, which was popular here as well. It is I don’t know how to put it, sort of squatter and a bit frumpier than here, less atomic age, modestly scaled, but its popularity seems to have lasted a long time. It is easy to find 70s bright and simple and 80s, which is more like our 70s earthtones. 80s-90s stuff is a lot bulkier as more people could afford larger houses by then.

    Definitely worth looking into for the smaller items. Thrift stores are less common in Germany than here, but worth finding for the clothes as well as the knick knacks and furniture. Unfortunately, shipping just a few items can be costly.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Thanks, Kathy. Regarding electrical advice I prefer that every person get their own advice from their own properly licensed professionals.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Here in the US, maybe we have a tendency, or maybe just simply have not had the opportunity, to see what in the world is out there in terms of Mid-Century. (Remember Wren’s cute little makeover? All we’re semi-familiar with is Smeg & AGA).
    I fear that many of the fixtures we’d be searching out are already ensconced in “yard art”. It hasn’t been helped by certain magazines and networks to destroy simply because it isn’t “current” (makes me wonder how they think they’ll find “antiques” when everything is smashed to oblivion!)
    I’m liking the mushrooms in spots like over the K sink. Or as a surprise in the closet.

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