Indoor and Outdoor Lighting

llluminate Your Home With Authentic Nautical Lighting

Choosing exactly the right type of nautical lighting will 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 blend practical durability and rich history. Today we’ll offer you ideas for how to employ nautical lights throughout your home, from your kitchen or bathroom to expanding your living space to the great outdoors. Also: prepare for some pointers on locating antique or vintage lanterns for elevating your seaside décor.

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 plenty of nautical lighting fixtures are styled so they can be used in many different flavors of home decoration.

Nautical Ceiling Light

Light fixtures with a coastal theme often feature clean lines which work well in modern homes, while antique nautical fixtures accent both traditional and trendy designs. And, of course, if you’re really going for a maritime theme, nothing works with it like nautical lighting.

Your lighting composition will make more of a statement if you’re consistent throughout your home and even carry the theme into your outdoor living spaces. When you plan your lighting scheme, consider more than just the general concept of nautical or coastal. Think about materials, textures, proportions and whether you want to purchase authentic nautical fixtures or if you’d prefer new reproduction lights.

Where to Use Nautical Light Fixtures

You’ll find a plethora 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 Chandelier

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 focus spots. You can find some whimsical and distinctive coastal-themed lamps available to accent your décor.

Nautical Vanity Lights

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 with 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.

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 great source for conversation 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 if 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, genuine fixtures will have some wear – that’s part of their charm! If you’re looking for nautical lighting fixtures in pristine condition, you’re better off purchasing new reproduction fixtures rather than vintage or antique lighting fixtures

Elements of Coastal Lighting

While a broad range of fixtures are available, you’ll find some common themes throughout most designs:

Nautical Wall Light2
  • Brass, bronze, pewter or copper materials
  • Lantern-style fixtures
  • Bulbs that become part of the overall design of the light
  • Clean, simple, geometric shapes

You don’t need to have an entire home full of nautical décor in order to incorporate nautical lighting into your decorating scheme. In fact, many contemporary or modern homes utilize the clean lines of nautical lights very effectively, yet minimally. 

Authentic Nautical Décor Ideas To Create Your Own Look

If you like do-it-yourself projects (DIY),  and want to create your own composition, or you want to find items from someone who specializes in nautical themes, you’ll find creative items that have been re-purposed from salvaged ship items. These types of items are perfect if you are trying to design a home with authentic nautical décor.

Nautical Decor Ideas

A vintage porthole can be used to create a distinctive mirror or a clock. Using aluminum instead of brass will make this item much lighter and easier to mount.

Things like a hatch cover can be made into end tables, a small coffee table or a nightstand for a rustic, nautical look. Add a model ship and something like a distinct nautical lamp.

A wooden ship wheel can be used as a wall hanging. It can be left as is, refinished or painted with an antique finish with the family name or a greeting to add your own flair to it.

Oars can make a nice wall display either plain or painted. You can even display messages or favorite sayings on them.

Incorporating Outdoor Nautical 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 bring your indoor lighting theme to your outdoor decorating.

Bollard Lighting

Outdoor nautical lighting can greatly enhance the curb appeal of your home while also providing safety benefits for your family and guests. You can dramatically change the appearance of the exterior of your home simply by choosing different exterior light fixtures.

Bollard lights may sound industrial, but nautical-themed bollard lights provide both safety and elegance in a carefully considered landscape design.

Nautical lanterns spaced evenly along a garden path can make navigating easier after dark. Smaller nautical pendant lights can make a dramatic entry focal point – particularly when matched with coastal-themed sconces at the front door. You may even want to blend a coastal lighting theme onto your patio so you can enjoy socializing outdoors even after the sun sets.