If my life were a movie divided into three parts, the first section would probably be titled Lady and the Lamp. Like a moth to a flame, I find myself naturally drawn to glowing orbs of all shapes and sizes. At this precise moment I own nine lamps—one of which turned into a DIY project that requires rewiring, among other cosmetic surgeries that I have been actively avoiding for months. The gate into this dangerous portal opened up when I purchased my first vintage mushroom lamp at the end of 2020 and proceeded to start collecting more of these vessels of illumination.
Hear me out: Lighting is one of the most important features in a home, so isn’t it worth investing in lamps that put the fun in functional? These are the little things that really stand out when I’m carefully scanning the interiors of a space. There’s never a lamp that goes unnoticed on my watch. Here are seven fixtures from a few of my favorite home tours that are currently living in my head rent-free. (To enhance your scrolling experience, I highly recommend streaming Ellie Goulding’s 2010 bop “Lights,” completely unrelated to the viral TikTok trend.) Light up your life!
Vintage Italian Sconces, 1950s
When most people peer into the sage bedroom inside Martha Hunt’s condo in New York City, their focus probably shifts toward the mohair-wrapped bed or the Mario Bellini sofa. But my eyes were glued to these vintage sconces on the limewashed wall that AD100 designer Giancarlo Valle sourced from Jordan McDonald. If you, like me, have been waiting for a sign to buy some sconces, then this is it! There’s something so charming about them, no? From the window to the wall, a sconce adds a touch of elegance to any room. It’s time to stop excluding them from the lighting lineup!
Vintage Monumental Undulating Wood Parquetry Lamp, 1970s
There are a lot of things to love about Elaine Welteroth’s house in the Hollywood Hills, but the one thing that immediately caught my attention was a wavy checkered lamp in the style of Pitsilkas waiting in the entryway. Positioned on top of a vintage faux goatskin–covered credenza, this is a statement piece that beckons to be called. It’s a real wow moment. (Switching out the lamp shade was a very smart choice; somebody give designer Tiffany Howell a raise!) During her AD Visits episode, Elaine revealed that she sourced the Vintage Monumental Undulating Wood Parquetry Lamp from the store Port•man•teau in New York for $998. “I am absolutely obsessed with this sexy lamp,” she gushes. “It’s literally the talking point of the house. When people walk in, they basically want to walk out with this thing—I’ve had people try.”
Mads Caprani Floor Lamp, 1970s
True story: I’ve never met a Danish lamp that I didn’t like. Is there anything sexier than the curve of a bent beechwood or teak floor lamp paired with a pleated lampshade? I think not! Looking back, I feel like Mads Caprani is responsible for getting me in sync with pleats in fashion from Issey Mayake to Julia Heuer. This particular midcentury masterpiece from the ’70s has had a grip on Instagram influencers since 2018—the owners of Home Union once told me that the vintage Caprani lamps usually sell out within a day as soon as they’re restocked, and are now priced between $1,850 and $2,200. For Miami-based interior designer Carla Lores, it was the perfect conversation piece beside the book-filled fireplace in her bedroom. “Once I find a shape that I like, I repeat it over and over unintentionally,” she says.
Tube Floor Lamp, 1970s
Julio Torres really snapped with the creative process that went into curating his Brooklyn apartment. The entire space is a burst of funky shapes and loud colors, and, in addition to collecting an abundance of tiny tables and chairs, he told us that he’s “at capacity with lamps and with clocks that don’t work.” My personal favorite piece is this midcentury modern floor lamp designed by Anders Pehrson for Ateljé Lyktan that walked so Big Bird could run. Given that Julio’s mom is an architect and his sister is a designer, it makes sense that he would opt for outsourcing the lighting. 1stDibs currently has a Tube lamp on auction with bids starting at $570.
Tahiti Table Lamp, 1981
When in Memphis (Milano), am I right? The Tribeca apartment of collector Raquel Cayre is practically a gallery for Ettore Sottsass—I don’t have enough hands to count how many pieces she owns, but this personal collection obviously includes the Tahiti lamp. “Every time I come in here, I can’t believe it’s real,” she told AD. “I do have days where I wish I lived in a Philip Johnson house in New Canaan with a Donald Judd daybed, one lamp and one book at a time. Sometimes I dream about that, but I can’t fight it. I’m a collector, and I like stuff.” (Not to be creepy, but if I were ever invited over, I would spend hours exploring every inch of her house.) Now you can find Tahiti lamps on the shelves of your local Nordstrom thanks to Olivia Kim, the brand’s VP of creative projects. Keith Johnson of Urban Architecture remains the sole Memphis distributor in the US, but Bi-Rite Studio started reproducing the lamp along with other iconic postmodern pieces from the Italian design studio in 2021, so now you can pay $1,380 instead of bidding an obscene amount of money at auction.
Toucan Table Lamp, 1980s
I can’t remember when I first started seeing toucan lamps around, but however I was exposed it definitely happened on Instagram. So, imagine my surprise when I casually spotted one on the desk of AD100 designer Rodman Primack inside the moody green office of his Mexico City residence. I’m not familiar with the backstory of the design by H.T. Huang for Huangslite, but they seem to have originated in the ’80s and typically resell between $110 and $600 on eBay, Etsy, and 1stDibs. Not only is it AD-approved, but senior design editor Hannah Martin has one in her home, in case you needed some extra convincing. “I feel like it’s become a little ubiquitous now but I really love it,” she notes.
Oo Floor Lamp, 2020
While there were almost too many lamps to choose from in the home of Ashley Tisdale, I unapologetically stan Eny Lee Parker. In her episode of Open Door, Ashley explains that her vision for the TV room was a casual space with quirky shapes where her daughter Jupiter could safely play with toys. Come for the vibes, stay for the surreal story about how she secured a Noguchi lamp before a colonoscopy. Eny Lee’s Oo floor lamp is made to order and will cost you $12,000. (The table lamp size is priced at $6,000.) As an alternative, might I suggest her latest lighting collaboration with Mitzi? There’s just something about a ceramic lamp that gets me going… Keep me away from the Twist Column Light!