Retro Bliss Awaits Thanks to These Midcentury Modern Kitchen Lighting Ideas

Midcentury modern design is trending once again — but, let's be honest, has it ever really gone out of style? Since its beginnings in the 1930s, devotees have revered the aesthetic for its ability to transform interiors into sleek, yet practical wonderlands bursting with charm and character. Midcentury design has this uncanny way of looking impossibly cool and modern no matter the era. And it's an aesthetic that works seamlessly in current cook spaces as well.

Filled with streamlined cabinets, punchy backsplashes, and the occasional piece of atomic-inspired decor, a midcentury kitchen just isn't complete without the right light fixtures. In fact, one of the most recognizable aspects of the retro style is its distinctive lighting: Sputnik-inspired chandeliers, globe pendants, and orb-shaped wall sconces. These luminous pieces of decor often showcase dazzling materials as well, like polished metals and opal glass.

So if you're rounding up inspo for your own culinary hub, check out these midcentury kitchen lighting ideas that showcase exactly how to successfully pull off the look — including the best places to shop.

1. Choose a statement light fixture.

Midcentury style is not for the faint of heart, and this certainly applies to kitchen lighting. If you're drawn to a midcentury fixture that has tons of visual impact, keep the rest of your space toned down and neutral. In this kitchen designed by Liz Bachman of Grey and Scout, a pair of brass chandeliers with opal glass shades don't overwhelm the simple color palette and minimal design.

2. Go for circular shapes.

One of the hallmarks of midcentury design is curvy, circular shapes, something that you can look for in your kitchen lighting. In this kitchen designed by Tim Campbell, the white globe pendant and round wall sconces serve as the perfect yet subtle finishing touch.

3. Opt for classic wall sconces.

So, midcentury kitchen lighting ideas don't always need to consist of a giant pendant or chandelier. Actually, sometimes a couple of wall sconces that nod to midcentury design will do the trick. Take a cue from this Aly Velji Designs kitchen and install a couple of sconces that quietly pay homage to the aesthetic. Think sleek lines, subtle curves, and vintage-inspired light bulbs.

4. Think of your light fixture as a work of art.

Midcentury design has always drawn inspiration from the art world, and kitchen lighting is no exception. Make your chandelier, pendant, or semi-flush mount a focal point in your cook space. We have no doubt that guests' eyes are immediately drawn to the artful fixture featured in this kitchen designed by Caitlin McCarthy.

5. Appreciate bold visuals.

If minimalism just isn't for you, turn to a maximalist approach for your midcentury kitchen lighting idea. Consider big, bold fixtures that look as if they were sent here in a time machine, á la these black-and-white globe-style pendants hanging above the island in this kitchen designed by Brittany Stiles.

6. Work with the unique architecture of your space.

Follow the lead of Vanessa from Studio Matsalla and complement the unique architecture of your home with a subtle midcentury kitchen lighting idea. In this A-frame abode, she embraced the angled ceiling and hung a trio of simple globe-style pendants above the island at varying heights. The natural light pouring in from the clerestory windows and the blue tile backsplash act as the picture-perfect backdrop.

Where to shop for midcentury kitchen lighting:

There's an expansive range of brands that offer midcentury kitchen lighting, from modern retailers to purists, who only carry reproductions or real-deal vintage fixtures. Just keep in mind that vintage will cost you a pretty penny — but you'll probably love the fixture for years to come, so it just depends on your personal preference. Either way, here five of our top picks to score some gorg kitchen lighting.

This lighting company purveys pieces that are decidedly midcentury, but also look right at home in the 21st century. Look for truly unique chandeliers and wall sconces to add retro flair to your mid-mod kitchen.

West Elm is a midrange destination for sleek and sophisticated lighting. Their fixtures happen to carry a midcentury vibe that's ideal for a culinary masterpiece.

For years, this luxe retailer has been a designer darling. They're famous for abstract ceiling lights (such as metal architect's lamps reimagined as chandeliers) and fixtures that would make even Don Draper crack a smile.

Naturally, AllModern is a shopping destination that brims with midcentury modern lighting. From Sputnik styles to circular pendant lights, this site has it all.

Here's your go-to website for completely authentic midcentury lighting. Keep your eyes peeled for groovy colors, textured glass, and Lucite creations.


Shelby Deering

Shelby Deering

Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer who contributes to national magazines and websites, including Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Well+Good, and more. When she's not writing, you'll find her shopping flea markets, hiking, and going for walks with her corgi.