Designer tip: Mastering midcentury modern lighting with Capital City Lighting

Co-owner and lighting curator Bridget Tate. Photos courtesy Capital City Lighting.

The dynamic and eye-catching sets of binge-worthy shows like Mad Men and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel prove one thing: Midcentury modern style is just as relevant now as it was in the ’50s and ’60s. Thrift listings bearing the letters “MCM” fly off the shelves, and companies like CB2 specialize in recreating the iconic sleek lines and geometric touches that the era was known for.

Achieving the midcentury modern look doesn’t stop at the couch and dining table, though. Lighting performs an essential role in pulling together the look–and also making it so everything is visible. However, if you’re working within the walls of an original midcentury home, choosing the right fixtures can be tricky.

“Lighting is a huge factor in design,” explains Capital City Lighting co-owner and lighting curator Bridget Tate. “In midcentury renovations, one major thing to remember is that the ceilings are usually very low. Since you need about 7 feet of clearance, often, it’s best to opt for a cute flush mount.”

According to Tate, a few years ago, flush mount options were few and far between–think the boob light. Recently, new styles have hit the market, with everything from brass star designs to more simplistic white shades available in all price ranges.

“Customers have a lot more options that weren’t available even as recently as five years ago,” says Tate. “One of the biggest things is the finishes that are now available. Black is one of the newest, as well as aged brass. Those are such popular colors that used to only be available to people with large budgets, but now they’re much more accessible.”

These new finishes aren’t exclusive to flush mounts, though. They carry over to the midcentury chandelier category, which includes sputnik styles, as well as globes and other geometric and clean-lined designs.

“Even with low ceilings, chandeliers are still possible in places like the dining or breakfast rooms,” explains Tate. “I love these styles because they make such a statement, and opting for a finish like black really updates it.”


To learn more about midcentury lighting or to make an appointment with the Capital City Lighting team, visit capitalcitydesignbr.com.