If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen this vintage 1960s ceiling lamp. We found it in a dusty corner of a junk shop on our first mid-century modern furniture hunting expedition, and it inspired the design of our small space living dining room.
A Reclaimed 1960s Ceiling Lamp
It was filthy, cracked, and in need of a new cord, but I had to have it.
While it was an original vintage 1960s ceiling lamp, it wasn’t exactly mid-century modern in the way Robert had envisioned, but happy wife, happy life… he negotiated the price down 50% to 50 kr. (about $7.50).
I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to clean it up to a usable level, but it was just too cool to pass up.
Hallway to Small Space Living Dining Room
After deciding to stay in our tiny apartment, we soon realized that we needed to drastically change the way we use our space. Our first challenge was to dismantle the room that was being used as a combination living room, dining room, and office. Making that one room serve three purposes made it feel suffocatingly small and cluttered.
Our solution to this small space city living dilemma was to move the dining table from the living room/dining room/office into our hallway, which was a pretty good size and up until then had been wasted space. This small change gave us a separate small space living dining room that surprisingly doesn’t feel awkward or cramped.
Danish mid-century modern wasn’t going to fly here, so I needed to find a style that worked on its own, as well as with the rest of the place.
Ever the skeptic and good husband, Robert painted the hallway turquoise, repaired and re-wired the lamp, and let me have my way on this one. Painting such a strong color in a space that gets very little natural light was a leap of faith, but as you can see in that before photo, white wasn’t doing it any favors. I’ve always thought that hallways are perfect places to go bold with color, a theory I proved in my last apartment.
In my signature style of pairing secondhand finds with designer goods, I’ve paired this junk shop lamp with an original George Nelson Sunburst Clock. I’m so glad our lamp found its way to that junk shop instead of the trash. All it needed was a lot of bleach and some TLC, I can’t imagine a more perfect lamp for our small space living dining room.
The table and chairs are a set I brought with me from the States, it was made by one of the main manufacturers of 1950s diner furniture. They’ve since gone out of business, and I’ve been lugging this set around with me since the late ’90s. Coincidentally, the seats were upholstered in yellow vinyl, a perfect match for that awesome 1960s ceiling lamp, and a great excuse to choose turquoise walls! We only have room for the three chairs, but the table expands to seat a cozy party of six to eight in random chairs harvested from around the apartment.
The coat rack is repurposed from the hallway of my old apartment, and we picked up the shoe rack secondhand for 60 kr. (about $9), which was a major score because I was planning to pay several times that for the same one from IKEA. The shoe rack has made a huge difference in keeping our entryway clutter under control.
We saved about $45 by ordering the clock from Germany instead of buying it locally, and it’s a classic piece that will hold its value. I’m thrilled with how the room turned out, and budget-wise, I think we did pretty well.
Lamp: $7.50 (we re-used the cord from a lamp we already had)
Shoe Rack: $9
Dimmer Switch: $38
Total redecorating cost: $525.50
I think I’ll eventually hang some photos or artwork on that big, bare wall, but I haven’t quite made up my mind because it has the potential to look cluttered. I love the idea of a gallery wall of photos we’ve taken, but that might work better in the living room. Other than that, I consider this project finished and have moved on to redecorating our small space living bedroom.
What do you think of the transformation? Tell me in the comments :)