Nate Berkus Shares His Go-To Tip for Sourcing Vintage

published May 4, 2023
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Credit: Photos: Getty Images; Design: Apartment Therapy

Designer Nate Berkus has sung the praises of vintage lighting many times throughout the years, and vintage sconces, table lamps, and other funky lighting finds often have starring roles in his finished interior makeovers. But how does Berkus actually source his vintage lighting? He finally spilled a crucial secret on Instagram about how he hunts down his vintage finds.

“After these sconces made a brief appearance in a video recently, I received a lot of questions asking for details,” Berkus captioned an April 30 Instagram video. “Here they are!”

He said in the video, “There are not a lot of things that every Nate Berkus project has in common, because we really try to tailor every project to the people and families that live there. However, you will always see vintage lighting.”

The sconces in question are a pair of sculptural brass lights that Berkus found on 1stDibs.

“We bought them for this house, for this room,” he said. “And the way that I searched for these was [with the search terms] ‘brass, mid-century Italian sconces.’”

Getting specific with the search terms is key to finding the good stuff that is actually going to fit your aesthetic.

And Berkus also notes that not all the vintage lighting he sources is designer. “As far as I know, they are not signed,” he continued, adding that they’re definitely not from a prestigious Milanese architect. 

It’s also in the way that you style up your vintage lighting finds that will make them look unique and personal. “Some people would have a big clear glass bulb,” Berkus said. “But I just used this little frosted bulb because I think the form of the sconce is really what I want to see.”

Get serious about search terms and see the potential in pieces that may need a little love, and soon you’ll have a vintage lighting collection that rivals Berkus’.