Pin up lamps, sometimes also called swing arm lamps, have been popular since the mid-20th century. These lamps were originally designed to be mounted on a wall, with an arm that could be adjusted to different positions. The lamps were commonly used in bedrooms, reading nooks, and other areas where a directed light source was needed. In recent years, this classic style of lamp has made a comeback in both residential and commercial interior design.


The earliest versions of pin up lamps can be traced back to the 1920s, and were commonly used in factories and other industrial settings. These lamps were often made of sturdy metals and had a utilitarian, functional design. In the 1940s and 1950s, pin up lamps started to appear in residential settings, as people began to appreciate the flexibility and convenience of the adjustable arm.

In the 1960s and 1970s, pin up lamps became associated with the mid-century modern design movement. Many designers and architects were drawn to the clean lines and functional design of these lamps, which complemented the overall aesthetic of mid-century modern interiors.

Design Features

Pin up lamps typically have a long arm that can be adjusted to different angles and heights. The lampshade itself may also be adjustable, allowing you to direct the light exactly where you need it. These lamps are typically mounted on a wall, either with a bracket or a screw, and some models may also be plug-in or hardwired.

One of the benefits of pin up lamps is their flexibility. Because the arm can be adjusted, you can use these lamps in a variety of settings. For example, you might use a pin up lamp to provide task lighting in a home office or reading nook, or to highlight artwork or other features in a living room or dining room.

Modern Applications

Although pin up lamps have a classic, mid-century modern vibe, they can be used in a variety of modern interior design settings. For example, a sleek, minimalist pin up lamp might work well in an industrial loft or contemporary home. On the other hand, a vintage-inspired lamp with a colorful shade might be the perfect accent piece in a retro-themed bedroom or living room.

One advantage of using pin up lamps in modern settings is their versatility. Because they are adjustable and can be mounted in a variety of locations, they can be used to create unique lighting schemes in any room. For example, you might use a pair of pin up lamps flanking a bed or sofa to create a cozy, layered lighting effect.


Pin up lamps are a classic style of lamp that have stood the test of time. With their adjustable arms and versatile design, these lamps can be used in a variety of interior design settings, from mid-century modern to contemporary. Whether you’re looking to add a functional accent piece to a home office or create a cozy reading nook in the living room, a pin up lamp might be the perfect solution.