Vintage lighting is similar to a fantastic piece of jewelry — it could turn the plainest outfit (or room) to a head turner. Whether your taste leans toward art deco wall sconces midcentury pendants or Tiffany table lamps, aged fixtures can infuse a room with interval taste. However, some shoppers that are inexperienced make the mistake of falling for appearances first, without a thought toward performance. The result is frustration.
Here’s a handy guide that will help you shop for classic lighting with your head as well as your heart. Got a tip to add? Share it in the Comments!
The Office of Charles de Lisle
Choose whether you’re looking for style, value or both. Are you a collector searching for an investment item, or are you simply searching for a fixture to add a unique decorative flourish? If it’s the former, limit your shopping to reputable antiques dealers and specialty lighting shops, both of which need to be able to give you exactly the provenance, pedigree and other important facts about fixtures that interest you.
If you’re more interested in aesthetics than monetary considerations, you might find bargains at flea markets, garage sales, thrift shops and internet auction websites like eBay. Be ready to do some additional rehabbing — the lighting you select may need cleaning, repairs or complete restoration.
Felhandler/ Steeneken Architects
Consider choosing an appraiser. Even when you’re confident in your lighting retailer, it can be sensible to find another opinion, particularly if you’re depositing a lot of cash. Does a professional appraiser confirm period the manufacturer, materials and value of your quilt, but his or her documentation that is written is helpful for insurance records. Ask your dealer or check the American Society of Appraisers for an expert locally.
Have the wiring and circuitry checked. Once you’ve bought your classic chandelier, sconces or alternative lighting, take it to a certified electrician for a comment on the soundness of the wiring. Pieces that are more than four or five decades old likely will not follow the current security or compatibility criteria, and even newer fittings might have frayed cables or other hazard spots.
Braswell Homes Inc
Verify the bulb wattage and size. Provided that you’re seeing the electrician, ask about the most suitable kind of bulb for your lighting fixture. Since today’s standard bulbs might not fit, inquire whether you’ll require a specialty version (available through antique components providers, as detailed below) or an adapter.
Locate a good parts supplier. Let’s say you’ve discovered a classic lamp with a base that makes your heart beat quicker, but its shade is stained and threadbare. Or the chandelier that caught your eye is missing a few crystals. A retailer that specializes in antique lighting components can be a priceless resource. If you do not have one in the area, hunt online.
Clean and restore with caution. If you’ve bought a pricey collectible, ask the dealer for advice regarding cleaning the surface. The patina that a number of materials, like bronze, acquire over time is deemed desirable; eliminating it could diminish the piece’s value. No matter your bit is, find out whether the end requires methods or specialized cleaning products to prevent damage. Pieces with wear and tear may need recovery to make them sparkle again.
And finally, if you’re doubtful about buying vintage lighting, you can go the next best path: reproductions. Companies like Rejuvenation, Layla Grayce and Urban Archaeology, to name a few, carry a wide assortment of fittings and lamps inspired by models made with upgraded criteria in mind.