How To Find The Perfect Vintage Lamps For Your Space

Lately, there has been a surge in buying second-hand items. Because of the convenience, many people won't give up shopping at large box stores for home furniture and décor, but going to an antique store, flea market, or second-hand shop to find unique pieces is a great way to accent a home. These unique items can be stylish and interesting and often affordable, says Edith & Evelyn. Many of these pieces can also be timeless designs for your space.

Lamps are great decorative accents to add a unique touch to your rooms, and sourcing vintage pieces is much easier than you may have thought. Per Emily Henderson, they bring character and a particular oddity to a space, and they're also an incredibly efficient and cost-effective method to significantly alter the look and feel of a room on a tight budget. Anyone can find a vintage lamp that perfectly matches a home's interior style, so here's a rundown on how to do it efficiently.

Listing photo vs. looking in person

Since adding vintage pieces to décor has become popular, there are a plethora of items to choose from. However, that also means sifting through lots of listings or in-person stock. Whether you shop in person or online, each has pros and cons. Online, you have a near-unlimited inventory and access to stores from across the country or even around the world; however, be cautious when shopping online. In the worst case, if a lamp doesn't exactly fit your space, you can always DIY it, but you want to be sure to thoroughly read the description and even ask the seller questions to make sure it's the right piece for your home.

There are also benefits of shopping in person. When you scan the shops yourself, you can see the lamp before purchasing it. You can hold or feel the piece. You can see the color or any damage in person. You can talk to the seller and learn the history. According to Source Vintage Antiques, this can make you feel more confident and satisfied with your purchase, so consider looking for vintage shops or second-hand furniture outlets in your community.

Narrow down to a style or era

Before you start the hunt for vintage lamps, you should have an idea of what you're looking for. Once you have an idea of what you're drawn to, you can narrow your search to look for lamps from that particular era. However, remain open to other styles as you never know what you'll find. It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with popular brands; Handel Company, Tiffany Studios, Roycroft, and Fulper are just a few, according to Jacqueline Stallone. Each brand was popular in a different era and for a distinct style, so looking up these companies' products can be a great way to hunt down the perfect item for your space.

Whether you're shopping online or in person, you'll be able to target your search. Major popular styles include art deco, mid-century, Victorian, and art nouveau, according to Elephant Stock, but you can mix and match styles in your home from several eras. Art nouveau and Victorian styles are more ornate, meaning they can add a glamorous element to your home. On the other hand, Art deco and mid-century can be more modern and streamlined, which can fit better with contemporary styles.

Examine the lamp

Looking in person means you get to examine the lamp before bringing it home, but whether you purchase it from an online shop or in person, you should also know to distinguish fake items from original ones. According to Decorative Collective, most antique and vintage items have a makers' symbol which signifies that it's a genuine piece and not a replica. These marks can be a base or a sticker that has a name, date, or manufacturer.

This is also a good time to look for damage or previous repairs that have been done to the lamp. The cord and the light socket are often places that have seen damage over the years. However, these are typically easy-to-make repairs with certain DIY wiring kits, so you can rewire a lamp with some easy-to-follow directions. Rewiring involves removing the socket and replacing the attached wires with new ones. According to A Lamp and Fixture Corp., you may need to replace vintage lamps if the fabric wiring is compromised or the electrical cords are damaged. If you plug the lamp in and it's flickering, that also might be a sign the item needs new wiring. However, you can opt to forgo wiring completely and use battery or remote-operated light bulbs instead.

Details make a difference

As you look at different lamps, it's important to consider the style and the details. First, think about the shapes you like your piece to have. Popular styles include buffet lamps that are tall and slender and meant to be placed on tables like dining room buffets, according to Build with Ferguson. Arc, gooseneck, and tripod lamps are also common types of table and floor lamps. You should also consider body shapes you like in a more general way. For example, are you drawn to more angular designs or ones that have curves? These basics can help you narrow down the design you're looking for as you go shopping for these treasured items.

You should also understand the distinction between antique and vintage. Jacqueline Stallone says that antique lamps are at least 100 years old or more. However, vintage lamps are less than 100 years old but have over 20 years of life. The age of the piece can also tell you about the fuel type. Vintage lamps will use electricity, while antique lamps can use animal fats or oils to light up. This can affect where you can place the item or whether it is a functional piece for your space.

Pay attention to the materials

The finish and material can add a lot of texture or contribute to the overall design of your space. You may find that the room needs more texture, so you opt to look for pieces with wood or wicker bases. But metal might be the better option if you prefer something sleek or modern. The material doesn't only affect the overall design; it's also a matter of how long it will last.

One fabric that should always be picked up when you see it is bronze. If a lamp is made with this material, it's a quality piece that was probably worth a lot when it was originally sold, says Home Stratosphere. Bronze also lasts a while, so it will be a good item to invest in and have in your home. Other metals and ceramics can also be a good choice, but one you want to avoid is plastic, which can signify that something is a replica and not the original.