Sunday, July 31, 2011

Antique Lamps - The Finishing Touch

When it comes to interior design, the finishing touches can make, or break a scheme. Getting the light just right is essential and can turn a house into a home, at the flick of a switch! The result is a home creating an ambience of warmth and comfort.

Antique lighting can be the ultimate in completing a stylish interior design scheme and not necessarily confined to period interior, or the eclectic collector / decorator. Antique lamps can work surprisingly well in even the most modern home. Whatever style you choose an antique lamp can deliver an inspirational finishing touch.

Antique or Vintage

Technically, antique means an item over a hundred years old, but the range of lamps available also includes vintage and retro styles. A hundred years takes us back to the era of Edwardian elegance and also to the early days of electric lighting. This means that today it's possible to source antique lamps that were designed for electric fittings but need modification to create that stunning finishing touch. Prior to electricity, gas was the standard form of lighting - particularly in towns and cities - while earlier lamps will invariably have been designed for use with lamp oil or paraffin.

Costs and Styles

There is no set guide to the price of antique lamps- as a general rule the older and rarer the lamp, the more expensive it will be. However, some rare design icons of the twentieth century can beat older lamps and light fittings when it comes to price. Antique lamps may require work to convert them to use with electrical fittings and specialist dealers can provide a range of pre-modified lamps- they are also excellent places for some inspiration and advice.

For period designs, finding the right finishing touches can be harder for those who like to mix and match and this is where a specialist can be of real use. Earlier periods such as Victorian and Georgian will normally require some detailed research, and a specialist supplier is invaluable. If you are creating a period home, antique lamps will provide the right finishing touches, but getting the 'bigger picture' right in the first place will be the first step.

Creating an Atmosphere

By example, in looking at a period interior, the backdrop to your interior will be established by the authenticity of the colour choices you make - for instance, the Georgian era, we assume, was renowned for its simple approach with pastel colours being common for both walls and fabrics. That's because we tend to forget about the last 200 - 250 years of sunlight and the inevitable fading. The fact is, that throughout the 18th century, interiors were brightly coloured, with walls, floor coverings and upholstery fabrics in bright yellow, blues and greens. The Georgians were never shy about colour, but today we see the colours faded to pastel.

If we are decorating in a Georgian style, (which means the length of the 18th century, with the reign of four monarchs named George, from George I to George IV) we are not going to find an electric lamp! But, what we can find are vase - lamps of the period, which have been sympathetically converted to use as electric lamps. These Lamps, of course, are the perfect lighting for creating the atmosphere of a Georgian interior.

In the early 19th century, things began to change, with leaders of fashion such as the Prince Regent. This period, known as, the Regency, is recognised today, as a period of ultimate smart design, a magic period, where everything produced had the perfect line, balance and style. The Prince Regent was passionate about all things oriental and especially 'Chinoiserie' - the European version of Chinese decorative arts. Highly decorative screens, hand printed Chinoiserie wallpaper and porcelain ware became the fashion. Many lamps of this period were produced by combining French ormolu and Chinese porcelain vases, producing the perfect lighting for the Chinoiserie interior. This type of lamp has a serious elegance to it - and can work well in a wide range of stylish settings.

Later in the 19th century, designers discovered colour: lots and lots of colour - particularly the dark, heavy rich end of the spectrum. Pugin and other Gothic revivalist designers took inspiration from the medieval palate of deep cobalt blues and rich reds, complimented by gilding - creating an opulent jewelled look. Rooms with this style of interior, particularly suit subtle lamp light,resulting in a beautiful ambient light with a rich, elegant background.

Modern Classics

Lamps and lighting from the late Victorian and early Edwardian era took their inspiration from this opulent style, often heavily and richly decorated. Glass played a large part in creating a bejewelled look to lamps. This rather overweight, heavy interior requires the hand of a real enthusiast and is not particularly admired today. The Art Deco movement followed in the early 20th century, with its very specific design characteristics. Like all antique and vintage items, lamps, mirrors and furniture, all combine both functional and decorative elements making them adaptable to most settings.

Lamps, like all antiques are also investments, and well looked after; they not only have a history of standing the rigours of time, but will increase in value. Whatever your style, an antique lamp can be a valuable and useful addition to your home, creating the perfect finishing touch. Not everyone can manage to decorate their home in just the ideal way they would like to, but, if your preference is for antique and vintage lighting, remember, that there is both a very wide range of prices and lamps. Antique lighting can be added not only to a period home, but can add just the right finishing touch to any scheme. From early antiques to vintage and retro designs from the last century, a lamp helps you to create subtle lighting and comfortable ambience throughout your home.

The Antique and Vintage Table Lamp Co specialise in antique lamps with an exclusive on-line range of over 100 unique lamps.

Lamps are shipped ready wired for the US, the UK and Australia.

For further information you are invited to visit their web site at -:

© The Antique and Vintage Table Lamp Co 2011

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