Matching Lamp Hardware
Lamps and other light fixtures play an important role in how we decorate our homes. Over time, table lamps, sconces, and chandeliers can suffer from missing hardware, warped parts, or worn electrical components. Most local hardware stores lack the rare or hard-to-find parts you need to restore an old lamp to its former glory. Achieving the antiquated look you love will require matching lamp hardware. In this guide, we discuss the different types of lamp hardware, so you know what to look for while assembling your supplies. We will also discuss the process of mixing and matching, to provide insight into tastefully decorating with multiple hardware finishes. Keep reading to learn more.
Different Types of Lamp Hardware
Your journey begins with an overview of basic hardware. Depending on the design of your lamp, you can find a wide variety of lamp parts that match. Oil lamps usually consist of burners, caps, chimneys, collars, wicks, shade holders, and other components. Electric lamps usually consist of rings, necks, collars, bushing, dimmer knobs, sockets, chains, bases, columns, tubes, and other components. Take inventory of all the usable, working parts of your lamp, so you can save money in the long run. You can find hardware kits online, but it might be easier and more affordable to buy only the components you need to restore your old lamp.
A lamp’s base is one of its most visible parts, but there are many components worth noting and updating if the finish or material isn’t cohesive. A lamp made from a hodgepodge of aged and contemporary hardware will look wildly out of place or perplexing to the discerning design enthusiast. As a rule of thumb, match your lamp’s parts and hardware to ensure that they look as though they were the original components of your vintage fixture.
Most lamps come with a long, hollow tube that conceals the electrical wires within. These lamp pipes are important to any remodeling project, and they can be ornamented or left plain depending on your preferences. Swivels allow light fixtures to be redirected without having to be relocated. Lamp swivels come in a variety of materials, finishes, sizes, and degree rotation options. Lock nuts, bushings, and spindles are used to secure lamp parts together. Some light fixtures terminate to decorative finials. A finial is used to secure the shade to the lamp.
Smoke bells were used in old-fashioned hanging lamps to prevent soot from blackening the ceiling. The smoke bell attaches to the canopy of the light fixture, just a few inches above the chimney. A smoke bell is suspended from a small chain. The lamp chain is used to suspend the lamp at a particular height. Chains can be decorative, industrial, or beaded. They come in a wide variety of materials, finishes, and styles. If you’re remodeling an old hanging lamp, you can use a brass, iron, or steel hickey to attach your fixture to the wall or ceiling. You can also find screws in a multitude of threaded and finished options.
Mix and Matching Lamps or Hardware
Contrary to popular belief, you can mix and match light fixtures successfully. You should avoid mixing too many light fixtures in one room, but it can be done. Below are some of the most popular lamp hardware options, as well as tips for seamless decorating. Ceiling-mounted, chandelier, pendant, portable, rail, recessed, track, under-cabinet, and wall-mounted light fixtures are typically available in the following options:
Finishes: aged, brushed, distresses, polished, and satin
Light Use: accent, ambient, and task
Materials: aluminum, brass, bronze, chrome, glass, gold, nickel, and silver
Style: contemporary, craftsman, crystal, rustic, tiffany, traditional, transitional, tropical
You can generally mix between two to four finishes in a single room. Many antique lamps come with brass hardware in different shades. You can avoid going overboard by choosing a matching element. If your lamp hardware features a satin brass finish, you might decide to stick with the same satin finish in other materials. Create a complementing contrast by mixing fixtures with opposite hardware finishes. Matte brass tones look great when paired with polished brass hardware. Mixing hardware finishes provides a simple yet sophisticated way to make a statement.
We know how difficult rebuilding a lamp can be, but Antique Lamp Supply has the experience and product selection required to find premium components for affordable prices. If you have any questions about this article or would like to learn more about our selection of lamp parts and hardware, please contact us today for further assistance.