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November 23, 2016, 10:37 AM

How to buy and style reclaimed lighting

By Sara Morel

Artists Residence Brighton ©Style Salvo

1940s dentist chandelier from ©EdwardHaes
1960s fluorescent pendants manufactured by Thorn from ©Trainspotters
vintage industrial enamelled light shades from ©ArchitecturalForum

London West, UK - Can you spot the architectural light? Now spot the decorative light. I wouldn't have been able to identify these lights before I started renovating my flat, but as I am now versed in planning lighting schemes with reclaimed lights, I wanted to share some sparky wisdom.

Architectural lights are those fitted to the ceiling, walls or could be integrated into a piece of furniture. Whereas decorative lights are lamps and lighting accessories. When it came to lighting I was a basket case, so this photo of the parlour at the Artist Residence hotel in Brighton lends itself nicely to share what I learnt about reclaimed lighting.

It is never too early

Buying Art Deco pendant lampshades for my living room/kitchen before the renovation started may have been overzealous, but it is never too early to plan your lighting scheme as you need the plan ready at the first fix stage when the construction is done to avoid disruptions when wiring. Buying reclaimed and vintage lighting is no different to buying new if you buy from a UK retail salvage yard or showroom. All electric appliances including electric light fittings should by law have been repaired, adapted and safety-checked. It may just take you a little longer to source a reclaimed light rather than buying something off the shelf.

Ask yourself where? And when?

Before the pendants, I had my eyes on a chandelier salvaged from an Art Deco cinema, but I had to be practical and remember I was lighting a basement flat with relatively low ceilings in a Victorian terrace! Think about the room you are lighting and when you use it. I incorporated a lot of architectural lights to create atmosphere as surface area required for lamps has lots of competition in a small room. So quiz yourself heavily and then you can play within the parameters you have set for the room.

You are in control

Think about your circuits and how many switches you need. If you're replacing light switches then some salvage showrooms sell period style switches.

I had one antique light re-wired, but everything else came ready for installation. Be sure to ask a professional and if you are doing a big job then it's worth testing your electrician on something smaller first as not all electricians work well with vintage lights. You can read about the run-in with my electrician over IP ratings on my blog Style Salvo... But before I send you to sleep, here are some of my recommended reclaimed lighting suppliers in no particular order: Trainspotters, The Architectural Forum, Source Antiques, Retrouvius, Insitu, Holyrood Architectural Salvage, Antiques By Design, LASSCO, V&V Reclamation, Edward Haes and if you are in the market for an antique chandelier, Westland London.

and if you are in the US then check out The Demolition Depot, Ohmega Salvage and Schiller's Salvage who offer an extensive selection of vintage industrial lighting online at Salvo US.

I featured an antique dental chandelier for fun as I hope I have reassured you that sourcing reclaimed lights is less painful than pulling teeth?!

Sara Morel, Reclaimed Woman

LASSCO Ropewalk

Schiller's Architectural Design and Salvage

Demolition Depot

Antiques By Design Ltd


Ohmega Salvage


Edward Haes

Holyrood Architectural Salvage Ltd

Source Antiques Ltd


V&V Reclamation

Westland (Antiques) Ltd

Architectural Forum

Artist Residence Brighton
Style Salvo blog

Story Type:  News

ID: 97834

Date Modified: November 24, 2016, 08:15 AM

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