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A beautiful chandelier or elegant lamp can transform a simple room into something spectacular and give a modern room a period feel. The shabby chic style is all about things that are used, a little worn out and old in appearance but that doesn't mean you have to buy authentic old light fittings. In fact, it's probably best that you don't. Modern day reproduction lighting creates that loved, vintage feel through distressed metals and recycled parts without the worry of unsafe wiring. You'll also find it much simpler to buy bulbs for reproduction lights!
If you have your heart set on buying a genuine vintage light fitting for your shabby chic-themed room, the best place to find this is a reputable antiques dealer or an antiques lighting specialist. In all cases make sure you check with them that they've had your light fitting of choice tested by a qualified electrician. It’s also worth asking the dealer for advice regarding cleaning – an authentic piece will likely have some patina build up which gives the piece its aged appearance – you don’t want to remove this as you may devalue the piece and possibly damage it.
If you decide to buy from a less reputable source such as eBay, a car boot sale or Craigslist, you'll need to do some extra work yourself which might include cleaning, repairs and of course, arranging the all-important safety check by a qualified electrician. Anything that is more than 40 – 50 years old is definitely not going to follow today’s safety or compatibility standards. You’ll also need to check what bulbs the light fitting takes – and be warned that these can be tricky to source. An antiques parts supplier can be helpful for these, or your electrician may be able to supply an adapter.
Many people choose to mix the worn shabby chic look with elements of other styles, particularly when it comes to lighting. Adding a little grandeur to your shabby chic theme can go a long way towards achieving the desired elegant overall effect which sets your decor apart from the cute Pop-Victorian look. Lighting described as ‘baroque’ or ‘rococo’ is often favoured in shabby chic themes and this is typically elaborate and heavily ornamental, often featuring many sparking crystals. Baroque is in fact a period of grand, opulent artistic style that began around 1600 in Italy. Baroque pieces feature excessive ornamentation or complexity of line. Rococo is a later type of Baroque, which is lighter, more graceful, but also even more elaborate. If something is truly ‘Rococo’ it will tend to be asymmetrical in contrast with Baroque which errs towards symmetry. Rococo pieces are very curvy, highly decorated and often use pale colours.
Recycled old furniture is another important aspect of the shabby chic look and this is why I’ve included some gorgeous upcycled lighting in the shop which will fit beautifully into any shabby chic room.
Shabby chic lighting in the bathroom needs careful thought. While most of us would love to hang a chandelier over our bath, it's really not safe to do so! Make sure you choose a light fitting that's suitable for the zone you're going to put it in. Here's a zone chart to help you:
If you've bought genuine vintage lights, these won't be rated in the same way modern day lights are, so ask your electrician which zone they would be suitable for.
If you've got your heart set on the look of a chandelier over the bath, opt for a candelabra instead. This gorgeous candelabra would look stunning and you won't need to worry about wiring!
Hello, I'm Jen and I'm the creator of The Shabby Chic Guru. I'm a 38 year old consultant and mummy of 4. I live in a Victorian house full of quirky furniture, large ornate mirrors and small children with sticky little fingers. I love all things shabby chic and vintage, cute babies, dinosaurs and wine.