The purpose of lighting the house must be clearly known. Make sure you identify clearly the needs of the lamp because in an example of one for reading you need to get the correct lamp for reading. The brightness and dullness of it matters a lot depending on the purpose that the lamp is intended to meet.
When looking at antique lamps remember to not clean them up so much. This is especially true with the brass and sterling lamps. Cleaning them too much devaluates them considerably. On the popular series Antiques Road Show I am always amazed at the person with the 100 year old piece of brass that would have sold for $5,000 but one can of Brass-o later is worth about a buck fifty.
When looking at antique lamps make sure you check the condition before even plugging them in. The trouble areas are generally at either end of the cord. Frayed or even slightly nicked cords should not be used. If you are not confident as to whether they are safe or not, do not plug them in! If you do not feel qualified to repair the lamp, find a professional to do this for you. Most likely they will do it for the cost of a cord or very cheap.
For those who are into something a little more modern there are lots of styles to choose from. Whatever your style preference though, you need to consider whether or not the lamp you are getting will fit your room. For example if you are looking for a table lamp for an end table, the height of the lamp should be such that it provides ample light to the area. This is dependent on the height of the table in relation to the couch, loveseat or chair next to the table. A three inch tall lamp would not only look silly if there is a 6 inch height difference, chances are it will not light anything. Typically, you should have 18-24 inches clearance from the bottom of the lamp shade to the arm of your furniture. This doesn't flood the entire room with light, but it will insure that you light more than the magazines on the table that you won't be able to read in the dark.
To buy the best desk lamp for your room, there are several things to consider. The first thing is to take into account the style and décor of the room. Pay close attention to the accessories that flank the desk lamp. Then, select a lamp that blends in with all of these. Coordinate the style of the lamp with the rest of the articles in the room. Coordinate the color of the desk lamp with the primary colors you have used in the room. For instance, a brightly colored desk lamp would blend in beautifully with the pep and cheer of a colorful children's room, but may look weird when placed in a room that is predominantly Victorian in style.
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