2012 Lighting Trends: Reclaimed Light Fixtures

In recent years, all things ‘reclaimed’ have become super trendy. Those who follow the trends may purchase items such as reclaimed barn wood furniture pieces, antique display items and so forth; but few consider the prospect of reclaimed lights. When looking to update the lighting in your home, why not consider using a reclaimed fixture?

Are Reclaimed Light Fixtures Safe to Use?

The answer, in short, is a ‘yes’ and a ‘no.’ In some instances, the wiring may not be useable and could result in a fire if the fixture is installed ‘as-is.’ However, when using a reclaimed lights, it’s perfectly acceptable to remove the interior wiring and update all of the wiring and other electrical components before reusing the fixture. By updating the wiring and giving the fixture a thorough cleaning before use, you can make it a safe, useable fixture for your space.

What Types of Reclaimed Light Fixtures are Out There?

There may not be the same modern, decorative light fixtures that you will see in a light store today. However, you can easily find a number of different fixtures for use in your home including chandeliers, wall sconces, table lamps and floor lamps. If you really look, you may be able to find other fixtures such as pendant lights, hanging lanterns and even certain outdoor fixtures.

Keep in mind that ‘reclaimed’ does not necessarily translate into ‘antique.’ True antiques are at least 100 years old and the term ‘reclaimed’ simply means it was found or salvaged from elsewhere and is being offered for reuse. You may find reclaimed lights from offices and retailers that have gone out of business in the last couple of years, translating into a relatively new light.

Where can I Find a Reclaimed Light Fixture?

When looking for a reclaimed light fixture, you’ll obviously want to steer clear of retailers of new items. Instead, check out flea markets, secondhand stores, thrift stores, antique stores and antique malls. In some instances, you may even find reclaimed or ‘used’ lights at garage sales, estate sales and so forth.

There are also several online locations that can be highly beneficial when looking for reclaimed or ‘used’ fixtures.

What Do I Look For When Buying a Reclaimed Light Fixture?

If you are making your purchase in person, be sure to inspect the fixture thoroughly. Keep in mind that tarnishing does not necessarily indicate a poor fixture. Many older, retro, vintage or antique fixtures may feature mild to significant tarnishing that can be polished up and will look as good as new. Instead, look for issues such as rust, cracks and other irreparable damage.

If the fixture includes glass shades or crystals, inspect these items for cracks, chips and other damage. However, keep in mind that in some instances, you may be able to repair or replace the damaged portion. A missing crystal teardrop from an antique chandelier can often easily be replaced with a little bit of shopping around for the right piece.

Finally, don’t forget that the electrical wiring of a piece can be replaced to ensure the fixture is safe for reuse.

Reclaimed lights can be a great buy if you know what you’re looking for. Buy a fixture that is in good shape and if necessary, replace the wiring prior to installation for a beautiful, good-as-new fixture.