The lamps you choose need not conform to a single furniture period. Many of the popular lamp styles mingle well with one another, and an artful combination of periods can add zest to the room. Lamps with single, classic bases – cylinders, columns, urns, blusters and classic oriental porcelain designs – are available in a wide spectrum of colors and finishes to complement the various decors. Traditional lamps take their inspiration form period candleholder and oil lamp designs. The traditional lamps you choose may be either authentic antiques or convincing reproductions. Designs that are appropriate for period or formal traditional rooms are eighteenth and nineteenth century – French, English and American colonial lamps, Greek urns, and the classic Oriental shapes. Traditional Europeans and American Lamps are often ornate with rococo embellishments. These are made of materials that reflect the opulence of their heritage – crystal, silver, porcelain, pottery, bronze and glass.
Informal country lamps, appropriate for using with French provincial, Early American and Spanish or Mediterranean decors are much more rustic in flavor and design. Common materials for these lamps include pewter, copper, wood, wrought iron, brass and handcrafted pottery. Finishes have a hand-rubbed look, and colors are apt to be the natural earth tone. The popular traditional contemporary fashion in lamps expresses natural or country motifs. These designs emphasize the use of natural materials – wrought iron, pottery, rope, wood and wicker. They are particularly attractive in rooms using similar materials for other furnishings. Contemporary fixtures have taken on new and fascinating shapes. Fluid and free form, the designs are trimly tailored, sleek and imaginative. Some resemble futuristic sculpture, others have exposed bulbs with no shade at all, and still others feature sound-activated switches. Improvements in the quality of model translucent plastics have made possible fanciful new shapes in lamps. Other common materials in contemporary lamps are chrome, aluminium, and glass.