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The Versatile Modern Swag Lamps

swag lampsOnce a standard way to provide lighting in living rooms, swag lamps have remained functional while gaining some style. Sometimes called a hanging lamp, the definition of a swag is much broader than it was in the 1950s. Many contemporary chandeliers are equipped with the distinctive chain and cord found on most swag-style lamps.
Hanging lights are especially appropriate for rooms with tight floor space; they are often found in small apartments because of their space-saving qualities. Swags are also good where concentrated light is needed. They can provide cool, energy-efficient direct light over an accent table, behind a favorite reading chair, or in a breakfast nook. They are usually height-adjustable in order to fit high ceilings, with the added benefit of adjusting or diffusing the desired amount of light. Another plus for swag lighting is that it is not hard-wired into the ceiling; just insert the plug into an existing outlet.
An old swag — like the dusty one Grandma had in the corner of the living room — can be updated for a clean “retro” look, with new paint and lamp shades, as long as the wiring and plug are in good condition. If the wiring needs to be replaced, the swag can be retrofitted with newer wiring and lamp holders.

While there are many advantages to considering a swag lamp, they do have some drawbacks. The first is the cord. If there are small children around, or pets who like to chew, a hard-wired, ceiling-mounted light might be a better choice. Any repair or change to the lamp — changing bulbs, installing replacement ceiling hooks or lampshades, chain adjustments — requires a ladder; often, a pair of pliers and a second set of hands are needed as well.

Swag lamps and lampshades come in all price ranges and can be purchased at most lighting showrooms and big-box home improvement stores, online lighting dealers, auction sites and thrift stores.