I’d been wanting a pair of swing-arm lamps to flank the black and white striped sofa in the library. The room needed more lighting on that end, and something with a little height.
I knew exactly which ones I wanted: Visual Comfort’s Dorchester Swing-Arm Floor Lamps. The whole Dorchester line is perfect down to every little detail! Aged brass, black tapered shades, cutely oversized ball finials, and the classic candlestick. Perfect. The lamps would have been about $1500 for the pair though, and while they are well-made and beautifully designed, that was a lot more than I was looking to spend. (Honestly, the kids knocked over the floor lamp that used to be in the library and I had visions of the same thing happening to far more expensive ones. The kids aren’t usually destructive, but they like to play behind the sofa like it’s a secret fort and accidents happen.)
I looked for less expensive alternatives. The problem is that I get picky about the details. I couldn’t find anything for under $100 that I wanted to buy. The lamps I did like enough to consider were in the $250-400 (each) range, and they would have needed different shades on top of that.
I searched for vintage lamps, too. I found a lot of great single lamps, but a pair was harder. A few months went by before I found what I was looking for on FB Marketplace… or close enough. All of that self-professed pickiness? I suppose I can overlook some pretty major differences if the price is right. $50 for the pair meant I could overlook a lot.
I can rattle off all the things I don’t love about them. The shades show some wear, I’m not crazy about the finials, and the candlesticks are more yellow than I’d like. The swirly bit is not my thing, nor is the octagonal base. That brass is some bright ‘80s brass. And functionally, I wanted a swing-arm.
But they do what I need them to do in the room. The overall effect is nice, adding height to the room and the extra lighting we needed. They already came with black tapered shades, and that black does add a necessary punctuation mark against a backdrop of pastel pink. The brass and candlestick elements are there even if not done exactly to my liking. And they’re unique! (Ha, that sounds like such a put-down. They’re so… unique.)
Would the other lamps look better? Yes. Does the difference bother me enough to swap them out? Nope.