Searching for a replacement for the plastic reading lamp left over from my college days, I stopped at the Stained Glass Store, where I found a gorgeous Tiffany lamp. Stained glass usually reminds me of being dragged to church by my mother, but I liked the natural light the colors exuded. The lamp had three different light setting, so I could switch between low wattage to read by or more intense rays to jolt me awake in the morning. Plus, I liked the history behind the piece—it had an antique feel without seeming too rusty. 300 Fifth Ave., at 2nd St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-768-7964.
Under the Pig
At Under the Pig in Park Slope, I was drawn to the Goddess Lamp. Skeptical of its meager $70 price tag, I found out that the lamp was actually a reproduction, not an authentic antique. Though I liked the illuminated flower framed with leaves, the composite metal was painted to pass as aged bronze. Taking the faux antique home would have been the equivalent of buying a knockoff designer bag. 355A Fifth Ave., nr. 5th St., Park Slope, Brooklyn, 718-788-2135.
Gift & Home
Next I wandered into Gift & Home Furnishing Center. The Celtic serenity music playing on the jukebox should have been my first clue to duck out. Instead, I headed to the back, where a tall black and white floral lamp was displayed. Even with my lackluster arm strength, I could easily pick up the hollowed item. However, the proportions were totally unbalanced; the shade was more than double the size of the lamp. 162 Seventh Ave., at Garfield Pl., Park Slope, Brooklyn, 718-499-0721.
The next day I went to ABC, confident I’d find something wild. And, sure enough, I spotted an Asian-inspired lamp just screaming for attention. The boxy pale-pink shade was delicately embroidered. But the uneven hanging fringe cheapened the thirties piece. And the long brass stand would have hovered too high above my bed—which sits right on the floor. Undoubtedly, this lamp had plenty of pizzazz, but it was too much to spend on something not quite right. 888 Broadway, at 19th St.; 212-473-3000.
After a sushi lunch near Rockefeller Center, I wandered into Anthropologie. In the home section there was a handful of abstract lights, but I gravitated toward the “Edison.” The clear, handblown glass was super-sleek and would have blended (literally) into any room in my apartment. But the emphasis here was clearly on the lightbulb. And though I’m grateful to Edison, I didn’t want to make my room a shrine to his inventions. 50 Rockefeller Center, nr. 50th St.; 212-246-0386.
Convinced I could find both a bargain and an aesthetic gem, I dove into Target’s weekend crowds. On the second floor, there was a wide selection of stands and shades to mix and match. Many were typically dull Target wares, but this brushed-silver-finished table lamp with twisting beams definitely stood out. I paired it with a cornfield-blue shade which would add a nice splash of color to my white walls. Though the design was pretty outrageous for Target, it wasn’t bold enough for me. It was, however, perfect for other shoppers: Two women fought over the stand after I set it down. 139 Flatbush Ave., at Atlantic Ave., Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-290-1109.
The Porcelain Garden
In Lumiere’s storefront, I saw a white, cylindrical lamp that would fit perfectly on my round bedside table. I loved how lightweight it was—getting this up three flights of stairs would be a breeze. But I was concerned by how much light the lamp would actually emit, since the beams had to shine through small holes in the swirling floral design. With my bedroom’s overhead light currently burned out, I needed something super-bright. Plus, the porcelain material felt so precious that I knew I’d chip it before long. 238 Seventh Ave., nr. 4th St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-369-1082.
The next morning, I hurried over to City Knickerbocker in Hell’s Kitchen where I stumbled upon an enormous selection of sprawling chandeliers, towering floor lamps, and hefty antiques. I was surprised to hear that most of the light fixtures were rentals. Why would someone want to rent a lamp? Luckily, the owner will sell the inventory for the right price. The lamp I chose had a large, metal rectangular base and sold for $100. Though the shade was a boring black, I was mesmerized by the base’s large studded façade. The very modern, almost severe, effect would perfectly balance out my girlie room. 665 Eleventh Ave., at 48th St., second fl.; 2121-586-3939.