The word “Swag” in this lighting context simply means to hang from the ceiling. This definition can be used to incorporate many different lighting fixtures that hang from the ceiling including chandeliers, pendants and others. However, the traditional and most accepted definition is more specific. It strictly points to a fabric lamp shade that has been electrified with one or more electrical sockets/bulbs and hangs from the ceiling usually by a metal chain.
Really good ideas just refuse to go away! Swags were very popular from the 1950's through the 1980's. They can be seen on many TV shows and movies from that period. They have remained very popular in many hotels, motels and resorts because they are space saving and economical. Today we are experiencing a huge resurgence in their popularity. They are among the most efficient and economical method of lighting up any area. They are also one of the best reading lights available and can be positioned ideally to put the light right where you want it while saving valuable floor space. They can be direct wired (permanently wired into the ceiling) or they can be portable with a plug in cord just like a table lamp. Swag lamps are being widely used in residential as well as many commercial applications. Large shades are used for large areas and more compact shades for small areas. Swag lamps lend themselves to using a wide variety of light bulb styles especially the very efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. They are truly beautiful with the light beaming through the elegant fabric.
Many features are available such as 1) Pull chain on/off switch 2) In line on/off switch 3) Custom color chain 4) Custom color cord 5) Custom chain and cord length 6) Single or multiple light bulb configuration 7) Chain hung 8) Cord hung 9) Rod hung 10) Diffuser
The shade fabric styles and colors available are nearly endless because practically any lamp shade can be easily made into a portable or direct wire swag lamp.
In summary, swag lamps are very much back in style. They work great near the end of a sofa, behind or beside a chair, over a dining or game table, in a corner, beside or over a bed, over a night stand, over or beside a desk, etc. Use a swag lamp most any place where you want light and you wish to preserve your floor space.
– Jim Hoyle