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Colonial and Contemporary: A Guide to Different Types of Chandeliers

Colonial and Contemporary: A Guide to Different Types of Chandeliers

4th Oct 2018

The earliest chandeliers date back to palaces of the 15th and 16th century. They have grown from romantic expressions of nature into space-shaped modern marvels.

You can still find chandeliers in very grand contemporary homes.

For rustic colonials, they offer an exciting challenge to the savvy decorator.

Keep reading to discover some of the many types of chandeliers.


The oldest styles of Chandeliers used candles. These ornate marvels adorned palaces and stately homes.

Nowadays, chandeliers are made to resemble candlelight. The glow from the bulbs is often softer to resemble the flicker of a flame.

This style came into prominence with a colonial revival of the 1920s during the first World War.

Brass was a very popular metal used, with painted steel as a cheaper alternative. It was designed in very simple ways to maintain a delicate feel.

Glass and crystal added to a hint of sparkle and shine. Swagged chains also gave these chandeliers an extra decorative appeal.


Rock crystal was also a common feature of Romance Era chandeliers. These natural gems are mined from the earth then shaped and polished by an artisan.

Leaded crystal is another type of crystal you will find on chandeliers. An artisan crafts these to give the highest sparkle possible.

Contemporary lighting fixtures feature clean, inornate lines. They often resemble abstract pieces of art. On the other end of the spectrum, they can be as ornate as Victorian-era lighting.

Colonial or primitive style chandeliers may feature crystals strictly as a way to enhance its intimate glow.


World War I lead to the rationing of metal during the 1940s.

Different kinds of glasses were then developed and used as an affordable substitute. They offered a sparkling or elegant feel without the expense.

Contemporary chandeliers feature cut glass in an array of shapes to fit any decor. Glass is also cut to resemble crystals for a cheaper alternative. Glass elements for colonial style lighting fixtures function much like the crystal.

Minimalism and simplicity lead the way.


In the mid to late 1920s, styles of shades turned down to expose the bulb. They were made of molded plastic and various kinds of glass.

Today, chandelier shades are glass, plastic, or metal. They can offer an intimate feel in places where you want the lighting to be more subtle.

Types of Chandeliers

One thing you can be sure of is that culture will always affect our art. How we decorate our homes reflects this.

Crystal and metal have been combined over and over to create new types of chandeliers.

The invention of cheaper materials made luxury lighting easier to attain. It also made a few styles very common. This lead to a widespread desire for unique handcrafted fixtures.

The revival of colonial style decor tells us that we long for elements of the past as well as the future.

Check out our website to find the style of lighting that perfectly fits your space.