Here's your chandelier buying guide in which we break up and categorize the 34 different styles and shapes of chandeliers (for all rooms of the home).
Chandeliers can make the space in 2 ways. First, they can look amazing in their own right. A real showpiece for a room. Second, they illuminate a space and as we know, the light in any room can have a huge impact on the interior design.
Light impacts your mood
In fact, while it’s well know lack of natural light can negatively impact your emotional wellbeing, the intensity of interior light can also have an impact on your emotions. One example is that people in brighter light have more intense emotions, both good and bad. Examples of more intense emotions include wanting spicier sauce, perceiving someone more attractive and even reporting the temperature being warmer (source: Huffington Post). Interestingly, light can also affect what we eat, how much we eat and how fast we eat (source: Mentalfloss.com).
Accordingly, the light in your home is a very important decision, both for aesthetic purposes and functional purposes (i.e. your enjoyment and wellbeing within your home).
What is a chandelier?
The immediate question that arises is, how is a chandelier technically different from some pendant lights? After all, pendant lights such as the island/antler variety are branched lighting fixtures too? It boils down to the amount of branches. 2, 3 or even 4 branches are still pendant. Moreover, the pendant light is larger as well. But, once there are more than 4 branches with smaller lights, it’s a chandelier.
The point of this article
This article seeks to clarify your chandelier options. There are a vast number of chandeliers available. While it seems there is no rhyme or reason to the types and shapes, the fact is that there is a proper organization to chandelier shape and style. This article seeks to organize your chandelier options so that you can methodically go through and figure out exactly what type, style, shape and number of tiers you want for your chandelier.
The starting point is identifying the chandelier shapes. For you, that means deciding on a chandelier shape. Next, it’s choosing the number of tiers.
Another approach you can take when choosing is to start with the style. For example, if your home is designed in the Mediterranean style, you may want to filter down by Mediterranean styles, then choose a shape and finally the number of tiers. FYI, not all shapes offer all tiers. For example, some shapes may only offer 1 or 2 tiered chandeliers.
Here are your chandelier options…
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Related: All The Lighting Options | Kitchens with Chandelier | Living Rooms with Chandelier | Primary Bedrooms with Chandelier | Primary Bathrooms with Chandelier | Foyer Chandelier Ideas | Chandeliers Under $100
The 12 Main Chandelier Shapes
As you’ll see below, there are many types/shape of chandeliers. The following types are the key descriptors used to differentiate the many types.
What is it?
The shaded type is when there’s brushed glass surrounding the individual lights. These actually look much like island pendant lights, but they have more branches. The shaded type have larger lights typically.
2. Crystal Chandelier
What is it?
Crystal is the type one typically associates with chandeliers. It’s a series of bulbs surrounded by glass crystals which reflects the light throughout the room. It’s a formal style and very ornate. It’s definitely not for every home, especially today’s more casually designed homes. However, sometimes the juxtaposition of a fancy crystal chandelier against a more casual design can have a striking effect.
3. Candle-Style Chandelier
What is it?
This type is exactly as the name suggests; a chandelier with lights that look like candles. This style is often a hybrid (see below) with other styles. This too is a fairly formal style since it’s aim is to replicate the traditional candle lighting.
4. Mini-Small Chandelier
What is it?
A mini chandelier is a small chandelier for smaller spaces. While this may seem to be an odd offering to some people, it makes sense to me. Traditionally, chandeliers were large ceiling lights that required a huge space; however, given that chandeliers are used in many rooms of the home, smaller options are convenient in those rooms that can’t or shouldn’t accommodate a larger style.
5. Drum Chandelier
What is it?
A drum chandelier is one shaped like a drum. It gets this shape with some form of large shade surrounding the series of lights. This type offers a more muted light throughout the room which can be great for bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, dining rooms and living rooms.
6. Sputnik Chandelier
What is it?
This is a cool type. It’s a light explosion with a series of light branches extending from a center point. Some are symmetrical forming a circle while others are more random. The arms are straight and in some cases have lights on both ends while others have lights on only one end of the arm.
This example has lights on both ends of the arms forming a globe.
The style below has lights on only one end of the arms.
7. Empire Chandelier
What is it?
The Empire style is very formal and traditional. It’s defined by the shape. It’s 2 sections. The top section is in a cone shape. The bottom section is an inverted bell or bowl. The entire unit is a series of small lights and crystals.
The Empire style is a sub-set of crystal since the entire light is a series of crystals. A popular style of Empire chandeliers is the french style.
8. Waterfall Chandelier
What is it?
The waterfall style comes in many shapes and forms. It’s a style where the class or crystal “drips” down from the top. The base can be round, square or geo. The “drop” can be strings or more geometric shapes. The overall descriptor is that the lights and crystal appear to be falling water.
9. Center Bowl
What is it?
A center bowl style is one where there’s a main light shaped as a bowl at the bottom surrounded by smaller lights. If it were just the center bowl, it would be a pendant, but when surrounded by smaller lights, it forms a chandelier.
What is it?
An island chandelier is one with a series of lights sitting on arms or branches that are horizontally configured. Arguably these are island pendants as well. It’s a blurry difference.
What is it?
A globe style is a lighting fixture shaped into a globe. The shape is made up of a series of lights often wrapped in some cage or material to create a globe effect.
12. Cage (Home Depot)
What is it?
A cage style is one where the lights are wrapped in a cage effect. The shapes can be any shape such as triangle, globe, square, rectangle, etc.
B. Hybrid Chandeliers
Some chandeliers, as you may have noticed above, are a combination of styles and shapes. Take the following example, which incorporates “globe, cage and candle” styles into one magnificent light.
There are endless hybrid styles given that once you start combining the 12 main types/shapes above, you end up with many, many chandelier designs.
C. Chandelier Tiers
Another element of chandelier lights is the tiers. Tiers are the layers of lights or sections. They range from 1 tier to 5 tiers. 1 and 2 tiers are the most popular.
Below are examples of the various tiers.
D. Chandelier Styles Gallery
In some ways Iike that chandeliers are categorized into styles, but in some ways I don’t. I like it because when the style actually fits, it really helps buying the right one. However, I don’t like it because there are a lot of chandeliers that simply don’t fit any one style and so it’s artificially slotted into a style. When this happens it makes it difficult shopping by style.
Nevertheless, it’s standard practice to apply a design style to chandeliers and so we’d be remiss if we failed to include examples of the various styles to give you an idea of the different styles that are categorized.
What we did is take time to look for the best fitting chandelier for each style so that you can a glimmer of an idea of how the different styles look relative to one another.
Our styles section is a gallery. Click or tap images to enlarge.
E. Chandeliers by Room
We’re also excited to offer you room-specific galleries which showcases hundreds of chandeliers by room (real designs and real rooms). Here they are:
1. Living Room Chandeliers
Click here for our living room chandelier gallery. While chandeliers aren’t always a perfect fit for a living room, they can be. We explain when it’s a good fit, some parameters and provide dozens of photo examples.
2. Dining Room Chandeliers
3. Kitchen Chandeliers
4. Foyer Chandeliers
Click here for our foyer chandelier photo gallery. Foyers are the quintessential chandelier space. This grand lighting option creates grandeur for guests arriving into your home. It’s a real show-piece. For larger foyers, the bigger, the better.
5. Primary Bedroom Chandeliers
Click here for our primary bedroom chandelier gallery. The chandelier may be a luxury you don’t want to pay for, but if it’s luxury and fancy you want, there’s nothing like a chandelier to really dress up your primary bedroom retreat.
6. Primary Bathroom Chandeliers
Click here for our primary bathroom chandelier gallery. I have to admit when putting the bathroom chandelier gallery together I was pleasantly surprised how nice a chandelier looks in the bathroom. Check them out for yourself.
Below are answers to questions about chandeliers.
What is a chandelier?
A chandelier is a hanging light fixture. Chandeliers are different from other types of decorative hanging light in that they feature several ‘branches’ with light bulbs used in some form at the end of each. Materials that are popular in chandeliers include crystal, brass, and LED Pendants.
When were chandeliers invented?
The use of chandeliers dates back to medieval times. First used with candles for the light source, chandeliers evolved to work with gas lighting in the 1800s. Today, consumers can choose from a wide variety of chandelier styles, including modern, metal globes, crystal chandeliers, wagon wheel, and hoop styles. Regardless of whether you prefer a glamorous or modern chandelier, you are sure to find something that tickles your fancy.
Can chandelier length be adjusted (shortened or lengthened)?
Yes, chandelier length can get adjusted as needed to work with traffic or use patterns in the room where installed. For instance, if hung over a workspace in the kitchen, it can get hung low enough to provide exceptional light, but not so low that people bump their head. When hung in a foyer or popular area of the home, you want to make sure there is enough clearance for people to walk about the area. For instructions on how to adjust the length of a chandelier, refer to the manufacturers manual or website. In some cases, adjustments may need to get made to the supporting beam or other structural supports. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with lengthening or shortening the chain of your chandelier, contact a professional installer to complete the project.
Are chandeliers dimmable?
Many – but not all – of today’s new chandeliers are compatible with dimmer switches with a high rate of capacity control. When selecting a dimmer switch, you’ll need to combine all of the wattage used in the chandelier to choose the right switch. If you are unsure of whether your light works with a dimmer, check the product manual or the manufacturer’s website for more information. Chandelier and dimmer compatibility in older fixtures can vary. To avoid potential electrical issues, you should always be sure that your electrical wiring supports light fixtures which draw more energy. As you can imagine, multi-bulb installations require more power than single bulb sources. Check with a lighting professional if you have questions.
Can chandeliers be painted?
Yes, chandeliers can get painted. As you can imagine, this opens up a world of opportunities to repurpose old lights and make them look like a million dollars. Popular paint types include chalk paint, spray paint, and other types of paints. If doing this as a project, make sure to watch a video tutorial or two to learn the best tips and tricks for painting chandeliers.
Are chandeliers considered fixtures?
Yes, chandeliers are considered fixtures. For homeowners, this means that when the house gets sold, chandeliers in the home get included in the sale. Why? The reason is that physical property that’s permanently attached is a fixture. So, if you are a lover of beautiful chandeliers, be mindful of this caveat. Before spending thousands of dollars on a lighting piece, be aware you don’t get to keep when you sell the home.
Can chandeliers be recycled?
Yes, chandeliers can be given a second life in one of two ways. The first way to recycle a chandelier is by doing something known as upcycling. Upcycling is a way to repurpose the chandelier. If you want to recycle the entire piece (you no longer want it), it would need to get disassembled. Some materials may not be recyclable. Before spending an afternoon meticulously deconstructing your chandelier, think about other ways you can repurpose it. Can you use it in another part of the house? Would one of your family members or friends be able to put it to good use somewhere in their life? Is there a second-hand shop that would accept a donation or make an offer to buy it? If so, don’t be so quick to rid yourself of the chandelier just yet! It could have a chance at a second life with a new owner.
What materials are used to make chandeliers?
These days, there are numerous materials used to make chandeliers. Popular mediums include metals including brass, bronze, metal finishes, crystal, glass, brushed nickel, wood grain, and wagon wheels. Trendy chandelier styles include sputnik, drum shades, Williamsburg, taper candle, shaded chandeliers, multi-tier chandeliers,
G. Where to buy Chandeliers online?
This may be good or bad news. The thing is, you can buy quality chandeliers from a lot of online stores. This is good because you have choice. This is bad because there are a lot of choices. How do you decide? It’s not easy.
Here’s a list of some of the bigger lighting retailers: