Chandeliers are the go-to lighting fixtures for large spaces. They’re the only type of light that’s big enough to stand up to a very high ceiling and hefty enough to hold its own in a spacious room. That said, the word “chandelier” often conjures images of very traditional fixtures – ones made of elegantly wrought, highly detailed metal, draped with crystals, and accented with flame-shaped bulbs – which aren’t always the best choice for a contemporary home. Rustic, industrial-inspired chandeliers riff on these traditional designs, but use more down-to-earth materials for a look that’s just as elegant but a lot less ostentatious.
Shop Contemporary Restoration Lighting:
Simply replacing the iconic crystals on a chandelier with some other material is a great way to dramatically alter the appearance of the fixture. Some very modern chandeliers use blown glass or baubles, but for a more rustic look, seek out chandeliers that swap out crystals for something simpler and earthier, like smooth wood beads. Though the material is completely different, the shape and construction evoke the appearance of a crystal chandelier, lending a bit of old-world elegance to a much more rustic design.
Changing the material the body of the chandelier is made of is also quite effective, and can produce a wide variety of very different styles. For example, covering a fairly traditional chandelier in tight twists of rope completely changes its tone and texture. Rough, slightly frayed rope feels rustic and humble, ideally suited for a space with a transitional style. While chandeliers like these mimic the frames of more traditional designs, they’re both more practical looking and more understated, even when the fixture itself is quite large.
Rope is commonly used as a smaller accent on industrial style chandeliers as well. While the main chain that holds the chandelier to the ceiling is usually made of metal, pieces of rope can be used to hold the light itself to the chain, or as decorative links or spokes that connect one part of the light to another. Here, too, the rope serves to give the chandelier a more rustic appearance, and particularly evokes a rugged farmhouse or ranch feel (though the style of the fixture as a whole can alter this somewhat).
Similarly, twine has become a very popular material in restoration style lighting fixtures, and chandeliers are no exception. Rather than making an antique design look more contemporary, though, twine is often used to make more modern designs feel more casual and old fashioned. In particular, the chic, birdcage style pendant lights that have become so popular in modern design lately are totally transformed when their traditional wire cages are replaced with delicate twine structures. Reminiscent of wicker furniture, these lights are the perfect pair for a slightly more old fashioned shabby-chic space, and blend beautifully with the antique whites and soft beige tones iconic of that style.
For a more industrial look, the body of the chandelier can also be replaced with very basic metal piping. This look is dramatically different from a classic antique style chandelier, not only because it’s so much simpler, but because the lines are much more angular. Rather than the elegant swooping arms of a traditional chandelier, these are all straight lines and rigid geometry. This type of chandelier is very stark and minimalist, ideal for a modern, industrial style loft space, but it still echoes the basic form of the chandelier, and will have the same visual impact on a room.
Exposed bulb or bare bulb lighting is one of the biggest trends in lighting in general right now, and this definitely shows up with industrial style chandeliers as well. While many models go with the more conventional flame-shaped bulbs, it’s not uncommon to see antique-inspired bulbs as well, either ones with an odd shape, decorative filament, ornate metal sockets, or some combination of the three. These unique bulbs have a distinctive turn-of-the-century look and feel that’s equal parts gritty and antique. More modern/industrial styles simply suspend these bulbs from long, free-hanging cords, while more rustic styles place a stronger emphasis on the sockets and keep the bulbs closer to the main body of the fixture.
What do you think of these rustic, reclaimed, and industrial style chandeliers? let me know in the comments below!