What do you think of when you think about a chandelier? Probably a large, antique, crystal behemoth in an old rich person’s house? But I’m going to show you just how chandeliers have changed and why you should definitely get one for your home! But to answer the title of this blog now; no, chandeliers are definitely not outdated.

big chandelier

The History of Chandeliers

A chandelier used to be seen as a statement of wealth. You’d need to pay staff to look after the chandelier and pay for good quality candles so as not to leave soot everywhere or burn marks on your ceiling (which gets expensive when you’re buying hundreds). Nowadays, large chandeliers are still expensive to maintain and run, just think of the electric bill. 

But originally, chandeliers were simple wooden beams with candles on them. It wasn’t until the 15th century that extravagant and expensively made chandeliers became a staple in the homes of the rich. 

As we reached the Victorian era, chandeliers reached their peak of extravagance and the typical shape is often what we think of when we think of a chandelier. They were made using expensive metals and may have even been gold/silver plated. It was around this time that some chandeliers were converted to gas and thus, the modern chandelier was born. 

Contemporary Chandeliers

Recently there seems to have been a revival of the chandelier in home décor. This could be due to the surge of contemporary chandelier designs which push the boundaries of what we assume a chandelier to be. Whereas stereotypical chandeliers were made from either glass or crystal, contemporary chandeliers can be made from basically anything. Wood, antlers, and steel are just a few of the materials chosen by modern designers. We’ve seen some beautiful chandeliers made from fiber optic lights which replicate the look of clouds! 

modern chandelier

The main difference between the traditional and modern chandeliers is the level of intricacy and detail. Traditional chandeliers were seen as statements of wealth and so had very intricate and decorative designs, many featuring chains of crystal beads and the stems looked like blooming flowers. While contemporary chandeliers tend to lean more towards simplicity. 

Modern décor in general is a lot more simple than that of the Victorians. Gone is the patterned wallpaper and carpets, and hello bright, open block colours. To suit this, we need chandeliers to match the simplicity. 

What chandelier is right for you?

So now we’ve established that modern chandeliers now are very different to our assumptions of what a chandelier is, but what’s right for you? Both chandelier styles have their merits and I am of the opinion that for the right person, anything is possible. However, there is a downside to the larger, extravagant chandeliers. The cost. 

As we said above, traditional chandeliers were a statement of wealth. So not only will you be responsible for the purchase of the chandelier, but you’ll also need to maintain it to keep it in perfect condition. If it’s large enough or made of a special material like crystal, we’d urge you to get it professionally cleaned to prevent damage. You can check out our chandelier cleaning services here. 

Check your ceiling!

Another thing to consider when looking at purchasing a traditional chandelier, is the strength of your ceiling. When I first started on my chandelier journey it came as a bit of a shock to me that not all ceilings are created equally. You’ll need to check the strength of your ceiling before purchase. If you’re more of a contemporary, you have more options but still need to be realistic about what you can do. 

Before setting your heart on a style of chandelier, you need to evaluate the available space. If you have low ceilings, you may want to look into getting pendant light chandeliers which can be shortened at the cord or you can look into flat contemporary styles. Unfortunately, low ceilings do usually mean that a traditional crystal chandelier is out of reach. A chandelier hung too low can be quite a hazard if it’s in an area where people could walk into it and can really disrupt the flow of a room. This can happen especially if the chandelier will fall around eye level like in a dining room. 

You can pretty much go into any lighting shop and they will have a form of chandelier there. Ikea even sells some now. For more contemporary and bespoke designs, it’s always worth looking at designers in your local area.