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The Evolution of the Chandelier

The word “chandelier” originates from the French “chandelle”, meaning “candle”. With this in mind, you might have already guessed that all together, the word “chandelier” means “candle holder”—its initial use when it emerged around the 14 th century. At the time, the design was simple: it was nothing more than two wood beams that crossed over each other with spikes on either end on which candles were placed.

So how did we go from a piece of mere functionality to the focal point of a room?

15th-16th Century

The Italian Renaissance emerged as a period of cultural appreciation, which in turn inspired elaborate ornate designs and decorative art pieces. As a result, the chandelier evolved into a symbol of status—the more intricate your chandelier, the richer you appeared.

Early 19th Century

Due to technological advancements, the use of gas gradually became the standard for lighting in the early 1800s. New designs were being made with gas instead of candles, and existing chandeliers were being converted. These gaslight chandeliers (or “gasoliers”) gradually became the trend, but not exactly for environmental reasons—back then, sustainability and saving energy weren’t a real concern. People were interested in keeping up with new technology, and “gasoliers” were in the “in thing”.


Chandeliers can still be quite elaborate and are often designed to fit contemporary-style homes. Stainless steel beams, hanging crystals, mirror, and gold plating has become increasingly popular in the last decade.

Alternatively, with the industrial, eclectic look in style, illumination is also looked at in a more functional way. In many homes now, chandeliers are much more subtle than they used to be: long metal chain-like cords with low hanging pendants; single bulbs inside brass cages; plain steel rods placed in a criss-cross design with simple, small round bulbs on the ends, etc.

We are also more careful about electricity costs and energy consumption—so we’re not as inclined to splurge on is elaborate lighting. The more natural light we let in and the fewer main fixtures we have, the better. Accenting with lamps and sconces has become just as trendy as ornate chandeliers:

Wood & Metal Chandelier with 6 Lights

6 Lights Chandelier

7 LED Bulbs Wall Lamp

7 LED Bulbs Wall Lamp

Grey Ceramic Ball Table Lamp with Tall Round Shade

If you’re looking to spice up your space with other types of lighting, browse our selection of decorative lighting.

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