When you think of a modern, elegant home, what comes to mind?
For me, it’s a grand chandelier hanging in the entryway, dripping with shimmering crystal.
Of course, in the present day, there are many other options of chandelier style to choose from beyond this traditional image!
For this reason, more and more people are considering chandeliers to light their homes.
A chandelier will have a major impact on the space it’s in. This is because they sit large and central in the room, drawing focus and attention.
For this reason, you should carefully consider your choice of chandelier design and shape before buying. This is especially true once you realize the price of most chandeliers.
That’s where we come in!
This list will break down all of the major types of chandeliers, their features, and what space they’d work best in. Let’s get into it!
The Main Types and Styles of Chandeliers
Before we get into those nitty gritty details, we should quickly define exactly what a chandelier is.
There’s often confusion between chandeliers and pendant lights. Many people struggle to see the difference between the two, which isn’t surprising!
Nowadays, there is a distinct blur between the two; however, there are still rules that separate them.
In short, a pendant light is normally a single light or shade hanging from a wire or other structure.
In contrast, a chandelier has many lights and/or shades, normally at the end of branches that originate at the center of the light.
Most chandeliers also have tiers. These are different “levels” of lights and structural features that hang above or below one another.
Of course, modern design loves to break the rules, so these aren’t guaranteed. Hopefully the above helps to clear up the misunderstanding, even if just a little bit!
Enough debate about light fixture species– let’s get started! Here are the 8 most common chandeliers in modern homes:
1. Crystal Chandeliers
A crystal chandelier is exactly what you picture when you think of a classic, decadent hanging light fixture.
Normally dramatic and large, these lights are ideal for high-ceilinged hallways, dining rooms or other grand spaces. The crystals help to spread a warm, diffused glow through a large space.
The most popular style for crystal chandeliers is the raindrop style, named for its appearance of falling drops of crystal.
In very tall spaces, such as in the center of a spiral staircase, huge staircase-style lights can be used to really impress visitors.
These lights are made with crystal, formed by treating glass with lead oxide during the firing process.
This makes the crystals very fragile, but also very beautiful– refracting light in a way that dazzles and impresses.
The higher the lead oxide level (typically up to about 30%), the more beautiful this refraction will be. However, this will also increase fragility.
If you buy a high-end crystal chandelier, it will be both very fragile and expensive to replace!
Make sure it’s somewhere safe, where it won’t be bumped. When cleaning it, lay down a rug or blanket to catch any fallen crystals safely.
2. Modern Chandeliers
Chandelier lights can come in a wide range of styles, materials and designs. Your choice will greatly depend on your personal style and the color palette of the room.
Modern chandeliers are often minimalist and aesthetically pleasing, while also remaining functional.
They are normally geometric in shape, with simple surfaces and few extra embellishments.
In some cases they can be more abstract and interesting, but will still rarely be intricate in their small details.
A modern, statement piece chandelier will probably have more shapes and avant garde design features, rather than increasing texture or pattern like some other designs might.
3. Contemporary Chandeliers
Contemporary is a complex style, standing at the center of a raging debate among designers of what exactly “contemporary” means.
(But, we won’t get into that here!)
In general, contemporary refers to innovative and minimalist styles that break the mold of ordinarily accepted rules and expectations.
As such, these lights reject “normal” style standards.
Instead, they opt for unexpected and interesting forms. Contemporary chandeliers are wrapped in minimalist materials and styles, avoiding highly intricate patterns.
Designers in this style aim for a distinct balance of modern practicality and new-age re-imagining of classic features.
4. Drum Chandeliers
The name of this light refers to the shape of its shade, which emulates the form of a drum.
They can be made of a single shade covering many lights, or have a shade for each light source. This variation means they come in a huge variety of styles and really aren’t limited to any specific type of space.
Due to the shade, the light will be diffused and soft. This makes these lights an excellent choice for relaxing, living areas like a bedroom or sitting room.
Depending on the type and material of the shade, this diffusion can be less or more according to your taste.
Drum chandeliers vary greatly in style and shape, meaning they can be anything from huge to tiny in size. This allows them to suit almost any space– even small ones like bathrooms or wardrobes.
5. Mini Chandeliers
Covering a huge range of styles and shapes, this simply refers to ordinary chandeliers scaled down to a mini size.
They’re perfect for small spaces like bathrooms. This is also handy if you don’t have much vertical space to work with, since many chandeliers require a high ceiling.
Another boon of mini chandeliers is their price. If you love the look of chandeliers but can’t afford a full-sized one– especially in expensive materials like crystal– this may be a great option.
With practically any style of light available in this form, everyone should be able to find something they like!
6. Sputnik Chandeliers
These lights get their name from the first satellite to orbit the earth.
Their lights sit at the end of an explosion of straight branches, emulating the shape of an old satellite– with its metal legs and antenna sticking out from its central point.
Sputnik lights are normally found in Avant-Garde or Modern styles. They also work great as accent pieces in contemporary rooms, depending on the individual style of the light.
Though the classic Sputnik light is in a sunburst shape, other variations also exist. They normally take the form of simple, geometric shapes. In some styles, the extruding branches split and form more ends for lights to sit on.
Because of the expansive shape of this light, they work great in wide rooms that have a lot of space to light. They can also be more vertically compact than many other chandeliers, which is useful if your room is large but not tall!
7. Waterfall Chandeliers
These lights almost always use crystals as their material of choice.
Waterfall chandeliers have flowing lines of crystals coming from a central point, falling over several tiers in a way that emulates flowing water.
Matched with the shimmering refraction of the crystals, these lights are extremely elegant and fantastical. They suit a luxurious style best– likely being out of place in a room without at least a touch of marble and gold.
Though rare, some other styles are available in this form. Some designers have taken a more modern approach to these classic chandeliers, making them suit a wider range of spaces.
8. Hybrid Chandeliers
The name is pretty self-explanatory: This light refers to a mix of two or more of the other styles noted in this list!
For instance, you might create a mix between Tiffany, Caged and Art Deco chandeliers.
This method of combining styles allows for effectively infinite designs.
You can either hire a designer to create your perfect combination, or look around for what combos artists and designers have already come up with.
These will work best in more unusual or style-blended rooms.
Other Types and Styles of Chandeliers:
Next, let’s explore some of the less common chandelier styles:
9. Glass Chandeliers
As you might guess from the name, these lights are made with glass as a primary material.
This can either be a single, solid cage of glass in a geometric shape, or it can be many small sections of glass put together on a frame.
Most often, glass chandeliers are seen in elegant, modern or mid-century styles.
They can also work great in some vintage styles, depending on the era you’re drawing from.
Some of these lights emulate crystal chandeliers and can be quite convincing– albeit without the same refraction effect that true crystal offers.
If the delicate and expensive nature of real crystal makes you nervous, a glass replication of classic designs might work well!
Other glass chandeliers are fully modern in their design. They use strong geometric shapes and unique features to fit nicely in a clean, modern space.
10. Caged Chandeliers
These lights are surrounded by a cage, normally made of metal. The metal material can be practically anything, from aged copper to clean, shiny aluminum.
This open design is a great way of adding interest without making the light fixture feel bulky, which can be important in smaller or simplistic spaces.
The cage design can vary wildly between different lights. Some designs will be curvy and elegant, often emulating the shape of a bird cage. These are excellent choices for traditional or historical spaces, as well as more modern, eclectic styles.
Other lights will have strong, geometric shapes for their cage. These can feel clean, industrial and even retro depending on the individual design.
A caged chandelier has a lot of potential in many different styles. If you want something a bit different, you should look at some of the many options available in this format! They work great in an entry room or as a statement piece in a bedroom.
11. Tiffany Chandeliers
This classic style was popularized by the Art Nouveau movement– specifically, by the designer Louis Comfort Tiffany.
They feature a classic stained glass style, often with highly experimental and interesting shapes. They use strong, bright colors in a range of palettes.
If you don’t want your light fixture stealing all of the attention as soon as guests enter, this probably isn’t the choice for you.
However, if you want a conversation starter with highly intricate, unusual design features, Tiffany-style may be a great fit!
The classic style of a Tiffany chandelier has a bowl as the main shape.However, the experimental nature of these lights means that many designers enjoy throwing tradition out of the window when creating them.
This can result in some highly unique and intricate shapes and styles, with some even emulating natural features like birds.
Not many styles will suit these lights, but they will work wonderfully in an eclectic, traditional or artsy home.
12. Art Deco Chandeliers
Short for Art Décoratifs, lights in this style are characterized by rich colors and bold geometry.
They will have decadent and intricate details, often with carvings or engraving in glass and metal to really increase the interest of the piece.
These lights will almost always have metal as the primary material for the frame. Often, this is paired with glass panels engraved with Art-Deco style patterns.
Many tiers of complex shapes mark these fittings. The light will be soft, with not many stark gaps in the glass that diffuses it.
These lights are bulky and full, with few empty spaces. For this reason, they are likely to overcrowd a small space. However, they work excellently in large stairways, halls and dining rooms.
13. Mid-Century Modern Chandeliers
This combination of two distinct styles results in chandeliers that are made of clean lines and strong aesthetics.
The focus of this movement is on the blending of outdoor and indoor features. This results in pieces that merge natural and manmade materials in interesting ways, bringing these two different worlds together in one product.
Often, this means mixing things like wood and metal, or involving plants and natural colors where possible.
The color palette of these lights are normally plain, natural hues with occasional pops of a more interesting shade.
They are normally a lot more conservative in size than many traditional chandeliers, making them perfect for smaller spaces and low ceilings. They work perfectly in living spaces and over dining tables or bars.
Mid-Century Modern chandeliers like to be adventurous, meaning they often become a focal point of the room. If chosen carefully, this could be a great addition to a space!
14. Coastal Chandeliers
This style aims to emulate the feeling of the beach and coast.
To achieve this, it focused on airy materials and relaxed design features. A light color palette, often made of rattan or linen, helps keep things calm and simple.
The most common shapes in this style are drums, spheres or other simple geometric forms.
Coastal chandeliers are made to invoke the feeling of the seaside. This makes them great for beach house styles and natural spaces. They also work wonderfully in outdoor patios, helping to blend between living spaces and the outdoors.
Colors are normally kept to simple white and beige. Occasional pops of blue, green or yellow may also be used sparingly.
Most of these lights will be in a simple, understated shape suited to smaller rooms. They would work great over a bar or table in the main dining space of a beach cabin!
15. Bamboo Chandeliers
As the name suggests, these lights have bamboo shades surrounding their bulbs.
This can be a single, large shade covering the entire light fixture, or it can be many small shades over each bulb.
Bamboo chandeliers are simplistic, with natural colors and strong textures. These naturalistic features mean they work great in beach and farmhouse spaces, especially if paired with light, airy colors.
Often, these lights are statement pieces, with very strong, unusual shapes. These can range from highly geometric, to intricate and naturalistic.
With these more interesting styles, they can easily become central statement pieces for a game room or entranceway.
Because the bamboo diffuses the light, these forms can also create interesting effects with the light brightness and direction. Depending on the individual light, this could help set the right mood in a space like a living room.
16. Linear Chandeliers
These chandeliers are very new, being seen for the first time in the last couple of decades.
The defining feature of a linear chandelier is its long and narrow form, stretching across a great distance in only one direction.
This is done either through a rectangular or oblong shape, or with a single, long bar with branches coming from its length.
Used in the same way as a series of pendant lights, these work great in long rooms like hallways.
They also add an excellent cohesive feeling to a room when placed over a table, bar or kitchen island.
This matching of forms helps to make a room feel like it fits together nicely as one entity, giving the space symmetry.
Linear chandeliers come in a great variety of styles, with something for almost any design available— if you look hard enough!
17. Tiered Chandeliers
This category includes any chandeliers that have multiple “levels” of lights, otherwise known as tiers.
Normally, these chandeliers are highly ornate and extravagant. They have many tiers and arms, often with a cascade of crystal creating a huge, vertical fixture.
This height is a major, distinguishing feature of the tiered chandelier.
It means they really won’t work in any space that doesn’t have a high ceiling, and preferably a lot of floor space.
However, they could be an excellent choice in a huge entry hall or stairway. If the space is large enough, they may even work well in a dining room as a statement piece!
Though there is some variation in design and style, these are normally made with a decadent, classic motif in mind. If this is what you want, they’re an excellent and timeless choice.
18. Globe Chandeliers
The name of these lights refers to the shape of their shade, being formed into one or more globes of glass, metal, cloth or other materials.
These are most often made of metal in a modern style, being a popular choice for more contemporary-modern spaces. However, they have some variation in style, and may come in some other forms that could suit different rooms.
They do vary greatly in complexity, however.
Some will be extremely detailed, with many globes and branches making up a complex overall design.
Others are very simple, with a single, clean globe covering the entire fixture.
This will make all the difference in their suitability for various spaces. The simpler the fixture, the better it will be for smaller, more intimate spaces. More complex fixtures would work best in places like a hall, entryway or dining room.
19. Bowl Chandeliers
These lights are normally fairly simple, featuring a hanging series of lights surrounded by a bowl, normally made of glass.
Depending on the glass, and whether it’s frosted, etched or clear, the light will be diffused. This can have a great impact on the feel of the room, especially if heavily diffused by something like strongly frosted glass.
The shape of the bowl means a lot of light will be reflected off the ceiling. This sort of light works best in intimate living spaces, like bedrooms and living rooms.
Pairing this shape with strong diffusion can result in a dim, calm feel.
With a clearer bowl, this effect will be tempered and allow for a brighter space. This will be better for dining rooms and studies, allowing for focus and presence of mind.
These lights will work best in historical, traditional spaces, though their style can vary between individual lights.
20. Bubble Chandeliers
These lights are made up of delicate, glass bubbles placed at the end of sticks, normally in a sunburst pattern.
This arrangement emulates the feeling and shape of a cloud.
Each bubble contains a light, diffusing it slightly and framing each light source. This creates a soothing glow from each bubble.
Typically, these lights are made of metal. They most often fit a modern or contemporary style. However, some may work well in an Art Deco or eclectic design as well.
21. Beaded Chandeliers
These unusual chandeliers are a great conversation piece.
Besides the frame, their fixture is made of flowing beads. These beads can range wildly from wood, metal, glass– and even shells! Each of these materials will have a very different impact on the light and its effect.
The main drawback of these lights is that they take a lot of time to make, meaning they tend to be expensive.
They’re also a fairly hit-or-miss design. They work perfectly in a beach house, rustic, or eclectic design. However, most other styles won’t suit them at all.
If you’re looking for something new-age and unique, they could be an uniquely-ideal fit!
22. Antler Chandeliers
These unique chandeliers are perfect for a nature-loving outdoorsman.
They feature antler shapes, either made of real antlers or resin, fit together to create the branches of lights. The bulbs sit on the end of each antler, or nestled inside the fixture.
Antler chandeliers are rustic statement pieces, great for a game room, cabin, or hunting trophy room. In a country-style space, they will feel right at home.
Some antler chandeliers can be in unnatural colors, like white, or carved from wood.
These more stylised antlers can fit great in modern or contemporary spaces, depending on the style of the room. They also work great in a living room or over a dining table.
This form of chandelier tends to be single-tiered and rather small.This means they work well in smaller spaces with lower ceilings, making them the absolutely perfect choice for a hunting cabin in the woods.
23. Flush Mount Chandeliers
This form of chandelier can refer to pretty much any style and design.
The defining feature of Flush Mount chandeliers is the absence of space between the top of the light fixture and the ceiling. In some cases, the entire light may even be recessed into the ceiling.
This is a great compromise if you want a large, interesting chandelier, but don’t want to sacrifice so much vertical space in the room. It also works great over beds, since it removes the danger of hitting your head on the light if standing on the piece of furniture.
Without all the vertical spaces for dust and detritus to gather, these lights also tend to be easier to clean.
Different (but part of the same family), Semi-Flush chandeliers are another option for shorter ceilinged rooms.
24. Industrial Chandeliers
These lights have exposed wood, metal, and bulbs in order to evoke the feeling of an industrial factory or warehouse.
The major features of industrial design are metallic colors and textures, light wear, and exposed functional features like bulbs. In industrial chandeliers, we see all of these!
They are most often plain bulbs on angular, metallic frames.
The most important aspect of an industrial chandelier is avoiding unnecessary detail and intricate patterns or shapes. Instead, they prefer strong, angular forms and simple textures. This creates a brutalist, extremely functional feel.
Industrial Chandeliers work wonderfully in certain modern homes, and industrial, functional spaces.
25. Moroccan Chandeliers
Based on the beautiful styles of Morocco, these lights are defined by warm, ambient lighting and strong, metal frames.
Most often these lights are made with warm metals, like bronze and brass. This metal is used to create a frame and, sometimes, a metal grate around the gaps in the frame to diffuse the light.
These patterns are intricate and tiny, only allowing small bits of light through at any one place.
This really diffuses the harsh light of the bulb and creates a warm, intimate feeling in the room. Because of this, these lights are an excellent choice for living rooms and bedrooms.
Generally, the higher value the Moroccan Chandelier is, the smaller and more intricate these designs will be. Cheaper models will have larger sections of metal, resulting in harsher light and shadows.
Proper brass lights will be very hardy, allowing it to look good for a long time and requiring little upkeep.
In comparison, those made with cheaper materials like aluminum will be more likely to take on damage.
Many of the more detailed Moroccan chandeliers will have stained glass to further diffuse and color the light.
This glass even refracts sunlight during the day, creating beautiful patterns on your walls at all times.
26. Farmhouse Chandeliers
Otherwise known as craftsman style chandeliers, these lights are rustic and give a handmade feel (even if they really aren’t).
The main features of a farmhouse light are aged wood with rustic, metal accents. All of this paired with a nicely diffused light– normally through a homely shade– gives a cozy feeling to any living space.
Normally, these lights will feature light, natural colors such as greens and beige. They also tend to feature simple, traditional patterns depending on the individual design.
Some Farmhouse chandeliers forgo a shade completely, and show the bare bulb. This creates a harsher light, but can really add to the homely, rustic effect of the room. Harsher light may also be useful for workspaces like a study or kitchen.
27. Transitional Chandeliers
Being a mixture of old and new designs, these lights pull together the futuristic geometry of modern lights with the rustic elegance of older styles.
They are usually made from wood and metal, with shades and glass featuring some of the time. This combination of styles means it can fit nicely with a wide range of spaces.
Most of these chandeliers will sit somewhere on a gradient between modern and traditional styles. Depending on where the individual light sits on this scale, it may work best in different environments.
For instance, a light that’s more modern than traditional will probably work fine in most voguish or contemporary spaces.
In contrast, a more traditional light would probably look out of place outside of a conventional home.
28. Empire Chandeliers
This grand style of chandelier features strings of glass beads or crystals cascading from an upper cone, down into a larger bowl-shape.
The lights can be placed beneath these crystals on an internal ring, or can circle around the outside of the light fixture.
Empire chandeliers can come in a range of styles. However, they will always focus on opulence and intricate details. As such, they work best in large, decadent spaces with plenty of vertical space.
Empire chandeliers are the opposite of conservative and understated, but if you have a large, elegant space, they will work perfectly. They work especially well in huge entryways and stairways, where they can fully spread their wings.
29. Wagon Wheel Chandeliers
These lights have one or more large rings suspended from a wire or chain. These can be made of wood or metal, though metal is more common. Lights sit at intervals around the rings, normally with exposed bulbs.
The name of this fixture comes from its appearance, with the outer rings being connected to the center by “spokes” that mimic the shape of a classic wagon wheel. This effect becomes especially true with a rustic, wood finish.
These lights were originally created to light huge, religious buildings. Now, they still work great for this purpose of lighting large spaces. This makes them an excellent choice for a large dining or living room.
Depending on material and style, these lights are great for rustic, industrial, modern and traditional spaces. The design is simple but effective; it’s no wonder that it’s been around for hundreds of years!
30. Chandelier Ceiling Fan
This multipurpose light fixture combines a chandelier style light with a functional fan, with each being controlled separately.
The main reason for the invention of this chimera was to allow for ceiling fans in opulent spaces, where they often felt out of place and tacky in comparison to the rest of the room
As a solution, designers “disguised” the fan with an elegant chandelier to draw focus away from the functional parts of the fitting.
This allows you to have the benefit of a fan, without losing the elegance of the existing space.
31. Outdoor Chandeliers
These can come in practically any design or style. They stand out from the crowd by being made for use outdoors, normally in covered patios or gazebos.
Normally, this means they are much better rated for damp and other weather conditions. They normally can’t withstand a full soaking, but under a decent roof they should manage some rain or snow.
These lights can be anything from rustic, to contemporary to modern.
Fitting pretty much any space, they really help to bring some coziness to your outdoor sitting areas. A taste of indoor comfort helps provide a nicer feel to the space.
32. Unique Chandeliers
These lights are pieces of art all on their own.
Referring to a huge range of styles and designs, unique chandeliers are lights that fall completely outside the normal expectations of light fixture design.
They often have distinctive bold forms or colors. Some may even be made to look like things such as animals, natural shapes or other complex forms.
Many of these chandeliers will be one of a kind.
If you want to really guarantee this, you could even hire a designer and describe exactly what you want in your completely unique chandelier!
If a truly unique conversation starter at the center of your room is what you want, you should take a look at some of the incredible art pieces available as chandeliers. With the sheer range of styles, there should be something for pretty much every design style.
The Bottom Line
In short, chandeliers are complicated and vast.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re choosing a chandelier for your home. The most important thing is considering your existing or desired style. Make sure this is consistent across your room and home, since otherwise things will start to feel disjointed.
Beyond this, it’s entirely up to your personal taste.
We hope this article helped with that decision, and gave you some clarity on exactly what lights are available in this category. Good luck!