What's New in Chandeliers

Ornate chandeliers are back -- in crystal, iron and blown glass -- and they're in every room in the house.

Focus On Lighting

January 25, 2004|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,Sun Staff

They're romantic, elegant and ornate. They're hip, contemporary and stylish, too. Chandeliers are most definitely in, and they've moved beyond the dining room.

These decorative light fixtures, which began simply enough as a place to hang a candle, have evolved. "Chandeliers are back and bigger than ever," says Heather Pins, spokeswoman for Bellacor, a St. Paul, Minn., company. "[You can] hang them over each nightstand, incorporate one into the canopy of your bed or hang a cluster of small chandeliers at different heights over a foyer table."

As for selections, there are styles for virtually any decor.

"There's crystal, iron and carved-wood-looking [styles]. And there's brushed nickel. There's such a range," says Jerry Hopp, residential lighting specialist at the Annapolis Lighting Company, which has stores in Annapolis, Columbia, Rockville and Falls Church, Va. "Styles range from American traditional to European to formal. It's all over the map. There are also contemporary, molded-art glass designs. They're not even symmetrical. They're more like a piece of sculpture."

A huge seller in the chandelier market is the tiny chandelier. Or as Kichler Lighting has trademarked them, Chandelettes.

Kichler's line reflects all the details of their full-size chandeliers, just in miniature. They measure just 16 or 18 inches in diameter and come with extra wire for swagging. And, yes, they are quite adorable.

"They're being used in a number of interesting places," says Bob Doernberg, senior product manager for Kichler, which is based in Cleveland, Ohio. "People are putting them in open foyers, above stairways and landings. So in a big foyer there'll be a big chandelier, and over the landing will be a Chandelette."

"They're also used in large bathrooms to add drama to large ceilings. And they're often used in place of lamps by a bed for reading," says Doernberg.

Also new for chandeliers -- and for lighting fixtures, in general -- is the trend for pieces to be designed in groups.

"Those families can include a single-tiered chandelier, a two-tiered chandelier for smaller open foyers or dining rooms and a three-tiered one for high, open foyers," says Doernberg. "A family also includes a hall fixture, a wall sconce, an island fixture or pool-table light, and a series of bathroom fixtures to match.

He says this approach is ideal for those who want continuity in their house.

In general, says Hopp, customers are looking for character and drama in their chandeliers. Such pieces, like the Tribecca collection from Kalco, are full of modern drama. "It's art-glass contemporary. And hip and vintage. It's a dramatic centerpiece," he says.

Vintage designs are pretty popular, too. Hopp adds: "We're seeing more chandeliers ... that look like they've been hanging in the palazzo."

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