When you hear the word “chandelier,” you probably think of a huge fixture dripping crystals, with lots of little flame shaped lights – something you’d find in a ballroom or a fancy hotel. But not all chandeliers are quite so formal. In fact, I personally think that casual, rustic chandeliers are highly underrated. While formal crystal chandeliers are showy through and through, simple wrought iron chandeliers – or even glass Tiffany chandeliers – are a great way to add warm ambient light to your room in the form of a beautiful but simple accent piece. So if you’re looking to give a rustic, cabin-style living space a little extra something, don’t discount the chandelier!
Big crystal chandeliers tend to have very small, taper-style candle light fixtures and small flame-shaped lights. But for a rustic space you want something a little less delicate and a little more masculine. Wrought iron chandeliers are great for this, because they do away with the slim silver, brass, or gilt swoops and dangles and replace them with simpler geometric shapes and thicker, more assertive lines. Something like this Waverly Chandelier from Landmark Lighting doubles up, replacing tiny tapers with thick pillar candles that glow from within for a light that’s warmer (and a little less twinkly).
Just replacing the conventional brass trappings with a heavier wrought iron chandelier immediately takes it out of the realm of what most people think of when they think “chandelier,” and that’s a good thing for a rustic space. While a shiny brass or gilt finish is all palaces and mansions, wrought iron chandeliers are more like mead halls and old west saloons – a simpler material for a simpler setting. In fact, wrought iron chandeliers like this Cambridge Chandelier from Elk Lighting have the added bonus of looking like they came straight from an old timey blacksmith, which is a great way to lend a rustic timelessness and sense of craftsmanship to almost any space.
Simple materials are an important part of getting an authentic rustic feel. While you won’t find a whole lot of wooden chandeliers (though they do exist), there are quite a few wrought iron chandeliers that are accented with other natural, rugged materials. I particularly like this Natural Rope Chandelier, which replaces the conventional hanging chain (at least in part) with some heavy duty rope. The matching rough textile shades complete a perfect western style that still manages to be sophisticated. It’s the right size to give good, overall lighting in a dining or living space, and manages to be simultaneously earthy and stylish – an excellent finishing touch for a room you want to look rustic but not be rustic.
To go a step further, some rustic chandeliers throw out the conventional idea of a chandelier almost entirely. It’s still a roundish light fixture that you hang from the ceiling to make light and look pretty, but the resemblance more or less ends there. This Chapman Chandelier forgoes the conventional fixed light fixtures in favor of five old fashioned hurricane lanterns. They’re powered by electricity instead of oil, but still look like they belong to the glory days of the railroad or something straight out of an 1800s mining town. The crowing glory? The hub they’re strapped to is a wooden wagon wheel. Now, while this fixture might score a little lower on the sophistication scale, it’s nothing if not a good conversation starter, and a great way to round out a rustic cabin or western-themed room.
For something a little simpler, chandeliers made in the shape of scaled-up old fashioned lamps are another simple way to add a little rustic touch to your decor. While, again, they’re electric not oil powered, the simple symmetry and solid, masculine lines of a lamp-style wrought iron chandelier are a great way to add unostentatious lighting and decoration in a single piece. Especially if you have a room with a lot of exposed wood, like cabin style plank walls or a lot of wood furniture, something like this Quincy Pendant Chandelier will blend in with and accentuate a rustic decor without feeling overdone.
Finally, while conventional formal chandeliers are all sparkly crystals and warm glowy gold or tinkling silver, there’s something to be said for chandeliers in slightly earthier colors. Tiffany chandeliers are the go-to when it comes to colored glass, and this Latham Chandelier is no exception. Made of glass in gorgeous earthy shades of green, white, and brown and rich, dark bronze hardware with a subtle vine and leaf detailing, this Tiffany chandelier is anything but frou-frou. The delicate detailing and masculine coloration combine to make an excellent, eye-catching piece that will deliver a pitch perfect sense of class and a little bit of mother nature that can really unify a rustic decor.
So if you’re designing a rustic living space, give chandeliers a chance. From rough hewn old west style wrought iron chandeliers to more delicate Tiffany glass chandeliers in foresty colors, it’s not hard to find a casual, rustic chandelier that will make a perfect finishing touch for your space, adding a little touch of polish to your design without making a rugged space too posh. Where are you considering installing a new chandelier? In a living room, dining room, kitchen, game room, or foyer? Do you err more on the side of old west style, rustic cabin, or rugged farmhouse?