Styling your Room With a Federalist Mirror
A mirror can serve a bigger purpose than form and function -- it can instantly brighten a room, make it feel bigger, and be a used as a decorative focal point.
With these types of benefits and styling options, it’s easy to see why decorating with mirrors has been a popular interior design choice for decades. If you are looking for an elegant and timeless way to add visual interest to your home, you may want to consider adding a federal style mirror into the mix.
You don’t have to live in a federal-style home to incorporate décor pieces from this era into your living space. With its classical appearance, a federal mirror is a great way to add sophistication and classic style to any room. And, fortunately, there are no shortage of designs and styles that can beautifully be incorporated into many design motifs from Federal inspired to more contemporary. Follow our tips for styling any room in your home with federalist mirror.
What is a Federalist Mirror?
Federalist mirrors depict the 30-year period that extended from 1776 to 1806 after the formation of the United States. In many cases federalist décor items and antique federal convex mirrors reflect the neoclassical style, with influences from Greece and Rome.
During the Federalist period, mirrors were only made available in the home of the American elite and wealthy. Also called “Girandole” mirrors and “bull’s eye” mirrors, many federal style mirrors were constructed of hardwoods and overlaid by gold-leaf or bronze guilt.
Choosing the Most Appropriate Federal-Style Mirror
When choosing a Federal-style mirror for your space, it’s important to consider your home’s unique style to figure out the type of antique federal mirror you are looking for.
While some federal mirrors are ornate in nature, and may include an eagle or dual candlesticks, like our Chippendale Chinoisere Style Beveled Mirror, while others are quite simplistic, like the Girandole Convex, and may feature only a few geometric shapes or no decoration at all.
You’ll want to figure out what suits your living area best. Are you looking to make a statement? Prefer something simple and classic? Your unique tastes and styles will steer you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the right federal style mirror.
Styling an Antique Federal Mirror: Choose a Room
One of the most important aspects of styling with a federalist mirror is to consider which room.
Since federal style mirrors can be ornate and decorative or simple, there are different options depending on the chosen space. We love adding mirrors as any accent to a bedroom wall, dining room, or den. These types of mirrors look best when grounded with another piece of furniture, whether it’s a console in a hallway, bar cart in a den, above a bathroom vanity, or hanging above the fireplace.
Our Girandole Convex Mirror with a Criss Cross Reeded Edge looks great over a console table or fireplace.
If you are looking for something with more understated style, check out the Girandole Convex Mirror with interior Beaded Frame, which is perfect for a bedroom or entryway.
The Greek Key Design Beveled Mirror features an interesting geometric design and unique gold leaf trim on its frame. It’s a showstopper and perfect for over a bathroom vanity or as a focal point in a dark study.
Make a Room Appear Bigger with a Federalist Style Mirror
One way to introduce more light into your home, making any room appear bigger, is to place the mirror towards a window. Light will reflect off the mirror and trickle into your living space, making it ideal for rooms with small windows or spaces that tend to lack a lot of light.
Large in size, our Flat Mirrors are perfect for making any space appear bigger. Pairing a big Three Section Beveled Mirror across from a window will reflect the sunlight nicely.
You can opt for the Three Section Beveled Mirror with Carved Basket or Three Section Mirror with Center Convex.
Available in gold, silver, or with wood accents, you can find a three-section beveled mirror that matches your unique décor.
Create a Gallery Wall with a Cluster of Federal Mirrors
Another popular design trick is to create a gallery wall with Federal style mirrors, or incorporate a Federalist mirror with other art into a gallery wall. This works especially well when smaller Federalist mirrors are grouped together.
We love combining Federal mirrors with prints of different sizes around it to make it one cohesive wall art. Try pairing a Beveled Queen Anne Style Mirror with various Convex Mirrors around it. Or, opt for three Square Girandole Convex Mirrors to cover a large wall in your foyer or living room. You could even use a statement Regency Girandole Convex Mirror with ornate eagles and flags as a focal point with small prints and artwork scattered around it.
Creating a gallery wall with federal mirrors works great above a dresser, in a hallway, as an accent wall, or above a credenza.
Find a Statement Making Federal Mirror at The Federalist Online
Federal mirrors are show-stopping statement pieces that are designed to turn heads. Whether you need to spruce up a room, add warmth and visual interest to a space, or add function to an area in your home, our antique mirrors can do just the trick.
At The Federalist, we offer state-of-the-art federal mirrors that evoke the best of the era. Made with the highest quality materials by trained artisans and craftsmen, each of our federalist mirrors are designed to be an antique treasure that lasts for years to come. From ornate federal mirrors with tassels and eagle ornamentation to classic oval mirrors with simplistic geometric shapes, you’re sure to find the antique federal mirror that suits your space.
We invite you to explore our federal style mirrors online to find the federal style mirror that meets your needs.
- Aria Antonopoulos
Chandelier Style Guide: Which is Which?
The Federal period marks three important decades in American history, lasting from 1789 to 1823 following the Revolutionary War. This era features lighting that embraced Neoclassicism pieces with clean lines, delicate forms, and geometric shapes in furniture, home design, and lighting.
Even if you have already decided you want a Federalist-style chandelier, there are so many choices and design styles that were represented during the time period that selecting the correct type for your space and tastes can be difficult. From the drum chandelier to the country chandelier and three tier chandelier, each style of Federalist chandelier brings a different sensibility to a space and should be chosen with care.
At The Federalist, we specialize in providing authentic 18th-century and Federalist-inspired designs including many different styles of Federalist chandeliers.
If you are looking for a new chandelier, check out our chandelier style guide, and see why these pieces were so popular in the post-Colonial Federal era and continue to be popular to this day.
What is a Drum Chandelier?
One of the most popular chandeliers on the market is the drum chandelier. This specific type of chandelier uses a drum shade, which softens the light and adds a beautiful warm ambiance to any room. The use of the drum shade provides even, overall illumination while adding a touch of class to any room in your home.
Drum chandeliers were popular during the federal period as federal-style decoration often showcased geometrical concepts, including elliptical and circular shapes.
For example, our Brass & Fabric Shade Four Light Chandelier is a typical federal-style chandelier that displays the use of classic shading and an oxid gold brass finish.
Find Beautiful Country Chandeliers
A country chandelier does more than just illuminate your living space -- they can make a strong statement.
Country chandeliers are extremely well suited for both rustic and modern homes. Like the name implies, these chandeliers offer a slightly rural and rustic feeling while still remaining sophisticated. Country chandeliers are typically minimalistic, lending a regal look and feel to any room. Many country chandeliers within the federalist period feature clean, flowy lines, similar to our Metal Chippendale Style Ten Light Chandelier.
Country chandeliers were commonly utilized federalist pieces. Recognized for their clean lines, decorative inlays, and delicate forms, these federal-period chandeliers represent a dramatic shift away from the elaborate carving and rococo curves. To match the unique style of the Federal period, these country chandeliers tend to be silver or brass and feature unique motifs throughout.
Our customers find country chandeliers work well in just about every room of the home. From grand entryways with large scale chandeliers to dining rooms and bedrooms, the country chandelier will brighten up any room.
The Statement-Making Three-Tier Chandelier
Three-tier chandeliers are show-stoppers and statement makers. These beautiful chandeliers boast three tiered dimensions that draw the eye upward, making any room look bigger. Many federalist period chandeliers take a very elegant and regal form, like our Metal Chippendale Style Twenty Light Tiered Chandelier in a nickel paint finish.
Some three-tier chandeliers look like blossoming flowers, thanks to bulbs that have separate shades that capture and direct the light. Other three-tier chandeliers have a medieval look, with three concentric circles that feature a soft candle-like glow. Finally, three-tire chandeliers can add a bit of glam to any space with elaborate crystals or draped beads. The glass will capture light and spread it across the entire room.
What is a Cage Chandelier?
Cage Chandeliers have an open design with a wire cage that surrounds the lighting. Similar in design to a bird cage, the wire design adds interest, while keeping the overall open feeling. The wire cage that surrounds the lighting can be angular and geometric, or soft and elegant, or really anything in between. Typically featuring a country-style, cage chandeliers were common within the federalist period because of their clean and flowing lines, like the Brass and Metal Four Light Chandelier.
Discover the Bag and Basket Chandelier
While the bag and basket chandelier are quite similar in designs, they have some major differences. Bag chandeliers are circular fixtures and tend to be flush or semi-flush to the ceiling. Traditional in design, they are also available in different finishes that can complement any space.
Basket chandeliers are very similar to bag chandeliers, however, they are much longer in length. Basket chandeliers are much more ornate than bag chandeliers and tend to be quite elaborate.
Bag and basket chandeliers were common within the federalist period because of their elegant style and usually feature crystals and gilt brass, such as our Crystal and Cast Brass Four Light Chandelier.
Shop Traditional Chandeliers at The Federalist
As the leading provider of authentic 18th-century and Federalist inspired designs, we offer hand crafted chandeliers and other lighting fixtures. Our federal-style chandeliers are marked by the flowing lines, ornate crystals, and geometric shapes of the post-Revolutionary War era.
We invite you to browse our formal and informal chandeliers, crystal chandeliers, and high-style country chandeliers, to find the right chandelier that meets your needs.
- Aria Antonopoulos
What to Look for in Federalist Furniture
The federal period: a brief yet vital three decades in American history. This era was marked by the arrival of Neoclassicism from English immigrants, a new style that featured ornate furniture and decor that could generally only be had by the Atlantic coastal elite with continued ties to Europe. Many pieces were preserved as treasured family heirlooms or later donated to museums – making them exceedingly rare.
Because of the historical nature of Federalist-era furniture, handcrafted reproductions of 18th century antique pieces are the best way to recreate the style and refinement of the era in a historically-accurate – yet accessible - way. When selecting a piece of Federalist-style furniture, there are some hallmark style elements that should be respected in order to honor the style of the period and reflect historical accuracy. When searching for a federal style chair, dining table, bed, or lighting fixture, keep an eye on the following to ensure you select a piece that is true to the period.
The Influence of Sheraton Style
A primary influence on the Federalist furniture era, Sheraton style was widely popularized by American designers such as Duncan Phyfe, John Shaw, George Woodruff and many others. When examining Federalist antique reproductions, you'll find traces of the Sheraton style across a variety of pieces from the period.
Consider our Duncan Phyfe Style Shaped Bench. This piece reflects the Sheraton stylings of a simple, but strong, and proportioned geometric shaping. The reeded sides are a Sheraton classic, as is the use of leaf acanthus leaf lyre in the design.
As you look for Federalist furniture, expect to see hints of these designers often.
Period-Appropriate Wood Types
Mahogany is prevalent throughout Federalist furniture and the most widely used wood. Whether in chairs, tables, or other furniture expect to find a healthy dose of the reddish-brown straight-grained timber.
However, don’t be shocked to find Federal period furniture pieces with more than one type of wood, as this was also a popular style of the time.
A fine example of the use of multiple types of wood is this Chippendale Style Chest With Ogee Top Edge.
While mahogany is certainly a central theme in some period chests, you'll also find ample amounts of birchwood and, in this case, tiger maple.
It’s also common for Federalist pieces to combine complementary wood types that are period-appropriate, so keep that in mind when you encounter pieces that stand out to you but aren’t strictly mahogany or walnut.
Straight Lines & Curved Edging
The decorative stylings of Federalist furniture veered from the traditional elaborate carvings and rococo curves previously found on furniture and silver. In lieu of these more elaborate stylings, straight lines, smooth surfaces and contrast created with an inlay of contrasting woods or paint were strongly favored.
A beautiful example of this more streamlined stylings is this Hepplewhite Style Dining Table, in which these design features are prominently displayed.
The smooth surface with rounded off corners and a smooth satinwood band exemplify Federalist furnishing. The straight, simple legs complete the look, granting an ideal perspective of linework elements to consider when shopping for a Federal style table, chair or cabinet piece.
18th Century Period-Appropriate Lighting
The Federalist era was primed for the use of chandelier lighting. In terms of shape, the drum and shade styles were commonly used, as were the traditional Regency and Adams non-covered styles. Brass was ubiquitous as the preferred metal to be used in the fixture.
Our Brass & Fabric Shade Four Light Chandelier displays the continued use of classic shading in chandeliers, with oxid gold brass throughout.
Chandeliers could also still take a very elegant and regal form, as in our Cast Brass Chippendale Style Twelve Light Chandelier.
This two tier model in an old brass finish exudes refinement and elegantly demonstrates the arc of Federalist variety.
Sconces could also be found throughout period homes, and brass was again a common theme – although other metals such as silver and gold were not uncommon. This Metal Leaf Design Sconce utilizes the classic two-light approach, using an antiqued silver finish.
This piece also makes use of leaves in the design, a period specialty and common design theme during the Federalist period.
Hand Crafted Designs & Quality to Last for Generations
While these design styles will help guide you toward historically accurate reproductions, the other hallmark of this period is handcrafted quality and designs that are built to last for generations.
That is why we sought out the finest craftsmen to handcraft each and every piece that we produce. Since 1995, we have become the world’s premier provider of 18th century reproduction furniture thanks to our dedication to creating the highest-quality Federalist-era reproductions available.
Our unrivaled craftsmanship and period-appropriate construction techniques ensure that any piece will not only bring aesthetic beauty to any space, but also truly stand the test of time.
- Jennifer Martin