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.

brass and fabric shade four light chandelier

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.

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.


metal chippendale 20 light tier chandelier

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.

brass and metal 4 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 Chandeliercrystal and brass federal style 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

Cast an Enchanting Spell this Autumn with Exterior Lanterns

Cast an Enchanting Spell this Autumn with Exterior Lanterns

Fall is here, and we’ve rolled back the clock an hour, which means days are shorter and the weather is turning colder. Fall leaves, rain, and snow, make for a cozy ambiance inside, especially during the holiday season, but how can you bring the coziness outside? Along with adding festive accents that can enhance your home’s curb appeal, consider updating your home’s exterior lighting system. By adding lanterns and unique lighting fixtures to your home’s exterior, you can create a warm aura and cozy atmosphere that will welcome you and your guests all year.

If you are looking for some inspiration and outdoor lighting ideas, the Federalist can help! Here are some of our best landscape lighting ideas you can use to transform your home’s exterior.

Spruce Up your Home’s Entryway with Creative Outdoor Lighting

Autumn is the perfect time to spruce up your home’s entryway and lay out festive accents like planters with mums, pumpkins, wreaths, lanterns, and more! While you’re assessing your home’s entryway needs, take a look at your exterior lighting system. You can transform the look and feel of your home’s entryway with new exterior lanterns by using light to highlight festive accents or illuminate your front entryway.

Our Federal style wall mount lanterns, like our four-sided glass lanterns with an open bottom and three light with hook wall mount cut out, are perfect for framing your doorway. Many of our wall mount light fixtures are available in custom sizes, finishes, and can be used as a gas or electric lantern, so you can tailor the light fixtures to your unique style and taste. These lighting systems are also perfect for revealing your special fall decorations!

Outdoor Lighting Options with Pier Lanterns

Looking for ways to warm up your outdoor living area this fall? Pier mount lanterns provide elegant illumination and can be placed on a stone, concrete or brick columns at the end of the driveway or placed on a wall in your garden. Our antique reproduction outdoor lighting is perfect for warming up your deck or patio.

Many of our pier mount lanterns are inspired from Federal era street lights and are the perfect accent piece for Craftsman homes, Tudor Revival residents, Art & Crafts homes, and cottages.

Landscape Lighting Ideas with Pier Mounted Lanterns

Another option for warming up your landscaping is to line your driveway or walkway with a hanging pier lantern. Pier lights draw roots from lights that are traditionally placed beside bodies of water to mark the edges of water. These antique outdoor lanterns can be used to illuminate a special area in your garden or placed in your backyard or patio. Our pier lanterns can be used as a hanging lantern and placed on a post for easy coordination around the outside of your home, garage, porch or patio. You can illuminate a walking path to not only enhance your home’s curb appeal but keep you and your guests safe with their footing.

Shop Federalist-Inspired Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

If you are looking for ways to warm up your outdoor living space, The Federalist has an array of antique outdoor lighting options. From pier lanterns that can be mounted to the side of your home or set on the end of a garden wall, to lanterns that line your walkway and illuminate your garden, the possibilities to incorporate exterior lanterns into your landscaping are endless.

Each of our pier mount lanterns are available in custom sizes, finishes, and glass options, and can be used as a gas burning lantern for a traditional look and feel. Start shopping our reproduction exterior lighting and pier mount lanterns and add some curb appeal to your outdoor living area.

  • Aria Antonopoulos
Give your Study a Federalist Era Touch

Give your Study a Federalist Era Touch

A study room is the perfect room in your home to add a touch of the Federalist era. Studies are generally an understated and more reflective area of the house, but that does not mean that you have to sacrifice style for functionality. For a sophisticated and classic appearance, try incorporating some Federal era designs that bring visual interest and detail without overpowering the introspective and calm atmosphere of your study.

Federal style furniture is America’s first homegrown style, born out of Revolutionary pride. This style still resonates in present time and can lend elegance to any interior, whether it’s another neoclassical style or a midcentury modern ranch.

You’ll find that it’s easy to incorporate Federal-style pieces into your study or office because of its classic look and feel. If you are wondering how to style a home office, check out our top tips for giving your study a Federalist era touch!

How to Style a Home Office: Finding the Right Federalist Style Desk

Federalist style desks and secretaries come in many different styles. Some have decorative tops or roll tops, decorative touches like gold embossing and leather detailing, as well as attached bookcases and ornamental inlays. Finding the right Federalist desk depends on your needs and unique tastes.

To choose the right Federalist-style desk for your needs, it’s important to identify antique desk styles. Some antique desks include lower drawers, an upper bookcase for storage, and a drop-down writing surface, while others are constructed in one piece for a large working area.

How to Identify Antique Desk Styles

To identify antique desk styles, it’s important to reflect your desk’s function. Do you need storage for papers and books? Do you like to contain clutter? Need a large working space?

For example, a writing table can give you a large, clean workspace, making it ideal if you plan to spend a lot of time writing or working at your desk. On the other hand, a desk and bookcase or slant front desk, like the Slant Front Desk in the New Hampshire Dunlap Style, are ideal for those who want the extra storage.

A secretary desk is the perfect statement piece that can contain your clutter when not in use. A Federal design era desk and secretary can make a beautiful statement and addition to any study.


What is a Secretary Desk? Is it Right for My Study?

You may be wondering what a secretary desk is and if it is right for your study. A secretary desk or escritoire is made of a base of wide drawers topped by a desk with a hinged desktop service. This piece of furniture may have faded from favor in the past with its fold-down writing surface, but it has been making a comeback with more sleek laptops in today’s home offices.

A secretary can easily house your tech and paper needs. With popular Federalist accents including carvings, inlays, and pretty drawers, it’s the perfect way to add a statement piece with a Federalist touch to your study.


Accessorize with Federalist Style Décor

There are plenty of ways to dress up your study with Federalist style accessories and décor.

Some of our favorite ways to incorporate Federalist style décor are through lighting and mirrors. Prop a Federal style table lamp onto the end of your desk, like a White Marble Greek Column Design Table Lamp, or place a Chippendale Style Floor Lamp next to a reading chair.

Try adding in a pair of mirrors on either side of a doorway, like a Girandole Convex Mirror with Eagle and Candle Holders or place a Convex Mirror above a console table. These small touches will really complement your home’s Federal style furniture.


Add Federalist Style Touches to your Study with The Federalist

Looking to add Federal era designs to your study? Adding a statement piece like a secretary desk or slant desk, along with Federalist décor pieces such as mirrors and lamps is the perfect way to give your study a classic and traditional look and feel. The Federalist proudly has the largest selection of 18th century handcrafted reproductions and Federal-inspired designs online. Start browsing our large selection of secretary and antique desks, and take a look at our beautiful light fixtures, mirrors and décor pieces to add a Federalist era touch to your study.
  • Aria Antonopoulos

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?

Round Federalist Mirror over Fire Place


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.

Chippendale Chinoisere Mirror

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.

Round Girandole Convex Mirror

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.

Round Girandole Mirror with Greek Design

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.

Greek Key Design Beveled Mirror

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.

Three Section Beveled Mirror with Carved Basket Cartouche

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
What to Look for in Federalist Furniture

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.

duncan phyfe bench

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.

chippendale style chest

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.

hepplewhite dining table

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.

brass chandelier

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.

metal leaf sconce

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