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.




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