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Colonial Style

Colonial Lighting and Home Decor

About Colonial Style

Colonial style lighting has its origins in Georgian style. Georgian took its name from King George I of England, in whose time the style evolved. This was in the mid-1700s to early 1800s. America of this time naturally had much Georgian style architecture and interior design. Lighting featured elements like wreaths, scrolls, shields, acanthus leaves, and urns. Materials used were highly polished brass or silver. Pre-electric Georgian chandeliers and wall sconces were either open candles or candles enclosed in hurricane glass.

Georgian style appointments belonged to the wealthy established families of early America. The less well-to-do and frontier folks furnished their houses with simpler versions of Georgian designs. Lighting fixtures were made of turned wood and unadorned metal in finishes that ranged from black to polished brass. This style became known as Colonial.

Today Colonial style lighting incorporates ideas from Georgian (and its American extension, Federal style) along with the simple frontier style of the early 19th century. Table lamps quite often have a candlestick style base in polished brass with white imitation of a candle at the top. Shades can be black opaque, with gold linings. The light emitted gives a room a warm, subdued feeling. Other table and floor lamps are lathe-turned wood. Chandeliers have a turned-look metal column in the center and usually some sort of ball at the bottom. The arms tend to be unadorned thin metal tubes bent into S curves coming up to the candelabra lights. Finishes are polished brass, pewter, or black. Colonial style chandelier sizes range from a single level of five lights to impressive multi-level large chandeliers. Ceiling lights and lanterns often have a few candelabra type lights surrounded by clear glass evoking the hurricane glass around candle fixtures of days past.