Above: Smaller individual vintage chandelier pendants make a striking feature when hung in a cluster and at a low level.
We’re rather fond of vintage and retro chandeliers here at skinflint and they can come in all shapes, sizes and styles - from traditional elegant glass pieces, to transitional mid-century pendants or sleek modern designs. Although you might not think it at first, they can be incredibly versatile and hung in a variety of different spaces, both in the home and in commercial settings - even in industrial interior schemes. The key when designing your space to include a chandelier is balance, and there are three core concepts to consider when picking your perfect retro chandelier: size, position and style.
Credit: @oslokaffebar_berlin. Above: An unexpected mix of raw industrial materials and chandelier pendants is found at Oslo Kaffebar in Berlin, creating a cosy Norwegian weekend house vibe with a twist.
Any chandelier needs to be relative to the space it hangs in - proportion is key. Consider not only the size of the space, but also the other features and furniture sharing it. A chandelier that is too big will overpower and dominate the room, leaving the other interior pieces hidden and the space feeling cramped. Conversely, a chandelier that is too small will become an understatement, losing its status as a feature piece and no longer holds attention in the space. Remember that if you're buying a chandelier for a dining room to hang above the dining room table you’ll also have to take the size of the table into account.
At skinflint, we always prefer to restore vintage lights to their original state, but sometimes this just isn’t possible. When this is the case, particularly with larger chandeliers, we sensitively disassemble the light and wherever possible utilise the smaller component parts. These smaller individual chandelier pendants work well in smaller spaces, when hung in clusters as a feature piece, or in a row above a bar or counter, as seen above.
Above: One of our vintage 1920’s Czech chandeliers, above, is hung off-centre in the living room to complement the bold colour palette and sofa below
Another thing to consider in relation to the chandelier’s size is the position of your vintage chandelier. As previously mentioned, the light must be able to both visually ‘breathe’ and hold a space, and this comes down to where in the room you decide to hang it. The classic positioning, often seen with traditional chandeliers and those in the Art Deco style, is in the centre of an entrance or hallway. Modern chandeliers can usually be found above kitchen islands for a sleek twist on the traditional dining table glass centerpieces.
For transitional and mid-century chandeliers, you can make a real statement by positioning the light off-centre within a room, as seen above and below; accompany this with a bold colour palette or feature furniture piece and you have a real conversation starter! Another interesting trend is to hang multiple chandeliers in the same room, but always keep balance and size in mind when doing so. If doing this, we recommend either hanging chandeliers that are completely opposite in style, or keep to matching - anything in between will look out of place and risk overpowering the space.
Above: The moulded glass of this one-off 1970s glass chandelier creates a statement in the bedroom, above, whilst providing ambient mood lighting when lit.
Just as chandeliers come in a variety of sizes, retro chandeliers also come in an array of unique styles, shapes and colours. From the soft glow of opaline chandeliers and elegant Czech cut glass pendants, to mid-century copper-plated hotel lamps and vintage sputnik lights; these lights can be used in a variety of spaces both in the home and in commercial settings.
If you are starting from fresh and renovating a completely new space, we suggest building a room around a chandelier - it allows the style to echo through the room and helps with maintaining consistency for the finished look. However, if you are choosing a chandelier to fit into an already established room, you must consider the colour palette, scheme, furnishings and any other light sources as shadows are just as important as light.
Whichever of our vintage lights call to you, be sure to always consider the three key rules: size, position and style. With those in mind, you know you can always choose the perfect retro chandelier for your space.