Are Chandelier Shades Out Of Style? (Still Considered Trendy)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

Chandeliers have been associated with wealth and prestige for centuries. They have evolved from simple wooden cross structures to elaborately crafted light fittings, some of which cost a fortune. Chandeliers are still produced for modern homes and come in a wide array of styles. They have been made with light shades and without as the fashion waxed and waned.

Chandeliers are still considered trendy. Some décor gurus prefer shades, and others opt for bare bulbs. The critical issue is a cohesive theme in the room that incorporates the chandelier shades. The shades can be made from a variety of materials, including glass and fabric.

Chandeliers are design features that catch your eye and influence the ambiance and style of a room. It is worth carefully considering how you incorporate chandeliers and whether they have shades or not.

Did The First Chandeliers Have Shades?

retro chandeliers

The term chandelier is French, from the original word, chandelle, which simply meant candle. The term was used because the first chandeliers were light structures used to hold candles.

To maximize light in a room, the Europeans of the ninth century created wooden structures from two crossbeams with nails fitted at the four points to hold animal fat candles. These were suspended from the roof to shed light throughout the room.

Chandeliers were first used in churches, followed by palaces, castles, and the homes of the nobility. These first chandeliers did not have shades as glass was not available, and fabric would have caught alight from the candle flame.

The working class began to use chandeliers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These were also used sans shades due to the fire risk.

Venetian Murano glass and lead crystal were produced in the eighteenth century. This was the first time that chandeliers were used with shades.

Did Chandelier Shades Have A Purpose?

chandelier shades old hotel

In the nineteenth century, gas was used for lighting. Chandeliers that used gas or gasoliers were created. Many of these had shades to prevent the flame from being extinguished by a draft. The use of shades became necessary to reduce the number of house fires caused by chandeliers.

Electric light globes revolutionized lighting, and chandeliers were adapted for electrical fittings. The need for light shades to prevent fires or stop the flame blowing out was no longer there as open flames were unnecessary for light.

Nevertheless, shades continued to be used on chandeliers, except they now only fulfilled décor or fashion purposes. As a result, they have had variable popularity as styles have come in and gone out.

Choose The Right Chandelier And Shades For The Room

chandelier living room

Chandeliers have never gone out of fashion. The styles of chandeliers have changed over time. Some chandelier styles are considered timeless and adapted to any era décor.

Fashion gurus agree that the critical element is matching the chandelier to the room. Nothing screams cheap and nasty louder than a colossal chandelier that dwarfs and imposes on a room. The size discrepancy is heightened by adding shades, especially fabric ones.

Choose a chandelier that accentuates the room. It should not overwhelm a space with its size or intricacy and should blend with other lamps or light fittings in the room.

Traditionally chandeliers were used in living areas with high ceilings. Modern trends utilize them in any room, including bathrooms – it’s all about the effect you aim to achieve.

Should I Choose Glass Or Fabric Shades For My Chandelier?

glass and fabric chandelier shades

Both glass and fabric shades are considered stylish. Glass shades are commonly used to produce a chic, elegant appeal. They combine well with the wildly popular light bulbs with feature filaments designed to create interest.

Clear glass shades do not diffuse the light and create a clear, bright luminescence in the room. If you prefer a more diffused light in the room, choose a glass shade made from frosted glass.

Glass shades can be purchased in various colors, which can be used to accent the hues and tones in a room.

Fabric chandelier shades diffuse the light source and create a softer, warmer feel to a room. White or cream-colored shades allow more light to radiate into the room. Darker-colored chandelier shades focus the light, producing very specific effects. If you are unsure, use colored paper to assess the impact before purchasing the shades.

Fabric shades may be used to create a retro image in a room. Primary colored lampshades are often used for a seventies vibe.

Does the Type Of Fabric Effect Chandelier Shades?

If you choose fabric shades, you need to consider the fabric type carefully. Synthetic fabrics are not recommended as they discolor from the light bulb’s heat. This forms a nasty, tacky look that is not in style anywhere.

Silk shades are luxuriant, with a boudoir appeal, and are definitely best kept in the bedroom. Linen or cotton are the most ubiquitous shades and suit a variety of rooms.

Paper shades are sometimes used to create an Asian impression and combine well with wooden, cane, or bamboo chandeliers.

Does Size Count In Chandelier Shades?

bedroom chandelier

Fashionistas are adamant about the size of shades. They must be in proportion to the chandelier to produce a balanced image. Chandeliers engulfed by shades that are too large look ridiculous and lose their appeal.

The rule is generally smaller is better, especially when using fabric shades. Fabric chandelier shades easily overwhelm the light fitting creating disproportion and imbalance in a room.

Clear glass shades are slightly more forgiving in size due to their transparency. Occasionally someone may choose to create a bubble effect by selecting overlarge clear glass shades for a chandelier.

Can I Have A Chandelier Without Shades?

Chandeliers without shades are more common and may be preferred to those with shades. They display feature light bulbs well and juxtapose a chandelier’s extravagance with the minimalist look of a bare light bulb.


Chandeliers are still in style currently. They may be used with or without shades, and there are a variety of shades to choose from. Selecting the right size chandelier and shade is crucial in maintaining an appealing display.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.