The Definitive Guide to Lighting Through The Eras

From Flame Light to Contemporary Lighting

Here at The Lighting Company, we understand that deciding which lights are best for you to buy can be a little daunting. There are many things that you can do to help narrow down your search and one of them is the era from which they are inspired, to help it fit in seamlessly with your architecture and furniture.

Lighting is an essential part of modern day life that we all appreciate and is a valuable way to authenticate a design that we are striving for in our homes. Lights have been around for hundreds of years in their various guises, so taking a trip down memory lane, we can show you a number of lights suitable for period homes and sentimental settings up to the present day.

Whilst lighting design has changed dramatically over the decades, that doesn’t mean light fixtures with inspiration from previous eras don’t have a place within our homes. In fact, choosing a light fixture that’s inspired by preceding trends will create a true statement piece within a room. The Lighting Company takes you through some of our favourite picks from several eras that have had the strongest influence on the design of lighting.

Lighting through the Eras | Lighting Company UK

Medieval and Gothic Style Lighting

Medieval and Gothic Style Lighting

Medieval and Gothic lighting is perhaps the most distinguishable between different lighting designs – mainly due to the materials used and simple arrangement of lights. However, these types of light fittings were originally only for the rich. This was because the light bulb hadn’t been invented and people had to rely on candles made from tallow – which were very expensive.

This era ran from around 800 until 1500 and was therefore heavily inspired by flaming torches and candles with heavy wood and wrought iron functional designs, showing rivets and soldering details from the handmade process. Keeping the iconic metalwork is key to the design and many offer subtle ornamentation that would have been common amongst the very wealthy during the times. This style of lighting is perfect to compliment rustic renovation projects, with the askew character and charm from the era. Perfect in barn conversions and sympathetic chapel and church transmogrification, this look is great to capture some regal charm against a backdrop of wooden beams and high ceilings. The use of candle bulbs and candle effect shades adds another element of authenticity to the design.

Jacobean and Tudor Style Lighting | Lighting Company UK

If you like this look, we’d recommend that you check out the below lighting trends!

Minerals | Lighting with Natural Stone and Effect by Lighting Company UK
Curated Lighting | Lighting Company UK

Jacobean and Tudor Style Lighting

Jacobean and Tudor Style Lighting

The Tudors faced the same problem as those in medieval times, since they had no electricity they had to rely on candles. Candles were still very expensive as they were made using fat, oil or wax. They also burnt quickly, meaning that they had to frequently replenish many of them. Modern day, Tudor inspired lighting sees light bulb fittings in place of the original candle holders.

This period ran from approximately 1485 until the mid 1800’s and whilst naked flames were still used in the designs, we start to see an emergence of refinement in the styling of the lights along with the materials used. Silver, brass and glass were all used and the wealthy began to use elaborate lighting to showcase their success. Dark woods were also utilised in intricate shapes in their lights. These look great used in period homes with character and with some of the designs being smaller in stature that their predecessors, they would be ideal used in traditional and thatched cottages.

If you like this look, we’d recommend that you check out the below lighting trends!

French Chateau Style Lights | Lighting Company UK
Lighting Trend Wabi Sabi | Lighting Company UK
Lighting and Lamps made from wood | Lighting with wooden detail by Lighting Company UK

Victorian and Edwardian Style Lighting


Victorian and Edwardian Style Lighting

During the beginning of the Victorian period, homes were still predominantly lit by candles made from fat and beeswax, along with the occasional oil lamp. However, the period saw a success in technical developments in many areas, including the ability to light an entire room with a single light fitting – something that was unheard of previously. This could be achieved through gas lighting. Originally only used in street lighting, gas made it’s way into Victorian homes in the 1860’s – often as wall lights to provide light to staircases.

Throughout the reign of Victoria, technical advancements allowed for the most change in our lighting for centuries. Candles, oil lamps and coal were systematically swapped in favour of gas lamps which allowed for more ornate designs, they often featured exquisite glass work paired with highly polished metallics featuring scrolled embellishments. This style of lighting is perfect in Victorian and Edwardian homes and would also be ideal in slightly more modern properties  where a period gravitas is sought.

Exterior lighting throughout the Victorian era gained a renewed momentum, with many wealthy home owners wanting to set the scene for the rest of the home.

Victorian and Edwardian Style Lighting | Lighting Company UK

If you like this look, we’d recommend that you check out the below lighting trends!

Artisan Lighting | Handmade Quality Lighting | Lighting Company
Oriental Style Lights | Lights with Exotic Influence

Art Deco and Art Nouveau Style Lighting

Art Deco and Art Nouveau Style Lighting

The terms of Art Deco and Art Nouveau are often confused. Art Nouveau was a short lived style that spanned around 30 years from around 1890 and featured intricate floral motifs amongst which were the popular ‘Rose’ by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Feminine forms were regularly used in the designs along with botanical influences in both design and colour. These are great used in any period home and add a distinctive formality that’s indicative of the style.

Art Deco and Art Nouveau Style Lighting | Lighting Company UK

The popularity of the Art Nouveau was superseded by the Art Deco styling which although began at the beginning of the 1900’s, it really rose to it’s peak in between the two World Wars, reflecting the golden era and modernity of the moment. Bold and symmetrical with a focus on quality, this was a glamorous look that is still relevant today.

Art Deco is heavily inspired by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright who was, and remains to be thought of as the pioneer of design for the era. Echoing the intricacy and beauty of the Art Nouveau era but with the more modern shape and structure that was sought after.

Art Deco and Art Nouveau Style Lighting | Lighting Company UK

If you like this look, we’d recommend that you check out the below lighting trends!

Deco Lighting | Geometric Style from the 20's and 30's
Globe Lighting | Perfect Elegant Spheres

Tiffany Lighting

Tiffany Lighting

The first Tiffany glass lamp was created by Louis Comfort Tiffany just before the turn of the 20th Century. He originally designed stained glass windows. Using the scraps from the windows, he created decorative, handmade lamps that became extremely fashionable in subsequent years. Now the style is extremely sought after and they are gaining a reputation as being antiques of the future. They fit perfectly into all period homes and many are in an Art Deco style which is enjoying a resurgence in modern homes.

Tiffany Lighting | Lighting Company UK

If you like this look, we’d recommend that you check out the below lighting trend!

Bright Colours Lighting | Bold Vivid and Dazzling Lighting Design

Mid-Century and Retro Lighting

Mid-Century and Retro Lighting

Retro and Mid-century designs started making a comeback a few years ago now and their popularity is growing each day with no signs of slowing down. During the 50’s and 60’s, light fittings became a style statement distinguished by visual simplicity – highlighting clear lines, sculptured forms and smooth curves.

Mid-Century Lighting | Lighting Company UK

Taking inspiration from iconic lighting designs through from the turn of the 20th Century to the swinging 60’s, there is a charm and sentimentality amongst the early designs, with the later designs offering a sense of fun and vibrancy. It’s a look that works in any setting, whether you want to add some vintage charm to a modern home, add some authenticity to a mid-century home or add a modern twist to period homes, it strikes a balance between contemporary and traditional that makes bridging the gap of eras easy.

Retro Lighting | Lighting Company UK

If you like this look, we’d recommend that you check out the below lighting trends!

70's Glam Lighting | Lighting Company UK
Buy Mid Century Lighting at a fraction of the cost of designer
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Pipe Dreams Lighting | Exposed | Urban Aesthetic
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Traditional Styled Lighting

Traditional Styled Lighting

A style that sums up an ‘English Rose’, effortlessly beautiful lighting that adds character and allure to traditional settings. It may be an elegant chandelier, or a ceramic table lamp – the key is in the timeless appeal and decadent excellence. This style is great to add a quality flourish to traditional and period settings as they will echo key design styles with a subtle twist of modernity that sees them fit in most settings with ease.

Traditional Styled Lighting

If you like this look, we’d recommend that you check out the below lighting trends!

British Made Lighting | Lights Made in the UK
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Lighting Trend Fired Earthenware |Stone|ceramic

Modern Classic Lighting

Modern Classic Lighting

Mid-century, Art Deco and industrial lighting trends have had a heavy influence on today’s contemporary light design – so much so you’d be forgiven for mistaking modern lighting for light fixtures from previous eras and design movements.

A style that takes the best of traditional designs and convenience and adds a modern finish, colour or edge to see them fit into more modern homes with ease.

Modern Classic Lighting | Lighting Company UK

If you like this look, we’d recommend that you check out the below lighting trends!

Bare Bulbs | Exposed Bulb Lighting
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Lighting, blond wood lamps and pendant lights

Contemporary Lighting

Contemporary Lighting

Challenging convention, these lights will add an interest to modern homes and create an interest to your lighting design. Many will also feature the latest technology, allowing you keep up to date with the times.

Some may think that they are quite minimalist in design, but what they lack for in intricate, fussy detailing, they can make up for in the ‘wow’ factor and size!

So look at your home with eyes anew and think about which era will suit the architecture and your style the most advantageously.

We’re here to help you, so if you are looking for something in particular or just need a little advice get in touch!

Contemporary Lighting | Lighting Company UK

If you like this look, we’d recommend that you check out the below lighting trends!

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