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Design Center

In an effort to assist you as you search for the perfect lighting fit for your home, Kichler has classified each fixture in a specific style. It is important to remember that style is somewhat subjective and often times, even experts disagree on the appropriate classification, especially when faced with the eclectic variety currently available. Nonetheless, we offer these explanations to help you select a piece that will match your home and your lifestyle.


The Industrial Revolution in England changed the way things were made. Hand built products were replaced with typically poor quality, mass-produced goods. Intent on returning to the joy, honesty and beauty found in the creation of handmade items for the home, William Morris, in 1861, hired a group of artists and designers and created a firm to produce textiles, wallpaper and furnishings for the home.

In the late 19th century, the heavy forms used by Morris evolved into lighter, simpler shapes. This change occurred as Japanese art and design became more readily accessible. Their sparse approach was in direct conflict with the dense, heavily furnished Victorian interiors. This direction had a major influence on the design direction in America. Gustav Stickley created his famous line of "Craftsman" furniture and Frank Lloyd Wright developed his Prairie style of architecture on the foundations of this movement.

Look for rectilinear shapes, thick, solid material sections and flat, stylized design elements. If wood is used, it will typically be oak.

CASUAL / Lifestyle (Soft Contemporary)

These are relatively new terms used to define an interior aesthetic look based around the idea that the home should be a comfortable haven. By creating an environment that seems unstructured and without rigid design parameters, the homeowner can more easily relax and enjoy each room.

Look for simple, uncluttered design elements, a sparse use of ornamentation and warm, comfortable colorations such as brushed nickel, bronzes and earth tones.


From an academic standpoint, any new style created after 1930 is considered " contemporary." The heavy reliance of polished metals found in the Bauhaus designs was getting old. In the 1930's, wood was resurrected as a key element and the popularity of plastic opened up a whole new palette of options. While both contemporary and modern represent designs that have cut new paths, Kichler likes to categorize Modern pieces as those with a link to aesthetic history from 1930 to the 1960's . Contemporary covers the direction from that point to today.

Look for the complete absence of ornamentation, clean, uncluttered lines, single tone finishes without texture and an overall light feel in the construction.


Formally trained artisans, architects and designers have created most of the styles we recognize today. Independently, uneducated craftspeople have always created items using native or self-taught techniques. The work of these people has influenced design throughout the decades. An untrained Grandma Moses is as recognizable as a Picasso. Workman-like tin goods are still replicated today. Shaker furniture, African tribal ware, along with Mayan and Pre-Columbian artifacts have all influenced contemporary design, but are still recognizable on their own merit.

Look for rudimentary manufacturing techniques, irregular and limited ornamentation, simple shapes and finishes.


As America matured and residents began to earn more money, time away from the daily routine to relax and regroup lured people to the country. In national parks and wooded areas, lodges were built. Typically using natural materials, often found on-site and constructed using pioneer building techniques, these structures featured exposed, rough-hewn wood beam truss work and stone fireplaces. The high-style rustic interiors complemented the outdoor activities of hunting, fishing, nature walks and lake swimming.

Look for rough-hewn wood, natural metals with forge-like features and heavily textured surfaces. Elements of wild game may also be found.


For reasons of climate, roofs in Spain were flat, walls were thick stucco, painted white, and floors were stone. Décor was typically restricted to tiles, built into the wall and employing abstract patterns. Borrowing from Islamic traditions, Spain was the first country to use carpets, also displaying bold colors and patterns. After Christopher Columbus claimed vast new lands for Spain, Renaissance luxuries began making their way from Italy and the east. At the same time, the artisan class, comprised primarily of Moors in southern Spain exerted a strong influence on art and architecture. Finally, iron ore found in the north gave craftsmen wrought iron for decorative works. The conflagration of these events, created a look, uniquely Spanish.

Look for intricate, detailed wrought iron panels, leather, silver, ivory and ebony embellishments.


The edges of a piece of glass are wrapped in copper. This task is repeated for each and every fragment of glass in the design, no matter how small. Inside a bowl-shaped mold, the copper-wrapped pieces are set, according to pattern, side-by-side and then soldered together, one joint at a time. This painstaking process, (some believe to be over 2000 years old) has changed little since its popularization by Louis Comfort Tiffany and John LaFarge in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Often based in organic designs employing a full palette of colors, recent patterns have explored contemporary themes and monochromatic glass selections.

Look for colorful pieces of glass, set in geometric or organic patterns and wrapped in onyx-colored beading. The accompanying lamp base or lamp (bulb) holding devices are usually rich, deep bronze finishes. Many of the contemporary pieces are finished in Brushed Nickel.


After the excesses of the Baroque and Rococo era and prior to the Industrial Revolution, artists were ready to revisit the classic antiquity of Greek and Roman buildings. From 1750 to the early 19th century, Neoclassicism was the predominant style of the day. The look is highly decorative in a refined manner. Gone were the superfluous accents and excessive design elements. The scale was smaller and the feel was restrained.

Look for elegance, gentle curves, and straight lines all wrapped in restrained ornamentation with simple finishing.


Transitional is to Traditional as Casual is to Contemporary. Like Casual/Lifestyle, Transitional is a rather new term used to define a style that takes Traditional looks and softens them. Here again, the interior environment is meant to convey comfort. Transitional aesthetics run closer to classic traditional features, but forego the fussiness found in that classic styling. The intent is to create a warmer, more inviting room setting.

Look for bronze or earth tone finishes, warm glass accents or diffusers and traditional lines without heavy ornamentation.


A lighting source created with function, rather than aesthetic beauty in mind.This does not mean they are not well designed, simply that they were created with light output as their primary goal.

Look for familiar shapes, no ornamentation, unencumbered light output.

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