Types of Light Fitting

Components

There are three components of a light fitting:

  • the fitting itself
  • the bulb, or other source of light
  • the shade (optionally)

Different combinations of light source and shade can create very different effects, and the same fitting can play different roles.

The Fitting

The are four main types of light fitting:

  • Ceiling
  • Wall
  • Table
  • Floor standing

The Energy Source

The are six main energy sources:

  • daylight
  • candle
  • oil
  • gas
  • electricity
  • open fire

Each source produces different types and amounts of light.

The Shade

Shades:

  • are in paper, fabric, metal, glass, or china
  • can be plain or decorated

Generally, the design of shades was elaborate; for example a fabric shade was heavily tasselled with fringes and ruched.

Fitting Type Roles

The primary roles of each fitting type are given below. The actual role will vary depending on the specific fitting and on the bulb and shade used. For example, whilst a table light will usually be used to create an accent in a room, or to give good light for reading or another task, it could be used to cast light upwards against an adjacent wall - giving ambient light.

  Role
Fitting Type

ambient

accent

task

decorative

Ceiling

y

 

 

y

Wall

y

y

 

 

Table

 

y

y

y

Floor standing

y

 

y

 

A coal or wood fire will give kinetic lighting. A real candle can be used with care, but flickering candle-style electric bulbs are available. These can be used in any light fitting designed for candles, such as an electrolier (electric candelabrum), or a lantern used in a hall.

Sources

If you buy an antique fitting, ask a qualified electrician to check it for safety.

 

For companies supplying original and reproduction light fittings, see the Products and Services Directory.