Lighting A-Z glossary of terms

March 4, 2019

Lighting A-Z glossary of terms


Accent lamp
Eludes bright warm light and creates visual interest in a room.

Antique Finish
Wiping dark pigment over the surface of timber or metal to create the appearance of being aged, used or antique. To tone, distress or give the surface a patina, a crackled varnish or a tinted wash.

Ambient lighting
General lighting which provides an area or a room with a broad, overall, non-specified illumination so as to replace sunlight. Aimed at creating a basic and comprehensive lighting level in the room. The most essential and fundamental aspect of home lighting and creates a comfortable level of brightness and safety in a room or home.

Accent lighting
Lighting specifically directed to highlight a focal point within a room. Most effective when at least three times greater in intensity than the ambient light of the room. Helps to create drama, accentuate and draw attention to main feature in a room such as a painting, sculpture, plant or ornament. Used as part of the decorative scheme of a room.

Accent lights that can be adjusted and thus specifically aimed or directed to a focus point. Often the fixture contains the adjustable mechanism.

Aiming Angle
The angle at which an adjustable light is positioned so as to highlight an object. Paintings or sculptures often require a 30 degree angle.

A fine granular variety of the mineral gypsum. Similar appearance to marble but more affordable. It is quarried, cut and then made into a shades or ornamental object such as a lamp base. Often white, pearly or silky colorless and translucent. Can have subtle reddish-brown bands of iron oxide running through it. Creates a warm rich appearance.

Arc Floor Lamps
A floor lamp with a long arc arm. Can have more than one light source or bulb on the arm. Well positioned in the corner of a large living area for lighting up a sitting area.

Architectural Lighting
This broad term generally refers to built-in fixtures, such as downlighting, valance lighting or a luminous ceiling. Some people also include functional lighting, such as track or simple fluorescent, which has an architectural appearance.

Art Deco
A design style reminiscent of the 1930’s focused on geometric and stylized forms, patterns and detail. Often streamlined, with bold outlines and utilizing industrial materials such as stainless steel, pressed glass or plastic.

Art Nouveau
A decorative art movement from the late nineteenth century. Used in furniture design and characterized by elongated, sinuous, organic and stylized forms or floral details.

Arm or Branch
Part of a chandelier where the light attaches to the arm of the chandelier much like the branch of a tree.

Arm Plate
Part of a chandelier where the arm attaches to the centre piece or main body of the chandelier.

Arm to arm festoon
Ornamental strands which hang down between the arms of a chandelier. A decorative feature often made of crystal pendants. Can also hang below the bobeche.

Antique Brass Finish
A finish on a metal or decorative household item. Giving the object a to brass look. Darker than natural brass and appears worn with time.


Bath lights
Lighting specifically designed for the bathroom. Including track lighting, ceiling lights often using halogen or fluorescent bulbs. Lighting is often natural to bright. Can be positioned around bathroom mirror, waterproof lighting in shgower space, and overhead lighting to light the entire space. Also called vanity lighting.

A style of architecture, art, and decoration lasting from approximately mid 1600’s to the mid 1700’s. Consists of highly curved, decorative, sculptural, active surfaces, theatrical effects that embellish structures and forms. Includes exaggerated forms, scrolls, curves and rich movement.

Bowl pendants
Bowl shaped light shade fixture suspended from the ceiling on cable, chain or stem. Pendent refers to them stem from which the bowl hangs.

Light shade hangs from ceiling in shape of a bowl. Creates soft indirect light within the room.

Bedside lamps
A lamp beside the bed. Often positioned on top of bedside tables. Give a softening and warming effect on the bedroom and provide light for reading and easy access.

Bell-curved shade
An elegant and popular style of shade which is narrow at the top and flares out at the bottom in the shape of a bell.

Part of the fixture that blocks light to prevent glare and control brightness. Baffles may be integral blades, plates or grooves or an accessory. Baffles are often painted black to absorb light.In lighting this is usually a grooved surface that deflects and controls the “flow” of light to soften it and minimize reflected glare. Baffle trims (sometimes called step baffle trims or stepped baffle trims), made of plastic or metal, are often integral parts of recessed downlights. They are often colored a flat black to absorb some of the light but can have other finishes such as flat white, brushed copper, or brushed nickel.

Bell Lantern
Is a colonial style lantern with a bell glass-jar. Jar is often upside down with the lid suspended above. Often suspended with three links of chain.

Blown Glass
Glass that is created in an oven by a glass blower.

Brass Ancanthus Leaves
Stylized ornate leaves casted on brass fixtures to provide ornamental detail.

Beveled Glass
Glass where the edges are cut on an angle to add decoration, depth and interest.

Lighting that illuminates an object from behind. Light source is placed behind the object in front of the viewer. Helps to create drama and atmosphere in a room. Can bring attention to the outline shape of an object.

The bottom part of a lamp supporting the stem. Where the electrical cord attaches. Where mounting connections are placed on the lamp.

An outdoor light that is usually short in height. Light source is positioned at the top to light walkways or garden paths. Post is usually wide, strong and sturdy.

Traditionally the part on a candle-stick holder which catches the dripping wax. A decorative feature on a chandelier used to accent the candelabra stems and provide a touch of elegance. Often the bobeche includes small holes in which extra crystals or other decorative items can be suspended from the chandelier.

Crystal or glass balls or drops in a variety of sizes and shapes with hole through the middle, which are beaded together to provide decorative detail to a chandelier.

The part of a chandelier which makes up the body or inner column. The main area of the chandelier where the arms and stem attach to the chandelier. Often made of glass or crystal.

Electrical or electronic component required for fluorescent (and HID) lamps. Ballasts provide enough voltage to start the lamp and then limit the current for continuing operation.

Banker Lamp
A traditional style of desk lamp with rectangular shaped glass or metal shade. Shade is usually green with brass stand. Were common in banks during the twentieth century. Often the stand is short with wide brass base providing localised light.


Candle Holders
Name comes from purpose of the device to hold candle upright via a cup or a spike on which to suspend the candle. More often called candlesticks. Can be made or glass, brass, porcelain or timber. Often used to decorate the dining table or mantel above fire place.

Caged lights
Cylindrical lamps have bulb which is surrounded and protected by a wire or metal cage. Often pointing downwards caged lights make ideal outdoor lights. Have an ‘industrial’ appearance.

Ceiling lights
Ceiling lights are often fixed to the ceiling directly but they can hang down or be suspended via a chain or cord. Ceiling lights come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials with both traditional and modern designs. These lights aim to provide the room with over-all ambient light.

Ceiling medallion
A plaster like ornamental ceiling attachment placed to the ceiling at the point where the cord or chain of a light hangs from the ceiling. Often round in shape. Come in both simple and elaborate designs. Include repetitive decorative motifs which provide elegance to the room

Chandeliers are ornate lighting fixtures made from glass, crystal or brass. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling on a piece of chain or wire and have multiple arms or branches. They provide general illumination to the room and an elegant focal point in a hallway, dinning area, lounge or entrance. Often elaborate use of glass or crystal makes the chandelier sparkle. The earliest chandeliers date from medieval times and used candles.

Close-to-ceiling lights
Lights which a either attached directly on to the ceiling. Lights which do not hang down but which mount or a fixed to the ceiling closely.

Often made from glass or crystal charms are individual attachments, which can be added to a light or chandelier to add charm, detail and craftsmanship. Charms often have a hook at one end so they can easily be added to make a chandelier more elaborate.

Cylinder shade
A light shade for a ceiling light or a lamp which is cylindrical in form and shape. May be made out of fabric. Light can shine through the fabric creating soft glow in the room and light often shines through the top and bottom of the cylinder to light the room.

Candle-bulb shade
Shades which are wider at the base and thinner at the top. Some tapper out more than others. Often made from fabric wrapped around a wire or metal frame.

Candelabra Shades
Small shades that are designed for to go around the lights bulbs on chandeliers. Bring softness to the lights on the chandelier. Often attach via a small clip-on fitter. Shades can be cylindrical or tapered and can come with added detail such as gathered fabric or trimming. Often made of fabric to allow light to glow through the fabric.

Candle sleeve
A decorative cover or cup like object which a short sturdy candle can sit in on a table. Made from plastic or metal. Often has decorative patterns filigree like pattern through which candle and light can be seen and enjoyed.

Part of a chandelier. A linear piece of metal rod or tube.

The top part of a chandelier. The threaded ring through which the power cord runs and which holds the canopy of the chandelier to the ceiling.

Part of a hanging light. The centre part of a hanging fixture. Also called a stem.

Crystal Polishing
Techniques to clean and polish crystal pieces of a chandelier or crystal light. Polishing can be done by hand or machine. Polishing helps the brilliance of the crystal to sparkle.

Cased Glass
Glass which has a layer of clear glass fused to a layer or opal or tined glass.

Candlestick Lamp
A table or bedside lamp with a tall thin stand or column. Reminiscent of a traditional candleholder. Also called a console lamp.

Carnival Glass
Multi-coloured or iridescent glass typical of the 1920¹s and 1930¹s.

Cast Brass
Molten brass which is poured into a mold to create ornamental and fine details.

Cast Brass Holder
Part of a light which is a socket cover that holds the shade.

Cast Bronze
Molten bronze can be poured into a molding shape to achieve decorative and very fine detailed patterns or deigns.

Cast Glass
Molten glass poured into a mold shape to achieve fine details and forms.

Cast Iron
Molten iron poured into a mold to create form and details on the surface of the iron.

Cut Glass
Glass that is cut by a machine with a copper wheel.

Another name for recessed downlights.

Ceiling Fixtures
A general term for lighting on ceilings in a foyer, hallway, bedroom, kitchen, bath or lounge. May be referred to as a flush-mount if it installs flush with the ceiling surface and there are no gaps. Whereas a semi-flush-mount extends down from the ceiling on a short rod.

Chrome is lustrous finish which is softly brushed and which simulates the appearance of stainless steel. It does not have the durability and depth of stainless steel.

Compact Downlight
Small recessed fixtures closely aligned with the ceiling.

Contemporary Style
Contemporary style in lighting moves away from ornamentation to more simple forms and surfaces. Often using metal, plastic, and streamlines forms, geometric shapes and clean surfaces.

A soft, pure metal. In lighting it is usually used for detailing. Provides a rich warm colour. When exposed to air copper oxidizes and goes a green colour.

Cornice Lighting
Lighting which is shielded by a panel and wich surrounds the edges of a room. The bulbs are not visible but the light shines out and down the wall.

Cove Lighting
Similar to cornice lighting. The lighting is hidden in a cove behind panelling or a recess or ledge. The light shines out from the source creating a trim or rim of light. Often illuminates the edges of the ceiling and also light the upper part of the wall.

Cross Lighting
Is when an object is lit by more than one light source usually coming from opposite sides of the room.

Crystal Glass
Fine quality glass. Used in lamps and chandeliers.

Cylinder Down Lights
Lights that attach to the wall often outdoors or used in kitchens where the bulb is positioned inside a cylindrical metal shade that points the light downwards. Can be adjusted to aim light in a specific direction. Create a spotlight effect.


Deck Lights
Deck lights typically mount to the outside of a home or to the railing of a wooden deck. Since they are located near where people sit, good shielding and proper mounting height are important to reduce glare.

Desk lamps
Small lamps with strong base to sit on table or desk. Often with downward facing light to provide localized light source. Adjustable arms or flexible stem so as to point the light at the task needing light.

Down light
Often bulb is in metal cyclinder or bulb is in shade where beam of light is directed downwards. Any lighting fixture facing down.

Drum pendants
Are often ceiling lights with a wide but shallow cylindrical shade made from fabric usually. Light is positioned close to the ceiling. Often used in restaurants or commercial settings. Fabric shade can have decoration which is accentuated when light shines through the fabric.

Dimmer switch
Allows the intensity of lights to be adjusted. Helps to create soft lighting in a room.

Drum shades
Shades that go on drum lights. large flat cylinders.

Down bridge lampshade
A lampshade that is narrower at the top than the base and which faces down. May be cylindrical, tapered or hexagonal.

Directional lighting
Lighting is fitted so as to point to specific areas of the room like kitchen bench or objects like paintings or sculptures. Used to create functional and more atmospheric spaces.

Damp Location
Lighting that is specifically designed to withstand being positioned in a damp or wet location. Water -resistant lights for outdoors and bathroom areas. Can be distinct from wet location lighting.

Decorative Bulbs
Bulbs which are decorative in shape or colour. Shape may be teardrop or candelabra.

Decorative Fixtures
Decorative fixtures are a focal point of a room. they help to add style and tone. Brightness is ideally kept low and soft so that the eye can focus on th4e fixture itself as a feature of the room. a chandelier is a decorative fixture.

Light controlling device that spreads light over the room by scattering it. Softs the intensity of the light source and reduces the glare. Often made from glass, silicone, plastic, fabric and paper.

Direct Lighting
Lighting that casts most of its light downwards directly onto the task area. Ideal for lighting task areas like the kitchen or bring attention to rendered forms or textured walls.

Direct-Indirect Lighting
Light which comes from both up and down. Create balance and softness. Helps to create ambient lighting and variety. Often from pendent lights, wall brackets or wall valances.

To spread out or scatter light coming from its source. Softens the glare of a light by using a diffuser filter.

Light bulbs and light fixture that are adjustable. The level of light can be controlled and both decreased and increased.

A device in an electrical circuit used to vary the intensity of light bulbs according to the room, event or mood.

Direct Mounted
Directly-mounted fixtures are typically bowls that are fastened directly to the ceiling.


Enclosed pendants
Pendant lights are suspended from the ceiling above a table or bench. Enclosed pendants have an enclosure around the globe made out of fabric or glass so that the globe is not visible.

Empire shade
Empire shades are elegant and sophisticated. Reminiscent of nineteenth century French style. Empire shades are similar to bell shades but the sides of the shades are straight not curved like the bell shade. The bottom of the shade is greater in circumference the top of the shade.

Entry Lights
Entry lights help light the front of the home. The lights the front door area and the pathway to provide guidance for visitors and safety at night. They also light up the porch or front veranda area.

Etched Glass
When treated with acid bath glass can be etched upon so as to produce fine diffused surface designs, details, textures or patterns.

A light recessed within the ceiling resembling an eye ball. Often adjustable and can be pointed to direct light at specific tasks. Ball protrudes slightly underneath the ceiling.

Embossed Body
The main body section of a chandelier made from glass or crystal and with decorative relief, motifs or patterns on the surface of the glass so as to provide style and ornamentation.

Empire Chandelier
A chandelier with multiple arms. Often elongated with multiple layers of bead works at the top extending down to the base. Typically long chandeliers. Extended top with wide base. Add luxurious feel to rooms with high ceilings

Pieces used to make height adjustments for a lamp so that the shade sits higher on the harp.


Floor Lamps
Floor lamps can be curved or straight. They are often tall and work well near a lounge chair or reading area. Some floor lamps are on tripod. The base of a floor lamp is typically small and some floor lamps have adjustable arms so that shade can move around depending on where the light is needed.

An ornament at the top of an object. Often decorative with ball and point. Can be detailed with leaf motif or fleur de li. Often screws into the top of a lamp to add decoration and keep the shade secure. Or featured at the bottom of a chandelier. Made or ceramic, metal stone, wood, crystal.

Foyer pendant
Foyer pendants hang from the ceiling with a hallway or foyer area. Typically the bulb is caged or enclosed with a glass lantern setting. Settings can be oval, square, rectangular or in bowl shape. Often reminiscent of a traditional lantern light with metal frame and glass.

Flush mount
Refers to lights with are fitted to the ceiling directly with no hanging chain or cord. Directly attached to the ceiling. Directly mounted. Good for rooms without high ceilings and good for creating general ambient light through a room.

A vertical decoration often carved into furniture legs or in architectural columns formed by making parallel, concave grooves. Dates from the classical era. Also called reeding.

Describes the flat surface of a crystal bead or droplet on a chandelier. The cut and facet helps to create sparkle from the light reflected.

The decorative part of a chandelier. The strands of beaded crystals which hang between different arms of the chandelier creating curves or festoons. Can be a few strands or multiple.

Any decorative electrical item that permanently affixes to a wall or ceiling.

Flush Mount
Installs flush against the ceiling. Similarly, there is also a semi-flush mount.

Faux Stone
Plaster and other material molded, textured or finished to resemble real stone. Used for the bases of lamps as it is lighter than real stone.

Figure Lamps
Lamps that involve a sculptural artistic element in that a figure, usually female, holds of the globe shade. Typical of the Art Deco and Victorian style. May use cherubs or animal figures.

Part of a light bulb. Tightly coiled tungsten wire which glows to produce light when electricity flows through it.

The metal structure that attaches the shade to the base of the lamp. The metal structure which form the basic form of the shade. Fabric is then wraped around the fitter to make the shade. A spider fitter is the common type. It appears like a spoked wheel. A finial connects the fitter to the harp. Another type is the uno fitter. These rest on the socket of the table lamp. Some actually screw onto the socket and hang down.

Fleur Di Lis
French finial style is of a stylized three petal flower.

Frosted Lens
A white translucent lens which creates a more diffused soft light.

Free-blown Glass
Glass which is hand-blown and shaped entirely by hand tools and the motion of maker via the blowpipe.

Frosted Glass
The use of hydrofluoric acid or sand blasting to create a matte finish on clear glass

Frosted Lamp
A type of light bulb with light etching on inner surface to create a frosted and softer light or illumination.


Flowered streamers architecturally decorating lighting fixtures, urns and furniture.

Ornamental coating of thin gold leaf or imitation gold leaf to furniture or metal.Applied in a variety if methods including water gilding, gold leaf paper, gold dust, gold paste which is more cost efficient these days.

Bright lighting that causes discomfort and impairs good visibility. Possible causes may be light sources that are too bright for the application, or fixtures that may not conceal bulbs sufficiently, among many others.

Direct glare is caused by light coming directly to the eye from a light source. Indirect glare is light reflected from a surface visible to the eye. In interior design glare should be avoided by layering softer light sources.

A gooseneck lamp is a type of desk lamp, table lamp, or fixture that has a long adjustable arm with a light source. Gooseneck desk lamps, for example, can be adjusted by moving the long gooseneck arm, so that the lamp doesn’t have to be re-positioned.

Gold Leaf
The use of very thin gold foil applied to surfaces for decorative purposes.

Golden Brass Patina
The result of aging on the metal finish of a decorative chandelier.

Gothic Detailing
The common use of quatrefoils and trefoils and other details found in medieval times which were revived for chandeliers and furniture in the Victorian period.

Graduated Crystal Balls
The use of small crystal pieces ranging in size from larger to small strung on a piece of wire or string.

Greek Revival
Form of architectural style characterized by porch columns, very high ceilings, and large windows. Commonly seen in the American 1840¹s.


Hall lights
Light that are used to light a hallway. Often suspended from the ceiling. A lantern, pendant or chandelier are often used. Used to create a welcoming atmosphere and general ambient lighting. Inside hall ways or stairways may use more close-to ceiling lights.

Vertical U-Shaped metal part of a lamp which is used to hold the shade in place. It also allows the shade to attach to the lamp base. Usually 6-12 inches depending in the size of the shade. A finial screws into the top to ensure that the harp and shade is secure.

Stiff plastic lining or backing layer applied to the inner surface of a lamp shade to provide extra support to the shape of the shade over time. Often made from plastic such as styrene. Helps the shade keep its shape and form. Prevents it from ageing. Also creates a more opaque surface allowing the viewer not too see the metal frame supporting the shade.

Halogen Bulb
An incandescent type bulb with halogen gas fill and a quartz glass capsule. Halogen bulbsz create higher internal temperatures, are brighter and last longer.

Hammered Glass
Glass that has been given a rippled or ‘hammered’ antique appearance. The effect is produced by rolling molten glass across a mold or textured form so create the texture or pattern effect. Often used in outdoor lighting, on outdoor wall lights, porches, varandahs, and entryways.

Hand-Blown Glass
Glass made by artisans who blow molten glass into different shapes and forms. A pipe is used to blow air into the glass creating a hollow space. Handwork then shapes the glass into final shape. Hand blown glass is often used in wall sconces, pendants and table lamps.

The light is permanently connected to an electrical source. A chandelier is hardwired into the ceiling. Whereas a lamp is not hardwired, it is only plus into the wall via a cord and plug.

Hurricane Lamp
Usually a table lamp with a globe glass housing compartment for the bulb. Has a clear or decorative chimney section. Reminiscent of the 19th century oil and candle lamps. Give a traditional country feeling.


Island lights
Island lights illuminate an island area, often in a kitchen or dining room

In-Ground Uplights.
Highly concealed lights recessed in the ground which provide accent to outdoor pathways are garden areas.

A type of light which lights up by heating materials so as to create a glow.  Refers to the emission of visible illumination from an object when it is heated. For example, the light bulb. soft, glare-free illumination without seeing the luminaire directly.

Incandescent Lamp
A type of light bulb with a wire filament. An electrical current heats the filament to create light.

Indirect Lighting
Usually directs light upwards towards the ceiling to create ambient light or general light throughout a room. has no focal point and is soft so as to create as few as possible shadows.

Integrated Dimming Systems
A comprehensive device which allows one to set multiple lights throughout the home to a certain light setting. Often comes with a hand held remote control.

Inverted Dome Chandelier
A glass or stone dish that is inverted such that it is open at the top and suspended from chord or chain. Creates semi-indirect light and sends light upwards.



Kilowatt Hour/KWH
A measurement unit for electrical energy. One kilowatt per hour is equivalent to one thousand watts of energy.

Kitchen island pendants
Lights that are positioned often above the kitchen bench area to provide task lighting . often in sets of three pendant light hanging from the ceiling.


Lamp Shades
Often made from fabric, lamp shades go around the bulb on a light so as to soften the glare of the light buld and direct the light in particular way; often up or down. Come in a variety if shapes, styles and sizes.

Traditionally a lantern is a light that is covered by glass and which is portable and able to be carried by a handle. Conventionally a lantern contained a candel. Nowadays a lantern style is used for wall lights and foyer lights and can be fixed to a wall or can suspend from the ceiling. Often made of glass and metal or brass lantern lights hang vertically.

Lamps are portable lights which can easily be moved around the room. They are suitable for the desk, bedside, table top or lounge area. Lamps help create subtle light throughout room. Lamps are essential to create atmosphere within a room. Lamps can be elaborate or minimalistic.  Lamp posts e carved with detail or a basic column. Lamp shades can be round or square. Lamp posts can be gilded, carved, molded, elaborate or refined. A lamp is made up of a stand, a base, a mount through which electrical cord runs, a neck, a socket for bulb, a lamp shade, a harp to connect shade to socket and a finial at the tope to screw the harp in place.

Is a clear coating which can be applied to metal surfaces to prevent rusting or tarnishing. Lacquer can be tinted by using a small proportion of dye.

Landscape Lighting
Is part of the garden design scheme. Can be used to light fountains, outdoor sculptures or garden features. Can be recessed lights in the ground or specifically placed to provide accent lighting. Usually low voltage light which is connected to the household electricity current.

Lava Lamp
A colourful novelty lamp from the 20th century retro period. A glass bottle containing the bulb has a wax mixture suspended in mineral oil. The wax moves to the top of the lamp as it heats and back down again as it cools.

Lead Crystal
Glass that is finer in quality because it contains higher content of lead oxide.

Leaded Glass
A decorative glass design technique whereby small pieces of glass in various shapes are joined together by metal, traditionally lead, to create patterns, decorations or images with the glass. Different coloured glass is often used to create interest when light comes through the glass designs.

Light Emitting Diode lights are a recent technological development which offer greater life span and greater brightness than traditional bulbs options. The light can reach full brightness without requiring any warm up time unlike traditional light bulbs. Good in commercial settings where brightness and cost efficiency may be desired.

Lighting Controls
Allows you to control the effects of lights. Used to create soft effect, decorative effects and to achieve cost efficiency. Controls include dimming systems, touch dimmers, rotary dimmers and hand held devices.

Low Profile
Refers to any light which hangs from the ceiling but which remains very close to the ceiling. It may not be flush light or mounted light and may hang slightly below the ceiling.

A unit to measure the quantity of light emitted by a light source or light bulb. Traditional light bulbs required more energy or watts to produce the same amount of lumens that a more modern halogen or LED light will produce with less energy usage.

A light which is placed outside with an artistic element. It may also be found in foyers or hotels to create drama, or atmosphere. Often these lights have a festive or artistic design and use original shades shapes and designs with cut out parts so as to play with the light creating stimulating visual effects.

Lamp Base
The body section of a lamp which supports the lamp and through which the electric cord runs up to the bulb. The more decorative part of the lamp. A lamp base may be carved ceramic, resin, wood, gilded, metal design, brass design, elaborate, simple, wide or slim, short or tall. The lamp base gives each lamp an individual character i.e. a modern look or a traditional feel. The lamp base is the part of the lamp which is used to coordinate with the furniture or décor’ in the room.

A decorative covering used to soften and diffuse the light resonating from the light bulb on a lamp. Lamp shades are often made from fabric and the fabric can be chosen to harmonize with curtains. cushions or décor’ in the room. Lampshades come in many different styles and shapes including cylindrical, empire, bell, and octagonal, rectangular, drum or scalloped. It is important to match the style to of lamp shade to the lamp shade base so that they are balanced, harmonized and not contradictory.

Lining of Lamp shade
A surface usually made from fabric or plastic, which lines the inside of a lampshade to provide an extra filter for the light and so as to soften the brightness of the spotlight from the light bulb. Gold or silver lining helps to reflect the light out of the top or bottom of the light shade. Lining can also be helpful when the lampshade is a dark coloured fabric. Such that lining helps keep the fabric appearing the dark colour because it filters the light out the top and bottom of the shade when the light is turned on.


Mini-chandelier shades
Small shades which affix to each arm of a chandelier so as to soften the light from the light bulbs on the chandelier. The fabric of the shades can soften the atmosphere of a room and tie in with the other fabrics in the room such as on curtains or cushions.

Machine Blown Glass
Glass that is given form and shape by mechanically forcing air through molten glass until it has the form of a mold.

Matte Finish
A finish to metal, glass, lamps or fixtures which creates a more subdued or diffuse finish than say a gloss finish. The surface of the object becomes more dull because of a fine texture which is added to the surface dulling the reflective nature of the surface.

Mini Chandelier
Small chandeliers which are ideal for bedroom or smaller rooms. Small chandeliers usually have less arms and are more slender. Small chandeliers are a perfect way to brighten and add sparkle to a small space, bathroom, hallway or room with a lower ceiling. Also called a miniature chandelier.

Mini Pendant
A mini pendant are often decorative lights which hang from a cord, wire or chain. The canopy to the light is attached to the ceiling. The mini pendant will usually hang some way down from the ceiling; anywhere between 30-70cm. Mini pendants are ideal for spot lighting or task lighting above a kitchen bench or dinning table. Pendant light shades come in many different shapes and styles including bell shape, ball shape and cyclindrical in shape and are often hung in multiples of 3 above a specific area needing lighting.

An artistic outdoor lighting technique whereby a light is placed behind an object like a tree so as to resemble the natural light which comes from the moon.


Niche Lighting
Niche Lighting is lighting which is designed for small spaces or compartments in a shelving display unit or wall. Niche lighting is usually used to spotlight specific art objects or displays. The lighting itself is small and often hidden in recess above, below or behind the object.

Neoclassical Style
Is an artistic and furniture style, which is typified by inspiration from early Greek and Roman art and civilizations that emerged during the 18th century in response to the agricultural revolution and the enlightenment. Neoclassical furniture tends to be rectangular. Serpentine shapes become straight and cabriole legs become tapered or fluted reminiscing classical architecture.


Outdoor Lighting
Any lighting outside the home including wall lights and outdoor luminaires which are short study post like lights with a light at the top. Often these lights are low voltage or solar powered. Helps to make outdoor areas more homely, user friendly and safe.

Oval shade
A cylindrical light shade that has an oval shaped top through which light comes out. The shade can be completely oval or fan out at the base.

Opal Glass
Cloudy or whitish looking glass which is translucent and made by adding ingredients to clear glass. Milky glass helps to diffuse the glow of the light bulb.

Oriental Style
Draws upon Chinese and Japanese tradition lantern style lights. Gives atmosphere to a room. Can also refer to a oriental style shade or table or floor lamps which employ oriental motifs.


The colouration which occurs to a surface including plaster, metal or timber due to ageing.

Lights which fit into a paved area outside the home so as to light the pathway. They are mounted or embedded into the ground. Some pavers are identical in shape as the pavers or bricks of the path.

Pendant Lights
Are usually suspended from the ceiling on a cord, wire or chain above the kitchen bench or dining reminiscent of a pendant on a necklace or piece of jewellery. They provide generalized lighting but more often localized task lighting. Since lamps are not required pendants lights allow more space over a work or living area. Generally pendants hang about 30 inches above the table top and slightly narrow than the length of the table.

Picture Light
Specifically designed to spotlight a painting, photograph or object within a room. may be attached to the actual frame, embedded within the wall or recessed within the ceiling.

Down lights which are recessed within the ceiling or mounted on bracket and which include an adjustable mechanism so that the lights can be focused in a specific direction.

Small lights usually cylindrical, adjustable, attached to the ceiling or to a bracket which provide a specific beam of light in a particular direction. Often used in commercial settings.

Pot Rack Chandelier
Specifically designed for above the kitchen bench hanging from chain from the ceiling. Include a number of bulbs often with chandelier shades and hooks upon which pots and pans can hang. Often made from brass they provide a rustic country feeling to a kitchen plus a practical storage solution.

Portable Lamps
Often smaller lamps, floor lamps, click on lamps, reading lamp or piano lamps which are not wired into the wall but which can be easily moved around the house and plugged into the wall. They provide lighting for specific tasks. Either practical or decorative appearance some can be very small and easy to handle.



Reflected lighting
light that reflects or bounces off the wall or objects in the home resonating from other direct light sources within the home. An indirect source of light that contributes to the ambient light of a room.

Recessed Fixture
A recessed light or down light which is housed in a fixture mounted in the ceiling. The only visible part of the light is the aperture and the trim. Good source of direct down light or a wall wash. Often used in kitchen, bathroom and commercial settings.

Recessed Lighting
Refers to lighting the is installed above the ceiling where the mechanism and fixtures of the light are out of sight. Only the trim which is the border around the light and the aperture or the light are visible from below. These lights blend in very well to domestic and commercial settings. They provide strong overall light to any space.

A synthetic man-made material used to make parts of a light fixture.

Renaissance Revival Chandelier
Period pieces dating from the Victorian era. Usually in brass or painted black featuring cartouches or turned up scrolls or curl shapes in the metal. Can be flamboyant or medieval in appearance.

The way in which light bounces off a surface when it comes into contact with that surface.

Replacing older style or traditional lights or objects with more modern and efficient technology.

Rope Light
Also known as string lighting. Often uses LED lights nowadays or miniature bulbs which are all connected by the electrical circuit coated in plastic.

Rococo Revival Fixture
Victorian style Chandelier which draws upon the Italian Rococo period including ornate foliate swirls, gold leaf and gilt iron swirling forms. This kind of chandelier often has ornate and detailed arms drawing up the leaf motif. The arms of the chandelier can bend upwards or downwards depending on the design.

A rosette is an ornamental decorative element that is often round and represents a stylized flower. A rosette can be non-separable part of a piece of furniture or detachable.

Ruby Overlay
Cut clear glass that features ruby colour on the inside and clear glass on the exterior side. Together the two create a ruby tone and a pattern or design on the surface of the glass. A decorative feature on a vase, ornament or lamp.


Is a light fixture which is affixed to the wall and uses the wall as its support. They are ideal for hallways and corridors. Usually the light faces upwards but may also face downwards. Nowadays they may also be called a wall light.

Is a ceiling fixture which is attached to the ceiling but there remains a gap between the light fixture and the ceiling. A flush mount is attached directly to the ceiling.

Swing-arm wall lights
Lights which are attached to the wall and which have an adjustable arm so that the light can be moved or turned around in a specific direction. Ideal for bedside lights or task lighting.

Square shade
A lamp shade which is shaped in a square form. With four surfaces covered in fabric and a square top and bottom through which the light shines.

Slip-on shade cover
Can be placed over the top of an existing lamp shade in order to protect the original shade or so as to add a new fresh look to the shade of the lamp.

The curvature or metal curves which are bent or formed to create S shape curves as part of the design of a chandelier. The use of the scroll curve in chandeliers can vary from minimal to elaborate. The scroll curve gives a chandelier a decorative elegance.

An opaque or semi-transparent covering that affixes to the top of a lamp base so as to soften the glow of the light bulb and redirect the light upwards or/and downwards. Shades add a decorative element to a light and can be made of fabric, glass, metal or other materials. They can also feature on chandelier as mini-shades. Shades come in many styles and shapes from cylindrical, square, bell shape to hexagonal.

Refers to the centre pole of a floor lamp or the hanging cord, wire or chain of a hanging light. Can also be referred to as a column.

Takes its name from the tall spike on top on a church or building. Is also a decorative feature in lamp design and can feature in the base shape of the lamp where the base is thicker at the bottom and pointed at the top near the shade.

Sand Casting
A technique to create using a mold made from sand whereby the molten metal is poured into the mold. Can be costly as the mold can only be used once.

Satin Finish
A finishing technique softer than gloss finish. Often featuring on metal surfaces where the surface is given a light texture, brush or grain which reflects light more diffusely giving a softer appearance reminiscent of satin the fabric.

Serpentine Arms
An architectural and design element which resembles the movement of snake. Common in chandelier design and wall light design where the arms are curved in a loose S shape.

Serpentine Lantern
A lantern which hangs from the ceiling or wall which utilises the serpentine movement in its design. The curves are usually made from brass or metal and are ornate and delicate. Features a glass body in which the bulbs are placed like a traditional lantern holding a candle inside.

Shell Motif
Motifs which feature in light and pendant design which resemble the shape and form of a sea shell.

Stencil Designed Shades
Light shades which features designs and repetitive patterns or motifs which are painted on to the surface but which resemble an etching, stencil transfer or silk screen print.

Scallop Shades
A lamp shade design or shape where the bottom edge of the shade has an undulating scallop shape reminiscent of the repetitive curved edges on a scallop shell. These shades give a traditional decorative look to a lamp. They often feature an embroidered edge, fringe or beadwork.

A fabric or metal part of a light fixture or lamp which is opaque or semi-opaque and which serves to shield the brightness of the light from various angles of sight. In some cases it may refer to a wire boundary which serves to prevent a person from being able to accidently touch the bulb which may be hot.

Shade Measurement
The technique by which light shades are measured. Usually measuring the top across, the bottom across, the slant or angle of the side of the shade plus the height. Used when matching a shade to a lamp base.

A lighting technique where a light is placed so that a dramatic and distinct outline is created around an object, plant or sculpture so as to create an accent.

Slide Dimmers
A dimming system device where the settings are adjusted via a sliding button.

Soft Lined Shade
A lamp shade which is lined with fabric or linen lining.

Refers to the metal or brass cross frame at the top of the shade. Helps the shade keep its form and is where the finial screws in so as to secure the shade to the lamp base.

Step Lights
Lights specifically designed and places so as to light stairways or pathways. Can be internal or external. A shield is usually used to block the direct light from the bulb. The bulbs are usually low voltage and not only enhance the appearance of the stairway area but provide a greater level of safety.

A type of glass with high lead content used to resemble and imitate the appearance of real gemstones. Also know today as Swarovski crystal. The finest, purist crystal glass and the most expensive. Can be used in chandeliers.

Surface Mounted
Attached directly to the surface, the wall or ceiling. Also known as ceiling mounted or flush mounted. These lights provide direct or general ambient lighting.

In lighting terminology this refers to chandeliers or multiple pendant lights that hang from the ceiling with a number of chains or cords hanging between two points. The chain, or cords ultimately lead the electrical circuit to a wall outlet rather than the light being wired into the ceiling. A helpful solution for rooms which do not have a ceiling junction box.

Swing Arm
A desk light or wall light that has an adjustable moveable arms which can swing left or right, up or down to provide specific task lighting.

Sparkle Lighting
An artistic lighting technique that uses multiple and often small lights to create a sparkling effect. Often used in restaurants, hotels or commercial foyers to create an elegant atmosphere. May be achieved by multiple and varied size recessed lights, rope lighting or fiber optic lighting.

Slant Height
Refers to the measuring the outside slope of a lamp shade. Is achieved be measuring between from the top edge to the bottom edge in a diagonal straight line ignoring the curvature. Easily done when the shade is affixed to the lamp base and easier than measuring inside the shade the vertical height.

A metal part of a lamp or light fixture into which the bulb turns or clicks. In some lamps the socket will also be where the on off switch is located.


Table Lamp
Are small to medium lamps which can easily be moved around the room and which provide warmth to a room or specific task lighting. Often used on desks, bedsides and cabinets they help to soften the lighting in the room and provide a softer alternative to ceiling lighting. They come in many different shapes, styles and sizes. The main parts are the base and the shade.

Tray lights
Is when the ceiling of a room has two different levels. The highest part of the ceiling being is often in the middle of the room. This helps the room appear more spacious and elegant. Lighting on a tray ceiling can vary from having a chandelier at the highest part in the middle of the room to having soft recessed light around the outer frame so as to maintain a sense of height and depth.

Track lighting
Lighting that uses several luminaries attached to a metal track or strip mounted to the ceiling or wall through which the electrical current runs. As opposed to wiring in each light individually to the electrical circuit. Allows for the light along the track to be flexible in terms of position and direction.

Tiffany ceiling lights
Lights that resemble the design and colours of a traditional Tiffany lamp typical of the Art Nouveau period. Pieces of stained glass are welded together traditionally using lead to create beautiful colourful designs. The designs often drawing upon floral or organic motifs, repetitive designs, elongated shapes and rich colours.

Touch lamps
Can be turn on and off by simply touching the base of the lamp. Often various brightness can also be selected by touching the lamp. Do not require and on/off switch.

Tiffany lamps
Originally created in 1895 by the Tiffany Studios in which each lamp was handmade by a craftsman. One of the most famous leaded glass lamp designs. Typified by cut stained glass pieced together by lead metal or a copper-foil soldering technique to create intricate ornate designs. These lights often have ornate brass bases. Influenced by Japanese art forms in which nature is paramount and by abstraction. Various design elements include an upper and lower border often irregular imitating the branch of a tree, geometric designs, abstract floral motifs, botanical or animal motifs.

Torchiere fitter shade
A shade which affixes to a Torchiere light which is floor or table light which faces upwards. The shade is often made form glass, metal, stone or plastic. Torchiere comes from the French work ‘torch’. There a four general shapes to the glass shade. The disc shape, the waffle, the neck type and the stiffel shape.

Task Lighting
Is specific lighting that is directed onto a given area or surface so as to provide light for tasks that are performed in that area such as reading, sewing or cooking. It can be provided by portable lamps, pendant lights or track lighting and is often found above a kitchen bench, a table, a desk, a reading area or in/under cabinet lighting. Task lighting needs to be bright enough to provide enough light for the task, but must not create too much glare.

Three-Way Lamp
A type of bulb that has two filaments and which can provide three levels of light; low, medium, high.

Adjusting a light to face upwards towards the ceiling.

Allows lights to be turned on or off at preprogramed times.

Tinted Glass
Glass that has been tinted by adding a pigment to the glass. This means that the colour effect is lasting and will not peel or chip like painted glass.

A floor lamp which is often quite tall and which faces upwards. The light source is located in a shade or bowl that directs the light source upwards. Light then hits the ceiling to create general lighting throughout a room. Comes from the French word ‘torch’. Some have an additional side light on the column that is positioned downward to provide task light or light for reading. These types can thus provide both general and task lighting. Very popular floor lamps.

Top Loop
The part of a chandelier which attaches the chain to the fixture on the ceiling.

Describes a surface or effect through which light can pass or transmit. A transparent lamp shade allow the light from the bulb to come through the fabric of the shade.

A large recessed ceiling luminaire or light fixture which sits up in the ceiling and contains long tube fluorescent bulbs. Offers bright natural light. Typical in office settings.

The outer glass envelope of some light sources. See lamp and bulb for more information.

Turn of the Century
The period when 19th century moves into the 20th century.

Victorian Pendant
Pendant lighting reminiscent of the Victorian period made of brass with ornate features. Adds a touch of elegance and tradition to the room.


Lights that are attached to the base of the wall which have small shade which pushes the light upwards which softens the glow of the bulb and creates interest around the room. popular in commercial buildings or as part of an event or wedding display.

Under Cabinet Fixtures
Lights that a placed underneath a overhead cupboard to provide task lighting. Often used in the kitchen to provide lighting directly upon the bench surface below. Also used in display cabinets to spotlight ornaments or collections. Lighting may be miniature recessed lighting, tracking light or small strip lighting.

A lighting technique that pushes the light upwards from the floor. Often used at the front of the home to light up the wall surfaces at night. Also used in functions or wedding to create atmosphere. The shade is designed in such a way as to direct lighting in an upward direction only.


Valance Lighting
Lighting fixture, often a tube light which is positioned behind a horizontal shield or opaque panel. Often positioned above a window or at the top of a wall running parallel to the floor. Creates an upward or downward light depending on the opening of the shielding panel. The bulb is usually a fluorescent tube.

Vanity Lights
Lights specifically designed to light up the bathroom mirror. Placed wither above or on either side of the mirror. Usually a long tube light that is diffused or wall lights or small sconce lights with metal or fabric shades. Often contains multiple lights.


Wall Bracket
A fixture that allows a light to be attached directly to the wall or mounted onto a vertical surface.

Wall-Mount Fixtures
Small lights that are attached directly to the wall to provide general, accent or task lighting. Come in a huge variety of styles and often match the decor of the room depending on whether it is contemporary rustic or traditional.

Wall Lighting
Lighting that is used to spread light over the surface of a wall to create general ambient lighting or bring out the texture or surface of the wall. Many different varieties including wall lights, scones or swing arm lights. Out door wall lights can appear like a traditional lantern style light and can direct light in an upward or downward direction. Cylindrical outdoor wall lights often direct the light upwards and downwards at the same time.

Wall Washing
A technique whereby lights are used to wash a wall with general light. This may be done by placing a number of small recessed lights above the wall or by using a tracking system with numerous small spotlights spaced evenly along the track positioned so as to shine light evenly onto the surface of the wall.

Wrought Iron
Used to make chandeliers and wall lights. The iron is bent to create curved circular forms by heating the iron and then pounding it with a hammer into the desired shape or curve.