Turkish lighting refers to the ornate, artisanal lighting fixtures and lamps that originate from Turkey. With roots extending back to the Ottoman Empire, Turkish lamps and lanterns showcase intricate metalwork, stained glass, and mosaic tile designs.
The varied shapes, vibrant colors, and decorative patterns create a dramatic, exotic flair. Read on to learn about the history, styles, and best ways to incorporate Turkish lighting into your home décor.
History of Turkish Lighting
The artistic tradition of Turkish lighting emerged during the Ottoman Empire around the 15th century. Craftsmen in Constantinople (Istanbul) gained fame for producing elaborate glass and metalwork for chandeliers, candelabras, and lanterns to adorn palaces, mosques, and homes of the elite.
When the Ottoman Empire expanded into Europe, exotic Turkish lighting became popular in 19th-century France, England, and beyond. Victorian-era homes featured Turkish corners with mosaic lanterns and intricately tiled fixtures.
Today, Turkish artisans continue the legacy, handcrafting lighting in signature mosaic, stained glass, filigree, and hammered metal styles. The lighting brings old-world Ottoman charm to both traditional and contemporary spaces.
Types of Turkish Lighting
From intricate chandeliers to mosaic table lamps, here are some popular types of Turkish lighting:
- Mosaic lamps: Stained glass and ceramic tile lamps with floral and geometric motifs
- Lanterns: Hanging metal and glass lanterns, often used outdoors
- Chandeliers: Elaborate hanging light fixtures with glass and metalwork
- Wall sconces: Ornate, metalwork wall lamps with stained glass
- Candelabras: Metal branched candle holders, some with hanging prisms
- Pendant lights: Filigree metal pendants with stained or colored glass
Signature Designs and Materials
Some hallmarks of Turkish lighting design include:
- Intricate filigree metalwork and hammered detailing
- Stained, colored, and mosaic glass patterns
- Ceramic tile motifs like the blue Evil Eye, flowers, stars, and more
- Organic shapes like branches, leaves, and birds
- Bright pops of color against dark metal finishes
- Cascading prisms that refract light dramatically
The compelling designs and opulent ambiance make Turkish lighting an impactful decorative element.
Turkish Mosaic Lamps
The Turkish mosaic lamp emerged in the 19th century during the Tulip Period of the Ottoman Empire. Artisans arranged elaborate floral and geometric tile patterns on glass lamps to recreate the vibrant Iznik tile mosaics found in palaces.
Using stained glass and ceramic tiles, each lamp was a unique work of art. The mosaic lamps exuded opulence and their warm, ambient light created a welcoming glow in Ottoman homes.
Today, the lamps are still painstakingly handcrafted using traditional techniques. The intricate details and vibrant colors make them an iconic centerpiece.
Popular Designs and Materials
Some notable mosaic lamp designs include:
- Table lamps with tulip-shaped bases featuring floral stained glass and tile patterns
- Hanging pendant lamps with spherical or cylindrical mosaic shades
- Candelabra-style mosaic lamps fitted with bulbs or candles
- Tree-shaped mosaic lamps with branches holding globes of light
- Stained glass Evil Eye lamp bases believed to ward off harm
- Designs incorporating turquoise, purple, yellow, and sea green glass
- Lamps accented with ceramic tiles, beads, abalone shells, and crystals
- Brass, copper, and wrought iron bases with dark bronze finishes
Incorporating Turkish Mosaic Lamps at Home
Turkish mosaic lamps infuse spaces with striking elegance. Here are some tips:
- Place table lamps in bedrooms and living rooms to create cozy lighting.
- Use hanging pendant lamps over dining tables or kitchen islands.
- Add a mosaic lamp to an accent table or bookshelf to highlight decor.
- Choose Evil Eye lamps for an entryway to greet guests.
- Pair mosaic lamps with earthy textures and patterns for a luxe boho-chic vibe.
- Mix multiple mosaic lamps for a vibrant Turkish corner.
Intricate metal and glass lanterns are an integral part of Turkish design, tracing back to the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. Ottoman palaces were adorned with elaborate lanterns, and smaller versions illuminated city streets and homes.
The lanterns featured stained glass panels, hammered metal frames, and whimsical silhouettes inspired by tulips, minarets, and the crescent moon. Cascading prisms refracted the light dramatically.
Outdoors, the Turkish lanterns created a warm, inviting glow while indoors, they made striking decorative accent pieces. The Turkish lantern tradition continues to thrive today.
Popular Designs and Materials
Some unique characteristics and styles of Turkish lanterns include:
- Hanging lanterns in galaxy, globe, flat-panel, and tulip shapes
- Intricate metalwork like filigree, cutouts, hammered detailing, and inlaid metals
- Colored, stained, prismatic, and mosaic glass panels
- Use of materials like brass, copper, tin, iron, and bronze
- Design motifs like stars, moons, tulips, leaves, and shells
- Jewel-toned colored glass panels in azure, ruby, and emerald
- Crystal or bead fringe detailing
Incorporating Turkish Lanterns at Home
Here are creative ways to use Turkish lanterns for brilliant illumination:
- Hang lanterns over porches, patios, and pathways for outdoor lighting.
- Place mini lanterns on side tables and bookshelves to accent a room.
- Use a statement lantern as the focal point over dining tables.
- Line a walkway or garden path with staked lanterns for a magical ambiance.
- Illuminate hallways and staircases with mounted lanterns.
- Add lanterns to gazebos, pergolas, and poolside spaces.
The lavish Turkish chandelier originated in the Ottoman palaces of 16th-century Constantinople, crafted by royal artisans. Also known as Istanbul chandeliers, they featured elaborate filigree metalwork accented with stained glass, crystals, and dangling prisms.
From royal palaces, the dramatic chandeliers made their way into mosques, homes of pashas and elites, and eventually, Europe’s palaces and manor houses. The Turkish chandelier remains a masterpiece of artistic craftsmanship.
Popular Designs and Materials
Some signature design elements of Turkish chandeliers include:
- Cascading strings of crystals, beads, or prisms refracting the light
- Brass, copper, or bronze frames with filigree detailing
- Glass pieces in deep gem tones like ruby, sapphire, and emerald
- Shapes inspired by tulips, stars, circles, and multi-tiered silhouettes
- Hammered metal detailing and inlaid accents
- Intricate metalwork like curling vines, leaves, and abstract shapes
- Use of materials like gold, silver, iron, and tin
Incorporating Turkish Chandeliers at Home
Turkish chandeliers create a majestic focal point and ornate ambiance. Ideas for use:
- As the centerpiece in formal dining rooms and entry halls.
- Over a bedroom headboard for a glamorous touch.
- In living rooms make a bold style statement.
- Hung in pairs over a large kitchen or lounge space.
- Outdoors covered in patio and pool areas.
- In stairwells to infuse grandeur.
Tips for Using Turkish Lighting in Home Decor
1. Choosing the Right Fixture for Each Room
- Entryway: Medium lanterns or sconces for guests to notice.
- Living room: Pendant lamp over coffee tables or chandelier as a focal point.
- Dining room: Large statement chandelier over the table.
- Bedroom: Crystal chandelier over the bed or mosaic table lamps.
- Bathroom: Mini hanging lanterns flanking the mirror.
- Kitchen: Line of mini pendant lamps over the kitchen island.
- Outdoors: Staked lanterns lining paths and hanging lanterns on patios.
2. Creating a Cohesive Lighting Scheme
- Choose fixtures in matching or complementary styles and colors.
- Repeat design elements like a certain metal, glass type, or motif.
- Place fixtures symmetrically to create balanced lighting.
- Graduating the fixture sizes can help transition between rooms.
Setting Different Moods and Atmospheres
- Sparkling crystal chandeliers create glamour and elegance.
- Bold, vibrant mosaic lamps exude an exotic, luxe vibe.
- Softer glowing lanterns make spaces warm and welcoming.
- Use lamps on dimmers to control the ambiance.
Where to Buy Turkish Lighting
- Specialty lighting stores and lamp boutiques.
- Import stores and Turkish bazaars.
- Online retailers specializing in Turkish decor.
- Directly from artisans through Etsy and similar platforms.
FAQ about Turkish Lighting
What are the main styles of Turkish lighting?
The most popular styles are mosaic lamps, metal lanterns, crystal chandeliers, wall sconces, candelabras, and pendant lights featuring stained glass and filigree metalwork.
What materials are commonly used?
Brass, copper, iron, bronze, tin, stained glass, ceramic tiles, beads, prisms, crystals, and fabrics like silk.
What are typical design motifs?
Floral patterns, stars, moons, geometric shapes, calligraphy, and organic shapes like leaves, vines, and shells. Gem-toned glass also features prominently.
How is traditional Turkish lighting made?
Using centuries-old techniques, artisans handcraft each piece, specializing in stained glass, tilework, metal shaping, and filigree detailing. This makes each lighting fixture truly one-of-a-kind.
How can I incorporate Turkish lighting at home?
Hang statement chandeliers and lanterns in main rooms, use mosaic lamps to accent tables and shelves, line hallways with sconces, and place mini lanterns and pendant lights for brilliant accents.