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12 Tempting Tole Chandeliers

DESIGNSPONGE TOLE OPENER
I will never forget the first time I saw a tole chandelier that felt cool and not dated or fussy. It was in the first issue of Domino magazine and it was painted a bright glossy white against a seriously awesome navy blue kitchen wall. I tried, and failed, to replicate the look (in full) in my Park Slope kitchen and ran away from navy blue paint forever. But I never quite let go of tole chandeliers. The look may feel a little (or a lot) flower for some, but they’ve always had a soft spot in my heart because I think they can look incredibly cool when given a fresh coat of solid paint and updated with rounded bulbs (like this). Tole can sometimes skew a little Hollywood regency, but if you pair these with decor that’s somewhat minimal and simple, they can really be the star of the show. So today I thought I’d round up 12 of my favorites from around the web. I find Etsy to be the best spot for nabbing well-priced vintage tole* chandeliers, but Ebay has some great options, too and 1stdibs, of course, has the fanciest but most dramatic examples. Genuine Italian and French tole can be pricey, but a lot of the mid-century versions are quite affordable and perfect for a little update. Don’t be afraid if the multi-colored versions feel a little dated or garish- a coat of solid paint really lets the curved metal forms shine and feel fresh again. Hopefully there’s something here for anyone who feels like cleaning up an older chandelier and giving it a new life. xo, grace

*Tole refers to painted, enameled or lacquered tinplate that’s most commonly used for decorative domestic goods. We see it a lot in chandelier form, but you can also find it on trays and other tableware.

Top image above, chandeliers show in full (the rest are after the jump): Gold Italian tole chandelier $389, Coral painted tole chandelier $566, Tulip Tole chandelier $284, Bamboo tole chandelier $455

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Image above: 20thC Gathered Tole Leaf 12-Light Chandelier, 1st dibs

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Image above: Italian Tole Chandelier $175

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Image above: Tole flower chandelier $170

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Image above: Tole flower chandelier $141

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Image above: Toleware chandelier $128

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Image above: Italian Tole chandelier $795

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Image above: Italian Lilies Tole Chandelier

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Image above (detail shot in main header image): Six-light French tole chandelier

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13 Comments

Brie

I have a friend who bought a house that had four of these already in there! She threw them away!!! When I found out, I hauled ass to the dumpster but they were gone. She was clueless about what she had done. She thought the were old lady and and old in general. Broke my heart.

Holly

What coincidence! I was looking at tole fixtures earlier this morning because I’m having a hard time finding what I want for my bathroom. Tole is on the list of options. I lived in a place that had a nice small one in a breakfast nook. I could have replaced it (with something less awesome) with impunity. I’m sure that the management would not have known or cared about it.

Emily

Hi Grace – your account of a failed attempt with the navy wall paint has intrigued me. All of the DIYs you post are so perfect (obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t post them!) Maybe the Design Sponge team would be willing to bare their souls and tell us about some DIY failures and what you learned along the way?

maggie

These. Are. Amazing. I have never felt the need for a Tole Chandelier, but all of a sudden I do!

Nina

I had no idea these types of chandeliers had a name! I’ve always loved them and I’ve never seen such variety as you show here. The Italian Lily chandelier makes me crazy it’s so pretty! It would be perfect in a little girls room. Imagine how it would inspire little girl daydreaming! Thank you!

jillian

I love my tole chandelier. Picked it up from Renningers antique extravaganza last year. I paid $75 and it didn’t even need to be rewired!

Allyson

That kitchen is lovely! What made you run away from navy paint? I’m hoping to use it in my next home.

Bernie

I am kicking myself for getting rid of my “dated” tole bedside table lamps, purchased shortly after my 1975 wedding. I re-painted them at least twice, and then just hauled them off to Goodwill a few years ago. What was I thinking?

Grace Bonney

Chris

Those flexible Swiffer dusters are great, as well as the compressed air blowers (for small intricate sections) you can use for computer keyboards.

Grace

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