Pleated Lighting Is the Delicate Accent Your Rooms Need

Pleats are a mainstay with timeless appeal. Here's how to incorporate them into your home's lighting.

<p>Courtesy of Kalco Lighting</p>

Courtesy of Kalco Lighting

Pleated lampshades, often made with cream-colored fabric, have been a design staple in homes since the Victorian Era. As of late, the beloved lighting design has taken a modern twist, appearing across a variety of lighting styles, from sconces to ceiling fans to flush mounts, and in a mix of materials. Use our tips to integrate this timeless classic into your home.

Related: Box Pleats Are Making a Comeback—How to Perfect the Look

Back and Better Than Ever

Fashion often drives trends, especially in home design, and pleats have been everywhere in the clothing industry—particularly micro pleats. The same trend is carrying into interior design, particularly in lighting. What started as simple pleated lampshades has since evolved into fresh patterns, finishes, and colors, plus new forms altogether. Today's pleats are featured on sconces, pendants, flush mounts, ceiling fans, and more. Homeowners can find both nostalgia and novelty in this fresh twist on a long-established lighting feature.

Related: The 8 Best Ceiling Fans of 2024, According to Testing

<p>Courtesy of Capital Lighting Fixture Co.</p>

Courtesy of Capital Lighting Fixture Co.

New Ways to Use Pleated Lighting in Your Home

If you're looking to add visual interest throughout your home, pleated lighting might be for you. Its repetitive structure also offers a sense of movement and texture. There are multiple ways to successfully use pleated lighting in your home, whether traditional, transitional, or modern.

Related: Essential Kitchen Lighting Tips, According to Industry Pros

<p>Courtesy of Designers Foundation</p>

Courtesy of Designers Foundation

Unexpected Materials

While crepe paper or fabric might first come to mind when you picture pleated lighting, designers are looking to new materials to give the iconic structure new life.

Materials such as metal, glass, and even wood give pleats a modern or industrial look—a shift from their roots in traditional design. Available in metal finishes of nearly any color, black, white, and gold pleated fixtures are popular for a fresh look. The new materials can also adopt a corrugated shape to create angled or cylindrical silhouettes that are ideal for light shades—whether solid, translucent, or clear. Opt for translucent shades when a more warm ambient feel is desired.

Related: 22 DIY Lampshade Ideas for Creative Updates in Less Than an Hour

Pleat Styles

There are multiple pleat styles, and each one makes a difference in what the light fixture looks like. Various folded angles inject architectural flair that complements all kinds of design approaches.

The type of pleat is determined by how small or large, or tight or wide, the fold is. Knife, box, gathered, shadow, and smocked are all different types of pleats, all offering a completely different appearance.

Pleat angles can be sharp and angular or round and scallop-like. The type of pleat style you choose should match the design style of your space—tighter and smaller pleats for modern or industrial style, wider and rounded pleats for transitional style, or deep and angular pleats for traditional.

<p>Courtesy of Alora Mood</p>

Courtesy of Alora Mood

Types of Lighting

Go beyond the classic pleated lampshade by integrating the trend into new fixtures. Oversized pendant lights with multiple pleated shades make a great statement piece above a dining table or kitchen island. Pleated metal sconces are the perfect mix of traditional and modern when placed on either side of a bed or bathroom vanity. Micro pleats on a flush-mount future or ceiling fan give an extra boost of visual interest to an otherwise strictly functional fixture. Pleats can be found on every type of fixture, making the options for your lighting design endless.

<p>Adam Albright</p>

Adam Albright

For more lighting trends and inspiration, check out our latest issue of Lighting magazine or find an American Lighting Association showroom near you.

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