All About Tole: Chandeliers, Lamps, Sconces & Tables

updated Aug 12, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Do you ever find yourself drawn to something and can’t quite explain why? I would characterize my style as pretty much the opposite of ‘shabby chic’, but for some reason, I just can’t get enough of tole.

A lovely, weathered tole chandelier, spotted in Hollie’s lowcountry home. (Image credit: Evita Smith)

What is tole, anyway? I will confess my (erstwhile) ignorance and admit that the first time I saw the world tole I thought it was a misspelling of ‘toile’. But no, tole is its own thing: according to Wikipedia, “tole painting is the folk art of decorative painting on tin and wooden utensils, objects and furniture.” Got that? Tole = painting on stuff. Sure enough, if you search Etsy or Pinterest for ‘tole’, you’ll pull up loads and loads of adorable painted things — trays, trash cans, mailboxes, signs with snowmen on them. But my very favorite tole things (and the focus of this post) are tole chandeliers.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

I saw my first tole chandelier in the wonderfully eclectic home of Sarah Hazel, which I photographed for Apartment Therapy. Actually, it was a tole candelabra, the one pictured above. Look at those intricate shapes! The delicate colors! I think it speaks to the little girl in me, who still loves flowers and pretty, soft colors. And the great thing is that I don’t have to choose between my love for tole and my love for modern, streamlined things — like many classic pieces, tole chandeliers work in all kinds of interiors.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Case in point: this kitschy-modern mix, complete with tole chandelier, from Frankie Magazine (via SF Girl by Bay).

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Tole doesn’t have to be all soft pastels, though: lots of tole lighting comes in gold, like this candelabra, spotted in the home of Crystal Gentilello.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Or this chandelier, in a modern space from Design Sponge.

So now that I’ve whetted your appetite, you may be wondering: where can I find these things? Answer: all over! But I’ve made a gallery of some of my favorite pieces, with links to some of my favorite shops, just to be helpful.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

1. Tole flower chandelier with porcelain roses, $299.24 from Lievre Vintage on Etsy
2. Tole flower chandelier with porcelain roses and colored crystals, $731.48 from Lievre Vintage on Etsy
3. Tole flower chandelier, $212.79 from Lievre Vintage on Etsy
4. Antique Italian Tole Lemon Chandelier, $700 from Paris Couture Antiques
5. Antique Italian Gilt & Ebony Tole Lamp, $300 from Paris Couture Antiques
6. Antique Pastel Chandelier, $775 from Paris Couture Antiques
7. A tole table? Believe it. Sadly, this one has sold…
8. But this fantastic tole lemon table ($449.99 from Hart’s Closet on Etsy) can still be yours.