History of Prairie Lighting


Prairie style lighting is an architectural and artistic style that emerged in the late 19th century. It is characterized by its emphasis on horizontal lines, flat roofs, and integration with nature. Lighting played a significant role in the development of this style, as it was used to create a sense of warmth and intimacy in the vast, open, and airy spaces typical of Prairie homes. This article will explore the history of Prairie style lighting design, from its early roots in the Arts and Crafts movement to its influence on modern lighting design.



Origins of Prairie Style Lighting: 

Prairie style lighting design has its roots in the Arts and Crafts movement, which emerged in Britain in the mid-19th century in response to the Industrial Revolution. It was a reaction against the mass-produced goods of the era and championed traditional craftsmanship, simplicity, and a return to nature.

The movement was led by William Morris, who founded the Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co. company in 1861. Morris believed that beauty and function should be integrated, and his company produced hand-crafted furniture, textiles, and decorative objects. Morris also designed lighting fixtures, which were characterized by their simple, organic shapes and use of natural materials such as wood and metal.

The Arts and Crafts movement spread to the United States in the late 19th century, where it was embraced by architects and designers such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Gustav Stickley. These designers were influenced by the principles of the movement, as well as the vast prairie landscape of the Midwest.



Prairie Style Lighting and Architecture: 

Prairie style architecture emerged in the late 19th century as a response to the Victorian-era trend of ornate, vertical homes. Prairie homes were characterized by their horizontal lines, low-slung roofs, and large, open interiors that flowed seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. Lighting played a significant role in Prairie homes, as it was used to create a sense of intimacy and warmth in the vast, open spaces.

Prairie lighting fixtures typically featured warm, muted colors and organic, sinuous forms that echoed the natural landscape. Prairie style lighting fixtures were also designed to be an integral part of the architecture. Fixtures were often built into the structure of the home, with natural materials such as wood and metal used to complement the materials used in the construction of the house.

lighting and architecture


Frank Lloyd Wright and Prairie Style Lighting: 

Frank Lloyd Wright is perhaps the most famous architect associated with Prairie style design, and his influence on Prairie lighting design cannot be overstated. Wright believed that a house should be an organic extension of the landscape, and he designed homes that were meant to be in harmony with nature.

Wright's use of lighting in his Prairie homes was innovative and groundbreaking. He used light to define space, create atmosphere, and highlight the natural materials used in his buildings. He also used lighting to emphasize the horizontal lines that were a hallmark of Prairie design.

One of Wright's most famous lighting designs is the lamp he created for the Dana House in Springfield, Illinois. The lamp features a geometric, organic form that echoes the lines of the house, and its muted colors and natural materials are a perfect complement to the warm wood and brick used in the construction of the home.



Prairie Style Lighting Today: 

Today, Prairie style lighting remains a popular choice for homeowners who appreciate its warmth, simplicity, and organic beauty. Modern lighting designers continue to be influenced by the principles of Prairie design, and many contemporary lighting fixtures feature the same muted colors and organic forms that were popular during the Prairie era.

Additionally, many of the materials used in Prairie lighting design have stood the test of time and remain popular today. Wood, metal, and stained glass are still popular choices for Prairie-style lighting fixtures, as they are durable, beautiful, and have a timeless appeal.




Prairie style lighting design is an important part of the broader Prairie style architectural movement. Its warm, organic forms and natural materials remain a popular choice for homeowners who appreciate its beauty and simplicity. The influence of Prairie style design can still be seen today in modern lighting fixtures, and its legacy continues to inspire architects and designers around the world.