We haven’t put much effort into the dining room yet, but I’m collecting ideas, and looking forward to making some changes.
When we bought the house, the dining room looked like this:
As far as changes since then, it really just looks a little bigger by virtue of having less furniture in it. We have an oval table and a few chairs around it, and absolutely nothing on the walls yet (the corner shelves left with the old owners).
One of the things I’m dying to replace is the chandelier. The faux wood and etched flowers on the glass globes are dated (to the extent they were ever in vogue?), and I’d really like to put in a dimmer switch. The light will be the first phase of redecorating the dining room, since the finish will dictate the finish on future picture frames, decorative curtain rods/new valences, all of that.
There are so many options that I like, though…
I started by shopping online to get an idea of what I liked, and found a few (very diverse) fixtures that appealed to me:
I’ve been admiring the Camilla chandelier for a long time (surprisingly), but I don’t think it’s quite right. I want the dining room to feel just as comfortable playing cards with our neighbors on a Saturday night as it does with a holiday dinner served on our china (which is a tall order, I know). I’m afraid the Camilla chandelier wouldn’t be very good at poker.
I like the other two, I’m just not sure whether they’re too much to put in a smallish dining room. The faux candles are pretty, but I’m also concerned as to whether they’d throw enough light.
As far as finish, I’m thinking we need to stick with black or a matte-finish nickel or iron. With black, white, and platinum china going on the table on holidays, brass, chrome, and oil rubbed bronze would not be our best choice for coordination (we also don’t have bronze anywhere else in the house). I’m also generally not a fan of crystal (too fussy). (No, I can’t explain why I like the Camilla chandelier.)
To add to the process of elimination before we even seriously started, I want to avoid textile shades on the bulbs, and glass globes or bells around the lights. They seem to make the light less bright, and often less white, which is bad for doing jigsaw puzzles. Priorities, man.
With all of this in mind, we visited Wolberg Electrical Supply in Albany to start looking at fixtures in person this weekend. They sent us home with a pile of catalogs about 6 or 8 inches thick – that will keep us busy for a while! They pointed us toward Hubbardton Forge, a company that does hand-forged, mostly iron, light fixtures. It was a pretty accurate read on my taste – I like a lot of their stuff, and not very much from the other catalogs that I’ve perused so far.
Looking through the Hubbardton fixtures, I discovered that I’m not inherently opposed to glass around the bulbs – I’m just opposed to opaque glass around the bulbs. The clear water glass (on a few lights above), I like. The cream colored glass (at right), I’m less fond of. Good to know. Some of the Hubbardton lights can be ordered with different glass than pictured, so that expands the options somewhat. I just wish there was a way to filter by glass type on the website.
Many of the lights also come in a variety of finishes:
Oh help. Burnished Steel? Black? Satin Steel? Natural Iron? Oy.
As between a lot of the chandeliers above (finishes notwithstanding) … I’m not really sure how to choose. They’re not really that different from each other. Our existing light is about 21″ in diameter, and we probably don’t want to exceed 2′ by much, since our table is 3’6″ wide — that will narrow it down some. I also tend to favor more, smaller bulbs over fewer, larger bulbs, so I’d prefer 5 arms over 3, and 8 or 10 arms over 5, to the extent that the room size allows for that. Beyond that… hmm.
One other option I hadn’t heretofore considered was an oval chandelier like this one:
With an oval table under it, that could look pretty great – and would allow for a bigger light fixture than we might be able to get away with in a round shape.
So much to ponder!