When we first toured our house we were struck by the low ceilings with terrifyingly close ceiling fans. Okay, not literally struck by, but they scared us so much that we made it a condition that the seller take them when he left.
Since then, we’ve renovated to open up the space and painted the ceilings a bright white. But one thing that I refused to do during the renovation was a lighting plan. I wanted to live with the house for just a little while before making those decisions.
… fast forward two years, and still no lights.
This is partly because we do have working (if boring) lights. Also, with these low ceilings we can pretty much only chose flush mounts, and there are just not a lot out there that I love. So why rush things?
But I DO love chandeliers, and the one place that we are able to have a chandelier is over the dining room table. So I have my heart set on it being perfect: I need to get ALL of my chandelier energy out in this one piece. That is really a lot to ask of a light fixture, and a ton to ask of a light fixture that is preferably also affordable and energy efficient.
Ideally we’d like to find a fixture for under $300. But, as this is visible from both the kitchen and the living room, we’re willing to go bit higher if necessary to get it right.
I may not make decisions quickly, but I HAVE spent a lot of time thinking about this. I combed thrift stores and antique shows. I looked at some 30,000 light fixtures online. So then maybe I sound less crazy when I say that I was able to whittle that down to my 12 favorites. Or does that make me sound more crazy?
To help think about those top choices I did some mock-ups of how they would each look in the room. The biggest challenge of shopping for lighting online is understanding the actual size of the fixture. I tend to see it and imagine the “perfect” size for my space, but that usually isn’t the case! These mock-ups actually led me to eliminate some of my front-runners, because I was finally able to wrap my head around how big they really were.
Now, without further delay, the current contenders:
This is the only chance to have a sputnik chandelier in our house. I – LOVE – THE – SPUTNIK – LOOK. Unfortunately, most of them are either quite pricey or quite large, which is a non-starter in our small dining room with low ceilings. We did so much work to open up the space in our renovation and don’t want to close it in again with a too-bulky chandelier! The three in this group give some of that cool sputnik look, but are more compact. And they are all under $300!
- Small Mobile Pendant from West Elm. This is such a good deal at only $149, and the simple shape is reminiscent of the sputnik style without being so busy or crazy. It has a broader appeal. Also, the antique bronze finish (which looks ORB) would match many other pieces in our house, like our doorknobs and the floor grate between the dining room and living room.
- Small Sputnik Chandelier from Shades of Light. This is the most expensive one in this group at $249, but it is still within what we’re hoping to spend. And it gives me exactly the sputnik look that I want in a much smaller size than I’ve been able to find elsewhere. And Brad even likes it! The tides of fate rarely converge into such fortunate circumstances.
- Up and Atom Chandelier by Land of Nod. I love how compact this light is (only 12”x12”) so we would get all the cool factor without blocking sightlines. I don’t know why this is made for kids, it is awesome for everyone. And it’s super affordable for only $169. Compare the look to the Jonathan Adler chandelier in the expensive class below!
While you can find small sputniks, it is hard to find elegant small sputniks like in my inspiration images. So I widened my search to some other modern or slightly edgy shapes. These three are all really fun for different reasons.
- Bendant Lamp by Mio Culture. This one is just so cool, although it is a little bigger than we would like. It actually comes as just a metal sheet, and then you bend the cut-outs to form exactly the look that you want! It’s like the lamp version of one of those convertible dresses. It costs $175 for the metal piece, and their light kit is another $47.
- Brass City Chandelier from Schoolhouse Electric. I apparently love anything Schoolhouse Electric, and actually most of the other lights I plan on eventually buying around the rest of the house are from there. I don’t think I would get sick of this, but I do wonder if it would satisfy the “pow” I’m looking for from the only chandelier in the house. It is at the very top of our preferred price range at $295.
- Aiden Gray Chan Geo Collection Look #9. This light has that fun, modern geometric thing going on, but what I love most about it is how open and delicate it is. It is pretty big for the space, but that wouldn’t be a problem because it is so airy. It comes in at $360, which is a bit high but certainly doable if we decide this is our favorite.
As much as I love the more modern and edgy looks, they can be pretty intense. I have a lot going on in these rooms and maybe I should pick out a calmer and more timeless shape?
- Mid-Century Modern Mobile from Shades of Light. This is a little over our price range at $348, but I feel like it combines the best of both worlds by having a bit of the sputnik look, but simplified. I also love that the bulbs are mostly covered, unlike many of the lights on this list, meaning that there would be less glare.
- Eclipse Chandelier from West Elm. This was one of my early favorites when I started looking at lights. I love West Elm, and I love the simple swoop of this light. However, after doing this mock-up I am worried that it is a bit too big for our small dining room. It is within in our preferred price range at $249.
- Gold Lotus Hanging Pendant from World Market. This is so pretty and delicate, and because it is smaller it would really let the rest of the room shine. And the price is great at only $99! I am worried that it only directs light downward, though, so we would probably need to bring other lighting sources into the room.
Budget Stretching Sputniks
Budgets are stupid. While we don’t want to spend a ton on this light, there are some really amazing fixtures that have gotten under my skin and bring something that can’t be found at a lower price point. These are more expensive, so we probably won’t go with one of them, but I haven’t been able to cross them off the list quite yet. We could splurge if we know it will make us happy for years.
- Impulse Collection LED Chandelier from Fredrick Ramond. I seriously thought about spending $1299 for a light fixture when I found this one. I really want an LED chandelier, and this is the ONLY sputnik I could find with LEDs. It is also a great shape, but perhaps just a little too big. (Or a lot too big, according to Brad.)
- Modern Amber Bubble Chandelier from Shades of Light. This was one of our early favorites, and has remained a favorite. It is expensive – $599 – but it IS possible that we would be willing to spend that much. I love that this has a bit of a sputnik look, and I think the amber orbs within the glass would provide a really nice glow. It is a little big, but the cable is adjustable so we could hang it pretty high. This is Brad’s favorite.
- Sputnik Antique Brass Crystal from Jonathan Adler. I’ve seen this light in a lot of rooms on Pinterest and I love it. It is so pretty and fun! It is also the most expensive of them all at $1331.
SO that is a lot of choices, and we haven’t made up our minds yet. We’re probably most into the Small Sputnik Chandelier (#2), the Mid-Century Modern Mobile (#7), and the Modern Amber Bubble Chandelier (#11). But that list also changes with my mood (not sure about Brad’s moods, he is totally sick of talking about this).
Which one do you think is best for the space? Which would you pick?