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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The light fixture hunt (aka contest) is on

It’s the 12th of January, and I’m still planning on keeping one of my new year’s resolutions. The resolution in question: To replace three ugly lighting fixtures in my home, which isn’t as simple as it sounds.

My husband and I bought our house 10 years ago, and I’ve been living with lighting fixtures that I hate all this time. Why didn’t I just replace them when we bought the house? The project involves more than just swapping out the fixtures. The main problem is one that I see in dining room construction everywhere.

The dining room lighting fixture is mounted in the center of the room instead of over the center of the dining table. If I wanted recessed lighting or a light fixture that hugged the ceiling, this location wouldn’t be a problem. But I want a pendant light over my dining table, and we designers are a picky lot, especially when it comes to our own homes.

Changing the fixture location means cutting a hole in the ceiling drywall, patching the existing hole and repainting the ceiling. Although my living room, dining room and entryway are discrete areas, they share the same ceiling, and I only had time to paint the room walls, not the big ceiling, before we moved in. Since then, I’ve been busy designing other people’s homes and spending my discretionary time and money on traveling and a backyard renovation.

I also want a dining room fixture that uses recycled materials. There are plenty of them around now, but many of them are by artists or very small companies that make one-of-a-kind designs. I’ve seen fixtures made of everything from soda can pop tops to plastic spoons to bicycle chains. Many of them are too big, too expensive, too hard to clean, too fragile, too whatever for my home.

This is my current dining room fixture that needs to go:

So how do you and I find the right pendant light fixture for my dining room or for anyone’s dining room when the center of the room is not the center of the dining table? Start with the size of the space where the fixture will hang. The ceiling height and the size of the table matter, too. You don’t want a gigantic chandelier above a small table in a small space. You also don’t want a fixture that hangs so low that the fixture and its light annoy the diners.

I won’t go into how I calculated my lighting fixture size, but I would like a pendant-style, dining room fixture that is approximately 24” wide with a drop of about 34”. (The drop is the height from the ceiling to the bottom of the light fixture.) The style of my home is eclectic, so pretty much anything is a possibility in terms of the look although I do want something reasonably durable (not made of playing cards, for example) and something that can be cleaned – periodically. I can’t spend the world on it either.

Oh, I also want a smaller pendant light for my entryway. It needs to go with the dining room fixture although not necessarily match it. I’m also going to replace my kitchen light fixture, but it’s not part of this search.

My current entryway fixture matches the dining room fixture, but it's smaller, much smaller. This must be one of the ugliest lighting fixtures around:

So post your suggestions for my dining room light with links to photos of the fixtures and information about them in the “Comments” section of the blog. If you see any great fixtures with recycled materials that wouldn’t work for my dining room, post those links, too. They may work for someone else, and looking at creative fixtures is always fun.

This is a contest, of sorts. If my husband and I end up buying a dining-room lighting fixture that one of you submit, you’ll win a copy of the 2012 “National Green Pages,” a great resource for goods and services provided by certified green businesses nationwide. If I end up buying a fixture that I find, I’ll hold a raffle among all of the people following my blog and award the “National Green Pages” to the raffle winner. Yes, my husband does have a voice in the fixture selection, but I’ll vouch for his taste.

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree, the light doesn't fit into that room. Find something that would compliment your dining set. The dining set doesn't have to go. They are perfect with the floors.
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