The Ideal Dining Room (no, it isn't mine). Photo: House Beautiful, design by Susan Zises Green, exquisitely perfect chandelier by Niermann Weeks.
Not surprisingly, when I start one decorating project, my bumblebee mind takes me on another decorating tangent. Luckily, no one is waiting for these rooms...
The tangent: when I started researching light fixtures for our guest room, I immediately got sidetracked on chandeliers for our dining room. Our dining room light fixture (which came with the house...I take no credit) is a miserable eyesore, as you can plainly see in the following photo. Not only is it unattractive (brass...shudder), but it's not centered, thanks to the placement of our giant sideboard in the room:
Before you freak out, we do plan to replace the pink rug (preferably with something gorgeous and inoffensively neutral). It's a great wool rug (I inherited), but is outdated. I also have new ivory silk drapes to hang once I find a (small, nickel) rod (another unrequited quest). Our dining room furniture is rather traditional. I also intend to update the chairs with new upholstery once the rug colour is sorted out.
In the meantime, the new fixture needs to work with my gradually-developing style, which I can only call pared down traditional. I have studied many dining rooms and have seen a massive variety of light fixtures. The ones I love most, sadly, require 15 ft ceilings, exquisite architectural detail in the room, and a second mortgage...
But for my present abode, I think a simpler fixture is in order. I have begun to appreciate a modern look, which I think might prevent the room from looking too precious, too Grandma.
I am rather fond of this fixture from Quoizel which is available in Calgary at Carrington Lighting (where I have received very friendly service compared to a couple of other shops).
Choice #1: Classic modern with drum-shade
Initially when these drum-type shades came into vogue, I deplored them. I still don't care for the plain rectangular drum shades and find them boring, but this one looks a little different, with the trapezoidal shape and the (faux) crystal detail. The shade is ivory linen and the material is polished chrome, not nickel as I initially hoped, but it looks similar.
I might not have noticed this style of fixture if I hadn't recently seen this dining room, by homeowner/designer Heidi Smith, with a dressed-up drum shade that caught my eye:
Photo: Canadian House & Home
I am also fond of the grande chandelier, but let's face it, I just don't have the house to go with a fixture like this:
Photo: Canadian House & Home
I know I could pick a smaller crystal-style chandelier, but I wonder if it is overkill in my humble home. It's hard to find a simple crystal/glass chandelier in nickel for under $600 (my rough budget). I did find this little beauty online (not nickel) for a very good price, thanks to a tip from Things That Inspire:
Choice #2: Fancy but simple enough to be pretty and not pretentious!
Is this too much for our little house? I would need to change out some of the decor to work with this, like getting a fancier mirror for over the sideboard, etc.
I've also been scouting simple candle-style chandeliers, like this beauty from Restoration Hardware (below) which is rather over budget ($950 USD including shipping and taxes). But it is both classic and simple. They ship to Canada, but I'm out 20% of the cost if I want to return it.
Choice #3: Clean and simple and bloody expensive
I also like the fixture (below) from Home Depot Canada. I was impressed to learn that Home Depot Canada (which is separate from the U.S. version), has free shipping (sometimes), free returns (always), and they give you 90 days to make up your mind! This fixture, in brushed nickel, is from Progress Lighting.
Choice #4: Clean and simple and affordable
Home Depot had such a great price on this fixture ($55 to $105 cheaper than stores in Calgary) that I ordered it online just to try. I can always return it!
I am also rather fond of lantern-style shades and see a number of designers using them in dining areas, but I honestly think they are better suited to (a) entryways (b) over round tables in breakfast rooms, if you must and (c) well-decorated stables!
Photo: Adapted from a Windsor Smith room (I love you Windsor and you can do no wrong by me)
What do you think? Should I try the modern fixture or stick with something tranditional? Do you have any wonderful online lighting sources you could recommend?