How many bulbs or wattage for dining room chandelier?

linnea56February 10, 2010

I hope this is not too long! I'm looking for a chandelier, for my traditional dining room. I want to be able to eliminate the ones that will have inadequate light. I donÂt want to make a costly mistake and find out itÂs not enough until itÂs hung. Anyone have a formula or rule of thumb for this?

PlusÂIs there is difference in actual output between candelabra bulbs and regular bulbs? They might each say "60 watt" , but do they effectively light the room in the same way? DonÂt regular bulbs, of the same wattage, seem to put out more light than candelabra bulbs? I have some bedside lamps that take one or the other (60 watt regular vs. 60 watt candelabra): and I swear the ones with regular bulbs put out more light.

Right now the light is adequate, but barely, with the builderÂs skimpy chandelier of 5 60 watt candelabra bulbs in clear glass hurricane cups and one 60 watt downlight. We usually DO use the downlight: the 5 candelabra bulbs are not enough otherwise. I have not been able to find a formal fixture with a downlight, so I think I have to let that go and make up for it in other ways, like more or brighter bulbs. The room is 12 wide by 13 feet long. Furniture is dark wood, walls are painted in medium warm colors (on top) to dark tones (below). Ceiling height is standard 8 feet. I have already figured out my diameter range (between 24 and 30 inches) for the room, so at least thatÂs one thing down.

Please tell me how to analyze these options.

1) Most of the ones I am looking at, that are not proportionately too tall/wide for the room, have 6 60 watt candelabra bulbs. That seems like pretty much an even trade for what I have now: maybe less (!), with no downlight.

To get 9 lights in a candelabra bulb chandelier, seems to mean a 2 tier fixture, which will probably be both too wide and too tall for the room.

2) Alternatively, I can get a chandelier that uses regular bulbs, in various kinds of frosted glass cups. If those bulbs really put out more light, then maybe I need to limit myself to styles like that.

3) I have found a few with 6 60 watt candelabra bulbs on top, and a frosted glass bowl on the bottom, that takes 2 regular 60 watt bulbs. Maybe the best option for overall light? Though there are not many like that; itÂs pretty limiting in style, and they tend to be wide. (Plus IÂm not sure I even like those.)

I wonÂt even TALK about style! That will come later. I need to figure out function first. Thanks!

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This info may be too late to help you but it is a good lighting practice to not rely on the chandelier to provide the only lighting for a dining table. Small recessed fixtures are used over the center of the table between the chandelier and the ends of the table. With crystal chandeliers these may be placed and aimed to enhance the look of the crystal and to add lighting to the table below. With other types of fixtures these may just be aimed straight down at the table to provide good lighting and give more flexibility in chandelier selection. These need to be on their own dimmer. If you can add these then you can have whatever chandelier catches your eye.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 2:20PM
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I'm afraid it is not an option to retro fit any recessed fixtures into that room. It is very costly to have that done here. There is no easy access above either. We got bids for adding some lights to a dark hallway and they averaged $400 each...not including the fixture. Nor is it possible to find someone willing to install 2 lights. I did have some installed in the kitchen some years back. Had to add a lot of jobs to it just to get someone to come out.

Apart from that, and more importantly, it would not look right with the style of the room, which has all antique furniture.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 4:39PM
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