Over dining table - uplights or downlights?

marti8aApril 30, 2012

This is how long it's been since we've had a dining room. I can't remember if I even liked our last chandelier. My mil has a single hanging lamp with a bright bulb and I find it blinding when sitting at the table and looking up at anyone standing.

So I'm considering up lights, multiple light bulbs, but now I worry that they won't put off enough light or that it will shadow.

This is one I like

Would it put out enough light by itself to do homework and sewing at the table? I am also considering some spots around the room but the ones I've seen don't seem to light the room, just accent a spot on the wall.

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Annie Deighnaugh

IMO up lights do not cast sufficient light for working at the table. I would suggest down lights and a dimmer switch. We used to play cards with my folks all the time at the dining room table and, esp as they got older, they needed more light to see. But for dinner, we'd dim those puppies down for ambiance.

Or they do make chandeliers with a central downlight, if that meets your style needs.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 8:05AM
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I love that! I did a search last night for chandelier with center downlight and couldn't find anything like this. What search terms did you use?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 9:40AM
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We have a chandelier for accent/mood lighting and recessed halogen cans for power, both on dimmers. The combination gives us the best of both worlds -- powerful task lighting from the halogen cans, and lovely mood lighting from the chandelier. For normal dinners, we have both the cans and chandelier on at about half-power. When I sew, I don't bother with the chandy, and for romantic dinners, the cans go way down...

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:46AM
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I used to have a chandelier with a downlight in the center and replaced it with one that doesn't have it. I love it, but I don't like it as well for tasks.

I searched for chandelier with center downlight and found quite a few. Try images from this search.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chandeliers

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:53AM
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We have 5 up-light chandeliers in both our breakfast nook and dining room. In the nook that's 8 x 10, that provides plenty of light for other activities besides eating, while the DR one has lower wattage bulbs in a larger space and would need some additional light for some uses other than eating. But it seems like with ours, it would be a simple matter of increasing the wattage per bulb (as long as there's no restriction as there might be for enclosed globes or drum shades), rather than finding a chandelier with a central down light also. I've had one like the one pictured in a rental we were in once, and for our uses, the spotlight part was too localized and annoying to have in our eyes...so we never used that part of the fixture.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:58AM
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We don't have a formal dining room in our new home, but in our dining area right off the kitchen, we have an up-light. When the table is fully extended it's so big that one light fixture wouldn't provide adequate lighting. So we put those dreaded recessed lights in the box beams above each corner of the table. Everything is on dimmers. Rarely use the recessed lighting unless the table is full. Often the Grandkids like to play games around the big table, and it works just fine.

Also, I loved the lighting in our previous home..a 1916 arts and crafts. It had an antique lighting fixture which was a down-light, but the shades were large enough so you didn't look right into the bulb. Then in the beams, were small antique single lights.

Generally I don't like down-lights. A friend has the most beautiful craftsman style light with leaded glass in her dining room. They mounted it upside down so the bare bulb is pointing down, and the stained glass is toward the ceiling. Very annoying.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:16AM
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That's gorgeous joyce. We're going to put in beams, but I'm not sure what pattern. Are your lights inside the beams?

sweeby, are your can lights over the table near the chandelier, or all around the room?

olychick and sujafr, those are good points about the center downlight. And thank you for the link olychick, I'll check those out.

I also thought last night about compromising with dh and putting sconces on the end wall, at least for now.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 12:34PM
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Hey Marti: In the old house (pic above in previous message) the tiny lights were at the juncture where the beams crossed. It was a nightmare when when we rewired the old house, trying to run wires through those beams.

In the new house, we put the recessed lights on the ceiling between the beams. Hard to get a good picture, but there are 4 recessed lights in the corners of the tray ceiling. Make sense?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 12:55PM
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Oh yes, and I like that much better than the ones I imagined in the beams. ;)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 7:33PM
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My chandy has uplights and downlights, and a switch on the chandy to control whether the uplights, downlights or both are lit. Best of both worlds.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 5:37PM
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Marti, we just installed this one a few months ago which is very similar to the first one you're considering. I don't know how big your dining area is but the the lighting in our space is more than sufficient. We have it on a dimmer and seldom light it up all the way

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 9:33PM
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I have always liked the functionality of an uplight/downlight combination, but I hate the look of compact fluorescents. Therefore, I will not buy a chandelier/lighting fixture that exposes the bare bulb, in preparation for the time that conventional bulbs are banned. This decision has taken some of the fun out of lamp/light fixture buying, but that's okay!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 10:50PM
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I have "up" lighting in my room and find that it provides enough lighting. I don't want to have the glare of a bulb shining down into my eyes. Currently my room is 12x24 and I have an over the table fixture with 3 bulbs at 60watt equivalent, each bulb. It is working just fine for doing general task at the table, like writing and reading. My table is 54" diameter. I had a 6 bulb fixture, which was great for lumens, but overwhelming visually, so I replaced it with this smaller fixture. Neither are perfect for my space so I won't show pictures but It has been helpful to compare the two fixtures and the light output they've provided.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:21AM
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How do you all find the up-lights for cleaning?
I need to replace my (currently bare/unglobed) dining light and am trying to decide between up or down light. I worry more about cleaning the glass more than anything. (I hadn't thought about the glare of down lights though). What do you all do?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 2:34PM
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Cleaning uplights? Horrid. At least, I find it so.

Lukkiirish, I like your fixture, but it's hung too high for a dining room. Because it's close to your light ceiling, you are getting a lot of reflected light, which works great in that spot. But for dining, what is most attractive, I think, is when the ceiling is in darkness and the table has a rich glow of light. It connects to our primal instinct to draw in together toward the firelight, and makes for warm, attentive conversation. Much more focused than a room that needs the ceiling to be bright so you can have enough light to see your dinner.

And when you hang them low enough, and the light bulbs are far enough up into the shades, you don't see light bulbs at all.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 4:09PM
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